We all enjoy our privacy and when we are adults we treasure being able to keep to ourselves when we need time out or when we have had a bad day. We can easily avoid prying eyes and nosy people when we want to. What happens when you teenager pulls away or becomes distant? What if they seem to be hiding something? Did you come across something in their room that could harm them such as drugs?
Some parents find it natural to go into their child's room to see what they are up to. What if they are now a teenager and have asked you to stay out of their personal space? There are moments when it is not ok to spy and turn your teenager's room into an FBI investigation scene, and there are other times where you have to weigh the consequences of your nosiness against the safety of your child.
When it is NOT OK to Snoop
If you child gets good grades, studies when they get home, does their chores, shares their day with you, goes to bed on time and wakes up for school every morning, chances are they are not into anything too dangerous. While in some more severe cases this can be a 'front' that is put on to keep you from prying, most of the time these actions mean that your teenager is on a healthy path.
Most teens are exposed to drugs, alcohol and various other things at some point in their high school life, but it doesn't mean your teen is going to be the one to join in. Many teens know how to say 'no' and walk away from people that offer them things that are risky. If your teen seems to be staying on her educational path, hangs out with her regular friends, has the same enthusiasm for her interests, and maintains her grades, you probably should stay out of her or his room and give them their privacy.
When it is OK to Snoop
If something is endangering your child or your family, or if you have discovered your child is engaging in some risky behaviour, it is your right to snoop and to tell your child that you are doing so. It is important to be upfront with your child and tell them that you do not trust them at this time because of what you have found and you will be checking their room, backpack, computer and cell phone until you can be assured that they are safe and away from harm.
Yes, they may start hiding whatever they were doing outside of the home and conducting risky behaviours outside of the home, but you need to tell your teenager that you will not tolerate them getting involved in risky behaviours that can them or hurt your family. When it comes down to it, it is your home. You are most likely the owner and bill payer of their cell phone, computer, internet access and anything else they own. If you discover something that could potentially harm your child, you have a right to search through their things. Nowadays, the internet is overcrowded with predators and you have the right to see what your teen has been viewing from their phone or computer. Internet safety is a very important topic that should be discussed often.
It is much better to have a teenager that is angry with you, than a teen that ends up in the hospital or sexually abused, or worse. We as parents just want our teens to be safe and learn to make the right choices, and if that means exposing their risky behaviour and intervening, then we will. That's what a loving parent does.
When do you think it is OK to snoop in your teen's room and personal life? Share with us!