Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from nebmatx. Show nebmatx's posts

    Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    Hi LL regulars, 

    A friend who is also my "FB friend" complained recently that people who are parents often post status updates that are questions specifically addressed to "other parents." This friend is child-free by choice, but she has experience with kids via work, extended family, and friends with kids. She said that when people post status updates that ask, "Other parents, what did you do when....?" (or something along those lines) that she feels excluded from the conversation. She still offers advice sometimes, but she does so feeling like her contribution in the discussion may not be welcome because of her child-free status. She said people should be more sensitive, inclusive, and aware.

    I'm curious what you all make of this. Does she have a point? (If so, how might one phrase certain questions so as to avoid excluding others?) Or is she imagining exclusion where it's likely none exists?

    I would welcome thoughts from all of you, whether you're parents, child-free, FB users or not. 
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from s0xgirl. Show s0xgirl's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    I'm not sure if I have an opinion about actual topic discussions, but I consistently "hide" people if they post too many things about their kids, and especially if their sonogram is ever their profile picture.

    It's nothing against the people, they're my friends. But if I wanted to see babies all day, I'd have my own. I don't want a baby. I don't want babies overtaking my FB.

    Luckily, the new FB layout allows you to "unsubscribe from _____'s pictures" so I can ignore lame statuses and never have to see the "37 WEEKS!" belly in my face.

    Works perfectly
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from backbaybabe. Show backbaybabe's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    i think you're friend is being over sensitive.

    if she has experience in a given situation to offer advice, then what her status in life, IMO, is irrelevant.

     i htink you're friend is being overly sensitive by the "labeling" that her FB friend shoots out to her "similiar/parent" friends

    but if it bothers her THAT much, have your friend address that labeling to her FB friend and tell her that her advice is jsut as relevant as any other, based on her life's experience.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from move-on. Show move-on's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    I see how it seems insensitive, but think she may be reading into it too much. I'm guessing people who write "other parents" think they are flagging the post for the audience that's most likely to respond (and possibly a signal to those not interested in parenting posts that "this is a parenting post). I doubt very much it's purposely to exclude those who are child-free.

    I think she should just do as she's doing, and feel free to comment when she has something to contribute.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from Butterflyz. Show Butterflyz's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    Say I'm going to a new city, say Chicago, and I know a lot of people on facebook who live in that city, and I say, "All Chicago residents, where is a good place to take a big group for dinner?" Is that offensive to other friends who might have been to Chicago and have an opinion on that question but are not considered "experts" since they're not from there? I certainly don't think so. 

    How about a nurse requesting advice from other nurse friends on how they handle a particular situation? A non-nurse who has spent a lot of time in hospitals for another reason might have an opinion. Is it offensive that the question was directed at other nurses specificially? Again, I don't think so.

    Child-free adults might have good suggestions or answers to questions from an alternate experience, and I personally wouldn't be upset if someone from outside the group I had polled gave advice if they had a solidly backed opinion, but I find it annoying when child free people take offense at parents primarily wanting advice from other people who are, you know, also parents. For disclosure, I'm child free at the moment, but am very much looking forward to be a mom.

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from two-sheds. Show two-sheds's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    I think your friend is being overly-sensitive.  I think it's reasonable to seek advice from people who have been there.  Beyond the phrasing of the question, has she ever felt like her advice was unwelcome?  Has anyone every said something like "what do you know?  You're not a parent!"  Unless her advice was harsh, or her friends are jerks, I doubt it.

    I'm going to guess that she probably is feeling excluded from her friend's life in general, not just on facebook.  The fact of the matter is that kids kind of take over your lives.  Not only do they require a lot of attention, but even when you escape them, you tend to talk about them an awful lot.  Is easy to drift apart from friends if they have kids and you don't. 
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from MrCorvin. Show MrCorvin's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    I think your friend is being a tad oversensitive. When my friends with children ask similar questions, I still answer because I raised my nephew for the first 3 1/2 years of his life. It was basically a full time job for me (since my days off consisted of sleeping). I use to have fights about this later on with a friend of mine who just gave birth and didn't understand that I "understood" what it was like to raise a baby. After I gave her some good advice (followed by babysitting a couple of times), it was mostly disagreements on how to handle things

    "How did you get him to sleep?"
    "I sang him dave matthews band."
    "But that isn't stimulating to the mind, it's boring."
    "Exactly, your child was bored enough that it went to sleep."

    If you have some sort of opinion based on experience, I don't think people who ask will mind if you share it.

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from nebmatx. Show nebmatx's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    THANK YOU for your thoughts, everyone!

    two-sheds, you make an excellent point ("I'm going to guess that she probably is feeling excluded from her friend's life in general, not just on facebook. ") I hadn't thought of it this way. 

    move-on, I agree with your theory that people are flagging their post to avoid boring people they assume would be less interested. I think butterflyz is right, too, that when a specific kind of question is being asked, it seems natural to ask those who seem most obviously to have had relevant experience. 

    BBB, the friend in question did tell her FB friends who are parents how she felt, but it was not as well-modulated an expression of her feelings as perhaps it should have been.... (in my opinion). I suppose, though, that it was better that she express how she felt if it was troubling her to that extent. It has certainly given me plenty to think about (re: how one can exclude others without intending to). 

    sOxgirl, your comment reminds me that there may be technical solutions to some of the problems FB can present. 

    I am also thinking that perhaps, if I am posting to FB asking for advice, I either need to throw it open to all, or write a specific, private message to a specific group (which is then deliberate exclusion). 




     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from nebmatx. Show nebmatx's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    MrCorvin, good for you for hanging in there with your friend who took awhile to realize you HAD relevant experience and could offer good advice. You sound like a patient, good friend. 

    As for me, I don't mind anyone offering advice when I ask for advice. If I didn't want it, I wouldn't ask! So I was flummoxed that my friend felt excluded. 
     
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  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from nebmatx. Show nebmatx's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    Another thought re: MrCorvin: something you did that I admire is that you did not take your friend's dismissal of your advice as some sort of personal attack. You sound like you saw where she was at and you just stayed calm and persistently helpful until she came around. That's awesome. 
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from ThatJneenGrrl. Show ThatJneenGrrl's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    Your friend is acting like a person who likes to find reasons to be offended.

    How is this any different than asking "any of you who have had knee surgery:  what did you do when ___"?

    Would she take offense at that, too?

    Good God.

     
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  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from ygren. Show ygren's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    I'm going to turn this around a little.

    Sometimes people will put in "To other parents out there ..." so that their single friends who are sooo tired of hearing about the kids can skip over the topic at will. Relevant input is generally welcome, though.

    Sure there are people who only want to hear from a target demographic that exactly matches their own and feel that all others are irrelevant. Those I would de-friend.

     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from nebmatx. Show nebmatx's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    Stringer Bell: yes, she's white. (Me, too.) How did you guess? :)

    ThatJneenGrrl: this thought crossed my mind. I guess because her status as child-free is somehow more socially fraught with meaning (certainly in her mind) than being knee-surgery-free, she might feel she has reason to complain of being excluded. 


     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from nebmatx. Show nebmatx's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    So, ygren, you feel like you could identify those who only want to hear from a target demographic, versus those trying not to bore others? How do you know? 
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from ygren. Show ygren's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    In Response to Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free:
    So, ygren, you feel like you could identify those who only want to hear from a target demographic, versus those trying not to bore others? How do you know? 
    Posted by nebmatx


    Context, I guess.  

    I read what they write and how they respond to others. I get a feel for who is trying to exclude and who is just asking. [And I do get it wrong sometimes]

    Some people just ooze smarmy special-revelation-awareness, member-of-the-club-and-you're-not. Feh.

    Knowing my friends is another.  I don't have so many that I don't know which ones inhabit Special World.

    I have more childless friends that just wish to high heaven they didn't have hear about anyone's kids ever than I know parents who get their knickers in a twist when a childless person answers a parenting question constructively.

    Most reasonable people know that not having an actual child of your own is not equivalent to never having interacted successfully with one.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from TwoCentDonation. Show TwoCentDonation's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    Note to self: Start questions about child-rearing with "For anyone with experience dealing with children..."

    Actually, I would probably do this anyway since I know a few people who are not parents but who have had much more experience with children than I.

    I think starting the question off as "For any other parents..." is, to some extent, exclusionary, but quite unintentionally so, and the exclusivity of it pretty darn MINOR.  If I had a friend who did that all.the.time, I wouldn't take offense.  I would probably just get bored with his or her tunnel-vision focus on their children to the exclusion of any other adult conversation.

    In short, I think your friend has an itty bitty teeny weeny point, and she's being over-sensitive.  I also wonder, too, if she has a tendency to be all righteous and judgmental over people who do have children if she chose not to procreate out of concern for overpopulation.  Another possibility is that she's been made oversensitive by relentless comments from the boorish about her childless status.  "Oh, but I didn't really fulfilled until I gave birth to Johnny!"  "You'll change your mind!"  "Only selfish people decide against having children."
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from nebmatx. Show nebmatx's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    ygren wrote: "Most reasonable people know that not having an actual child of your own is not equivalent to never having interacted successfully with one."

    Excellent point!



    TwoCent wrote: "Note to self: Start questions about child-rearing with "For anyone with experience dealing with children..."

    Thanks for the idea on how to phrase this in a more inclusive (or specific) fashion next time. I appreciate it. 
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from Blog Editor. Show Blog Editor's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    In response to "Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free":
    Hi LL regulars,  A friend who is also my "FB friend" complained about me recently. ... Does she have a point? (If so, how might I phrase certain questions so as to avoid excluding her?) Posted by nebmatx
    ... Edited for truth.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from nebmatx. Show nebmatx's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    "Blog Editor," how are you helping? 

    Just need to randomly dump on someone, huh? 

    Have a nice day. 
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from diamondgirl. Show diamondgirl's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    Having been a child, and having 23 nieces and nephews and three great nieces, as well as having helped raise a few cousins, I don't think I am a total f ing idiot when it comes to little kids.

    That said, I find talking about people's children unbearably boring, so they can feel free to exclude me.
     
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  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from wizen. Show wizen's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    I don't think the request is necessarily meant to exclude, but it's easy for someone who's childless, especially if it's not by choice, to feel excluded. 

    Parents just naturally reach out to one another for advice, but I don't think it's generally meant to exclude folks who have other types of experience with kids.  Lots of pediatricians are childless, but it doesn't mean their advice is worth less. 

    That being said, I did have one person jump all over me for giving advice once for answering a question about kids when she'd said "parents".  Sheesh.  Having 20+ years of experience in health care, including pedi, having been a kid like DG, helping raise my sisters and their kids, apparently my advice didn't make the grade.  Plus she hated my guts.  Oh, well.  Advice is free, and you're free to disregard it.  My response was along the lines of "just because you discharged your baby cannon, doesn't make you a child care expert."  Lots of parents need help, and I think it's foolish to disregard good advice just because you don't like the source.  Nobody knows everything. 
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from diamondgirl. Show diamondgirl's posts

    Re: Facebook question re: exclusion of the child-free

    I know some pretty awful parents.  I mean, they are pretty unbelievably awful.  And the fact that they have done something that every living thing is genetically programmed to do... gosh, you spawned, just like mosquitoes and rattlesnakes and lemmings!  You must know what you are doing!  Having a working uterus does not make you 1. intelligent, 2. a good parent, 3. have a clue.

    But since I am automatically excluded from having any ideas, I just watch them f up their offspring in silence.  Sure, let your twelve year old wear hot pants and purple mascara to a rock concert that she is going to with a 19 year old brother of a friend.  All by themselves.  In his car.  On a school night.  You're right - my babyoven is broken, so I have no legit opinion.  Uh huh.  PS, I think her stripper name should be Candy Young.
     
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