Mommas Who Let Their Babies Grow Up To Be Bloggers
By Gina Carroll on December 07, 2009
BlogHer Original Post
When you want to partake in the quintessential blog experience, get yourself to the nearest teen blog. Since blogging is really a form of journaling, it follows that teens would take to blogging like fire to a dry Southern California hillside! Delving into teen blogs is a little like visiting another dimension. They are so creative and unique, so earnest and open. And though teachers, parents, experts and even the FBI are constantly issuing warnings to teens about being careful--about not exposing too much or connecting with strangers-- teen bloggers will not be denied their freedom of expression. Teen sites are like wide open books. And as varied as they are-- from book reviews to celebrity gossip to religious ministries-- the teen blog is about honesty and revelation...and about the brave act of putting yourself--thoughts, ideas, passions and opinions-- out into the world.
As I perused the blogs of teens this week, I started to wonder how many of these teens have moms or dads that blog. And if so, how influenced are they by their parent's blogging activities? I recently and accidentally discovered that one of my children blogs. I am quite certain that I influence her blog very little as she is my middle child and the rebel of the bunch, in a manner of speaking. She has always been a journaler, with diaries spread all over her room (not that I'm looking!). So her decision to blog is really no surprise. But when I came upon her blog page, open on the family computer, I was surprised that it was so honest and emotionally revealing. I immediately became worried and protective. But then I remembered that I, too, expose myself on my blogs. So it follows that she would.
Such is the nature of the blog...and such is the nature of teens. We have always known that the adolescent years are characterized by self-consciousness, introspection and insecurity. Teens have always governed their actions and words as if they are being constantly and mercilessly observed and judged by others. In the past, I often referred to this behavior as catering to their "imaginary audience." The imaginary audience is why your daughter cannot be seen with you in the mall; or why your son refuses to be seen with his shirt off even at home; or in some cases, why he refuses to put his shirt on even in public places! The imaginary audience is watching!
Now, with our social media madness, that imaginary audience is no longer imaginary--- it leaves comments! The great thing about the replacement of an imaginary audience with a real online one is that the Internet allows kids to find others who share their same passions and interests. It just takes one minute at allykatzz.com to see how infectious and unifying blogging can be for teens. Right now, the network of tweener girl bloggers at allykatzz is all about New Moon. If you are wondering just how many different ways one can discuss New Moon or exactly what it means to belong to Team Edward or Team Jacob, just click onto allykatzz.com for your answer!
For some parents, especially those whose lives have been enriched by the blogging experience, sharing and encouraging blogging with our kids is natural. Parent who have discovered the joys of blogging seem to want to pass on the benefits to their kids. There is an extra component to blogging for teens that parents, like Ms. Latina of LatinaOnaMission.com, especially value:
Blogging has helped [my son] focus and given him a creative outlet that helps to keep him out of trouble. Its taught him that he has a voice, a voice that many are willing to listen to even though he is a teenager! This has helped him greatly in school AND at home. He's also inspiring many of his friends and several are trying to get their own blogs started.
Blogging has also given us a connection. Its helping us navigate the turbulent teen years. While other kids are sullen and unable to talk to their parents, blogging has given us a way to stay connected. During those moments when issues may have escalated, the blogging has brought us back together because he may have needed my help or I may have needed his. Its pretty hard to stay upset when you are forced to talk! I love that best of all!
Ms.Latina's son, Big K, is a tech blogger at teenondarise, who has accompanied his mother to blogging and corporate promotion events. They have separate blogs but they have become a mother-son blogging team.
Even though some of us parents may not have a direct co-blogging experience with our children, we can read their blogs for insight. I've learned things about my daughter's happenings and moods from her blog that she has not expressed out loud. We bloggers know that sometimes saying our feelings to the online world is easier than expressing them to the folks in our households. TW of retro-food.com discovered her daughter's computer problems from her blog, VampireVocab. In the discovery, TW not only clued into her daughter's computer worries, she was pleasantly reminded of her daughter's ability to deal with her hardships with humor. TW's daughter RJ, the self-described "miscellaneous un-life blogger" is clearly influenced by her "household full of master bloggers," and surely they by her.
TycoonBlogger, too, has created a household of bloggers for himself, only he didn't wait for the teen years. His two children started their blogs, with his help, in kindergarten and third grade! BloggingBoy.com and BloggingGirl.com may just be the youngest bloggers in the blogsphere. Their blogs are engaging and fun to read. I like to think that TycoonBlogger has a long term plan, because he knows that, through blogging, his kids will be amazing natural writers and utterly self-expressive without any input from him by middle school. And all the while, they will have had this joint family effort by which they can bond and stay connected. Bloggingboy puts it simply: "I guess you can say that we are a blogging family except for my mom, she is a Facebook addict."
Ms. Latina is starting her youngest child early, too. Andrew is eight-years-old and chomping at the bit to blog. She talks about how her love of blogging has trickled down to the youngest member of her family:
I love to blog! In fact, theres no other way that I would run home after working full time ... It just isn’t possible without the love!
I also couldn’t find the energy to take care of my kids without the love...Thankfully, they’ve been watching! They’ve watched my joy and decided that they too wanted to be a part of it. They did it on their own, without prompting from me.
Andrew plans to usher his family into the vlogging era. He has his camera, his first post and his domain name. His site, AndrewsVoice, is brand spanking new. It's exciting to see where blogging is going at the hands of the young.The blogging arena gives us parents a fresh new way to interact with and enjoy our talented children on their terms. We parents have issued our warnings and helped our kids navigate into safe places. And now we can enjoy the fruits of their labors. Don't forget to enjoy the fruits of your kid's blogging efforts. They really are extraordinary!
Is yours a blogging family? What do your kids blog about? How have you seen reflections of you and your family culture in their posts?
Talk about it in the Family Connections Group now.
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