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Would you invade your child's privacy to make sure they are okay?

post #1 of 293
Thread Starter 
This was on the radio this morning and it got me fired up. I was curious what some other Mother's thought...

I usually miss the original email in the morning that spawns the conversation, but it had something to do with "spying" or following up on your children to make sure they are not up to things they shouldn't be.

This Mother called in and said that as a parent you have to do whatever it takes to make sure your child is safe and she has broken into her daughter's diary several times to "check-up" on her. She even admitted her daughter gave her no reason to beleive she had any troubles going on or anything, she just felt as the Mother she had every right to snoop in her daughter's things to make sure she was okay.


This really angered me... maybe I'm being unrealistic because I do not have teens to deal with yet... but I plan on impressing an open communication and am hoping if my children are dealing with anything and need help, they know they can come to me... I do not agree with invading their privacy like this.

My Mother did that to me as a teen, and it's still a sore spot. She raided my room and found a box of condomns and I actually got grounded for it... Grounded for being reponsible... yeah I don't think that was the correct message to send.


So anyway... thoughts on this??
post #2 of 293
I would not read a diary. I can't imagine a circumstance in which I would. (maybe serious criminal activity or an attempted suicide.... which are both awful thoughts )For me, words/thoughts are sacred, and having a diary that one can trust will not be read is very important to personal well-being.

I would search a room, though, if I were concerned about drugs or sexual activity or minor criminal activity (shoplifting, maybe?). Storing stolen goods or drugs in your parents' house is not so much important for personal well-being.

I will be open with my children about this-- "Your room is your room, I'll knock before I come in... but it's still my house, and we don't keep *insert material you find objectionable* in my house."

This very much depends on age, too.
post #3 of 293
I would.
If I had a reason to believe that my daughter (or son) was not safe, yes, I would.
I wanted to kill myself when I was 13, had my mother not looked through my diary & confronted me, then I probably would have.
Yes, it's not a good thing, but I would do whatever it takes to keep my children safe. They might be angry with me at the time, but looking back they won't,
& I'd rather have an angry daughter than a dead daughter.

That being said,
I would NOT go through her room, read letters or anything, just to "check up on her" or "see what she's up to". I do hope to have a very good relationship with DD , & that she will come to talk to me about her problems.
But a depressed teenager, well, they often do very sad things.
I might be slightly more nervous, though, as I lost two friends through suicide, & I understand that many people here will strongly disagree with my opinion.
post #4 of 293
If I felt there was a reason to go through their stuff, I would. I won't go through it just because I can. When they start getting into IM and myspace, I will make sure to have all info so I can check up on them. I value their online safety over their privacy.
post #5 of 293
absolutely.
post #6 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaterPrimaePuellae View Post
I would not read a diary. I can't imagine a circumstance in which I would. (maybe serious criminal activity or an attempted suicide.... which are both awful thoughts )For me, words/thoughts are sacred, and having a diary that one can trust will not be read is very important to personal well-being.

I would search a room, though, if I were concerned about drugs or sexual activity or minor criminal activity (shoplifting, maybe?). Storing stolen goods or drugs in your parents' house is not so much important for personal well-being.

I will be open with my children about this-- "Your room is your room, I'll knock before I come in... but it's still my house, and we don't keep *insert material you find objectionable* in my house."

This very much depends on age, too.
I agree with this. I would but only if I thought that she was in danger of hurting herself or someone else.

Just to check up on her? No way. For me to read her diary it would have to be a last resort type thing.
post #7 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommato5 View Post
I value their online safety over their privacy.

oh my goodness, i had completely ignored the fact that they are going to use instant messengers & such!
That is such a scary thought.
I hope they won't be interested in that sort of thing..
(haha, what are the chances!)
post #8 of 293
My dd is 8 and I would never invade her privacy, especially snoop and break into her diary. Right now we have a very close relationship and she is very open w/me. I kind of relish that b/c I know that may change, but right now I don't take advantage of it, and I appreciate her telling me things. I do know that she may not tell me right away, but when things bother her, she does eventually tell me. My mother was never that open w/me (and we still are not close), but she also never went thru my things.
If I thought she was in some sort of danger to herself or others, well to me, that is a different story.
post #9 of 293
My mom did. Same situation as the OP - she "cleaned" my room and found my condoms. She did not ground me, but we fought. She was upset that I hid part of my life from her. I think that scenario happened about 3 times.

I am a total doofus because while I knew she poked around my room, I never locked up my diaries. She read those too. I think maybe a part of me knew she would.... and boy, she must have died reading some parts. She did not tell me she snooped until recently - I think I was pregnant! And I was furious, but I understood a little.

I think I will probably snoop, but be like my mom. She (with the exception of the condom incident) never let me know she snooped, but used what she found out to have certian talks. And she was making sure I was OK. I was very moody and dark, and probably scared her a bit, but I was being a dramatic teen. I was never in danger. I think reading my thoughts helped keep her from wigging out over my choice of music/dress/decor/boyfriends.

ETA - my mom and I have always been close, even through the teen angst and drama. She only kind of betrayed my trust, because while she did snoop, she also kept my secrets.
post #10 of 293
I would not read my child's journal except in some bizarre, rare, extreme circumstance, like they went missing, and I was desperate for clues to find them.

I am shocked that so many people would. I find it very disturbing.
post #11 of 293
I do not trust my mother to this day. She routinely read my stuff and threw out my stuff. There was no reason for this. The only place I could keep things I wanted was at my grandmother's. She and my dad also read all mail that came to me unless I got to it first. They didn't believe that privacy was an option.

I would NEVER do this to my child. If I suspected that they may harm themselves or someone else or were exhibiting strange behavior, I would talk to them first. Sometimes you just need a place to sort your thoughts.
post #12 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
This was on the radio this morning and it got me fired up. I was curious what some other Mother's thought...

I usually miss the original email in the morning that spawns the conversation, but it had something to do with "spying" or following up on your children to make sure they are not up to things they shouldn't be.

This Mother called in and said that as a parent you have to do whatever it takes to make sure your child is safe and she has broken into her daughter's diary several times to "check-up" on her. She even admitted her daughter gave her no reason to beleive she had any troubles going on or anything, she just felt as the Mother she had every right to snoop in her daughter's things to make sure she was okay.


This really angered me... maybe I'm being unrealistic because I do not have teens to deal with yet... but I plan on impressing an open communication and am hoping if my children are dealing with anything and need help, they know they can come to me... I do not agree with invading their privacy like this.

My Mother did that to me as a teen, and it's still a sore spot. She raided my room and found a box of condomns and I actually got grounded for it... Grounded for being reponsible... yeah I don't think that was the correct message to send.


So anyway... thoughts on this??
My mother did that to me, too, and yes it is still a sore spot. She also used to open my mail, etc. I would never do that to my kids unless I had very concrete reason to believe they were in immediate danger.
post #13 of 293
Never say never in parenting, I guess, but I don't think I would.

Both my husband and I have kept journals and we consider them really private; I would like to extend the same courtesy to my son.

I guess I feel like there are likely to be other signs of any serious trouble. Maybe that's overly optimistic, but I know that for me any hint of someone prying into my very personal space would just make me shut down even more.

herewearetogether, I can totally understand your viewpoint about it. I think it's a good reminder of what a critical role parents play.

For online communication with teens over 12 (ish), I feel the same way up until the point that it becomes real contact.

So I think I would focus my efforts on making sure my son understood those elements - not to give out personal information, and never to meet anyone from the 'net without informing us, rather than trying to monitor everything he did.

Under 12 (ish; depends on the child) I do think monitoring online communication is fine; it's like you have playdates with parents for a while and then move to playdates with just the 'host' parent, and then eventually the kids can meet at the park on their own. I see my role as being much more intrusive at the start and then gradually stepping back.

I do think that leaving kids space to make mistakes - hopefully not critical ones although there is some risk - is actually one of the ways one builds responsibility, ethics, and capability to meet life's challenges. So I don't see my goal as being to prevent a teenager from experiencing anything negative or to know everything. More to have my radar up.

I do see my role as being to step in when it gets really dangerous. But I don't think a diary is likely to be the only sign. But again I might change my opinion later.

I know I would search my son's room if I thought there was a drug problem. But I wouldn't for anything to do with sex; I'd actually rather find condoms than not.
post #14 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
My Mother did that to me as a teen, and it's still a sore spot. She raided my room and found a box of condomns and I actually got grounded for it... Grounded for being reponsible... yeah I don't think that was the correct message to send.
My parents read something of mine when I was 17. It wasn't a diary, per se, it was a notebook that my best friend in high school and I would use to right back and forth to each other. There was definately some... stuff... I would never have wanted my parents to read! They found out I was having sex, drinking on the weekends and smoking (various things ).

They grounded me. For 4 months until I turned 18 and they couldn't do a darn thing about it. I basically was not allowed out of the house except to go to school- which mom and dad took me to and picked me up from.

What did it teach me? To start skipping school during those 4 months (to my credit though- I never skipped any actual classes, just study periods and lunch). I also started leaving the house at night after mom was asleep. And after that 4 months was up I went right back to where I was, with the same guy doing the same things. Looking back I know they were trying to protect me. They really went about it the wrong way. Less than a year after I turned 18 and was ungrounded I got pregnant with the same guy they were trying to keep me from seeing

But would I do the same thing? No way. The only chance of me doing that would be if I felt my child were in danger (suicidal, etc) and they were refusing to talk to me or other adults about it.
post #15 of 293
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephandOwen View Post
My parents read something of mine when I was 17. It wasn't a diary, per se, it was a notebook that my best friend in high school and I would use to right back and forth to each other. There was definately some... stuff... I would never have wanted my parents to read! They found out I was having sex, drinking on the weekends and smoking (various things ).

They grounded me. For 4 months until I turned 18 and they couldn't do a darn thing about it. I basically was not allowed out of the house except to go to school- which mom and dad took me to and picked me up from.

What did it teach me? To start skipping school during those 4 months (to my credit though- I never skipped any actual classes, just study periods and lunch). I also started leaving the house at night after mom was asleep. And after that 4 months was up I went right back to where I was, with the same guy doing the same things. Looking back I know they were trying to protect me. They really went about it the wrong way. Less than a year after I turned 18 and was ungrounded I got pregnant with the same guy they were trying to keep me from seeing

But would I do the same thing? No way. The only chance of me doing that would be if I felt my child were in danger (suicidal, etc) and they were refusing to talk to me or other adults about it.

Precisely!! All that did was teach me to hide things better and I started sneaking out a lot because I was constantly grounded... I moved out right when I turned 18 and got into some seriously bad relationships.

I don't regret my decisions because it all has built me to who I am... but I wish my parents would have been more communicative instead of invading my privacy and trying to dictate my life when I was 16-17 years old. I was being responsible. When I was drinking we never drove, we took friends keys already at parties. I took myself to Planned Parenthood as soon as I became sexually active and used protection.

It just really bothered me the way this woman spoke on the radio like she "owned" her child and could just do what she'd like with her daughters things.

Our children are their own people... We can guide, but I think totally betraying their trust is going to do way more harm than good... they are going to feel like they have no one to turn to when they DO need someone to talk to.
post #16 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post
My mother did that to me, too, and yes it is still a sore spot. She also used to open my mail, etc. I would never do that to my kids unless I had very concrete reason to believe they were in immediate danger.
:
I wouldn't have a problem if I thought there was danger involved (or illegal activity), but my Mom opened a letter I was sending to a boy I liked when I was 12 or so. He lived in CA so it's not like we could go and get into trouble or anything, but she opened it, read it, and didn't allow me to send it because I said that I liked him in the letter.
I think that's really overbearing, and honestly I don't know if she'd do it again, but obviously it affected me enough to remember 16 years later!
post #17 of 293

Yes i would!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Granted, my son is only almost 7.
BUT, I pay the rent here, that IS NOT his room, THAT is MY room, I allow him to use it.

It is MY job to keep him safe and help him learn how to be a good man, a productive citizen, a good father, know the difference between right and wrong, and to love himself!

Children don't always talk to parents, even the most patient loving and openly communicating ones.

I WILL check up on him, I WILL check out his friends, I WILL make sure he is safe, and not doing anything illegal (underage sex or drugs)... The rest is pretty much up to him, I can only do so much, but what I DO have a say in, I WILL.

BUt thats just me......

It WILL be done in a productive way. Condoms found will result in a conversation about safe sex and responsibility. Drugs will result in immediate action. They will not be tolerated in my home, I will not have things like that put me and my family in danger.
post #18 of 293
Yes I would. If its for their own good and I feel something is not right that they are not telling me, yes. I love my children too much just to look the other way when there could be a serious problem.

Now, I would not randomly open mail, read diaries, etc "just because".
post #19 of 293
when I was younger and lived in Italy, I met a lady who admitted to me that she constantly read her dd's diaries, followed her out constantly spied on her, she eventually lost her dd, and had no contact with her, such a sad story. As others have mentioned - I would only do something like that if any of my kids were in real danger, as for internet safety I recently received an email which pointed out what could happen if kids gave too much detail about themselves, I can send it on to anyone who would like it - just pm me.
post #20 of 293
I would not unless my child was acting "odd" and has given me many reasons to believe that they are up to something but just to do it to "check up" on them, absolutely not.
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