Sending your kids to camp is a very un-helicopter parent-like move. After all, the first rule of helicopter mom club is don't let the kids out of your sight (second rule: don't talk about helicopter mom club, natch). But it turns out parents who DO send their kids off to enjoy themselves without Mom and Dad for some summer fun have been bitten by the bug: they're stalking their kids!
How? How does one stalk their kids at camp? Ah, the beauty of social media, my friends.
Now you can stalk your kids from a million miles away! Just look at their camp pictures online!
Naturally, some parents are talking it a wee bit too far. One camp staffer admitted to the Wall Street Journal this week that they've received calls from parents all in a tither because, OMG, their child isn't SMILING in photos, or they are making a thumbs down gesture.
Clearly, those parents are nuts.
But is it really so bad to check out your kids' photos at camp? Provided, of course, that you understand that photos only capture a moment in time, and don't always tell the whole story?
When we use words like "stalking" or "spying" on kids, it all comes off as rather creepy and untoward.
So here's a better one: curious. I am CURIOUS about what happens to my kid when I'm not around.
I have never sent her to camp, in part because it's expensive and in part because I live in a part of the country where parents actually SEND their kids to camp (the owner of one of the camps quoted in the WSJ has not one but TWO camps that are very near my house!). But I do send her to school.
I know what it's like for her to be away from me for long periods of time.
And I'll admit it. I'm curious.
I would love to be a fly on the wall in the cafeteria, hear how she and her friends negotiate cookie swaps and seating arrangements. I wouldn't mind hiding behind a tree on the playground and watching as she navigates between the groups of little boys and girls, plays puppies and "chase." If I could set up camp behind the bleachers and peer out to watch her teamwork in gym class, I would.
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I don't do any of that. Of course I don't. I have a full-time job to do while she's at school, not to mention a lick of common sense. It would be humiliating for my daughter to have her mom follow her around and humiliating for me, the adult, to have so little self-control.
But that doesn't mean I don't think about it, doesn't make me stop wondering and sometimes worrying.
That's my JOB! I'm her mom.
I already know what she's like at home. Why wouldn't I wonder what she's like away?
So I'll admit it ... if I knew I could take a sneak peek at photos of her every once in awhile (I'm not talking a video feed of the classroom here, just a photo or two), I sure as heck WOULD take a look.
How about you?
Image via rigthee/Flickr