don’t censor emotions

While I listen to the middle school principal rant about the evils of technology year after year, I actively encourage my children to embrace technology and blogging. For children, blogging starts out as an online diary. It is a place where they can record their feelings at that moment in time. If they ever posted anything threatening to themselves or others, we would immediately intervene and get professional help. We wouldn’t just tell them to delete it and deny their feelings. That scenario hasn’t come up yet, but my children do sometimes make posts with words I don’t like them using. I allow it. Sometimes they whine and complain. I allow it. I don’t have to agree with them. They are allowed to have their own emotions, ideas and opinions. I think it’s much better that they be allowed to sort it all out in a blog post than forced to be keep everything unexpressed. I don’t want my children to go through life with a big blank smile on their faces, saying “everything is fine” when life is all about highs and lows. It is the lows that make the highs that much sweeter. As adults, we learn to filter who we share details of life with, but even as adults, we recognize the big, fat liars who are more superficial than a department store mannequin. Teenagers have enough problems without adults denying their feelings. If one of my children says they had a really cruddy day, they need a hug. They don’t need me telling them that their day doesn’t matter or that they are wrong. Their blog is their therapy couch. It’s where they get to let it all out. Validation is much more important than keeping up appearances.

4 thoughts on “don’t censor emotions

  1. It used to make me sick even on a preK level when everyone *had* to be your friend. Sure we didn’t want kids excluded because “I don’t like them,” but it builds who we are. And I don’t want my children thinking everyone in life is honest and their friend. Even at four years old my kids, for the most part, could tell who was fake. And now, at (almost) 8 and 11 years old, they know the fake “Humor them” smile.

    If they’ve had a cruddy day, they’ll say just that, and get a hug in the end. And if they need to scream and yell, they have a place to do that, too. You are who you are. And you are your choices – good or bad. Own them. Create yourself the way you want to be defined. But don’t fakey fake. Bleugh.

  2. I don’t agree with one aspect of this (and suspect we’ll always be at odds about it) but if there are words you don’t think teens or pre-teens should be using then stand by your guns and tell them not to use them. If there’s something you think they should not be doing, then don’t allow them to do it in the name of “personal freedom” or the guise that it will hamper their thoughts or emotions. You’re not causing them to deny their feelings, you’re – as a responsible parents – steering them in the direction they need to be steered that will help them become honorable and respectable adults. And it really doesn’t apply to just words – it’s anything. If there’s something they’re doing that’s wrong, it’s our job to help them. Sure, let them make their own mistakes and all that – obviously let them learn from their screwups – but don’t pretend the wrong paths are ok or don’t matter just because you value the concept of personal expression so much. They’re perfectly capable of expressing their feelings and thoughts in a matter that doesn’t include crude language or hurtful words. It can be done, and sometimes limiting that “easy” language can make them better speakers and writers.

  3. We don’t want them putting on airs in their writing. We want them to write their feelings with feeling. Now I’m not encouraging them to say “My birthday sucked” (but she did have a rough week) but that’s how she was feeling I want her to feel free to let it out. Now if she’s standing in front of her grandparents and says “sucks” she’s gonna getting a talkin’! I fully accept that children will use language around peers that we don’t want them using. One of my son’s friends was playing the wii and exclaimed “son of a b..” glances at my stern look “..uh..gun” to which I responded “Good catch. Almost made a bad mistake didn’t you?” Certainly my son has tried them on. My only hope is that the words don’t wear well and that they choose to add them to their vernacular.

    Our children are often corrected on word choice in proper settings.

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