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Is social media making parenting less personal?

Parenting is a highly personal experience and those around us play a huge part in it.

But is sharing our personal experience with those around us always necessary?

In the age of social media, are posts about ourselves as parents making parenting less personal?

More and more our emotions about parenting experiences are hitting social media. Chances are, you’ve read a dad’s proud post about a son’s first trip to the football:

“So proud to introduce the world’s newest Lions fan! #hearmycubroar”.

Or a worn out mum’s thanks to a supportive partner:

“Amazing day spa, an afternoon off nappies and a glass of bubbles #thanksbabe #whatbaby #realnewmum”.

Then there is the plain ridiculous oversharing:

First full nappy (#offthemark), first week on solids (#bigkidnow), toilet training complete (#toilettamed).

These posts are no doubt motivated by very personal emotions of pride or gratitude.

"Is sharing our personal experience with those around us always necessary?" Image via iStock.

Some of us post because of the bursting admiration that have for our kids.

Others just need to tell someone (or everyone) when they realise one of their parenting dreams.

And many of us are moved to thank our partners or friends for their selflessness or understanding. We also share our parenting experiences with those who would have loved to be there but couldn’t. Sharing – we tell our kids – is an act of generosity.

Read more: What your Facebook status really says about you.

If these emotions are so personal though, then why are so many people moved so often to make them so public? More than likely your message of love cannot yet be understood by the person who you are sending it to. Hashtags are beyond the comprehension of anyone under nine (and over forty!) and you can’t be on Facebook (legally) until you’re thirteen. So obviously there is more to our posts than direct thanks or recognition. We direct our words and pictures so they can reach a wider audience.

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Perhaps there is something more behind our posts than just acknowledging pride and gratitude. Many of us need others to know how we are feeling, particularly when we are feeling happy. The stats on our likes and re-tweets tell us how far those expressions of love have reached and how many people now know what you felt when you posted. And from those likes, comments and re-tweets we can glean how much our experience resonated with others.

But in the pursuit of widely publicising these personal things are we missing out on sharing them meaningfully?

Those closest to us always mean the most to us. While our nearest and dearest are probably our ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ online, they are also – more importantly – living with us and talking to us. Chances are, you could have shared your experience or expressed your thanks in some meaningful and thoughtful way without using @ or a #.

"Are we missing out on sharing moments meaningfully?" Image via iStock.

There is certainly a place for sharing words of pride and gratitude on social media – it is a part of life. In this busy and connected world social media is how we keep up, check in and check out. It is important though in this time of saying so much to say what is important to those who really do need to know.

If you are proud of Lily learning how to hold a spoon, tell her.

If that afternoon off with the girls helped you cope with the bath-bed-battle, tell him.

The loveliest words we have are the ones we whisper quietly.

Do you think you over-share on social media?

TAP on the image below and click through the gallery to see the celebrities who maybe over share about their kids.