Parenting

An Excerpt From 'STFU, Parents': Teen-Related Overshare

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In STFU, Parents, blogger Blair Koenig skewers the “jaw-dropping, self-indulgent, and occasionally rage-inducing world of parental overshare” as perpetrated on Facebook. From cringe-worthy “momedy” humor to dueling “Mompetitions” in which parents try to one-up one another with both their victories and failures, no status update is safe from Koenig’s gimlet eye. This is an excerpt on the particular ways parents of teens commit the criminal act of sharing far too much about their kids on social media.

The majority of parent overshare is about babies and toddlers because the updates are written by people with younger children. Parents with older kids tend not to overshare as much because they’ve already raised their children for years without revealing every detail of their kids’ lives on social media—but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some who still do. Lots, actually. And if you’re over the age of eleven, you can probably guess what they’re posting about.

Now life is all about girls getting their periods, boys masturbating in the shower, and everyone growing hair in their armpits. There aren’t as many parents who post about these things, which is good considering their children are old enough to have their own social media accounts and read their parents’ updates themselves in their newsfeeds.

For those kids whose parents do share stories about their adolescent development, I wish I could tell them that it happens to everyone, and that each of us has been through that type of humiliation growing up. I wish I could say that my mother hired a skywriter to write, “Blair’s First Period!!!! She is a woman now!!!!” across the sky when I was in seventh grade, and plastered the city with flyers about my brother’s pubic hair and acne when he was sixteen. But I can’t, because that would have been totally fucked up. My mother would never do that, nor would she ever “break news” about my physical changes on the Internet, so really I just feel bad for people whose parents do that to them now.

Show of hands, ladies! Who wishes their mom had sent a virtual newsletter to everyone she knows after hearing about your first period? I know I do.

OMG, you guys, Noam is super stoked to discover that any day now, he’s going to be able to grow a killer beard just like his grandpa! He’s just gotten his first chin hair at age eleven, so probably by the end of the school year or so, he’ll be rocking a mean old beard just like ol’ Gramps! Oh man, is he excited . . . Beards are such a gift for a little boy.

Dolores’s playful announcement shows that she is aware that her update is ridiculous, but that doesn’t mean she’s exempt from the Parents’ Law of Body Hair Discussion, which expressly bans the mention of an adolescent’s body hair regardless of region. Just because a kid—excuse me, man—tells his mom that he’s sprouting armpit hair doesn’t mean he wants her to tell the whole world about it. I almost feel like rolling my eyes in Dolores’s direction and rebelling on her son’s behalf. Who wants to dye their hair blue and get their eyebrow pierced?

I love the way Hillary says that her son feels like he can talk to her about his “showering” habits. Well, not anymore, bitch! Don’t these people realize their kids—and all of their kids’ friends—have social media profiles, too? And that discussing a teenager’s masturbation routine on the Internet is worse than posting his nude baby pictures? This is how revolutions start.

Excerpted from STFU, PARENTS: The Jaw-Dropping, Self-Indulgent, and Occasionally Rage-Inducing World of Parent Overshare by Blair Koenig, with the permission of Perigee, a division of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2013.

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