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My Kid Always Tells me "I'm A Douche"!

Ok, so let me sum that up. Short story is that if my kids and I are texting back and forth I may let a “dad, you're being a douche” comment go by with less repercussions than if that was said to my face in anger. My rationale for that is it allows me to have the conversation of how people can “hide” behind the screen and say and do things they would never do to someone’s face. This dynamic also allowed us the framework to create a digital media contract. This contract was written jointly by the two of us and set limits for how to behave and interact on all of the digital content that adolescents use to communicate. A teaching moment to guide them on interactions with peers. A deadly slippery slope these days! We both signed the contract and placed some guidelines and “punishments” around breaking the contract. Some examples of our rules are listed below:

  • There is absolutely no fighting over text messages or other social media platforms. If you are upset, you will let the person know that you want to discuss the problem face to face. (This rule was excellent for also teaching kids how to handle issues with friends that occur over social media platforms)

  • There is no sending pictures of anything that you would not want the world to see if it was on the evening news. (We call this one “passing the channel 10 test”)

  • There is absolutely no talking bad about someone else when on a text chain with a friend. (Screenshots can be a social killer!)

There were others but those are just some ideas that you can use to create your own social media contract. We are all artists, and each one of our children will have different needs that we will have to mold our contract to fit.

Our children are navigating a tough dynamic and often do not understand the implication of putting things in writing until it is too late. Use your text and social media interactions with your children as teaching moments as opposed to opportunities to quickly punish. In reality, the implications of them making the mistake with us is far less then if they make the same mistakes with a peer, coach, boss, teacher or other less forgiving relationship.

So when my kid calls me a douche in a text message, we discuss the implication of that should it had not been me he or she said it to. It is my belief that any time a door opens for a conversation with a teenager I take it, and within reason I avoid reprimand or punishment. The minute you go down that road, the adolescent pathway to learning is immediately blocked. It's a complicated dynamic, but one that we must try to navigate in order to have teachable moments.

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