Thanks, mom, for not telling the world I pulled a knife on you
I’m not a mother, so I can only imagine how devastatingly painful it must be to wonder if your child suffers from mental illness or pathological violence. I suppose that these parents, frustrated by the lack of resources and institutional support that would help them deal with their situations, release that frustration in their blogs. It’s an understandable impulse.
But it is one thing to broadcast your own pain. It is quite another to broadcast your child’s. In this Internet age, children deserve to struggle into adulthood with some degree of privacy. If my mother had publicized that moment when I cut my arm, it could have devastated my future in incalculable ways. My college applications or job prospects might have been affected. New friends, classmates or colleagues could have judged me based on momentary mistakes that happened years earlier. The man who became my fiancé might not have kissed me that life-changing night on our college campus.
The Internet is written in pen, and a public reputation (or speculative diagnosis) that a child is saddled with online now could follow him for the rest of his life. We absolutely must have a national conversation about access to mental heath care, but we need to find a way to do it without sacrificing individual children as public examples.