Do you snoop? I will now!
As a mom, especially one of a soon to be teen, I am preparing myself for the possibility that my child may start hiding things from me. I don’t want to be one of those moms that thinks her child could do no wrong. Every child, even the best behaved, most respectful and scholarly child makes mistakes. I understand that the best way to learn is to make their own mistakes and I don’t expect her to learn from mine!
Last year after the school year ended I decided to do my child a favor and clean out her backpack. It was a disgusting mess! I had no intention of snooping or expectations of finding anything I didn’t like. But I did! Along with a half eaten granola bar and various papers shoved into the pit that had become her backpack, I found a few notes that had been passed during class. I had been reading papers as I took them out to see if they were something I might need to save so of course I read them as well. My first thought went to when I was in junior high and had been passing notes during class, then what was on those notes! Yes, I do remember some of them… I read them feeling disappointed that she would even distract herself from her school work, she has always been a very good student!
What was in the note was much less extreme than what might have been in a note of mine at that age, but it shocked me none the less. There was talks of boys and boyfriends, and who they liked. Typical, I think. The part that bothered me was that I had never heard her talk about boys. It told me that the relationship I thought was so open, wasn’t. I felt hurt that she didn’t confide in me. I don’t like secrets! When she was younger we had a scare with another child that prompted an early talk about the birds and bees, body parts, appropriate behavior and inappropriate touch, so I have always taught her never to keep anything from me!
Since finding the note I have talked to her. I told her what I found and we had an open discussion. The focus of the discussion was not on the content of the note but the fact that she had broken classroom rules, distracted herself and another student from learning. I have not been the biggest fan of this particular friend and added some discussion on choosing friends wisely. How a true friend acts is not always something you can teach, this is one place I think she may need to learn from her own mistakes.
My takeaway from this experience has changed my perspective on snooping. While I still feel we have a pretty open communication line, I am no longer naive to the fact that she isn’t going to tell me everything. The fact of the matter is if I want to know what is going on I have to start by asking! And when I ask I need to listen wholeheartedly, and non judgmentally. When teens talk to us they are always wondering what our reaction is going to be. Our reaction will dictate whether or not they tell us anything more! I will not be making a habit of snooping in my daughters belongings, but you can bet I won’t hesitate to take a look if I think something is up!