How Parents who have Kids with Special Needs can Make the Best out of Facebook

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Many parents who have children with special needs may have a difficult time going on social media platforms, especially Facebook. The reason for that is because while the parents are struggling, they become bombarded with updates from their friends who seem to be having it much easier. I want to stress that the keyword here is seem. In fact psychologists have said that Facebook envy is very real and is a major issue that comes up for a lot of people regardless of what is happening in their lives. For instance, it can be very upsetting to see your friends post their vacation pictures while a vacation for you is not in the cards in the foreseeable future no matter how desperate you are for one. Another example that is upsetting for parents in this position is seeing a friend of theirs brag about how his or her 4 year old held an adult conversation with someone, while the parents’ 4 year old with autism has no speech. You understand how Facebook can easily make struggling parents even more depressed about their situation.

The fact of the matter is, most of the world is on Facebook, and other social media platforms now. Social media is a crucial platform for communication in today’s world. May parents with children who have special needs feel isolated enough. I personally believe that completely staying away from Facebook is not a good idea. However there is good news on how to make the experience fun and engaging instead of torturous.

If you have friends who are traveling, or who are talking about their typically developing kids, or are sharing anything else that makes you feel bad- you don’t need to unfriend them unless you feel it is necessary. You can unfollow them instead, so this way you don’t see their updates at all. You just go on the individual’s profile, and on the upper right area of the page, you have a choice to unfriend or unfollow. Only follow your friends who are going through the same or similar struggles as you are- or anyone else who will not make you feel bad in anyway. This way, you will see their updates and if they are in need of some encouragement and support, you are there to give it to them just as they would do for you. However, the best reason to stay on Facebook is for the groups.

There are millions of excellent Facebook groups around that will fit your needs and connect you to the right people, who are going through the same experiences are you- and who may even lead you to great resources. You can build up some powerful networks. You can even find local groups on Facebook for parents in the same situation as you. Or if not, why not create one? Just do a search on a topic that is relevant to you, and you will be amazed at how many groups come up. Do you see why that leaving Facebook is not recommended? Remember there are plenty of others in a similar position that are looking to connect with you as well. Facebook is a great place for that, and this is how you can make the most of this platform.

I also want to bring something else up that I had briefly touched on earlier in this post. When I said that your friends who are not sharing the same struggles as you seem to be having a good life, based on what they share on Facebook- I can guarantee you even though their lives may be very different from yours, they are not having a perfect time either. Yes, maybe some may have more freedom than you do right now anyway. Maybe parents of typically developing children have less stress (or a different type of stress anyway). But one thing I can promise you is that everyone is struggling with something. What people post on Facebook does not show what they are really going through in life. Many people do like to show off. Most don’t do it intentionally to make others feel bad. They just do it, and remember that. That being said, you know you don’t have to watch it either, so just unfollow them. Don’t let Facebook envy prevent you from making the best use of Facebook for your purpose.

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Written by Miriam Slozberg

Miriam Slozberg

Miriam Slozberg is an author, mom, blogger, depression advocate and social media consultant. Connect with her on the social media links below.

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8 Responses to How Parents who have Kids with Special Needs can Make the Best out of Facebook

  1. Rebecca Laurasia January 29, 2015 at 7:47 pm #

    Great post, Miriam. I think the main thing that people need to keep in mind whenever they are doing anything online is that what gets posted about, shown, & uploaded by anyone is almost ALWAYS not the entire picture. The vast majority of people are less than transparent online whether they realize it or not. And many people do not like to share when things aren’t going perfectly right.

    For all intents & purposes, people’s online profiles are much more like an on-line dating profile than they are an accurate representation of their actual life. Just keep that in mind whenever you are reading yet another upbeat post about their “wonderful life”. đŸ˜‰

    • Miriam Slozberg January 29, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

      That is so true Rebecca, as I had said many people do like to show off when something good happens, so they just automatically want to share it. People need to remember that what is posted online is not the real picture as you had stated.
      Miriam Slozberg recently posted…The Power of Transparent MarketingMy Profile

  2. Snarky Momma With January 29, 2015 at 8:10 pm #

    You have hit on something that is very true.My granddaughter and nephew were born a mouth apart and my sister in law suffers a great deal from the fact that her son is behind in development. She continues to compare them despite my telling her he will catch up. They are four now and he has been in school for a year now and is getting better and better all the time.
    This is a great post telling parents and even grandparents how to handle something they didn’t have to face so openly in previous generations.
    Snarky Momma With recently posted…Eww….You May Not Want To Get Too Close Today.My Profile

    • Miriam Slozberg January 29, 2015 at 10:07 pm #

      That is very difficult when it comes to family. I do understand that very well. I am glad to hear that he is doing better.

  3. Paulette Romero January 29, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

    Thanks for the article Miriam. I have read about Facebook envy in the past and I think most of us are a little envious when we see what appears to be our friends’ perfect lives when ours is falling down around us. But at the same people most people only post what they want us to see. If they’re going through a struggle they may not post that and continue to pretend on FB like everything is honky dory. We’re all human and we all have our problems whether we post them to FB or not. No one’s perfect.
    Paulette Romero recently posted…January’s Spotlight Of The Month!My Profile

    • Miriam Slozberg January 29, 2015 at 9:35 pm #

      You are absolutely right Paulette. Facebook creates a lot of illusions and when our lives are falling apart, the last thing we can handle is watching someone sail smoothly.. which in reality no one ever does.

  4. Jenni January 30, 2015 at 12:51 am #

    So true! I think all people but their best pictures and highlights on facebook and when you talk to them in person there could be a huge crisis going on. I decided to celebrate even the small victories in my daughter’s life and I found a community that celebrates with us. It is hard though when those comments come across that cause envy.
    Jenni recently posted…The most powerful wordMy Profile

    • Miriam Slozberg January 30, 2015 at 3:00 am #

      Thanks Jenni for commenting. And you hit it on the nail, what appears on Facebook is not the true story. These people that share the best that is happening in their lives could be living a different life offline. I am glad you found a great community!

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