The Importance of Respecting Your Teenager’s Privacy
Have you noticed sudden changes in your child? Don't worry... perhaps he or she has reached adolescence. This is a time when parents need to learn to respect their children's privacy.
Why is respecting a teenager’s privacy so important?
The issue of an adolescent’s privacy is no minor detail. Teens place high value on their privacy because they’re going through a stage of physical and emotional changes as they approach adulthood. They need to create an internal space to navigate this process. Many times, they prefer to spend time alone.
During this stage, children seek to represent themselves, their desires, and their fears in order to acquire their own identity. Privacy is a highly important part of this process.
In what way should I respect my teenager’s privacy?
First and foremost, you need to show your child respect and treat him or her with respect. Furthermore, you should respect your child’s place in the home.
With this in mind, here are some additional suggestions that you’ll find useful:
Your adolescent’s bedroom
One way to respect your teenager’s privacy is by giving him or her their own bedroom. A bedroom is a child’s refuge within the home. It’s a space where teens can discover themselves, feel free, laugh, cry, and share with their friends. It’s important that parents respect this need and this space.
Don’t enter your child’s bedroom without knocking first. This way, you not only show respect for his or her privacy, you also demonstrate your trust.
Respect your child’s tastes
You should be considerate of your child’s personal tastes regarding the decoration of his or her bedroom. This is true even if your child’s style isn’t to your liking, or doesn’t match the rest of your house.
Don’t try to impose your own personal preferences on your teenager’s bedroom. If you do, you’ll only run into conflict and rejection from your son or daughter.
Establish household rules
Setting clear and firm ground rules that your teen should respect is absolutely necessary. However, as parents you need to set an example by respecting your teen, as well as other family members.
It’s also important that you continue to be caring and affectionate towards your teenage children and maintain your emotional bond.
Suggest without obligating
It’s important to be careful with how to communicate your orders. It’s best to employ a calm, but firm attitude. Demonstrate that it’s important that your child keep his or her room – and the rest of the house – clean and tidy.
At the same time, show your child that keeping his or her room clean is a way of being considerate to others. Avoid yelling at your child and getting into arguments, as this will only foster rejection and disobedience.
At what age do children begin to demand their privacy?
Beginning during pre-adolescence, children already start to seek privacy. This usually occurs between the ages of 11 and 13.
Around this time period, youth strive to find privacy in order to carry out their activities and demand space to be alone. It’s important you be respectful of this need.
Teenagers and autonomy
Sooner or later, the moment will come when it’s time to respect your child’s privacy regarding his or her autonomy.
As children grow and mature, they want to make their own decisions, choose their own friends, pick out their own clothes, etc. They will also develop their own taste in music, and make their own weekend plans.
Parents need to remain accessible and teach their children to exercise their autonomy with good measure. After all, they’re still children and are subject to the authority of responsible adults.
Be careful to avoid any contradictions when it comes to giving permission. In other words, your child’s autonomy should not come into conflict with the family rules.
At the same time, parents should support their children as they face new situations. This includes their first outings with friends, how they manage their money, and how they relate to the opposite sex.
Furthermore, you should teach your child to fully reject unhealthy vices like drugs, tobacco and alcohol. And, of course, you should teach them to respect the law and maintain positive interpersonal relationships.
“Teenagers need to create an internal space to navigate this process. Many times, they prefer to spend time alone”
Respecting the privacy of teenagers
Being considerate of your children’s privacy also means not criticizing them or discussing details of their personal life in public.
You should leave it up to them to express themselves if they want to. If they choose not to, then you should also be respectful of that choice.
During this stage, it’s also crucial that you avoid comparing your teen to others, including siblings, cousins, friends and classmates.
What to do if your teenager rebels
Some teenagers develop a more hostile attitude than others. However, this is part of the process of reaching independence. Adults tend to hold a negative perception of teenagers. We tend to see teens as energetic, idealistic and as having an extreme sense of justice.
However, there are times when extreme behaviors require the help of a professional. Reaching out to psychologists, therapists and psychiatrists can be necessary when teen rebellion gets out of control.
In conclusion, by respecting teenager’s privacy, parents contribute to their physical and emotional development. As a result, your child will be prepared to be a responsible, stable and happy adult.