I had seen it before. Many times before. Another parent sat before me in tears. Her eight-year-old had found out about her impending divorce before she and her husband decided how to tell the kids. It wasn’t from eavesdropping (Mom and Dad were much too smart to talk when the kids were around) and it wasn’t that they’d slipped up and told them by accident. It was from this text message:
Have you contacted a divorce attorney or do you want me to?
That was the text they were trying to undo. The tears, the questions, the complete confusion by her eight-year-old happened so fast Mom didn’t know how to handle it. It was like a snowball quickly gaining momentum and before Dad could get home, Mom found herself trying to explain a divorce she wasn’t prepared to explain and fighting off emotions she had no control of. “It was a disaster,” she said. “A complete disaster.” If I had heard that story once, twice, even five times I wouldn’t be writing this article. Because I’ve heard it many times is why I’m writing this article.
The tip this week is simple: Do not exchange information you don’t want your child to see. That includes emails, text messages, Facebook, Instagram, etc. If someone sends you something you don’t want your child to see, delete it immediately. Locking your phone can also help keep kids away from adult information only if your child isn’t allowed on your phone. Even better, give your child an old phone that doesn’t have service and they can play all the games they want.
Undoing what has been done via technology can take smart kids a long time to get over. Be smart, especially if you have a smart kid.