Friday, 6 March 2015

Why it is wrong to read your child's diary and text messages.

I'm sure and every stage in a parents life there comes a time when they venture into their teenagers bedroom they might come across a diary, phone or unattended laptop left logged on. Then comes a fleeting thought.  To look, or not to look?  I have seen many a topic covered on Facebook groups and parenting web sights debated whether or not parents have ever peeked at their child's texts, emails diaries and other things and I'm always intrigued by the answers but I'm here today to tell you why you probably shouldn't

Think about it like this.  In any other adult situation if another person was to go through someones stuff without permission or in secret this behavior would be inappropriate and deemed a malicious act.  I was once in a relationship with a boy who would constantly hack, steal and snoop through my stuff.  I would teach my own children that if a boyfriend or girlfriend did this to you it could be classed as abusive behavior.  You wouldn't expect it from them, your friend or work colleagues so it should be different from a child-parent perspective.

But what if If I suspect my child is participating in dangerous or unwise behavior?
I understand there are many things that a parent worries about when their teenagers begin to experiment and learn the ropes of becoming an adult. Sex, drugs, self harm and easting disorders  are a few things a parent may worry about a child keeping secret from them, but I tell you its as simple as this.  If you build a relationship with your child that allows them to discuss with you these things and come to you when they want to talk about them they wont keep them a secret from you. If your child thinks they will get in trouble or have a negative response from you upon trying to discuss these things with you they will keep them a secret and turn to friends for advice instead.  You must accept that your child will do things that you don't agree with, they will do things wrong. It's your job to educate, listen and sympathise. Believe me yelling and screaming the house down will only push your child further away.  If your child has come into contact with drugs, is ready to experience or talk about sex or is experiencing some kind of self harm they need to know they can come to you without judgement and punishment.  Let your child know you these things are not taboo or shameful things.  They are just a part of life.

Somethings are just personal, especially personal diaries.

Private diaries are not always full of secrets or malicious things.  Sometimes they are just places to vent and project emotions.  Not everything written in a teenagers diary is true.  I was told as a teenager if you were ever feeling angry, down or upset to just write it all down and get it all out.  We all know things said in anger are rarely sincere.  Believe me if your child ever writes down that they think you are a "big fat stupid bitch who should die in a well" or something equally nasty and sour believe me it was never meant to cause you harm and it was never meant.  In fact it's only your fault for looking.  Kids write stuff that is embarrassing and they don't want you to see. It could be cheesy poetry, song lyrics, doodles or ramblings about a crush.  Non of these things are harmful but they are private.  If you bring up to your child that you found or read their personal stuff they will know you read about that really cringe thought they had or that terrible angsty poem they wrote.  Embarrassment like this won't fade away overnight but it can irreversibly damage your relationship forever.  It's not something that can always be forgotten.

I'm worried my child is talking to someone problematic.
It is your responsibility as an adult to ensure you have a relationship bond that allows you to be able to talk about these things without snooping.  If you think your child is falling in with a bad crowd or a friend isn't trustworthy talk to them about it. Explain why you feel how you feel, go back to the previous mention of educate, listen and sympathise. 

Its also important to remember just because someone is keeping a secret diary or being possessive of their phone/laptop does not necessarily mean that have secrets.  Everyone is entitled to their personal space. If you take a second to think about it you may even have one to without realising. Children are entitled to personal space as much as adults are.


Have you ever had your personal belongings snooped through? How did it make you feel? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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