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Parents often ask me whether it’s OK to snoop in their child’s room. Some parents are especially concerned about what their teens might have there.
Do I approve of parents searching through a child’s room? Nope. Here’s the deal. Privacy is important to children just as it is to their parents. All children need some space to call their own, where no parents or siblings are pawing around. The wise parent understands this and respects the child’s privacy.
Speaking of respect, I think we need an eleventh commandment: Respect thy children. I know parents who wouldn’t dream of physically abusing their children, but they verbally abuse them with sarcasm, put-downs, and other nasty forms of speech.
Some parents feel absolutely entitled to snoop around in their kids’ rooms, open their mail, listen in on their phone conversations, and perform other disrespectful acts.
These acts are usually justified by one of two excuses. “It’s my house and I pay the bills around here.” or “I have to know what my kid is doing, it’s my job to snoop.”
I can’t deny it’s your house or that you pay the bills. But answer me honestly. How would you feel if your boss rifled your desk drawer. Your boss pays the rent on the office. Does that give him or her the right to snoop?
As far as knowing what your kids are doing, the best way to do that is to have open communication between loving and trusting people. Nobody loves or trusts a snoop.
When the teen years are approaching have a family meeting about respecting each other’s privacy.
Spend some time together talking about the difference between private and shared space. Talk about limits like not opening mail or eavesdropping on phone conversations. Ask your children if they want you to put the laundry away in their room or they prefer to do it themselves. Remember kids old enough to want privacy are old enough to do their own laundry!
Respect and trust will keep a teen in line a lot better than snooping and suspicion.
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