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.

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.

1 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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