Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Privacy -- what do you think?

So I have my ideas, but since one commenter gave me some fairly definitive ideas about privacy, and I thought I would ask you all what you think.

How much privacy should teenagers (or younger children) have with respect to their bedrooms.

Assuming of course that we are talking about sexually safe situations (everyone dressed and the door open) what should the rules be?

Should parents be allowed to enter whenever they want? Whenever they feel they have a good reason? Only when the teenagers are there?

What works for you and your teen(s)?

If you are a foster parent, are there regulations that restrict what you may do? If you are a foster alum, do you think there should be?


  1. rossecorp8:05 PM

    I'm pretty much with you on this one. I do think my teenage kids have a right to privacy, as long as I have no reason to suspect that they are in any trouble or danger. So I don't snoop, but I do go in to their rooms to get/find things I need (like the phones, which all seem to end up in my son's room). (I almost never need to go into my daughter's room, because she doesn't "lose" things in there.) If I see something I'm concerned about while I'm in there, I ask him about it. I don't always like his answers, though, and sometimes I wish I hadn't gone into his room and discovered things I had to ask about, but I am the parent and it is my responsibility to intervene when necessary. I DID snoop regularly during one period when I was worried about him, but made it clear to him that I was doing that, and why (to keep him safe). I disagree with the commenter who thought kids didn't have any right to privacy. Everyone has a right to privacy, even young children. That's one way boundaries are made.

  2. Bug is 10 and there is no assumption of privacy. In fact, I conduct room inspections every so often to make sure she hasn't hidden food..her big thing.

    That being said, I do afford her some privacy when I'm not checking her room. We knock before entering each other's rooms. If a door is shut, we knock and ask permission to enter. Bug is not allowed to shut her door unless she is changing. She is allowed to have boys/men in her room, but not on her bed (except if I'm there) to sit and never with the door closed. This goes for everyone, Geo, grandpa etc.

    I try to give her as much privacy as I can, I don't rummage through her diary or notebooks or drawings. But she knows she can get busted for having things in her house, my room. Just because she lives in it does not mean she can do anything she wants.

    I'm not sure how I would adjust that for older children, but probably not much. I wouldn't say you should rummage through Evan's room on a daily basis..but he should know that you can come and see what is in there. You don't want drugs or weapons or things in your's for the safety of everyone right? I'm not sure that I'm aware of any foster care rules related to it except that the bedroom doors have to be able to be unlocked from the outside.

  3. I’ve been reading your blog for some time even though I'm neither a parent nor a foster parent, but I was an au-pair some years ago and I can identify with some of Evan’s feelings. I was also 18-19, living in a family that I was supposed to be a part of in some ways, but didn’t grow up in, but who also got to decide if I could stay or have to go somewhere else. I liked them and, as far as I know, they liked me too, but I always knew that I was living in their house, under their rules. I really didn’t like it when they had to go in to my room, and they had to sometimes, to get to the basement. It was the only place in the house that was mine, the rest was theirs, and I wanted my privacy. It was also often quite messy, and I sometimes had food or candy in there and I didn’t want them to see that. Now I’m sure they knew that, but at the time it felt important to look good to them.

    Maybe some of applies to Evan too; he doesn’t want you to come in and see the dirty towels/dishes/whatever because he knows that they aren’t supposed to be there and he is a little embarrassed about it, so he plans to put them back some time when you aren’t looking, and that way it will never have happened, since you (he thinks) didn’t notice. When you come in to the room (or stand outside) and make him give you the stuff, it is very obvious that he hasn’t done what you wanted him to and he can’t hide that, and that is embarrassing.

    I think a lot of teenagers think their privacy is very important, even if they aren’t hiding anything that is too bad. But then again, I could be wrong or vary naive, and there might be something he really doesn’t want you to see. Or a combination of both. Good luck, you seem to be doing a great job!

  4. Thanks Tina.

    I do like hearing from readers...thanks for de-lurking.

    I think you are correct, by the way. I suspect that is exactly how he feels, and I suspect when he is upset about it he belives that he will get the dishes (or whatever). It's just that he doesn't!

    Actually he is a little better about dishes. It is the towels which were never supposed to be in there in the first place that are the real issue!



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