So, Monkey has left home and joined the Army! His 17th birthday was the day we dropped him off to the Junior Soldier College in Harrogate to start his new life.
We are now 5 and a bit weeks in and get to see him at his Passing in Parade (PIP) this Friday - no I have not been counting the days!!!!!
Just before he left home, I found a parents support group on Facebook which was a closed group run by a group of ladies who have been through the rollercoaster of having their child(ren) go to the College as well. These ladies have created intake groups for several years and do all of this as volunteers - being an ex-brownie leader I know how much time this takes!
They have been amazing on what to take in addition to the kit list that the Army sends you and generally great advice all around.
They are very clear that they are not affiliated with AFC and that everything discussed on that page stays on that page - no exceptions.
This intake is their biggest support group to date - over 400 members and a further 100+ waiting for approval - and this is where the problems have begun.
People have joined the official Army Company pages and then have got confused as to which page they are on, then commented on the wrong page with information that should only be on the parent page. This has upset parents and obviously the admin - apparently if the Company admins identify who the "rebel" parents are, they then take it out on their children!
Drama galore - it has been horrible watching everyone backstabbing each other and blaming each other for what is possibly a mistake. I have to admit, that I have had to think twice a few times about which page I am on and what I should and shouldn't be posting on it, it can get very confusing.
With this many people on the closed page, it is bound to get messy, but people really don't seem to understand that the parent page is the page to air our concerns and to offer support to each other, not just complain about this, that and the other.
At the end of the day, we are all adults and we should know how to behave - some parents seem to make a drama out everything and if they don't get the support they were expecting, then flounce off saying "I'm leaving, no one understands me!" and then have lots of messages, along the lines of "oh don't leave, I'm sure it wasn't meant to be interpreted that way!"
And that is my point - we can write many a thing in our own quirky way - we may even smile as we type it, but when it is read in the cold light of social media, it often takes on a different context and then upsets the next person and the next and the next and then that snowball has suddenly multiplied a thousand times and is a massive avalanche before you know it!
Social media is very powerful - just make sure that you are qualified to use it or be prepared to deal with the fallout!