The Importance of Respecting Your Teenager's Privacy

29 February, 2020
During adolescence, youth want to be free and independent, which is how they develop their identity. In this article, we'll explain the importance of respecting your teenager's privacy.

Adolescence is a complicated stage, both for those going through it as well as their parents. It’s a time of transition where children become adults. Therefore, the bond between teens and parents changes and becomes less dependent. In order for this relationship to develop in a positive way, respecting your teenager’s privacy is very important.

Young people want to feel free. Therefore, it’s counterproductive when parents are constantly supervising everything their adolescent children are doing.

“Whoever loses their privacy loses their freedom and, what’s more, the respect of others. And without respect, we cannot get along.”

– Miguel Wiñaski –

The relationship between parents and children during adolescence

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), adolescence is defined as:

“Adolescence is a period of life with specific health and developmental needs and rights. It is also a time to develop knowledge and skills, learn to manage emotions and relationships, and acquire attributes and abilities that will be important for enjoying the adolescent years and assuming adult roles.”

– WHO –

The Importance of Respecting Your Teenager's Privacy

During this stage, youth experience a number of changes, both physical and psychological. So, on both a social and emotional level, friends come to gain much more importance in their lives.

At the same time, the relationships teens have with their parents move to the back burner. However, it’s important that the emotional bond between children and their parents doesn’t break down or weaken as a result.

So then, there needs to be a union between full communication and trust, while giving a certain level of control to children. To achieve this balance, parents must do the following:

  • Establish reasonable limits.
  • Allow a certain level of freedom and autonomy. 
  • Assign responsibilities.
  • Negotiate in the case of conflicts.
  • Respect their children’s privacy and intimacy.

Why is respecting your teenager’s privacy so important?

Privacy is important for every human being… it’s a basic human right. However, respecting privacy and intimacy becomes even more relevant during adolescence. This is because adolescence is the stage in which individuals form their own identity and personality.

Teenagers need their own space. Therefore, parents shouldn’t go into their bedrooms, listen in on their conversations, read their messages and emails, check their social media, etc., without permission.

All of these are private spaces and can become a source of continuous conflict and anger if parents don’t respect them. As a result, the relationship between parents and their adolescent children can begin to suffer.

Therefore, parents should assume a role of guidance and support. They should be willing to listen and offer their help. At the same time, they should be attentive and supervise their children’s behavior… But without being overbearing. This way, they can help their children become responsible individuals with good judgment.

“When your child is little, all you want is for them to play alone in their room for an hour so you can have some peace and quiet. Then they become teenagers, and all you want is for them to come out of their room for an hour and actually talk to you.”

– Facebook/I Might Be Funny –

To what extent do I need to respect my teenager’s privacy?

Parents may need to make a great effort when it comes to respecting your teenager’s privacy. This means establishing a relationship of trust. But, if young people behave in a way that’s strange or worrisome, then parents should be on alert.

Respecting Your Teenager's Privacy

Adolescent children may not always be willing to talk about the problems they’re facing. Therefore, in these cases, you may need to take action and invade their privacy. But only to help them and make sure that they aren’t in danger.

In conclusion, parents need to be on alert in case of any serious problems their teenage children may face. This may also include consulting a professional.

Parents should try to talk with their teenagers on a daily basis and speak about relevant issues. Doing so will keep these topics from seeming taboo or too delicate to discuss. But remember, what’s most important is that you maintain good communication with your children. That way, they’ll be more open to telling you their problems and worries.

Finally, keep in mind that you educate and pass values onto your children from the time they’re small. What you teach them will prepare them to face adolescence in a positive way

Trust in your children and the values that you have instilled in them since infancy.

  • Álvarez, T., Gámez, A., Liébana, L. y Resola, J.M. (2012). Guía de orientación para familias con adolescentes Jaén: Consejería de Educación. Delegación Provincial de Jaén.
  • Álvarez-Alvarado, L. (2015). Respeta la intimidad y la privacidad de tus hijos adolescentes. México: Columna de Psicología al Día.
  • Departamento de Educación de los Estados Unidos. Oficina de Asuntos Intergubernamentales e Interagencia. (2005). Cómo ayudar a su hijo durante los primeros años de la adolescencia. Washington, D.C: Ed Pubs.