Combatting an Epidemic of Artificial Validation

Momservation: The best way to teach a daughter how to love herself is to be a mirror of loving yourself.

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Colbie Caillat video grabMy most popular topic when speaking to groups is “Parenting in the Digital Age” (which I’ll be doing this week for the Roseville Kiwanis).

That’s because parenting has never been harder in this era of always being “plugged in.” Though the basic rules of parenting still apply—you’re trying to love, protect, and nurture your kids into likable, functioning, responsible, happy adults—it’s the playing field that’s changed.

I’ve talked a lot about how to set parameters in this new age of social media with its unlimited, easy access to information and constant barrage of updates and messages.

But something I haven’t addressed is how constant access to the internet and bombardment from so many forms of information technology is really wreaking havoc on our children’s self-esteem.

Never has there been a quicker and easier way to feel left out, isolated, unpopular, insecure, unable to measure up, and be constantly comparing yourself to those you know and don’t know.

And because everything you read and see on the internet is true (*snark*), the impossible body images, seemingly around-the-clock partying, and celebrity worship have created an atmosphere of chasing the impossible (or should I say the wrong priorities).

Since today’s generation of kids seek validation in social media “Likes”, “Friends”, “Followers”, “Retweets”, and “Shares” they are chasing artificial friendships and unrealistic or unattainable ideals. All too much our kids are putting value in superficial validation instead of putting their energy into true achievements that are the foundation of self-worth.

I didn’t work this hard to brick by brick try to build a solid foundation of love, support, and security for my child to just to have it torn down by one hateful and cowardly anonymous posting on or from a fake Instagram profile.

I’m never going to get my kids off social media—I accept it is how their generation communicates.

Instead, I fight to keep them grounded in the real world with tangible values, friendships, and the reward of true validation found in a worthy effort, achieved goals, charity, kindness, and selflessness.

But I also need to speak their language. So every chance I get, I try to direct my kids to the more positive sites and messages of the Internet.

Here’s one for our daughters thanks to singer Colbie Caillat. Her latest song and video, Try, rallying against Photoshop, is an empowering message for girls (and women) to just be yourselves. It’s about putting your efforts into building yourself up with what really matters instead of what people think of you.

Thanks @ColbieCailliat for getting this social media message right:


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