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The bad sides of parenting FOMO and how to avoid them

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Parenting FOMO is defined as parents who suffer from a fear of missing out and use their children as their fix! Are you a parent who wants to buy them everything to seem cool and on-trend? Or perhaps you are having children because everyone else is and you just want to be accepted because of culture and family pressure?
Read on to find out which of these apply to you and learn how you and your children can stop being a victim of this.

Using your children as a Trophy
Some of the common traits of using your child as a trophy include throwing huge birthday parties that they cannot fully appreciate; calling them mini-me and generally using them to make you look better. Parents who use their children as trophies tend to want to seem cool and on-trend and so buy them all the newest and coolest clothes and gadgets. Of course, there is nothing wrong with buying the best for your child but there is a fine line as well.

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Why is this parenting FOMO? The parent here wants to make sure that their child is seen in the best light; whether or not it is aligned with the child’s interests and desires. Parents who live vicariously through their children want their children to do certain things in a certain way; either because the parents weren’t able to or because their love is conditional on the child fitting a specific model.  

Each child is unique and parents should recognise and implement the right parenting style for the child’s unique love language and needs. 

Showing your children off all over social media
While we live in a very social world, at least on social media and virtually, you mustn’t show picture-perfect images of your children to gain validation from others. Some parents suffer from insecurity and are not sure if they are a good parent or not; so the validation they get online from the number of likes and comments on how cute their children are could become neediness. Do not use your children to look for validation. As a parent, do your best and be comfortable that you can learn and improve to be a better parent every day.

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It is important to be aware of the need for your child to have their privacy and think about the digital footprint of your child. Every time you share information about your child online, you are helping the world paint a picture of who your child is. Now, this is not all bad, but you want to think about how your child might feel in the future; when he or she sees certain images or comments about them online. Or a child who has all their private business shared online – why? Photos of a soiled diaper, bath time, etc are best left offline! 

Avoid the parent FOMO trap, where because others are sharing, you feel you also need to share. So ask yourself, is your sharing on social media to show off to make you feel better? Or is it to share an achievement your child has made that benefits the world and themselves somehow? 

Making decisions based on what others think
It is important not to make decisions based on what others think. As a parent, you should make a list of essential things for you and your family. It is important to focus on your family’s values and desires for the children you are raising rather than what other people say. Focusing on values and helping rather than just doing well. When it feels right.

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Everything from the choice of school and more should be based on being intentional and making decisions based on getting the right knowledge. Do not simply send your child to a school only because your friend’s daughter is going there. Ask questions and be sure it is what works for you and your family.

One of the traps of parenting FOMO is trying to live like the Joneses while not being clear if this is what you want.

Sometimes on the extreme side, parents make decisions based on cultural pressures or what people think. For example, you could have a child whose interests lie in the arts, and because you are a family of lawyers with a family chamber; you cannot imagine what they will say if your child doesn’t follow the path. Remember that your role as a parent is to nurture your child and train him or her in the way they should go; this needs to take into account the character and interest of the child. 

A child who knows who he is and is aware of his/her strengths is a child who will thrive. 

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Having Children for the Right Reasons 
Some parents have children because others are asking them to, or they want to share their maternity photos and baby reveal photos. However, the decision to have children needs to be well thought out. Be sure you are emotionally and financially ready and ready for the demands of raising a child. After the baby shower and the initial visitors, raising a child is your and your spouse’s responsibility. So you must know why you want children and have discussed it as a family before you get started. Do not be pressured into doing anything
because others think they know what’s best for you as an adult.

Having children and thinking about how you will take care of them makes you decide ahead of time how you are going to parent. Who is in your support system? Is there an unwritten agreement that only one of you will work? Are you saving or earning? Being intentional will enable you to have a system for allocating your time, emotions, work, and leisure.

Being envious of your children 
While this is extreme, it does happen. Sometimes, parents end up being jealous of their children because they were unable to set healthy boundaries. Or perhaps they felt they gave up everything for the child. Usually, this can lead to excessive expectations from the child because the parent feels the child owes them. Also in some cases, the parent is envious that the child’s life is just starting while the parent feels stuck. To avoid a severe case of parenting FOMO later in life, and an insatiable desire to be celebrated; parents must have a plan in place for each season of their life.

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The mum who has an unhealthy view of the sacrifice she had to make, will take it out on the children in the future. Additionally, you might find that mother who couldn’t make the choices she wanted in her life, continuously cautioning her daughter to understand her place in society, etc.

Overall, Parenting FOMO comes from looking outwards rather than inwards. Indeed, parenting is a journey and the needs of your child can change; based on the season and the child’s personality traits. However, it is important for all parents to be intentional and focused on how to be the best parent to their children. 

No one else can make the best decision for you; you need to have a support system but ultimately keep the right priorities in place.

Contributed by Yetty Williams
Parenting Coach | Founder/CEO LagosMums
LagosMums is a parenting and family resource for mums, parents, and caregivers.

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