Monday, October 4, 2010

Taking off our Goggles


Haha. So I got a lot of different reactions to my Unplugging post (most specifically about FB) and it left me thinking. Which is good - that's why I love your comments. We all live such different lives and come through different experiences to get us where we are right now. I love that.

We each have our own unique perspective on the world and until someone pulls off our "goggles" and let's us try on theirs - we sometimes miss that not everything works or is "good" for someone else. I think that's one of the things that can bother me the most about blogs and FB - negativity and judgments.

Here's a small example of what I'm talking about:

A while back, I came across a post on a blog I read regularly that was pretty critical and judgmental, and even a bit proud and boastful. The content of the post was about taking your kids to the dentist and and how well her child behaved - so much so that the dentist complemented her on it. She then contrasted that with another child she saw throwing a fit in another room. From that she went on to bullet points on why she was a good parent and inferring probably why this other child was having difficulties.

The "abridged" version of the points:

1. It starts with good parenting.
2. We don't project our feelings onto our kids.
3. We prepare them in advance for what will happen, and I tell them what is expected of them.
4. We don't ever mention needles, or fear, or drills.
5. We really praise them for doing a good job after.

(Another point was that her kids don't watch a lot of TV - a hot topic among moms - and that they liked watching the shows at the dentist more than other kids because of that).

These, of course, are all wonderful points for preparing your child for the dentist.

However, is the comparing and judging of other children really necessary? In our day, we see a "snapshot" of some else's life...not the full picture - we have no idea what's truly going on in the next office over and patting ourselves on the back for being "better" than another parent is a bad habit to get into (believe me, I'm guilty of it too!!).

And so, I needed to give her my "goggles" to adjust her perspective, so I sent her this:

I think experiences are also a factor. My son has had a lot of doctor visits, surgeries, tests, hospital stays and poking and prodding for all three years of his life. All of this has added up to him having a general fear of all doctor related visits, because despite any confidence building - most of his visits DO hurt or are uncomfortable (i.e. shots, drawing blood, ear drum vibration tests, people holding him down against his will).

At this point, even bribery has no effect, let alone talking about what will happen. I'm afraid it will take him longer to get over this.

Also, if they have language and hearing disabilities, sometimes there is no way to prepare them for what to expect - which was our case for 2 1/2 of those years.

We try to measure it in small improvements. At this point he is now able to have a conversation about seeing doctors without fear and even sit in the office waiting without getting upset beforehand.

I can't wait for the day he'd sit in a dentist chair! That would be a huge milestone.

Perspective adjusted! And once she read this comment, the light bulb came on and she was very gracious and seemed to understand this "new" perspective.

But, this is often the case over and over again on FB and blogs. Having two special needs children is a different experience and gives you different "goggles". You often read statements that leave your jaw hanging open and saying "But...but...what about...that's not a fair judgment...etc".

You understand that the "crazy, out of control, tantruming" child may not just be "a brat" or product of crappy parenting, but might be coping with massive frustration combined with the inability to speak or communicate on top of being a two year old (which is frustrating enough, HA!). The child who literally RUNS out of the ER crying might not just be disobedient, but may have memories of his last hospital stay where he had to stay in a crib for 2 days with wires attached to his foot and a tube taped to his face.

And, of course, this is not limited to children. We all have different experiences and reasons for what we do and it's so important that we remember that! What works for us, may not work for all.

And yet, FB and blogs are not all bad! I've been able to connect and stay in touch with friends across the planet! I'm able get a glimpse into the lives of my friends even if we can't just drive over for dinner. I get to see my friend's kids grow up before my eyes in pictures and blogs and feel like I got to be a small part of it. Those are all wonderful things and I shouldn't forget that, or exclude my friends from being apart of our lives as well!

So, while there are obviously some things that I don't like (and this post only mentions one), I also feel there are enough positive aspects to continue using FB in a limited way! Just enough to keep up with my far-away friends and to post some updates now and again to keep in touch! Mark got me a new phone this month that should help me use FB in a balanced way, so I'm able to still update but without it taking up too much time!

So there. My perspective has been adjusted.


Ticia said...

It's so hard not to feel judgmental when you see that child, but I have been trying to work on remembering that child may have something else going on.

It's slow going, but slowly I'm getting better. Hopefully not of my posts or comments have ever been judgmental, fingers crossed because I'm sure they have been from time to time.

Just Me said...

I think as mommies, it's easy to fall into that because we are often our OWN worst critics and that naturally falls into looking at other mommies. Often it's more of a "fix it" mentality than a negative one. "Here's what I see and what I think you're doing wrong".

I struggle with this one too!

As bloggers, we can easily stray from being helpful to preaching if we're not careful.

I've always found your blog to be the perfect mix of encouragement, support, and reality and have really enjoyed reading it!

I LOVE tips from moms, just not the criticisms or judgments that sometimes come along with them.

Gail said...

When a child has sensory challenges of some degree, the dentist is extremely hard, and the behavior is from what their brain is processing as pain, even assume some level of any misbehavior is related purely to obedience is not fair because life is not black and white.

Gail said...

In regards to eliminating facebook and blogs all together, I think people are closing doors completely that perhaps were too wide open, but some level of balance is key. Closing the door completely is closing off the good that does indeed exist. Sometimes when I hear people talk all anti internet world and super privacy/exclusivity and such, it just comes off a bit elitist, and makes the person hard to approach in person as well. But that is just my lense, hahaha

Just Me said...

Well, I think it goes back to "what works for some, does not work for all". We each have to decide what is best for our well-being which may or may not include FB, etc.

I don't believe that not participating in social networking media makes one an elitist, it's just a choice they've made for themselves.

We will each make choices that are best for us (and different from others) and as friends we can support those choices we each make. Those choices don't mark a personal reflection on the rest of us for continuing to use a particular tool/website, but the opinion of the individual.

For instance, for me - I don't think my hour by hour status updates were productive or interesting. That was not a statement of what or how much other people post - but of what I think of what I post. I would prefer to communicate something more meaningful in my updates so that it feels worth the time I invest in it. For ME, it's not worth it to spend more than a few moments a day on FB - this season in my life, I have too many other duties I'm not attending to. If I was Supermom - I could do everything AND post like a madwoman at the same time...but, alas, I'm not superwoman, Just Me.

And maybe, there might be a day when I have NO time for FB and I would hope my friends could understand that it's my own shortcomings and lack of time that factored into my choice, and not elitism or snobbishness. :( Cause that would suck. Especially w/o being about to update "I'm not a snob." on FB!! ;)

gail said...

I didn't say it made you a snob, haha, I said it can sometimes come off that way, hahaha