PARENTS

Angry Tweeting: Wouldn't It Be Better To Keep Mum?

06/12/2012 13:00 | Updated 22 May 2015
Angry tweeting: Wouldn't it be better to keep mum?Rex

It's very sad when parents split up isn't it? Whatever the reasons, it's hard on everyone – the adults involved, the wider family and, of course, the children.

My parents divorced when I was little and, since becoming a mum myself, I've felt very strongly that, should the worst ever happen in my own relationship, the most important thing would be to protect our girls from the rawness of it; to explain with kindness (and undoubtedly a carefully managed degree of censorship) what was happening. I mean, as parents, that's our job, right?

One thing I don't think I'd do is air our dirty laundry in public, as it were.

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I don't think, even if I'd been cheated on, humiliated and shocked, I would go out in the street and yell about it at the top of my voice, so all the gory details were out there, for the world – and my own children – to painfully digest.

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Chantelle Houghton, mum to five-month-old Dolly, didn't do that either. But she did take it upon herself to have a good old rant about her ex, Alex Reid, on Twitter last week. In the space of about 30 minutes, she regaled approximately 280,000 followers with tales of his cross dressing (he likes to call himself Roxanne, she says), his planned rendezvous with a mystery man, his turning their home into a 'sex dungeon', and his 'orgies' with 'hookers'.

Nice. I for one never expected to know so much about Alex Reid. What does he do anyway? Is he a boxer or something?

Anyway, she also said Alex wanted half her cash, and Dolly's trust fund, and suggested failings in his role as a dad: "And for the record I've been asking Alex to send me a schedule of when he'd like to see dolly but he won't commit" she tweeted.

Naturally, the tabloids leapt upon it all, and Chantelle continued with her endeavours, "putting the record straight", in The Sun. Meanwhile, one Twitterer quipped: "*The whole of Twitter follows Alex Reid and waits*" There were all manner of opinions exchanged between a small group, but Alex himself remained pretty quiet as it goes.

Now, perhaps there is a 'woman scorned' sort of a lesson here. No one can ever really know the true ins and outs of any relationship unless they're a part of it, but clearly this is a woman who is hurting.

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Yet, as a mum, for the life of me, I can't understand why Chantelle's selfish desire to have her say, to get some sort of revenge, usurped the instinct to protect her daughter.

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Sure, Dolly can't read now, and she's too tiny to understand anything which is happening. But that will change very quickly, and information that goes out on the world wide web is there forever and ever.

What child would EVER want to learn the ins and outs of a parent's sexual preferences?! Let alone know they were discussed and sniggered at by millions of people around the globe? And commenting on access and visits, or a lack thereof, just seems wrong. Will we all know if Alex misses a visit, or is late for a pick-up? Will the world Dolly inhabits be told her dad doesn't give a hoot about her? How might that make her feel?

Perhaps, when you've created an existence for yourself in the spotlight, you just can't help yourself. I mean, if you thrive on living a life that's pretty much laid bare, it must be absolute torture to feel misunderstood or misrepresented.

I'm not commenting whatsoever on what Chantelle might have been through, what she might have had to put up with, how dreadful a time she might have been having, but I think it's a fair comment to say that being the best mum you can be sometimes means swallowing your pride and keeping your mouth shut, whether within your child's earshot, or on the web/in the press.

Obviously Chantelle adores Dolly: "I will walk to the end of the earth for my daughter" she said online. But I hope that next time something goes wrong, and she's tempted to sit down for a session of angry tweeting, she just closes the laptop and walks to the other end of the room instead.

Do you agree? Are you tired of celebs point scoring on social media?

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