So I was tagged in the “post 6 selfies” thing, but… I don’t know that I actually have that many selfies! Ack! I am going to have to work on that this weekend.
Earlier today, I served as the “young woman’s voice” in a panel of local experts at a Girl Scouts speaking event. One question for the panel was something to the effect of, "Should parents read their daughter’s texts or monitor her online activity for bad language and inappropriate content?"
I was surprised when the first panelist answered the question as if it were about cyberbullying. The adult audience nodded sagely as she spoke about the importance of protecting children online.
I reached for the microphone next. I said, “As far as reading your child’s texts or logging into their social media profiles, I would say 99.9% of the time, do not do that.”
Looks of total shock answered me. I actually saw heads jerk back in surprise. Even some of my fellow panelists blinked.
Everyone stared as I explained that going behind a child’s back in such a way severs the bond of trust with the parent. When I said, “This is the most effective way to ensure that your child never tells you anything,” it was like I’d delivered a revelation.
It’s easy to talk about the disconnect between the old and the young, but I don’t think I’d ever been so slapped in the face by the reality of it. It was clear that for most of the parents I spoke to, the idea of such actions as a violation had never occurred to them at all.
It alarms me how quickly adults forget that children are people.
Apparently people are rediscovering this post somehow and I think that’s pretty cool! Having experienced similar violations of trust in my youth, this is an important issue to me, so I want to add my personal story:
Around age 13, I tried to express to my mother that I thought I might have clinical depression, and she snapped at me “not to joke about things like that.” I stopped telling my mother when I felt depressed.
Around age 15, I caught my mother reading my diary. She confessed that any time she saw me write in my diary, she would sneak into my room and read it, because I only wrote when I was upset. I stopped keeping a diary.
Around age 18, I had an emotional breakdown while on vacation because I didn’t want to go to college. I ended up seeing a therapist for - surprise surprise - depression.
Around age 21, I spoke on this panel with my mother in the audience, and afterwards I mentioned the diary incident to her with respect to this particular Q&A. Her eyes welled up, and she said, “You know I read those because I was worried you were depressed and going to hurt yourself, right?”
TL;DR: When you invade your child’s privacy, you communicate three things:
- You do not respect their rights as an individual.
- You do not trust them to navigate problems or seek help on their own.
- You probably haven’t been listening to them.
Information about almost every issue that you think you have to snoop for can probably be obtained by communicating with and listening to your child.
Part of me is really excited to see that the original post got 200 notes because holy crap 200 notes, and part of me is really saddened that something so negative has resonated with so many people.
"I tried to express to my mother that I thought I might have clinical depression, and she snapped at me "
“’You know I read those because I was worried you were depressed and going to hurt yourself, right?’”
I found these quotes particularly interesting. OP’s mother refused to listen when she tried to talk about her depression, but snooped through her things to see if she was depressed.
It’s amazing to me that parents need to be told something that I GUARANTEE they experienced themselves. This is something that predates text messaging. You search your child’s room for drugs, and they will find a better hiding place for anything they may be worried about you finding - even if it’s as innocuous as candy. You try to snoop on their phone conversations with their boyfriend, and they will 1) Find a different way to communicate with him, and 2) Never communicate with YOU about their boyfriend.
My parents doing this shit to me didn’t make me stop doing it and didn’t make me respect them any more. All it did was make me better at sneaking around.
I am a parent, and I thoroughly endorse this. My mother read my diary, I started using it to write solely fiction. My mother searched my room for “inappropriate” (i.e., sexual) material, I went out and started having sex with other people. Counter-fucking-productive, literally.
I raised my daughter with a clear message that I respected her privacy, that I trusted her to behave sensibly and maturely, that I would call her out if I caught her being less than honest (mostly about homework), but that I believed that she was a person who was deserving of respectful treatment and who was allowed to set personal boundaries.
Unsurprisingly, she didn’t go through anything like the degree of teenage acting-out and self-destructive behavior and emotional turmoil, compared to my adolescence … and we have a close, respectful, caring, loving bond to this day.
*My* mother is still unsafe to trust with any level of personal information, because I never know when she’ll use it to lash out abusively. We only have a ‘relationship’ of any kind on the most surface level — she’s not allowed into my head or into my personal life or personal feelings.
Thank you, @daeranilen, for this cogent and well-written statement regarding the way that teenagers absolutely do predictably behave in response to violations of their privacy, and how it can set up a situation where the parent fails to listen when approached, and where the child simply learns how to hide their thoughts and actions better, because they know their parents can’t be trusted.
It feels a bit exploitative to reblog such a complimentary comment (thank you very, very much <3), but how awesome is it to see my perspective echoed by an actual parent?! I couldn’t not reblog it.
I’m very sorry to hear the situation is so bad with your mother, but it’s beyond fantastic that you took that experience and used it to strengthen your relationship with your daughter. What you’ve done is what I hope others who read this post will go on to do with their children.
Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope all is well (and stays well)!
Day 1: you ripped open my vagina and I hate youDay 5: just kidding you’re so cute and soft and small lol I could fit you in a handbagMonth 2: STOP CRYING PLEEEAASE. JUST ONE HOUR OF SLEEP AND I WILL LOVE YOU FOREVERRRRMonth 5: mama? Mama? Mama? Say it? Please? Say something? PleaseMonth 8: IF. YOU. DON’T. STOP. SAYING. MAMA. THE. POLICE. WILL. NEVER. FIND. THE. BODY.Year 1: One down. 17 to go…Year 1, Month 11: oh god.. it’s coming…Year 2: NO PLEASE JUST PUT THAT DOWN. NNOOO! DON’T TOUCH THAT! Baby, i love you no matter whaT BUT PLEASE DON’T TOUCH THAT JJUST STAY STILL PLEASE SWEETHEARTYear 3: Oh thank god that’s overYear 4: Awwww, you went to preschool. isn;t that adorable, my little intellectual shitYear 5: ACTUAL SCHOOL! YOU LEARNED COLORS AND NUMBERS YOU’RE A GENIUS
Year 15: You called me a fuckwit. What the fuck is a fuckwit?
year 16; oh god no LIGHTLY step on the gas NO NON NO NO YOU DONT HAVE TO PRESS THAT HARD ON THE BREAK!!!
year 17: I caught you masturbating but you didn’t notice so I didn’t say anything. You’re welcome.
I actually kind of love this idea, but I do also love the commentary.
That same First Year Biology Major
I had to look up what ‘job hoarder’ meant and holy fucking shit there are people in this world who think that people are maintaining multiple minwage (and lower than minwage in the case of restaurant serving or harvesting crops or working under the table etc) jobs BECAUSE THEY JUST LOVE TO DO SHITTY WORK THAT MUCH and/or out of spite or some shit?
….I just…but…*throws hands up*
FRACK seriously whaaaaaaat?
Electric Lady - Janelle Monae
THIS IS LITERALLY A DESCRIPTION OF MY LIFE
if i stay in bed i’ll be warm
if i get in the shower i’ll also be warm
but the distance between the bed and the shower
that is not warm
I swear on everything that this isn’t just some stupid contest to gain followers. I’ve been wanting a new camera for ages so now I have two. I was thinking about returning/selling my old one, but I wouldn’t be getting the same amount or more than what it was originally priced. I’ve already talked to my mum about me giving it away, and she doesn’t mind. Anyway, who doesn’t like free stuff?
Here’s how this will work:
- You do not have to follow me. I don’t want any followers that don’t actually like my blog. I do ask of you to kindly check out my blog though. If you like it cool, if not, then your loss.
- Likes do not count for anything, only reblogs will count. You can reblog this as many times as you’d like.
- Do not create any extra blogs or whatever, I will be looking on your archives.
- Winner will be chosen like as if it were a raffle drawing.
- Winner will be contacted via ask, so make sure that you have that on/open.
- This will be over on August 21st 2014, and the winner will be announced on the 22nd.
I am doing this basically to make someone else happy and also because I accidentally deleted the other contest I was doing. Please don’t participate if you already own a Canon, but you can if you’d like I guess. I really don’t care if you live in Hogwarts, anyone is allowed to enter.
Here’s what the winner will get:
- Canon EOS 1100D
- Camera Cover R-F-3
- Battery Charger LC-E10E
- EUR AC Cable 1m
- Battery pack LP-E10
- Battery cover
- Interface cable IFC-130U
- All the disks needed.
The camera is basically brand new.
If you think this is “stupid” of me to do or anything of that sort, than just ignore it. It’s that simple.
Q. “Why would you just giveaway an expensive camera to a stranger?”
A. TO MAKE THEM HAPPY!
Q. “How do we know you aren’t bullshitting us?”
A. To make a fake contest just for followers is stupid, plus, I have a picture of me holding both the cameras :)
Because photography is fun, and the only camera I own right now is on my cell phone.