“If I should have a daughter, instead of “Mom”,
she’s gonna call me “Point B”,
because that way she knows that no matter what happens,
at least she can always find her way to me.”
I ran upon this almost 5 years ago in a TED Talks. These words belong to Sarah Kay, a beautiful spoken artist, who built her speech on some allusions to having a daughter. I didn’t get it completely, as my daughter was just 6 at that point. I didn’t understand it because everything was based on rational decisions and basic emotional connection. At first, you try just not to kill this small and fragile human being, then you’re eager to teach and share all your treasures. Then you stop understanding what you’re doing.
I often imagine myself being quite a bit older, but it’s not about wrinkles and elderly disappointments. All my thoughts are completely focused on my daughter. How will we communicate with one another when she’s adult? How to be that Point B so she can always find her way to me?
My perception of life is an example for my daughter
Françoise Barbe-Gall, the author of “How to talk to children about art”, said that
The most appropriate way to encourage kids to like art is to show some examples you like and explain why you like it.
I believe we have to do the same in everyday communication. Children perceive the world through our eyes at first. They can recognize evil if we point it out.
The parent is there to guide and protect. We should model the behaviour, show good examples and establish a feeling of safety and comfort. Nowadays, it’s not so easy to capture children’s attention, as there is so much information and entertainment online. But we should be resolute in our persistence, to become a part of it, and be able to acquire new tools to be a better parent.
Being an active parent is a combination of friendship and guidance
To strike a balance between guidance and friendship, is one of the hardest parenting jobs. How not to become a confidante, but also be the first one a child feels like talking to about anything? How to be that Point B?
I believe in being a safe place for a kid, but still setting some boundaries and behaviours is all about being an active parent. When you’re really into what your child likes, prefers, thinks and expects. When you can talk about everything but still decry negative influences and guidances.
Eventually, Snapchat helps to be a part of your children’s lives, share your stories and follow what they share. To understand them better. To be there when they need it.
Understanding the life of modern children is a way to better protection
We grew up in different times, and our parents didn’t have this headache of online life. Nowadays, we need to be digital specialists to follow all these social media networks. This pain worth it. You can protect you child easier when you understand how everything works and while being a part of it.
When I figured out everything about Snapchat, I started teaching my daughter how to use it. For example, how to block someone, what cyber bullying looks like, why it’s important to take screenshot of inappropriate content and how to distinguish it.
Parenting a child the way you wish your parents had parented you, is a road to nowhere
There is always something you expected from your parents but didn’t work out. When you’re growing up you feel like your parents don’t understand you, they’re not your friends and you can’t be totally honest with them. When you have your own children, you get that it’s impossible to be the perfect parent. You try to do the best you can.
Don’t repeat the mistakes of your parents but don’t base your parenting on solving their mistakes. Work on your own.
A parent is not a friend. A friend is not a parent
The main take away here is to be an active parent and a responsible friend for your child. For me this is the recipe of parenting. It helps being close with your kid but still having established boundaries. I don’t say out loud if I’m not happy with something about my daughter’s school, as it will make her think negatively without a deeper understanding. But simultaneously, if she has some problems concerning school like communication with classmates or teachers, I can listen to her and give advice as a friend.
To come up with these issues, I’ve conducted a lot of research regarding the topic of parenting a teenager. It’s crucial to build honest and results oriented relationships now, so that my daughter can find her way to me even when she gets to be my age. This means even if one of the ways is to start using Snapchat.