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The Do's and Don'ts of Parenting Facebook Groups

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I am a member of a number of Facebook groups. Most of them are for parents of children with disabilities and I learn a lot from other moms through those groups.

In the past few weeks that I’ve been checking those pages, I noticed there are things that should not have been posted or at least should have been edited. But, it’s the reality of social media. It is a two-edged sword.

The Good

I get inspired by posts from moms who describe how much they love their children and how proud they are of them. I admire those moms, their self-sacrificing spirit and unconditional love. Many share their stories of heartaches, frustrations or confusion, but they also tell about their triumphs and joy.

I’ve seen photos of cute little ones who, regardless of having multiple surgeries, give off their best smiles. They are our heroes.

The Bad

Amidst those good stories are sad ones. It pains me every time I see posts about children being rushed to the hospital and mothers asking for our prayers. There are also posts about children who, unfortunately, did not make it. Those are the hardest to read.

But these bad news still carry with them a faint image of something good. There were lessons learned. Those parents showed remarkable love and bravery from which I draw strength.

The Ugly

Although moms in those groups are united by a common experience and goal, they are still individuals with different personalities and beliefs. These differences often result in conflict.

Sometimes posts can be disheartening, causing undue guilt.

It can certainly be frustrating when you read about other moms seemingly superhuman skills and abilities. After reading their posts, you’d be left asking “What’s wrong with me?” “Why am I not able to do such things?” Sadly, the answer born out of guilt can be: I am a bad mom.

After careful consideration of everything that’s been said, I thought of coming up with a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” when joining Facebook groups. We certainly don’t want those groups to evolve into something that will only break one’s spirit.

1. Be respectful, no matter what. Recognize we are all different. We come from different backgrounds and we have different belief systems.

2. Think twice before posting. Always strive to be inspiring, encouraging or informational. We already have a lot on our plate and the last thing we need is something that can make us feel like failures.

3. If you need to vent some anger or frustrations about challenges you face, post to seek advice or simply find a listening ear. Remember we are there to help each other feel better, not attack each other.

4. Avoid stirring up debates. As much as possible, avoid controversial topics which may not really be helpful to the members.

5. Avoid posts that are self-promoting. It is OK to share our child’s accomplishments or milestones because they can inspire others. Other members may not really be interested in your self-promotion.

Facebook groups such as ones for parents of children with disabilities can be an excellent source of encouragement. Let’s work to make it stay that way. After all, we really need each other, don’t we?

Follow this journey at Miguel’s Life With Microcephaly.

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Getty image by OcusFocus

Originally published: December 18, 2017
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