Rule #1) There isn’t any!
Ok, just kidding 🙂
But, I would like to share with you all my parenting mistake.
About two years ago I had a kiddo who was getting quiet and spending more time in their bedroom. What are we told as parents? This is what teenagers do, right? They need space to figure out their teenager-ness. And I tried to give a little space. I asked a few questions here and there. I knew my teen was moody. I thought it was a phase. My teen made some odd comments, but also made a lot of regular and normal comments. So I thought I’d try to give space while ensuring that I was there when needed.
Now there was no social interaction. And everything that was brewing came suddenly boiling over. I went thru the kiddo’s phone and saw a bunch of crap. Seriously, it was crap – lies, drama, and more lies.
The dark side to the internet comes in more varieties than we would like to believe. There were no strangers talking to my child. There were no naughty pictures. There were no plans of sneaking out. There were ebooks, TikToks, Reddit’s, etc. all painting a twisted picture in my teenager’s mind. For the record, TikTok was not an approved social media account for my kiddo. For the record, you can find TikTok people and videos shared on Youtube and other social media outlets. A kid doesn’t need to have a TikTok account to follow TikTok’rs.
I took away everything I could. No more outside influences. I talked to a couple trusted people. I thought about counseling, I had even called a counselor. I prayed and prayed and prayed.
Sometimes things happen slowly and almost undetectable. Sometimes there is a moment that is a catalyst. After lots of prayer, lots of quieting myself, and lots of seeking God’s wisdom; it became clear. I was the problem. I was the catalyst. I had made one decision that I thought was best, that my kiddo didn’t see as honest. And the devil was there to jump in to that one hole in the kiddo’s trust in me, and start carving away at the weak spot. That was when my kiddo began questioning everything in their world. And from there, my kiddo spiraled. And the internet acted like a commercial vacuum, sucking my kiddo’s thoughts down a dark and twisted tunnel.
I am happy to report that now, my teenaged kiddo is 110% back to themselves. I guess my timing in sharing this now is the world around us right now. I would like to cut out parts of the internet, but I can’t. I would like to assure all the teenagers of the world that life gets better and they are truly cared about just as they are. And I would like to absolutely and mostly importantly for this blog assure the parents that there is NOTHING that can replace their attention, love, conversations, and sometimes not respecting their teenager’s privacy!
Tonight I am thankful that my teenage kiddo is doing well. I am thankful that our situation didn’t get worse. And I hope that what we went thru can be helpful to someone else – you don’t have to give your teenage their space and privacy. They can earn their space and privacy . . and they can continue earning it over time.