Snooping around in your kids’ stuff

October 31, 2010 by  
Filed under Ask Dr. Vicki, Parenting

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Dear Dr. Vicki:

I had a question: I hear it’s bad to snoop. But if snooping is not the way to get information from or about your children, what is the acceptable way to get information from or about them? Cell phones, book bags, bedrooms?

Dr. Vicki’s response:

 Snooping is an invasion of privacy, and conveys a total lack of trust in your child. If, in fact, she has given you REASON to be distrustful (such as having been suicidal, involved with drugs, sneaking out, stealing, and so forth) then you would have the right to snoop. You might talk with her about your concerns and desires to know what’s going on with her. If she has made poor choices in the past, instead of snooping I would suggest that you create firmer limits and tighter boundaries and less privileges. And, tell her why—you don’t trust that she is making good decision, and until you can trust her, you are going to limit her opportunities to make poor ones. She does not have to have a cell phone if you feel she is abusing the privilege; or she does not have to have text messaging if you are concerned about what she sends out, and so on. Unless searching for some kind of evidence based on previous concerns, I would leave snooping as a last resort. Because, then what happens if you snoop and find something? Are you going to confront her? I’d rather she know ahead of time that if you become suspicious of something, you may have to resort to snooping if she can’t be honest with you. If you are going to snoop and not be honest, then what’s the point? Your deception will breed deception. If you want her to be open and honest, then you have to model this behavior.

Her response:

Your deception will breed deception. WOW!! Never looked at it look that. I guess that is where my issues come up. This has shed light in a few areas for sure!!!!!

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