This week I blogged about an experience with my daughter that caught me off guard. In that blog, I asked for my readers responses and received an influx of comments.
It began when my daughter attended my Parenting the Texting Generation workshop in Southern California last weekend (we used the weekend as an opportunity to look at some colleges for her). After the workshop she was talking openly with a handful of us about the guidelines Lori and I set for her and her sister, and she shared, “I agree with all my parents’ guidelines except the one about them being able to read my texts at any time. I’m not gonna do that one with my kids when I’m a parent.”
I had never heard this objection from Alyssa before. Surprised, I asked her, “Oh really? Why wouldn’t you read your own kids texts?
She said, “Because that’s just wrong.”
Alyssa has never been one to mince words.
I chuckled and filed the conversation for later, but I was intrigued. This was one of those rules that we rarely enforced. Well, maybe that’s not entirely true. The rule states that we have the right to look at texts at any time, and that right was definitely enforced—we did exercise the ability to do that at any time. We just haven’t done it very often. I’ve probably looked at Alyssa’s texts once this entire year (and it actually resulted in a pretty good conversation).
So why did this particular rule irk Alyssa?
This was just one of the guidelines that we had come up with as a family. In the workshop I had encouraged parents to not only build relationships with their kids, but also build lasting values. After talking a little about setting some fair boundaries, I gave the group some examples of some guidelines that we have in our house. I told them, “These aren’t necessarily guidelines that every parent needs to set, but these are some guidelines that have really helped our kids.” Guidelines like, we talk about every song we buy.
Reflecting on my list, Alyssa didn’t mind the music guidelines, just this texting one: Parents can read their kids texts at any time. Kids need to ask permission to delete their texts.
This morning I revisited the conversation. “Alyssa, I’d like to hear more about your objecting to the ‘I can look at your texts at any time’ rule. Why do you not like that rule?”
Without hesitation she responded, “Because if you trust your kids, then why do you need to look at their texts?”
So I decided to blog about the situation, sharing a little about the “release of control” parents often extend as their daughters get older. I then asked my readers to chime in with their two cents on the situation, and received some really amazing responses. I encourage you to check it out here.
What about you? Do you think Alyssa is right?