RIGHT TO PRIVACY
often struggle with the boundaries of their children's privacy.
When a mother is cleaning a child's room or putting away some
clothing, the temptation to look at that crumpled stack of
papers on the desk or flip through an unlocked diary or poke
around the closet can be too strong to resist. Especially
if there's any cause for concern. And what do you do if you
actually find something? Will you destroy your child's trust
if you admit to an invasion of privacy? These are tough questions.
I believe it is important to respect a child's right to privacy
but only up to a point. Your child's safety is always the
primary issue and concern. Of course, the difficulty is trying
to determine if your child's health or survival is actually
at risk. Therefore, you need to be educated about the signs
of substance abuse or depression such as marked changes in
behavior or mood and/or onset of sleeping or eating problems.
Learn as much as you can so you can recognize the serious
problem that probably your teenager is hiding. One of the
best ways to manage this is to spend time alone with your
child. This will provide opportunities for your child to share,
when he or she is ready, what is actually going on. Remember,
teens are scared and they will want to talk to you if they
can believe you will really listen and not judge them harshly.
Privacy is important. Teens want special space, usually their
bedroom, which will reflect their moods, interests, and search
for a sense of identity. However parents need to set some
guidelines up front. Tell your child his privacy will be respected
unless his behavior strongly suggests there is a serious problem,
which he is denying. Open communication is always the priority.
But, if there are strong signs of trouble then you have to
be strict and firm. Thus respect their privacy as long as
it is not harmful, but a sign of trouble you must take the
problem head on.