I know I say plenty of derogatory things about helicopter parents... and, having worked with them as volunteer and in the classroom and as another parent, basically -- they need to let loose a little. However, and maybe I am just being too hard on myself and this isn't helicoptering -- if any of you watched Desperate Housewives (spoiler ahead) this week, you saw Lynette starting an account on a social networking site to get her son to talk to her. She was deceptive about it, and that is never a good idea. I am also a snoop, and I also have a social networking site account - for the mere purpose of snooping on my kids -- here is the difference, they know it's me. They know they a. have to provide me with their passwords to myspace, facebook, email, whatever I ask and b. they had better approve me as friend so that I can see what they are posting. I have asked more than once that one of them change something because I don't think it is appropriate to everyone who might be viewing their profile. Yesterday in fact, I went into my son's facebook and changed his "status" myself because I was unhappy that he had used an expletive in it. As you all know, I am potty mouth number one, and I don't really care if my kids use expletives, depending on venue, audience, and circumstance. The thing is, you cannot always control venue, audience and circumstance of the viewers of your facebook. (Along with that, I pay for their cell phones so they know that they have to hand them over randomly and on demand for me to peruse their text messages... could they just delete anything that comes in that I would find objectionable, you bet... I'm banking that if I am random and unpredictable enough they will be too comfortable and I will find that rare item...) even more, I'm banking that they know I may look, so they will watch what they are presenting to the world, which is in fact the goal. None of us parents can sit back and say we never thought things like so and so is a f-ing bitch, or fuck the team that I don't root for, or damn that was fun doing that really outrageous rude thing last night, we just didn't publish it. My mom always said "if you don't want it on the cover of the Rocky Mountain News, don't write it down!" -- I think that advice applies well to texts and IMs and social NW sites. I also think that you don't have to deceive your kids to engage them in conversation and responsible action. So I helicopter -- but I kind of swoop in and helicopter and then swoop out again.
So after having changed my son's status from "F the other team" to "in trouble with his mom" yesterday -- I was curious this morning, as to what he might have done with it last night. He put up some other insult to the other team again, this time in much more appropriate language and I left it... but what I found out was... he is friends with a girl who my daughters know outside of school, sports, etc. A girl he has maybe met and doesn't remember, and has no reason that I can think of for being friends. She is graduated from high school, though she attended the same school as his girlfriend, and she is not involved with his work or any of his activities. On Facebook, you can click on someone and see "friends in common" -- so I fully expected to see his sister or his girlfriend, because there is no other reason for him to know this girl exists -- she is not friends with either of them. I have a mystery to inquire about today, and I can't wait.