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Do you snoop? I will now!

October 16, 2012

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!

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. October 16, 2012 1:51 pm

    I never thought I would have been a snooper either but I ended up being one. I think when they hit a certain they just stop being as open, no matter how close you were. These are hard years and it’s hard to know what is right. As parents we just do our best and more often than not it all works as we had hoped.

  2. October 16, 2012 5:10 pm

    This kind of thing worries me because I have a little girl too! I hope I can resist temptation to snoop through any of her things when the time comes BUT if I ever suspect I need to… I would probably do the same exact thing. I always have to be in the know but will eventually accept that I probably won’t be told everything 🙂 Especially in the teen years.

  3. October 17, 2012 5:11 am

    Yes, every now and then I do a spot check of my kids’ rooms, computers, etc because they’re teens….they hide things, that’s what they do. I would be remiss as a parent if I didn’t check up on them and just acted like they couldn’t possibly be doing anything wrong or dangerous. Of course, I tell my kids I will be checking up front. They know it’s random, they know everything is up for checking, and they have accepted this fact because I told them years ago that it would be done. I don’t ever mention anything I find unless it’s a punishable offense or dangerous. They deserve a bit of privacy and discreetness, but not at the cost of my parenting rights.

  4. October 17, 2012 7:36 am

    The teen years are brutal!

  5. October 17, 2012 1:07 pm

    I used to hate the thought of my father snooping, but a s a mom, I am already preparing myself for those years. Teens will hide things, and someone has to watch over them although they thinks they are fine on their own! It bites, but I really believe it is necessary. Like someone else mentioned above, I will be letting my kids know that I will be doing this when the time comes!

    • October 17, 2012 2:25 pm

      There are certain things I can understand hiding but I just get concerned they will hide something that shouldn’t be hidden, like being abused by someone! I don’t want my daughters in bad relationships and feeling like they HAVE to hide something.
      I want to be honest and tell her too. I did tell her after the fact, mainly because I hadn’t planned on snooping. I think if they know we are snooping they will try harder to hide it, making harder for us to snoop, lol.

  6. October 17, 2012 1:54 pm

    I don’t think note writing takes away from learning, really. To me it’s like when I take a break from what I’m working on to catch up on email or Facebook. I need a little mental break now and then to be able to better focus.

    • October 17, 2012 2:24 pm

      I definitely agree that sometimes a break is needed in order to refocus. At 11 years old they are given recess and lunch break for that reason. The biggest reason why we knew it was a distraction was because there were many times when she “couldn’t remember” the details of an assignment. Or would say that the teacher didn’t explain it.
      Trust me I take a lot of breaks myself 🙂 I hadn’t really seen it as a break until you mentioned it so thank you very much for pointing that out!

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