Ask Janell – Instagram Exclusion

Janell Burley Hofmann, December 09, 2015


Dear Janell,

I am having some trouble with my daughter. She has seen various photos of her classmates and friends on Instagram hanging out or at parties when they have not included my daughter. Do you have any solutions for this?


Social Media Mom

  1. Encourage Expression. It is ok and normal to have our feelings hurt. While this is part of growing up, it is good to express these feelings and talk about it. Let her show up with all of her feelings and recognize and respect that each occasion may reveal a different response.


  1. Create the Convo. Give her the tools and practice conversations about communicating with her friends that she’d like to be included. For example: “The next time you hang out, will you call or text to invite me? I’d love to come too.”


  1. Teach Resilience. Sometimes people hang out and we can’t always be invited or included. Sometimes it may feel personal, but it isn’t always that way. There are limits to sleepover and birthday party numbers and sometimes plans are spontaneous. She is still a great person and whole without receiving an invite to everything. 


  1. Be the Askable Adult. Use this as an opportunity to bond as parent and child. Share stories about times you had your feelings hurt growing up (and even now!). Allow her to ask questions and be curious about you. Create a safe space between you to discuss, vent, complain and move on. 


  1. Exercise Empathy. Remind her that sometimes she will be on the “fun” end of Instagram, sharing when she is invited to hangouts and parties. Remembering those that are not in attendance and how it feels to be on the “other side of the screen” is important and reminds us to be intentional and mindful in what we decide to post and share.


  1. Shut Down. Encourage her to spend some time away from the screens. The more we watch and scroll what we are missing, the more we ruminate. Put it down, put it away and carry on! 


  1. Don’t Wait, Create! Want to hang out with certain friends? Want to be included? Then encourage her to do the planning and arranging herself. Don’t wait for the fun to come to you, tell her to go create it! We each have the power to make the experiences we want.


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