The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: Respecting a Child's Privacy

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Respecting a Child's Privacy

Everyone deserves to have their possessions respected.  If you went to college and shared a dorm room, you expected your roommate to keep his or her hands away from your stuff.  When you were growing up, you expected your shirt to be where you left it, even if that happened to be on the floor of your room.  However, when a roommate "borrowed" your hair dryer or a sibling "borrowed" a shirt without your permission, you probably became defensive and showed your anger somehow.

Now think about that concept from a parent/child point of view.  You don't appreciate it when your child enters your bedroom and goes through your drawers, do you?  Children are the same ... they don't appreciate parents "snooping" in their private space.  I know you may feel tempted to see if they have cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, or condoms hidden in there somewhere, but take it from the voice of experience... being up front and honest is actually better and leads to fewer hidden objects.  When a child or teen knows that her room is her sanctuary (or her half room if she shares it), she is less likely to hide "banned" items.  Simply asking if they have any drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or condoms is usually enough to elicit a truthful negative response.  If you get a positive response, quietly talk about the problems that could happen with those items.  Personally, I was happy when they told me they had condoms in there - it told me that although they were sexually active, they were responsible about it.  You might even warn your kids when you'll be in their rooms to clean or straighten up.  Watch for suspicious behavior in the interim, and then discuss the reason for that behavior without judging.

It's better to be up front and supportive than sneaky and judgmental when raising your children.


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