I love photos of my family. I admit that over the last few years I had taken more than my fair share photos. They are my memories, small snippets of my children’s childhood which is whizzing past so quickly, I am desperate capture as many as possible. Consequently, throughout the house, I have lots of photos displayed some individual frames and some in collages. Photos of the children growing up. Photos of our family over the years, school photos, holiday photos. I thought this was normal. I certainly didn’t think I was the only parent to have photos on show. My mum had photos of me on display and they were the cringe-worthy dodgy 80s style hair photos taken each year in school. I didn’t like them particularly, but I understand now and I would never ever have asked her to take them down.
My teenage son is very conscious photos of himself growing up. I blogged last year about an issue I had when some of his friends went on my blog and social media accounts and took screenshots of photos of him as a child and sent them to other kids. He was upset at the time and I took many of the photos of him from my blog and made my Instagram account private.
At the end of the day, as much as I love sharing photos of him, he is now a teenager and I care more about how he feels than about my blog or social media accounts and I respect his need for privacy. I do still share the occasional photo of him, but I will always show him first and if he is happy, I will share it. If he isn’t, I won’t. He has requested that I keep my Instagram account private and I will, I don’t want to do anything that will cause him further upset.
He very rarely invites friends to the house and we were chatting about this the other day and one of the main reasons, it turns out, is because of the amount of photos we have around the house. One ‘friend’ of his came to the house last summer and took photos on his phone of photos of R that are around the house and then shared them on Instagram and Snapchat for everyone to laugh about. I was horrified about this, how dare he? I made it clear that he wasn’t welcome in our house if that was the way he behaved.
A couple of weekends back, the same young man came to the door with another friend and I was chatting to them at the door while my son put his shoes on. I must have turned my back for 30 seconds to speak to R and this boy apparently took a quick photo of a collage canvas that I have just inside the front door, he zoomed in on a photo of R and shared it on Snapchat. I was livid. What is wrong with this boy??
Having chatted to my son about his concerns, I said that there were two things to consider here. Firstly, I am not the only parent to have photos around the house, I do have quite a few, I know but generally, they are collages of family photos along with a selection of school photos. I love looking at them and I certainly don’t put them there to embarrass him. Secondly, if his so-called friends who behave like that, he really should consider whether these are the sort of kids that he wants to be friends with as he does have lovely friends who I am fairly sure might make a comment about one or two of the photos but certainly wouldn’t deliberately set out to embarrass him.
But it has made me think. I have moved the photo collage from inside the front door and I keep looking around at my photos with a tinge of sadness. I don’t want him to feel embarrassed about bringing people around. I don’t want his friends taking photos of him as a child and embarrassing him. Should I take some or all of them down? Having said that, I’m not the only parent to have photos on display, should I tell him to man up and get over it?
As it stands, the photos remain and I am very reluctant to take any of them down. But it is a dilemma. Would you take your photos down?