Conversing with My Son on Social Media

With her 13 year old son away in Sweden, Amanda is struggling to find the right way to stay in touch and is missing the days of "reversing the charges"

28/07/2017

 

Redundant Mum

I'm having to come to terms with the fact that my eldest son doesn't need his mum much anymore. Other than still being his personal cook, cleaner, chauffeur, bank teller and general slave, he is very happy to do his own thing. I do get a glimmer of my little boy every now and then, when he comes up to me for a hug, but those moments are getting scarce. He's more likely to punch me playfully on the arm (which as he gets bigger no longer feels playful).

Independent boy

He's currently away in Sweden playing in the Gothia Cup, which is the world's largest youth football tournament. Parents were actively encouraged to come and support their children, but as soon as he knew he was picked to go, he made it abundantly clear he wanted to go on his own.

Putting aside my sadness at him wanting to get away from me in the holidays, in many ways I'm proud of his independence. But it has left me with one big challenge. How to stay in touch?

Struggling with social media

I'm not a big fan of social media. I'm not on Facebook. I'm a novice on Instagram (I still can't work out how to stop taking a picture of myself staring at the phone when all I want to do is upload an existing photo from my camera). And I can't seem to send snappy messages on What's App - I tend to send essays.

Why can't we just talk on the phone? Apparently that is the epitome of nerdy and so last century.

So instead we are "What's Apping" but it's not going well. I'm all chatty and gushing and he's all moody and monosyllabic. I will send long messages asking him how he is and telling him all about our days back at home. I always end with "I love you". His standard response so far is "Fine" and "Thanks". Well at least he's polite.

But I got my revenge. I sent him a video that looked as if it was just his brother in it, but at the very beginning I jump in and shout "I love you so much" at the top of my voice. Apparently he played it at full volume in earshot of his team mates before he had time to find the mute button. He messaged "So not cool Mum." I replied "Back off the net".

Reversing the charges

But I miss the old days when kids would call home to let their parents know they were fine/still alive, even if they did do it by reversing the charges and running up massive bills in the process.

In fact, I don't know how my parents coped with not knowing where I was when I went travelling. I travelled in some pretty dangerous places in the world when I was a teenager, without any thought of how my parents must have been feeling at home. We didn't have mobile phones so all communication was done by airmail, postcards and making international calls when we hit civilisation (which didn't happen that often).

I remember when I went travelling to South America. Before my mum and dad packed me off on the plane, my dad told me to have a great time, but to avoid at all costs crossing the border into Colombia which was notorious for drugs, guns and kidnapping. So when he got my postcard that read "Greetings from Medellin" he wasn't best pleased.

So I can't stop my sons going off on their own path. I will hound them down on social media with sloppy messages and gushing videos. And I will live in hope of getting just one small phone call home.

Amanda Coxen, Working Mum and Tinies Director

 
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