How much privacy do you give your kids? Is it different depending on age? How and in what areas? This came up today and has in the past in a parenting group that I am in on line. I am shocked at the responses that everyone but a few give. Topic of the day was cell phones and text.
A mom had taken away her 13 daughters phone because she was on it when she was told not to be. Okay fine would do the same thing, but then mom goes through the phone and reads the daughters text between her and her 14 year old friend. She seen a conversation about sex. She waned to talk to her about it but not break her trust and make her feel she invaded her privacy.
Everyone jumped in saying she has no privacy and is entitled to none she is living in her house she is paying the bill. Tell her she can’t talk to the friend anymore, tell her that what she was talking about was not appropriate for her to be talking about, block the friend so she can’t call her text and don’t let her go around said friend anymore. How their kids are not allowed to have anything private they read and look at anything and everything at any given time and their kids know it, their friends know as well. That if they want privacy they can have it when they move out, just on and on. I was not the popular one in the mix I am sure and was super surprised I didn’t get jumped all over and hung out to dry.
I said I wouldn’t tell her I read her text, I would sit down and have a talk with her about sex or a more in depth talk about sex with her and talk about the things that were brought up in the text. I would let her know how I feel about them and my beliefs and let her know that she could ask any questions at anytime I would be there to talk about whatever with her. I also said that I was not surprised at all by the topic of conversation if the other girl went to pubic school because of the things I heard first hand in the halls, from friends kids and their parents about what they come home from school talking about from about 4th grade and up. That I would not tell her that she could not talk to this friend anymore or see her because it was just a normal topic of conversation that was going to come up and even more as she got older between her and her friends if not this one another one. It is true I don’t care what school your child goes to if it is public or private even the odds are they are going to know about these things and be talking about them first hand rather you know it, like it or want it to happen or not.
I don’t feel taking all your kids privacy or giving them none to start with is the answer to keeping them from talking about things that you don’t want them to talk about or knowing about things you are not ready for them to know about. I think that trust, privacy and all of those things are something that a child gets until they give you a reason to worry or to not give it. Even then it depends why you feel they should not have it or it should not be given. It is a fine line that once you cross is hard to come back from and restore for a lot of people. It is’t something that should just be given and taken back and forth all the time when it comes to private things like phones, computers, tablets, going places, seeing friends, what friends they have even. I find these to be areas you really have to decide if that is a battle you want to pick because it isn’t done at this one incident it has lasting affects and repercussions. My kids have facebook and they message friends and family on there. Well my oldest 13 does when she has access to a computer or tablet. I set the account up for her long a go and gave her the password to it and things. It is private and people can’t friend her unless they know information that most people don’t know. She knows that she needs to ask me before she adds anyone to her page be it friends or family. She also knows that I have the password and that I can log in and look at it anytime I want. She also knows that I don’t check her messages or log in to her account. I did one time and that was when my dad was sick or just after she passed because her friends mom told me something she seen when her daughter and mine were talking or something her daughter said to her about something that was said between them. I talked to her and she said she was okay and that was about it. I just told her that her friend had said something to her mom or her mom had seen something they were saying and was worried about her and wanted to make sure she was alright. When me and the mom talked I told her what my daughter had said and she was a little worried because she felt there was a little more to it or something was wrong. I logged on and read the messages between the two girls. Whatever it was I wasn’t really worried about it so I never said anything. She was only 11 at the time and she really don’t care if I check them she even told me she didn’t care. I told her I needed the password but that I wouldn’t use it unless I really felt that something was wrong with her or one of her friends they were in danger or something like that. My friend was worried then because of all we had been going through with my dad and my daughters having her problem with eating in the past and just something she said did’t sit well with her and she had a eating disorder growing up so she whatever was said kind of made her stop and worry. If it hadn’t been something like that I would have never looked at her stuff. I talked to her about it again later and told her what we were worried about and and that our friend was still not comfortable with the information she seen or heard because it was just pieces but enough to make her still worry. I ask her if she knew what she was talking about by the little that she knew and she said no not really. I asked her if we could look back at where they were talking and see if we could find what she was talking about and what was said to make it sound like something that we may be needed to be worried about? She said yes go ahead you have the password. I just told her I didn’t want to go behind her back and do it or not tell her that she could sit there with me and look through it. She said no I’m tired I am going to bed but if you want to look and see you can. I looked and whatever it was was a simple miss understanding but I was glad that my friend and her friend were worried enough to not just let it go knowing that she could say everything was fine and I not figure out until things were bad because my oldest keeps everything inside and not talk about it to much. She will say just like me I’m fine. She knows that there are just some things that you can’t not say anything about and you can’t get mad at a friend or someone for telling if you say it. She will tell her friends if it is something that someone needs to know about I am telling because I care to much to see something happen or you do something that may not ever be able to be undone or forgotten. I am going to tell my mom I am not going to lie to you about it or not tell you before hand but I have to. There are just somethings that we agree I can not keep secret and not tell, if I do then I will get in trouble. Thank God so far we have not had to worry about it. A lot of her friends and even my friends kids will come to me and talk to me about things. They know if I feel their parents need to know then we will go to them together and talk about it. And I have had a few come and want to talk and say I know your probably going to say you have to tell my parents but I need to talk or whatever. When they are done most the time it isn’t as bad as they think it is and I will tell them no we don’t have to tell your parents but if you want to and want me to I will go with you why you do, tell them for you or we can go talk to them together. Most don’t once or twice they say yeah they want to or that they are going too later. A lot of times the parents will tell me later so and so said you all talked to day and told me this or that. I just say yes and everything is good. I don’t get all into it unless they tell them something way off from what we talked about or what was said. My kids know they have a few of my friends that they can talk to instead of me but that the same rules apply as if it was their kid coming to me.
I can not imagine telling my kid they can’t talk to someone because of the subject they are talking about, they can’t be friends with someone because of the things they talk about or going through their stuff just because. It makes no since to me why people feel that teens should not have any privacy at all until they are grown and out of the house. To me that teaches them nothing about boundaries and things like that. Do they really think it is going to keep them from talking about these things? They can’t be there in person with them all the time to see what they are talking about. One person even said they will just hide sneak and delete text or messages off their stuff. Others were all saying it’s ok there is an app that will show deleted ones and there is an app that will send everyone to your phone or email every time a message or text is sent so you will still know. Who has enough time in a day to even sit and go through all that and read them all even if you done it once a week that is still a lot of messages to go through if your kid has a friend and that is the main way they get to talk and things. They even look at everything they look at on line or on the internet on their phones and computers. I seen so many say oh no my kid isn’t allowed to have any computer or internet we don’t have the in the house or use them I only use them to print school stuff out and do my own thing on the kids are not allowed to touch them. How is a child who is never allowed to use a computer supposed to learn to type and use one to do anything with or look things up to find out information or how to do basics with it to even be able to get a job when they are grown or go to collage? Or even use a phone if they are not allowed to have one? To me that is doing your kids a huge disservice and putting them at a huge disadvantage as much as computers are used now in just about everything you do in life.
I feel that if I can’t give my kid pricey and trust them with these things then I have not done my job as a parent. A child should be able to pick their friends, have private conversations be it in person, text or whatever form they decide. I feel that if you are to strict it is going to do just what you are trying to keep from happening to start with or at least keep them from being open and honest with you. My mom was this way and controlling I did not trust her, I told her nothing I hid everything no matter how simple or how large it was I told her nothing. She didn’t go through my stuff but if I left notes or something laying out she would read them and then have a fit about whatever was in them or who they were too. She didn’t like my friends and just on and on. I feel that I do not have to like my child’s friends or approve of them, I do not have to know everything they talk about. I trust that I have raised my kids to think for their self and to know right from wrong and to not just follow the crowd to be liked or fit in. You can be liked and fit in without doing everything the crowd is doing. If you have respect for yourself and your morals and values. Others who are friend will as well and not care if you don’t do everything they do. I had friends from every age, grade, gender, sexual orientation, race, social group or whatever you can think of when I was in High School and Jr High. Because I was like I am now this is me take it or leave it, you are you if your not a asshole then we can be friends. Most were more worried about their click or social circle and if you didn’t fit in then they couldn’t talk to you or sit with you. I was just that girl in the class that kept to herself and could careless what the rest of you were doing. If you talk to me I will talk to you but I am not going out of my way to talk to you or befriend you. You would be amazed how many just wanted someone to talk to about their problems at home or whatever and they all seemed to think I was the one person that they could do that with even though I wasn’t in their click or social group they ran in. I was very private and did not talk about my life or home or anything like that with many at all. There are people to this day that do not know who my brothers and sisters are and know us both. Because we are not close we don’t talk much and I didn’t hang around them or talk about them. I also only had very few people over and did things with very few even though I talked to and was known by a lot of kids at school. I did not consider myself popular I have not clue why everyone felt drawn to me and like they could just open up and dump their life story on me or all their problems at home on me. I guess maybe because I didn’t talk to everyone else or tell everyone else what we talked about or that we talked at all. I didn’t spread their business around school or judge them. What you do you do our relationship, friendship, class partner or whatever is biased on how you treat me.
I hope that my kids are able to do that and fit in and get a long with and include everyone. I tell them they can talk to me about anything and everything if they need to or want too. I can’t force them to or snoop in their stuff to find out what is going on. I have to trust that they are becoming adults and are going to need to learn how to function in the real world before they hit 18. So many of these parents are just like nope nothing until they are out of my house this is how it has been with all my kids and they are great whatever. But how close are you really to your kids? Like my mom will tell you how we get along and how close we are (maybe not now since I haven’t seen her in a while or talked to her) but over all most the time she will. She thinks she knows all about my life and what is going on in it and how I am. She really knows nothing. She knows very little of how my life really is, how I really feel about things, the things I really do, the people I talk to, “date” or “talk” to in that since or anything. Stuff she does know she isn’t told about until after the fact sometimes long after the fact. But most things she knows nothing about. She don’t know I have a friend I talk to or go see. She don’t know my oldest just dyed her hair teal tonight, she don’t know who I talk to as friend or if or when we go place. She don’t know if I am thinking about dating or if I want to date, she don’t know I am seeing a counselor the last 4 months or that I am on medication for it. She wasn’t happy I went to the hospital by myself and wanted to come. She don’t know why I went by myself and didn’t want her there or that I am planing on moving once I finish school or that I am thinking about moving up to where the therapist is going. She had no clue that when the storm came me and the kids were only going because we wanted to look for places to move not because we were worried the storm may hit us. I could have stayed here went across the street stayed in the shelter why the worse of it went over us and then came home in case a tree fell on the house. If I had known what was going to happen I would have. But if you hear her talk we have a great relationship talk about everything I tell her everything we are the perfect mother daughter. When she isn’t pissed off about something I have done she found out about. We live maybe 8 miles away. We have such a great relationship that she didn’t even know that my and Father of The Year were having any kind of problems much less about to file for a divorce and split up it was set in stone no turning back. She still has no clue what happen between me and RC why he did what he did. All she knows is what he told her and that is it. I really don’t care. I don’t feel it is really any of her business. She can believe what she wants to believe.
When I see all these parents talking about how they done it with their kids and how they had no privacy and how they are so strict and things and their relationships are great I just think how well do you really know your kid and how great is it? I wonder if their kids really do tell them everything and trust them or if like me they just don’t bring things up and don’t tell them things because of the way they are and they think they do?
I am not saying that what I am doing is the only way, right way 0r that I am better than anyone else because I give my kids privacy. Who knows if my kids will tell me things when they get older as they do now or if we will be close like I hope and that we are now. I like to think we will be the way they talk about not wanting to leave home or taking care of me when I am older and building me a house to live in next to theirs so I can still have my own house and not have to live with anyone because they know I like having my space and house. I can tell you when I was my older two kids age and even before all I could think about and talk about was how much I hated it at home, how much I wanted to live with my dad not my mom and that I couldn’t wait to move out on my own if I couldn’t live with my dad. I can still remember when we were younger and something was said about when my mom got old or needed someone to take care of her my sister who was about Big Guys age said she would take her and my step dad in and take care of them. My brother was “joking” about what nursing home he would put her in and I just got gone and stayed out of it. And how mad she got when I told her if she committed a crime I would turn her in if I found out. Not just here but anyone really but she was asking about her because of something we seen in the news or in the news paper.
I feel horrible can’t sleep and have a guest in my bed yet another night this week who is taking it all up. I am hot but it is already 77 in here if i turn it down cooler the kids will get cold. I have the fan on in my room because I am hot. Last night I didn’t think it was going to get cool and it did most everyone woke up with a sore throat. I try to set the heat one or two below what we normally keep it in here at night just in case. I have so much I need to do tomorrow and I am going to just want to sleep if I don’t go soon. I may just take the kids to school come home sleep for a little bit then go do what I need too. I have ran non stop it seems like since Thursday or been sick I need a break and some sleep without knees in my back feet in my face elbows in the head. That isn’t going to happen unless they are at school. Little Bitty has been extra clingy lately I don’t know if it is because I am sick or what.