Letting Your Tween Choose Their Own Path
Their Path is Not Your Own Path
I deleted my daughter’s Instagram account the other day. I’m not sure she noticed. Almost 11, she originally asked to use my account when a friend was over and wanted to show off her photos. I then helped her set up an account and help her find her classmates. We talked about the right ways to use the account and she seemed interested — for about five minutes.
Being a social media guru myself, I showed her the ropes, but she didn’t care much about what her classmates were doing. I had to suggest potential posts — mostly photos of our cats. The other day I looked at the account — I was waiting for her after school — and realized I was more interested in it than she was. That’s when I knew it was time for the account to go since I was more worried about her social popularity than she was. The same goes for my daily quizzing about who she ate lunch with and what they talked about; I needed to trust her that if there was a problem she would let me know. Part of that came from memories of my own childhood of being picked on and wanting to be part of the cool group. As an adult, I still sometimes worry about not being included. I couldn’t let my own insecurities affect her. The account had to go and I had to put her in charge of her social life — both online and off.
She’s at that unique place straddling childhood and being a teen. Hanging out and listening to music — boring in her mind. She would rather read, draw or play outside. After a recent play date with a girl she’s known since she was 3, I asked her if she had fun. It was ok, she admitted, but she wished they had played more. While she enjoys Minecraft, she doesn’t want to just do that for three hours. She wants to play soccer, Pokemon with her brother or maybe school or another game with her stuffed animals.
She’s happy and well-liked by her classmates for her friendliness and being responsible. They know she’s smart, helpful and an excellent soccer player. That is enough for her and it needs to be enough for me. That self confidence will serve her well as she hits the teen years.
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