Ask Rene:
My Kids Ran Me Through The Wringer Online!


Hi Rene:

Love your advice and am hoping you can send some my way. My problem has to do with teens and technology.

I have four children between the ages of 13 and 23, who, like most young people, are heavy into technology. They spend a lot of time instant messaging each other as well as communicating via Facebook and Twitter. I follow some of their friends on the latter, just so I can keep up on what’s going on.

Recently, two of my kids slacked off on their chores and as punishment I took away their phones, only to be used when they go out of the house. So the other day, I happened to check the tweets by some of their friends and thought to check on those of my own offspring as well. What I saw made my eyes pop out of my head and broke my heart too. My kids, my own flesh and blood, who I carried for nine months, were trashing me! Not just saying bad things but using foul language too! It was such a shock because neither my husband nor I cuss so I wondered where it came from.

But one of the most troubling aspects was the way they were talking about me. It was disrespectful and degrading and frankly I expect more of them. The other puzzling part is that they completely left their dad out of it; none of the foul language was directed at him. I was the sole target of their ire.

Rene, I don’t know what to do. My husband wants to confront them but I want to forgive and forget about it. I’m so confused and hurt by this. What would you do?


Hurt in Hawaii



Dear Hurt:

Okay first, from one mother to another, a cyber hug; this job is freakin’ hard ain’t it ? There are few things worse than finding out those you care so deeply for, have thrown you under the wheels of the bus and it’s one of the things that makes us worry about being vulnerable. We’d like to think things are different with family and I believe for the most part they are. But here’s what I think is going on in your situation and what I recommend.


2. Your Kids Were Showing Off

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Teens want to bond with their friends and what better way to do than railing about how uncool your folks are? Adolescence is a hard place to be; kids are straddling the gray area between childhood and adulthood. They’re longing for autonomy but too much of that scares them. So as much as they rail against having boundaries placed upon them, they know they need and want those parameters but it’s too baby-ish to admit. So they do what they can to look tough. Get where I’m going here? They talk a good game in front of their friends but the reality is very different.