Parenting Guidelines for Giving Your Teens Their Privacy

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Teenagers don't come with manuals, although there are some excellent books on the subject. When it comes to parenting guidelines, teens break every rule in the book-if there was one. A huge issue is privacy.

When teens reach the age of around thirteen, they tend to go through a period of time when they spend what seems like an unusual amount of time in their rooms. This is evidenced by the piles of clothing and old food. It is also a very natural part of this stage of adolescent development, and as hard as it may be, to get through it successfully, you must respect their privacy.

While they are testing boundaries, you are worried about the type of people they are spending time with, where they go, and what they could possibly be doing alone in their room for hours on end. The truth is that unless it has to do with safety, it's really none of your business.

If that sounds harsh, let me explain. You don't want anyone going through your personal belongings. This period of time is about establishing a balance between trust and safety. It is a thin line, granted, but one you must walk if you want them to respect you. You'll have to show them that you trust and respect them, too.

Now, respect is earned. You can not achieve respect out of fear. If they can't trust you to stay out of their room when they are at school or to not listen in on their phone calls, they will continue to distance themselves to the point where you can't find out anything about where they go and what they do. You will teach them that it is easier to lie to you then discuss what's really going on. This is the subject of many articles about parenting for a reason.

Put your self in their shoes. Remembering how you were as a teenager can help you sort it out. If that thought makes you shudder-remembering what you were like-it is quite possible that you have spent a lot of time teaching them differently, and you can relax. There is a difference between common sense and simply being nosy. If you suspect drug use, talk to them about it. If you can prove drug use, do something about it. But do not go making up illusions because you are worried that there might eventually be drug use. The only true parenting guidelines-teens or otherwise are to gain trust and respect between both of you. You will not be perfect at this, but showing your teen that you love them unconditionally and trust them is an excellent start.