Respecting And Giving Kids Their Privacy

teenager writing in her diaryParenting is much more than just teaching your kids right and wrong, good or bad, or health and fitness. It is also about “respect”. I'm not talking about your kids or teens necessarily  
respecting you, it is about you having respect for them, particularly for their privacy. By respecting your children, they will be more open and respect you.
 
As kids hit adolescence they invariably begin to separate from their parents as a natural part of growing up. Ironically, it's also a time when parents (and very legitimately) have concerns about their son or daughter's safety as they venture out more into the world on their own.
 
This is quite a difficult time for most parents. It is a time of change, a time of testing. On one hand you are frustrated because your child isn't as close as they once were, and on the other you keep pushing and pushing to know more about what going on in their life. It's a catch-22 scenario; you cannot be close, yet you need to be close to keep them safe. 
 
Balancing your desire to know all the details with your son or daughter's right for privacy, and the respect implied when you acknowledge that right, is a very tricky feat to accomplish indeed. However, it is a balancing act that is well worth the effort, especially for those of you who want to be the best parents that you can be.
 
Your first step is to do your best not to be a nosy parent. Do not go digging around your teenager's belongings. Never try to listen in on conversations. And avoid trying to keep your kids away from friends or activities out of spite to try to keep them safe. 
 
Nosy parents like this do nothing more than drive their kids underground. This is the exact opposite result that successful parents are looking for. Consider real hard what privacy means in your own life. Think about how you like to be respected both as an adult today and how you would have wished your parents treated you when you were a child. Practice these philosophies on your children as they are growing as teenagers today.
 
What does privacy mean for young teenagers? They describe it as “psychological and physical space”. They want to have private conversations with their friends that their parents do not hear. They want to able to get away by themselves and think how they want. They want a room all their own, regardless if it is tidy or messy. They want to be able to shut the door behind them when they feel like it. They want private journals without fear of their parents sneaking in and reading them.
 
Of course, as parents we have have to be cautious and watchful, but we must use common sense also, and give them room to grow. The last thing we want to do is drive our kids away from us. Remember what is like for a young boy or girl to be entering that stage in life where new feelings and experiences are happening to them on a daily occurrence.
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February 19, 2009

Anelly @ 7:05 am #

Being their friends and not necessary their parents means more for a child. I think parents should start look at their children as adults even if they are only teenagers. That make's a lot. Gives your child self confidence and will be more open when talking with you.

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