As parents we have some tough decisions to make. I realize that I have a soon to be teen on my hands. I am struggling with the balance of his privacy vs my right to know. My son is 11 soon to be 12 and every day I am reminded how much our times have changed. I can honestly say my son is a good kid. I have never had any major issues out of him. Of course he is a kid that will push the limit here and there with a little back talk but overall, he’s a good kid.
My son got a cell phone when he was 8 and I know you are thinking, wow 8? But the truth of the matter is I didn’t want him to have one so young but my sons father lived in a different state. He went to his dads’ house every summer for the ENTIRE summer! There was no way I could deal with not having “anytime” contact with my son, so I bought him a cheap minute phone to start out with.
This year for Christmas I finally broke down. I added my son to my contact but it that was a tough decision for me to make. He had asked me for about a year to buy him an iPhone and I told him ABSOLUTELY NOT! I finally thought about it around Christmas time and decided that since he will be going to High School next year (in our school district High School is 7th-12th grade) that I would rather him have a phone that I can keep tabs on him with.
I gave my son his iPhone for Christmas and I set it up just how I wanted. I also put my fingerprint on it to unlock the phone because if I pay the bill I want full access to the phone. I do not allow my son to take his phone to school and I randomly do phone check. Phone check consist of me checking all text messages, internet history, YouTube history, and any social media he uses. Now I do not allow him to have social media like Facebook or Instagram but he does use Musical.ly and I still monitor that as well… and it’s also a requirement that we are friends too.
I don’t want to be that parent where he doesn’t get to have any privacy, but at the same time I don’t want to be that parent that has no clue what my child is up to. I want to know all his friends, I even want to know their parents too. I can remember being a teen and feeling like my parents violated my privacy all the time. It was so frustrating and it would actually piss me off. As a teen, you already feel like you know everything and you feel like your parents are clueless!
I used to keep a journal and I wrote a lot in my journal about my feelings. My mother read my journal and I was an emotional wreck when I found out. I felt like I had been violated and that my own personal thoughts had been taken from me, that my inner most feelings were no longer private. Now on the flip side I am a parent myself I get it, you have to check up on your kids to see what they are up to. I could have been battling depression or even considering suicide. This was not the case for me, but maybe my mother felt the need or she was just being nosey!
My trust with my parents changed that day and I truly felt disrespected, but when you are a child living in your parents’ house, under their rules how much privacy do you deserve? At what point, do we as parents cross the lines? I struggle with this balance because I was once that kid that felt violated but now I am that parent that wants to know what my child is involved in…
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