How much privacy do you give your teen’s personal information?
Now your child is a teen, you’ve undoubtedly picked up on the vibe that they don’t readily share as much as they used to with you. Teens love their freedom, personal space and privacy. Distancing themselves from you and the family is a normal teen stage, and as they get older their desire for privacy increases.
Thinking back, I really didn’t confide much in my parents when I was a teen and so I’m putting it down to good luck that my boys have both been quite open and upfront about things with me. That said I’m sure there’s a great deal of their personal information I’m unaware of and as long as they are healthy, safe and happy I’m fine with it.
It can be a big deal for teens to open up to parents and share their news, secrets and fears. There’s the worry of implicating themselves in something you may not approve of plus there’s also the possibility of shame and embarrassment too. Letting your teens know you’re always available to listen – without interrogating – will help maintain the lines of communication.
BUT when they tell you something private, what should you do with the information?
We often see our kids as an extension of ourselves and love to share their wins, losses and goof-ups with our own friends and family. Hello Facebook, I’m looking at you!
Though, when our kids enter adolescence, and crave more independence and privacy, the goal posts on our sharing their stuff should probably shift. What’s their business, is no longer really ours and what they do share in confidence should not be made public by us via default. Doing so – even when no harm is intended – can create tension, conflict and mistrust.
Sharing your teen’s personal information with others can lead to problems like the following…
- the very real chance your teen will feel humiliated
- information might be saved, copied or distributed and fall into the wrong hands
- your teen may seek to retaliate sharing private information of yours
- relationship breakdown with your teen and a lack of respect and trust
- them being more secretive with information and no longer willing to share details of their life with you
When it comes to parenting a teenager, trust is a big ticket issue. It’s possibly the element that underpins and shapes the relationship you have with them today… and into the future.
If there’s something your teen discloses you you – confidentially – and you are unsure about whether it’s ok to broadcast or not, it’s easy to be guided by their response to the following question…“would it be ok with you if I mentioned what you’ve told me to others”.
Their information, their call… unless there are real concerns for their immediate well being and safety in which case your should disclose what’s necessary to the relevant authorities or professional service provider.
At the end of the day, it’s known that every teen needs privacy. When you give privacy to your teenager, they become more independent and this helps in building their self confidence. Respecting their teen’s privacy is important because it’s the key to building trust with each other and sets the way for a great ongoing relationship.
Remember too, we’ve a closed, private and confidential Facebook group you can apply to join, where you seek advice and feedback about this and other issues.