Beware Crazy Relatives Finding Your Kid on Facebook

facebookHow's this for proof that being a parent makes you neurotic? When I first heard that a teen girl had reconnected with her long-lost dad thanks to Facebook, I got a big ol' stupid grin on my face. Then I read the details. Now I'm terrified.

A half-sister plugged "Jalicia Boldridge" into the "search" section of the site and pulled up her page. She sent her a message to "call me right now," and the rest is history. Jalicia finally got to meet the father she hasn't seen since her parents divorced when she was 18 months old. Happy story, right? Well, for the Bolridges, yeah. But what about the rest of us?

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All our kids want Facebook pages, and all our crazy relatives are sitting out there just waiting to drag them into their drama.

Like it or not, we all have those relatives that we've kept far from our kids for one reason or another. The uncle who just always gave you the heebie jeebies when YOU were a kid, so you're playing it safe. The narcissistic grandmother. The cousin who always managed to play everyone against each other.

Whether you bring their names up or not, all you have to do is avoid the family reunions that they attend (that is, if anyone actually invites them), and your kids are safe. Until they get a Facebook, that is.

This is where the neuroses come in. It's true I took this beautiful story of a father/daughter reuniting and turned it into an avenue to fret about a "what if." My husband has flat-out told me I'm not allowed to ask him "what if" questions anymore. They drive him nuts.

But there it is. I do wonder what will happen when/if those relatives we've kept far away find our child one day. I want it to be later rather than sooner. Because it's only time and experience that have taught me that "blood" doesn't equal love or even someone who is good for you. Growing up in a large, extended family, I thought for a long time that you had to love your relatives, felt guilty if I didn't, and just tried to grin and bear the resulting emotional disaster.

It's as an adult that I finally realized that you can pick and choose among your relatives just like you do your friends. Just because you share the same gene pool doesn't mean they're an emotionally healthy person to be around or even, frankly, a very nice person.

I keep some people out of my child's life because she hasn't yet learned that, won't learn that for a very long time. And now here comes Facebook. Making our kids easy pickings for the emotional baggage we've spent all this time stowing in the closet so they can grow up.

Do you worry about the crazy relatives tracking down your kids on Facebook?

 

Image via Facebook

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