Mommy bloggers: So young, clever and inexperienced. We wonder, is taking parenting advice from a young mommy blogger a bit like getting directions to a far off, and difficult to reach locale, by someone who traveled part of the way there, once?
The web site abcnews.com recently published an article about disciplining kids and how to avoid spoiling them. The author, a mother with a very young child, interviewed a number of parents whose children were all under 10. Each gave her considered advice on how her style of punishment had worked. If you are still parenting on the easy side of adolescence, how do you know your method of discipline has worked? Isn't the test of parenting what happens as our children escape our grip?
Mashable has weighed in on the subject of mommy blogging, citing statistics from Scarborough Research. The average mommy blogger is 37, relatively wealthy and has children who have not yet hit middle school, it reports. Some 14 percent of all moms contribute to or read blogs and 89 percent of those have children between the ages of 2 and 11. The average household income of a mommy blogger is $84,000 -- or $14,000 above the average income for non-blogging moms. While they are likely to be any place on the political spectrum, they are, according to Mashable, more socially conscious and more likely to volunteer their time than non-blogging moms.
Why don't older moms, those with teens and young adults, blog more? Why aren't these been-there-done-that moms sharing their wisdom with those just starting out on the journey?
Well, I have no idea why, but as part of a blogging duo with kids in high school and college, I am going to speculate:
Blogging involves getting up close and personal in social networking. It requires that you be fluent in Pinterest and Twitter and Facebook. It requires a familiarity with Wordpress or Blogger or Tumblr and if you really want to do it right, SEO, CSS and HTML. To younger women the internet is meat and potatoes, the stuff their social lives have been made of since they were in high school. They got onto Facebook when it launched in 2004 and they never got off. For those of us a touch older, joining Facebook was a real decision.
Secondly, big kids are not as cute. They just aren't. Cuteness peaks at three and pretty much goes downhill from there. So if your youngest is, say, 14 or 18, there is not much cuteness left in your house and this will quickly be revealed in any photos included on your blog. Older kids are striking in their youthful beauty but this just doesn't compare to an adorable toddler. If you don't think I am right, check out your Christmas card photos this year.
Little kids, little problems, big kids ... and the cuteness isn't just physical. Little kids say and do cute things. They come into our rooms at night and make adorable excuses to get into our beds. When big kids come into our bedrooms at night it is because they have to tell us such bad news that it cannot wait until morning. In the morning sharing this big bout of bad news with our blog readers is the last thing we feel like doing.
Blogging can involve oversharing, deliberate or otherwise, and to a generation raised on worrying about their "permanent record" it sets alarm bells ringing. To those over 45 or 50, splaying your personal life across the internet can look hopelessly self-indulgent and potentially damaging to your or your spouse's career. To those under life's halfway mark, it is entirely unremarkable.
Or, just maybe, it hasn't all turned out a bed of roses. It is much easier to blog about parenthood when it is all sitting out in front of you, a pristine panorama of possibilities where the mistakes have not been made and the missteps are so small that they are still undetectable. With older kids our mistakes and misjudgments have been revealed and sometimes it is a glare we just don't want to stare into.
If it has turned out great, and the kid is in college or graduating, or living with a great guy, or on the verge of marriage or holding down a great job ... wise moms, with the full knowledge that it might not have been this way think, there by the grace ... and tread quietly.
Moms over 45 may have never read a blog, or if they have, they may think that bad language and ridiculing family members are de rigueur. Our demographic gets restaurant suggestions from real live people and the newspaper is still delivered and sitting soggy in our driveway -- are we really ready to give parenting advice online?
You might have thought that young moms blog more because they think a lot more about parenting than those who have been at it for a while, but that would be wrong. Parenting, we have discovered, never ends.
The wisdom of parenting resides in the hearts and minds of mothers (and fathers) who have made the journey and we hope they will share this bounty with those just starting out.
Time is on the side of the older mommy blogger if for no other reason than those young, trendsetting, trailblazing young mommy bloggers, the ones who established this fascinating industry through dint of hard work, brains and inventiveness ... with the march of time, are coming our way.
Trying to find out the root cause behind a defiant teen's rebellion is a great step in a positive direction. Your teen may be having problems with a friend, a girlfriend/boyfriend or a teacher and misdirecting their emotions at you. Try talking with them about what could be causing the behavior.
Teenagers who are involved in activities tend to have a more positive outlook and stay out of trouble at a larger rate than those who aren't.
It's easy for parents to get caught up in issues relating to work, finances and the day-to-day hassles of managing a family. It's important, however, to remember to spend quality time with your child a have meaningful conversations. Teens often act out when they feel they're being ignored.
As a parent, it's not uncommon to be at odds with your child. But it's important to make distinctions between those battles that are worth fighting and those that could be best described as vehicles for general contention. Ask yourself, is this argument necessary or can it be put aside?
Despite what your teen may say, they do not prefer dealing with their issues alone. Making a consistent effort to talk to your teen and listen to what they have to say -- offering advice only when appropriate -- can go a long way toward showing them that you're teammates and not opponents
Follow Lisa Endlich Heffernan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/grownandflown