Is It Ever Okay To Read Your Daughter's Diary?
Life is complicated. Thank goodness there are experts to help us untangle some of the vexing issues that, well, vex us on a daily basis. The Mouthy Housewives are here on BlogHerMOMS to help, three times a week. Email your pressing issues and questions to stacy.morrison at blogher.com to be answered in exclusive posts on Fridays. Today, we share one of the Greatest Hits from the Mouthy Files.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
The other day, my 12-year-old daughter was upset and wouldn’t tell me what was bothering her. Later that night, I saw her writing away in her diary. Do I read it? I know that privacy is important, but as her mother, shouldn’t I know if something’s wrong?
Should I Take a Peek?
Dear Should I Take a Peek?,
The answer is no. Respecting a child’s privacy is incredibly important and in doing so, you’ll teach her to respect the privacy of others. Hey, are you listening to me? Please stop reading that diary. I’m trying to teach you something important here about respecting your child.
Trying not to read your daughter’s diary will take a lot of self control. Take it from someone who never hesitated to comb through my boyfriend’s apartment, the moment he left for work. And when I say “boyfriend,” I mean, random guy I’d been dating a couple weeks.
Of course, I’d find a bunch of snapshots of him with some super-cute girl with shiny, bouncy hair and I’d be seething about the details of their relationship. But I couldn’t talk to him about the chick because how do casually bring up, “So I was ransacking your apartment the other day, sifting through all your personal pictures and I’m just wondering who the hell is the whore with the awesome hair?”
So my point is—it would be better to not read the diary. Instead, give your daughter a couple days and then approach her again and ask, “Honey, what were you so upset about the other day?” Maybe she’ll be more ready to open up.
But in the end, you need to trust your own instincts. If you feel like something is really bothering your daughter and she could be in some kind of trouble, then maybe it’s worth violating her privacy to find out. Just realize, that if she discovers that you read her journal, might just invest in one with a lock.