Parental encouragement on the internet (it DOES exist!)

I’ll never forget the first time I got a truly negative, punch-in-the-gut comment on a parenting article I wrote.

“I feel really sorry for your son.”

Other writers who share their parenting experiences online have gotten much worse than that, but…dang.

The internet can be a rough place for parents. That constant influx of information and opinions (and, with those, judgment) is annoying on a good day and, well, soul-crushing on a bad one.

Like with most things, though, when it comes to parenting in the Age of the Internet you take the bad with the good. And believe it or not, there’s actually a lot of good floating around out there in The Cloud.

Today I wanted to share examples of that goodness with you—a few of my old stand-bys and some new gems I’ve happened upon recently. Some offer validation and support; some are instructive; and some just help you remember why you let yourself end up here in the first place.

The Minecraft Generation

(Clive Thompson, The New York Times Magazine)

This is what computer scientists call computational thinking, and it turns out to be one of Minecraft’s powerful, if subtle, effects. The game encourages kids to regard logic and if-then statements as fun things to mess around with. It teaches them what computer coders know and wrestle with every day, which is that programs rarely function at first: The work isn’t so much in writing a piece of software but in debugging it, figuring out what you did wrong and coming up with a fix.

Finally! A piece on the internet suggesting that our son’s obsession with Minecraft (and our decision to opt out of battling him over it) could actually be a good thing. It might also help him develop skills that will serve him later in life. Screen time forever!

What I Won’t Tell You About My Ballet Dancing Son

(Ashleigh Baker, A Deeper Story)

“Mama, it feels like my heart is flying when I’m dancing. I think God made ballet because he knew I’d love it.”

Some lovely thoughts on just letting a child love what he loves.

This Is Why Parents Are More Exhausted Than You Think They Should Be

(Christine Skoutelas, The Huffington Post)

“There are many mornings when new wrinkles and gray hairs suddenly pop up. Deep grooves. Thick, wiry hairs. I pretty much stopped getting carded the week after I became a mom. My daughter emerged from my body and I immediately developed a web of creases beneath my eyes, not just from the exhaustion but also from the worry.”

I just kept shouting “Yes! THAT!” as I read this post. I bet my bottom dollar you’ll do the same.

All the Good Things: What’s Best About Parenting

(Sam Davies, RVANews)

“I get to walk with them, go canoeing with them, keep them from falling into the fire, all the great camping experiences. My favorite is when we’re all tired from a full day, lying in our tent together, cozy in our sleeping bags, and chatting until we fall asleep.”

As evidenced by the previous link, parenting discussions on the internet tend to focus on the hard things–the day-to-day struggles which are very real and in need of acknowledgement. But this piece reminds us that parenting can also be really, really great.

The Wedding Toast I’ll Never Give

(Ada Calhoun, The New York Times)

“It is easy for people who have never tried to do anything as strange and difficult as being married to say marriage doesn’t matter, or to condemn those who fail at it, or to mock those who even try. But there is so much beauty in the trying, and in the failing, and in the trying again. Peter renounced Jesus three times before the cock crowed. And yet, he was the rock upon whom Christ built his church.”

A big, heaping helping of marriage #realtalk–but the kind that will make you want to find your spouse, bury your face into his or her neck, and take a deep, grateful breath.

My Wife’s Cesarean Makes Her a Total Badass

(Clint Edwards, Babble)

“Each one of our children has come via cesarean. And while I know there is a lot of discussion out there about the overuse of cesarean sections, that’s not why I’m writing this essay. I’m writing it because across Mel’s abdomen is a lengthy scar. It’s deep and pink. It’s larger than any scar I have, or probably ever will have. And even if I do get a scar that equals hers, it will never signify nearly as much importance, because it will have to do with my survival alone and not the creation of life.”

Every mother who brought her baby (or babies) into the world with a little help from a surgeon needs to read this.

49 Phrases to Calm an Anxious Child

(Renee Jain, Psych Central)

“Often, children will feel like their anxiety is never-ending. Instead of shutting down, avoiding, or squashing the worry, remind them that relief is on the way.”

My son is sensitive and extremely empathetic. While these are wonderful qualities for a person to have, they often come with a natural bend toward anxiety as well. Having these phrases in my back pocket help me help him.

For When You’re Actually NOT Okay

(Peter Vidani, To Save a Life)

“Sometimes our perception of life is skewed, and we can’t even tell that we’re not thinking clearly, and there’s no obvious external cause. It happens. Keep yourself going for a full week, whatever it takes, and see if you still feel the same way then.”

Because my son comes by that anxiety honestly.

Sadie Doesn’t Want Her Brother to Grow Up

(Alex Miller, via YouTube)

“I love your cute little smiles!”

This little girl perfectly captures how I think we all feel about our babies getting bigger.

What Is the Creepiest Thing Your Child Has Ever Said to You?

(Parents of the Internet, Reddit)

“A friend of mine’s child told him ‘Daddy, I love you so much that I want to cut your head off and carry it around so I can see your face whenever I want.'”

It’s nice to know you’re not the only one completely baffled/scared sh*tless by some of the stuff that comes out of your kid’s mouth.


What about you? Have you dug up any parenting gems on the internet lately? Share them in the comments!

(Image by Got Credit)

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