Facebook and Mothering – What’s the Connection?

With the sweet smell of Mother’s Day flowers beginning to wane but the chocolates well ensconced on our hips, let’s talk about our relationships with family and friends – and why they’re so important to us.

This week when Facebook goes public, its worth is expected to be about 100 billion dollars. Yep, that’s not a typo, it’s $100 billion, if the IPO shares are priced around $35 each. With over 900 million active users, how has Facebook achieved such a record-breaking success in less than 10 years? It’s built its success on the assumption that we all want to connect with family and friends, telling them about ourselves in detail – our status, our timeline, our likes, our milestones, our photos, our friends. And a recent study from Harvard has identified why they are right.

Researchers have shown that it feels good to talk about ourselves, either virtually on social media sites or in person. And we spend a lot of time doing it. About 40% of the things we say on a daily basis are self-disclosure, how we think or feel. Using brain imaging as well as behavioral criteria, they found that talking about ourselves triggers the same pleasurable responses as food or money. Brain scans indicate that areas in the limbic system have more activity when we’re sharing information about us, just as they do when we’re feeling satisfaction from food, money or sex. So it’s no wonder that we choose to brag about ourselves.

Some have said that this preference for self-disclosure may have played a role in the Mother’s Day cover of Time Magazine – on which a twenty-something mom is breast-feeding her almost 4 year-old son. While breast-feeding can enhance physical bonding as well as provide unique enrichment and protective nutrients to little ones, the cover story highlights the controversies stemming from extended nursing – one of three major tenants of attachment parenting. What are your feelings about the duration of breast-feeding? About “baby-wearing?” About sharing a family bed?

Raising children is never easy and there is no one perfect way for everyone. What have you found works best for you in nurturing your kids? How does this affect the relationship with your partner? Share your thoughts through our “Comment” button below and become part of the conversation.

And be sure to join us Wednesday when “Conflict Whisperer” Roger Frame, Ph.D. visits to talk about his book, Don’t Carve the Turkey with a Chainsaw: Resolving Family Conflict. He’ll be answering questions and introducing us to his tools for conflict management.

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