Surviving Divorce: When they aren’t yours to post


As a photographer, maybe I understand this a bit more than others. And since I have some experience with this, I thought I would talk about it.

Sharing photos on your social media of children that are not yours.

With my job, I am constantly taking photos of children, some are absolutely stunning and adorable and I am always so excited to be able to share them on my business social media pages. However, I will not post anything without asking permission. Every image or IG and FB story you see of a child or client, I have been given permission to post. A quarter of my sessions never get posted, because my clients prefer not to be. And I respect this happily. Often too much is shared with social media, and I am at fault for this as well with my own life.

So this post can be geared towards everyone, although the reason I am writing it has to do with more of a personal experience.  I believe if you are ever going to post a photo of someone besides you, especially of children, you need to ask for the permission of the person the photo is of, or the parents of the child. A photo is never more important than a persons privacy and right to it. There are also boundaries that you are pushing when you do this without permission.  And it doesn’t matter if they post photos of their children all of the time, that is their choice, their children.

I can’t really say there is an actual timeline you should wait if you are dating somebody with kids before you post ‘family’ photos or photos of their kids on your social media, but I will say a couple weeks is definitely too soon. Anytime is too soon if you do not have the permission of both parents, in my opinion.  There is absolutely no need to post these photos. It is wonderful if you are happy and proud, take the photos….enjoy looking at them, enjoy showing some close friends and family when you see them, but don’t display them as a trophy on your social media. Show some class and maturity. Even if you are being encouraged by the person you are dating and their family, still consider the mother or father of those children who have not given you permission to be posting your ‘family’ photos with their children. There is no excuse for this, and if you want to have some sort of a relationship with the ex, this is not the way to do it.

Many may argue that the ex is just being jealous or trying to cause an argument, and I might have argued this….before I was the ex. Before I got to see my children, in a family photo with their dad’s girlfriend who he had only been dating for a few weeks.

I’m going to speak personally, as I feel like that is the best way I can with this very touchy subject. And then maybe if you are reading this and have been that person that has posted these kind of photos, you can somewhat understand why you have acted in a hurtful way, even if you don’t mean to.

I think it is lovely that you are excited and enjoy my children. I think it is great that you aren’t scared to take on four very strong willed children, when you are young still and don’t have any of your own. I think you could be a wonderful person in their lives, and that is all that I care about. From what I understand, I have pretty much been replaced by a younger and skinnier version of me, which selfishly I think is great for my kids sake!

I am sure you have many many photos of your trip, Nova Scotia is beautiful. So many interesting landscapes to photograph. I am sure you have plenty of photos of you two as a gorgeous couple… post those. Be proud of those. Show the two of you off as much as you want. And trust me, I am not jealous of that in the slightest. It’s wonderful that you are awe struck with him and his family, I get it, I was there once a very long time ago too. And as much as people will try to spin it around, I am not jealous of the insta family you are trying to portray. I know how fake social media is, we all do.  I know I will never be replaced in my children’s lives as their mom. So lets not try to make this into something it is not. Let the person you are dating be the one to post the family photos. Because if he/she isn’t even posting them, then you really shouldn’t be posting them. And on a side note, if you are the parent, be respectful to your children and give them time to heal and transition before you are posting these family photos for all to see. It really does more harm then you think. Children are resilient, but some things leave a very deep wound.

Please do not use my children as props.

Divorce is hard, and I think many years are spent trying to find a new normal. Trying to wade through the thick of things and make sure your children are protected as much as possible. The last thing that is needed, is someone being disrespectful and posting your children in family poses on social media. Maybe if it’s been years down the road and there’s a better chance you are sticking around. Maybe if enough time has gone by that those who divorced are somewhat civil with each other and these things aren’t being done out of spite. Maybe if you have talked to the other parent and made sure they don’t mind their kids being on your social media…..then go right ahead. But I know every year the school sends home permission forms to post photos of your children. I know any event you are at asks permission to post your photos. I know as a photographer, we ask your permission to post your photos. Because we have the right to say no. We have the right to not want our children on your social media. As parents who raised these children from birth, always trying to do what is best for them, we have the right to say no. I don’t post any photos of my children that they don’t agree to. I show them every photo I am wanting to put on social media and I ask them if they are ok with it.

So if you are that person that is dating someone, and you have photos you took with the children, enjoy them for yourself. Print them even and hang them up.  Try to be the mature adult and have some grace.  And if it has only been a couple weeks, realize that not only have you been introduced to the children too soon, but posting these photos is definitely jumping the gun.

Those that have gone or are going through divorce can agree, everything is so raw. Those coming into this dynamic need to show respect to and with the children. Don’t rush these things. If it goes well, there are plenty of times for sharing family photos, if the parents agree.

No matter what your boy/girl friend tells you about their ex, realize that these are their children you are involving, and if you do not do it properly, you may burn your bridges before they have a chance to even build.

Show some compassion. Put your own ego aside and think about what it would feel like if the shoe was on the other foot. And I say that to everyone reading that. Put yourself in the ex’s shoes, that is seeing these family photos with their kids. I would call anyone a liar that says it wouldn’t bother them if this happened to them.

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