STFU Parents: The Jaw-Dropping, Self-Indulgent, and Occasionally Rage-Inducing World of Parent Overshare by Blair Koenig
This book began as a blog, one of my favorite parenting humor blogs. Readers submit to the site all of the obnoxious things that their parent friends say about their children on facebook and other social media. The site is full of pictures of diaper blowouts and toilet training triumphs, inane stories and sanctimonious rants: stuff that should never be shared in an infinitely public forum like facebook. In both the book and the blog, Koenig shares things that real people posted online, with her ridiculing commentary. (The blog includes pictures, while the book doesn’t.) Both are endlessly enjoyable, in a watching-a-train-wreck, gossipy-guilty-pleasure way. It’s hard to believe that some people are so deluded and self-absorbed that they think their friends actually are interested in some of the insane things they say online.
Koenig has made her rounds of talk shows and internet articles promoting the book, and has had her share of backlash against the blog. She’s been called a bully, anti-child, and has been told that she’ll change her tune when she has children of her own. But I don’t think she will. Her main point isn’t that people shouldn’t be proud of their kids, but that certain things, like pictures of bowel movements, should never be posted in public online forums like facebook. She also cautions against parents over-identifying with thier children, so that they talk about nothing else and end up alienating friends and putting unhealthy amounts of pressure on the poor kids. If parents need to commisserate and complain, they should find a couple close friends or relatives rather than posting embarrassing pictures and rants for the world to see.
I agree heartily with Koenig’s opinion of parental TMI, and this is why I’m heavily curating and managing my child’s social media presence. My son has a right to privacy and to choose for himself someday what information he wants in the public eye and what he doesn’t.