Dear Liz,

Wondering if you can help me with a situation with my daughter. She just turned 14 and I am at the end of my rope trying to help her through the up and down drama with her girlfriends. I know it is a trying time for a girl, but I am out of my league with all she stresses about with social media.  Instagram, facebook twitter and snapchat and whatever else.  All I know is she is so upset so much of the time, and checks her phone constantly.  Depending upon her” likes” and if she’s been tagged, and learning what other kids are doing, her entire disposition changes .  How am I supposed to help her through a wolrd I know so little about? I think social media could be killing the joy in so many kids lives.   

thank you

From DL in Topeka Kansas

Wow Hi DL,

Anderson Cooper just did an amazing  piece on CNN He reported a study of pre-teens/early teens and the impact social media is having.  Some of the kids check their social media more than 100 times a day.  The hiding behind a device to say something they wouldn’t say in real life- The worth they place on the amount of likes, pics, retweets etc. Popularity had been redefined and moved to devices rather than experiences.  Please take a look at this link from CNN on the subject-  The more we know about what the kids are experiencing, the better able we are to navigate and empathize with them.

I can say this from experience, you have to try and stay connected and engaged with your daughter and her emotions on this subject-

It is possible to get her to consider coming off a few of the social media platforms just for a trial period.  Even a week.  She  will fight you on it, but the test would be to see if her strain and burden lessen.  Suddenly she can see that if she misses posts, pictures hashtags, whatever- life still goes on. She really doesn’t need to know it all in order to feel like a worthy human being.  The more she sees she can be away from it, the more she might understand the manipulation of it all.  The intricacies of popularity and self worth around social media with a girl this age are so complicated- we can hardly wrap ourselves around it.  But the more you build up her self esteem and awareness in the flesh, in her mind and her heart, the more likely she will be able to see just how superficial and perception oriented social media is.  Social media has made parenting twice as hard.

I hope you and all the other parents going through this difficult process can find your way through to helping our kids become who they really are- and not  be  so enslaved to who they appear to be.  



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