Sharing our stories is a good thing. Sharing helps create connections. Sharing helps encourage others who are going through similar experiences. Sharing helps educate. Sharing helps create awareness, which can lead to positive social changes. Sharing is good!
However, as I spend time reading adoption blogs and news articles and such online, I have noticed a troubling tendency: a tendency to overshare, without regard to a child's privacy. I recently read an article by a dad who talked about the challenges of raising a child with RAD. He published the article under his real name and didn't make any effort to disguise which child he was talking about. It addressed specific scenarios in which the child, a teen, had presented challenging behaviors and described how they had been dealt with. (Here's the article: ).
I believe this article was well-intentioned and meant to help other parents raising children with similar challenges, but the author seemed to completely forget that he was writing about his son, who might have different feelings about having his story shared so publicly.
As a teen, can you imagine what it would feel like if someone from your school read an article like that about YOU? If it were to get shared around?
I see less of this kind of thing with teens, but I often see it with young children. When your child is little, it can sometimes be hard to remember that they won't always be little. That someday someone (peers . . . bullies . . . potential boyfriends or girlfriends . . . prospective employers) might Google your child's name and find an article in which you frankly discuss their mostly troubling behaviors or provide a list of their mental health diagnoses. Or maybe they'll find a video in which you describe the situations they endured before being adopted. But please remember . . . these are THEIR stories and THEIR struggles to choose to share or keep to themselves.
Here are a few ideas for those who want to connect and share and encourage and reach out without compromising their child's privacy.
-Write anonymously. Use pseudonyms for your kids and pictures that don't provide identifying information.
-Join a forum where your real name isn't used if you want to build connections and community.
-Find a private in-person support group where you can talk about your challenges! This might be better anyway, because you'll be able to build your circle of real-life friends.
Annaleece Merrill
Great points! I definitely struggle sometimes to find the line between sharing to be helpful and oversharing. I always try to use initials and keep the focus on MY experience and point of view rather than anyone else. Good stuff to keep in mind.