No Writing on the Wall

I learned a valuable lesson this week: do not, under any circumstances, post a message on your teenager’s Facebook wall, especially if you think you are being a little bit funny. There’s only one exception: once a year, you may, along with her 900 other friends, leave a “Happy Birthday” message, if it’s not too sappy.

I was wasting time clicking around Facebook when I happened to notice a thread between my 16-year-old daughter and my 13-year-old son. “Awww, how sweet!” I thought. “They’re talking to each other.” Hmmph. What appeared to  be cute and friendly quickly devolved into obscenity-laced sexual innuendo–were these my children?–and began attracting comments from an assortment of their friends. Maybe it was all in good fun, but there were a lot of inappropriate things being said in a public space–so I thought I’d send along a light-hearted reminder that other eyes were watching. “You know, I can hear you!” I typed, thinking I had struck the perfect tone between clever and admonishing.

Yeah, right. “MOM, YOU ARE SO AWKWARD!” my daughter yelled back, before deleting the entire thread.  I felt slightly wounded; I may be many things, but awkward? I outgrew that 30 years ago! Then again, I did feel uncomfortably out of my element, like I had breached some secret Facebook code that only those under 21 understand. And if that’s not the definition of awkward, I don’t know what is.

Luckily, my daughter is not a grudge holder. After she stomped up to her room and slammed the door, I made her a milkshake as a peace offering. Then I tried to explain that while maybe she and her 16-year-old friends could handle the sexual humor, I didn’t think her brother and his friends were old enough. In any case, we’re both relieved that the whole exchange has disappeared–if for different reasons. And I was glad to see this morning that she hasn’t defriended me (or is it unfriended? Awkward.)  At least not yet.

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About Susan H. Greenberg

Susan H. Greenberg spent 22 years as a journalist for Newsweek Magazine. She now works as a writer, editor, teacher, and parent of three children, with whom she strives always to maintain a varnish-free relationship.
This entry was posted in Parenting, Reality check, Teenagers and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to No Writing on the Wall

  1. Joanne says:

    I learned that lesson several years ago and too fall into that under 21 awkward category. Now when I choose to comment on something on my kids’ FB pages, I have to either speak with them face-to-face, IM or Send a Message so that it’s private. I can’t even “like” an item they have posted without causing a scene. You are so right about the birthday greetings – they are okay with that one! These kids have too much control over us!

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