DEAR HARRIETTE: I posted photos of my son's class performance on Facebook and was so proud of them. That is, until one mom called me and chastised me for posting a picture that included her child without her permission. She asked me to take the picture down at once. I did, but I don't see what the big deal is. Do you? -- Proud Mom, Chicago
DEAR PROUD MOM: In this Internet age, it can be tricky figuring out where your rights begin and end. But that mom was right: Children's rights are protected under the law.
The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act states that any identifiable information about a child under age 13 that is posted on the Internet must be posted by the parent or by a person who has obtained VERIFIABLE CONSENT from the parent. Website operators are held legally accountable for verifying that publications made by anyone other than the legal parent or guardian have the consent of the parent.
That said, countless people post images of their children and others without issue. My recommendation for the future is to do your best to photograph your child separately so that you can post safely. Otherwise, ask parents for permission (in writing) before you put any images on the Internet.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel like my daughter and I have ongoing arguments every morning because she drags her feet when it's time to go to school. I'm so frustrated. I'm trying to teach her the importance of being on time and of accepting responsibility for herself. She is 7 years old, and I think that's old enough to begin to accept some basic responsibilities. But the arguments are wearing us out. Any suggestions on how to handle this better? -- Frustrated, Washington, D.C.
DEAR FRUSTRATED: Do I have a suggestion for you! My daughter (who is 8) and I have wrestled with time-management issues, and recently we came up with a plan together that has helped tremendously. We created a chart for the five days of the school week and listed each task she has to complete before walking out of the door at 8 a.m. She helped to make the list and even suggested what she might be able to do at night to buy her time the next morning.
As a result, she is excited when she gets up about filling out her chart. She competes with herself to be ready on time as well. Best of all, the arguments have subsided dramatically.
We have begun to institute rewards for her good behavior that include singing together in the morning on the way to school, bringing an extra treat in her lunch bag and special activities on the weekend.
You may want to try our process, or something else may work for you. The point is to include your daughter in coming up with a schedule that she can follow with your support, but without having to police her at every turn. Children of all ages benefit from structure, focus and clear-cut boundaries.