Social Work Programs

May 31, 2013

Is It Okay To Snoop On Your Kid

Filed under: parenting,working with kids — Tags: , , — admin @ 5:54 pm

family trust It’s difficult to know what to do if you are unsure about whether your teen is hiding something in his room. There may be questions about drugs and sadly in today’s society even weapons. What role does trust and privacy have in this situation? Is the child or teen’s age relevant?


Anna Kaminsky has written an interesting article about this dilemma.

As a parent it’s hard to determine when you are snooping on your teenager and violating his privacy rights and when you are dealing something that’s okay. Privacy is important to all teenagers and they do not expect their parents to be prying into their personal stuff when they aren’t around. There are times, however, when parents feel that they need to know more about things than what they are being told and the only way to find out for sure is to look through their child’s private belongings.

Snooping may not be the right word for it either. Snooping around means putting your nose into something where it shouldn’t be. Would it be right to call looking through your son’s personal belongings for signs of drugs or alcohol snooping when you highly suspect that he may have taken a turn towards these substances?
Perhaps it would be better to say that you are merely checking on things to make sure that everything
is fine. After all, you are looking based on your child’s best interests and only have their health and safety in mind.

It’s hard though because even though you can justify this type of snooping/checking behavior, you are still undermining the trust that the child has given you as a parent. Though your child may have violated your trust, is a right to then violate your child’s trust? It’s a tricky question, that’s for sure.

If you go into the child’s room and find nothing you may be ridden with guilt. If you don’t do anything and don’t check the room and find out later that your child has been rushed to the hospital with a drug situation, you’ll feel guilty.

Guilt is a big part of parenthood and one that you’ll quickly have to get used to. When you boil it all down, every parent is going to have to act according to their own feelings, suspicions and integrity. If you honestly feel that your child’s life could be in danger, however, that should be viewed as an emergency situation and appropriate action taken. If you smell gas in your child’s room, you certainly wouldn’t hesitate to move things around to find the source of the odour.

Basically you’re going to have to make the best decision you can and then decide that you are not going to feel guilty about the decision you have made. That’s all we can do as parents in the long run – do our best to produce a child that is ultimately happy and productive in society. Someday you’ll be a grandmother or grandfather and will be able to relax and enjoy your grandchildren without having to deal with problems with guilt ever again.

Author Bio: Anna Kaminsky just completed her bachelor’s degree in educational psychology at the University of Toronto and now works as an intern at Richmond Hill Psychology Center helping with psycho-educational assessments and play therapy. Anna plans to continue her studies and to become a child psychologist.

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