Talk about striking a healthy balance…it can only be God’s doing for you and your teen to see eye to eye on the issue of their privacy. This is one of our most read devotionals…very practical, biblical truth. Soak it up.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Eph 5:8-10
As they grow up, our kids need to know that they have a place in our home that is their “space.” A private spot to call their own, free from sibling “invasions of privacy” with permission to clean (or not), and decorate. Does this mean that parents are off limits as well? Is it alright to “snoop” in your child’s room, especially as he or she moves toward graduation?
This is a volatile topic and one in which we are not all likely to agree. So, please feel free to disagree with my encouragement in this area or share your perspective by posting a comment for others to learn from you.
Our scripture passage contrasts living in the light and in darkness. What happens in the light involves truth, right-living, and what is good. We know from this and other verses that the Enemy works in the darkness, in a world of lies, half-truths, and shadows. I want my daughters to grow up in the light – to be comfortable with living openly and with nothing to hide. To that end, consider the following guidelines for privacy at home:
- You are the home-owner – Unless your kids are contributing to the mortgage, you are the one who is responsible for what may be the largest asset you own, namely, your home. When you lease an apartment, you sign agreements that you will take care of the property in a way that doesn’t lessen the value of the space. To that end, consider clarifying that you retain permission to “spot check” your child’s room. You can respectfully knock before entering, and they may see it as snooping, but you can help them understand what it means to be a good steward of what you own. Clarify with your child in an effort to retain the value of your home.
- Walking in the light is right – You can help reinforce the idea that it is not okay for siblings to invade another child’s private space, while standing firm on the idea that you will occasionally check out your child’s room, as you help them learn to live openly and with accountability. In our day of full-throttle internet access, you will do well to clarify that you want to help your son or daughter understand that you are personally responsible for his or her well-being. That means, as the parent, you have permission, even a legal obligation, to provide parental oversight of their space. If your teen is hiding marijuana in his or her room, or any other controlled substance, it is better foryou to discover it there than for him or her to get busted by the police for possession or distribution of drugs. If your child is exploring inappropriate content on the internet, it is better for you to discover it than for him or her to get exposed one day at school.
- God sees – The final reason I would suggest for establishing parental access to a kid’s room is rooted in a key spiritual reality. Your child may think that he or she can hide something from you, but they need to grow in awareness that God sees. He is aware of all that we, and they, do at all times. Ultimately we want our children to grow up living in the light because God lives in the light, and He can provide an internal sense of accountability that goes beyond your child’s days in your home. Knowing that you could walk into their room at any time could help them live with that sense of awareness that God IS actually present in their room at all times.
How do you feel about the issue of privacy in your room? Do you think kids who demand privacy are trying to hide things?