What advice do you have around differing parenting styles related to social media privacy?
Differing parenting styles related to social media privacy can severely disrupt a household. Family therapist, Shenley Seabrook, suggests ways to navigate disagreement over privacy preferences.
I want to talk more openly to close friends and family about parenting and family struggles, but it makes my spouse uncomfortable because he is so private. He also doesn’t like me posting pictures of our children on social media, so I do my best to refrain. He clearly needs a certain level of privacy, but it makes me feel isolated and honestly, a bit resentful. Do you have any suggestions for how I can handle this?
This is a really difficult question. Everyone has their own opinions and preferences regarding sharing personal information, especially when it comes to social media. I have friends who share several pictures and videos of their children every day on Instagram, and some who have never posted their children’s faces online. Same with sharing personal info and family conflicts. Some people overshare, and others don’t share at all.
There’s really nothing wrong with either stance, but the problem seems to be that your partner doesn’t agree with yours. I have a few suggestions that might allow your husband to feel like he is being heard while you are also getting your needs met and feeling connected.
Confirm your followers. To start, ensure that your social media following only includes close friends and family members. Or make sure your settings limit who can view the photos you share and disable your followers from sharing your posts or pictures without permission. Work with your partner to discuss and set the privacy settings together as a couple, so he feels included in the decision-making process.
Make private albums. Discuss with your partner the idea of making photo albums of your children and family that you can share with a select group off of social media, perhaps via text or email. You will likely need to confirm with those on the list that they not share the photos with others.
Keeping things offline. As far as talking to others about your family struggles, it is probably best to keep these conversations off social media and either have them by phone or in a private group with people you trust. If he is uncomfortable with that as a compromise, I would suggest asking why he is insistent on keeping the issues a secret. The truth is, every relationship and every family has issues. If you can confirm that you are sharing with trusted friends offline and in a judgment-free zone that will hopefully make him feel more comfortable.
Adding to this, parenting and relationships are hard. Sometimes venting about our struggles or sharing with friends who can offer a new perspective is necessary to either get you through the day or to provide some helpful advice. But if he is adamant that you do not discuss these issues with friends and family, therapy might be the best route, whether you meet individually or as a couple. And therapy is often useful to help equip you with the tools to handle situations like these in the future.
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Meet The Expert
Shenley Seabrook is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who works primarily with children and adolescents in a private practice setting. She is also a foster parent and lives with her husband and daughter in Indiana. Shenley recently wrote her first children’s book, We Have the Same Heart, which celebrates diversity, inclusion, and community service.