Saturday, January 14, 2012

How to Avoid Family Facebook Conflicts

The easiest way to avoid family, and indeed all conflicts on Facebook, is not to have a profile. Come to think of it, that may be the only 100% sure way to avoid conflict. But how can you not have a profile when everyone has one today? Facebook is very useful for a great many things, and we are missing out on a lot if we do not have profiles and do not communicate with people this way. At the same time, family conflict is a broad topic and this issue spreads above and beyond Facebook. But seeing as we are centered on the Facebook theme, let’s see what the most common conflicts are and where they stem from.

The basics
It should be obvious from here that Facebook-provoked conflicts go much deeper than meets the eye. For instance, getting angry at your teen for posting what you deem to be an inappropriate photo on Facebook could be symptomatic of your resentment of their behavior in general, which you find not always to be appropriate. Maybe you feel that they do not study hard enough in school, they do not help you enough with the housework, and they have not even gotten an after-school job so they can at least buy their own lunch. No, your teenage son demands an allowance, does nothing at home, and gets Ds in school. And he posts stupid pictures on Facebook, to top it all off. Granted, this is an extreme example. But the point is clear, no?

The most common Facebook conflicts
The most common Facebook-related conflict, hands down, revolves around the issue of privacy. Kids blocking their parents is an incidence that is becoming increasingly common. If this has happened to you, do not fret. Kids, especially teens, are very sensitive about what their peers think of them. They do not want their parents reading what friends wrote them and interfering in their business and interests. This is perfectly normal, and it does not mean they hate or resent you. We start to build an identity by rebelling against those closest to us, those who we perceive to have set the standards for our behavior. This means rebelling against our parents. What parents see as a teen with a bad attitude is actually a young person trying to grow, develop, find who they are and what they want to do with their life. Failing to develop a real identity can become very painful in adulthood. What can you do about it? Give them space. Do not bring up having been blocked at the dinner table, if you can. If you must, talk about it, then do, but without accusing them of being insensitive or hiding something. “Why did you block me? Am I not supposed to see something?” is how parents typically react. Do not be the typical parent.

Resolving conflict
So what is the right thing to do? Pick a time when the two of you are alone and ask your kid if they want to talk. Have an open, honest conversation if you can, trying to get down to the root of the problem. Do not throw accusations at them. Instead, point out what they will have to gain by cooperating with you.    

Melissa Dean writes about different types of Credit Cards in her Credit Card Guide