I find it quite funny that as parents we are so aware of raising our children to know, understand and practice good manners, when most parents forget to mind their own manners.
You see it all the time online – adults acting like hungry irrational toddlers! Moody; abrupt behavior; having a semi-breakdown in public or online; reacting instead of listening properly; throwing things; getting defensive or being easily offended. They them start to threaten others, and some emotionally and verbally bully others– and they even feel justified and entitled whilst doing so! It’s as if some adults never really grow up and leave the playground.
I have mainly noticed this behaviour on online mom groups – whether it’s a Facebook page created for moms, or an online blogging forum, or a rant on any form of social media.
ONLINE MOM GROUPS UNCOVERED
Every online group forum has an interesting mix of individuals. Upon observation we found the following groupings of moms:
1. The cheer leaders: These women have your backs 100%. They won’t judge you. Instead, they will relate to you, encourage you, and laugh and cry with you! These individuals are basically your online go-to buddies!
2. The ranters: These women sure do love to moan about everything, and they will let you have it and type all of their letters in capitals with loads of explanations marks at the end of their sentences. Because !!!!!!!!!!!
3. The I’m-online-all-of-the-timer: These women are online 24/7. Do not ask me how they do, but they somehow do it! I’m convinced that they type their comments with their eyes closed whilst they are asleep. However, these women are committed to the cause of those mom groups, and they will reply to every comment!
4. The online bullies: Yup, we have heard of them, we have experienced them firsthand and, yes, we have seen them magically disappear from online groups thanks to the admins of those pages! But these women seem to thrive off attacking everyone within the group. They are basically looking for a fight, 24/7. Hello, fight club!
5. The overly sensitive: These dear souls will read into everything, from what was said, to what was not said. They will interpret comments into something completely different, and they will get easily offended and leave the group with their confidence crushed.
6. The know-it-all: Yeah, we know them well, don’t we. Because most of us are them! The know-it-alls, they have all the answers – if not, they know Google has the answers and they will be quick to answer and solve all the mysteries of life!
My question is this:
What grouping of women do you fall under?
The reason why I ask this is because it’s good for us to know, understand, and take ownership of our behaviour. Please note that I am not judging, as I so understand that we have our moments, and we are human and things happen. But if you can’t play nice online, then how can you play nice in real life and expect your children to mimic great behaviour and good manners ?
If your words and actions don’t line up,
your words won’t carry much weight with your children.
I do believe that online mom groups can be amazing for moms as a whole. We can learn from one another, we can share resources, and encourage and inspire one another on these online platforms. Maybe we need to reassess what it is that we want to bring and contribute towards these online groups.
ONLINE MOM GROUP ETIQUETTE
How can we ensure that these online mom groups are a safe environment for all?
1. Don’t take it personally: We can easily take things personally, especially when it comes to online comments. If someone is giving their honest opinion on a subject, try not to read into it.
2. Think before you respond: Sometimes we don’t always need to respond to comments, especially if they are hurtful. Sometimes saying nothing in response to something negative is the better response! Silence just kills ignorance in its tracks.
3. Know your intentions: If you’re part of an online group, remember why you joined it and support and respect the group and community of individuals in that group.
4. Use a filter: When it comes to parenting, we all think our opinions are just the best, when in actual fact they are just that: opinions. We tend to forget that what works for us, won’t necessarily work for others. Therefore, we can’t criticise how someone else chooses to do things that feels right for their children. We need to show some respect and love towards others, and we also need to be a bit open to hearing what others have to say!
For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others.
For beautiful lips, only speak words of kindness.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.
Before you open one of your many online apps and want to converse with other moms online, just go in knowing and understanding your intentions. Every woman or mom has her own personal battles that she may be going through. Therefore we need to show a little bit more love and kindness towards one another. After all, we are all in on this parenting gig together!