As a parent, there is a somewhat constant struggle over what is acceptable when it comes to invading and respecting your child’s privacy.
It’s not always an easy balance; we want to protect our children and to do so, we need to be as “in the know” as we possibly can.
Many of the decisions we make as parents are based — in part or totally — on how our parents raised us. My wonderful, beautiful, loving, graceful, wise (OK, this could go on for the entire post) mother was the absolute best mother ever.
That was, until I gave birth in 1997 *wink*.
And while she did the best that she could, I remember exactly what it was like to be a teenager. So, when I started to create my family, I reflected on some of the things that I thought I could improve upon with the next generation.
Being up in their business is one of them.
How much is too much?
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to how much is too much. You truly have to do what is best for you and your family; there is not "one size fits all." What works for me is a complete while-you-live-in-my-house-there's-no-such-thing-as-privacy approach.
Yup, I "invade" my teenager's privacy on a regular basis -- with his full cooperation (i.e., he's accepted that he has no choice).
He knows why I do what I do, and while he may not like it, he understands that it is only because I love him.
One of the main reasons I am committed to invading my teenager's so-called privacy is that, although we repeatedly make many life discussions on every topic under the sun, there is nothing like a real-time situation to bring a conversation full-circle.
My privacy invading tactics...
Phone check is a random search of his iPhone and all its contents.
I review the text messages, call log, photo album and notes. When I see something questionable, I ask him to explain (in a non-accusatory tone) and we engage in very productive conversations.
It was a phone check last year that led us to have the "distribution of child pornography" conversation -- you know, the whole "I just forwarded the pic to my friends so they could see what she sent me" thing, well, it's actually a crime.
At any time, I will search his bedroom. Every drawer, jean pocket, shelf, under the mattress, you name it -- and always without warning.