Yes, I called them chattel



Pilar asks: Does a child from 13 to whatever age 17, 18, 19 have the right to privacy? I mean if we are concerned about something regarding your son/daughter don’t we have the right to go into their myspace for example. I have been talking to several parents and they seem to think if they are living under my roof they have no privacy. My thoughts exactly but some parents believe it’s unethical to go through their myspace.

Or to even say to them in another situation you are not going out tonight if they are 18 or over. I feel if I have reason to think that they can’t go out that’s it period the end. Not just because they are 18 we can’t tell them what to do anymore.

Is it just latin parents that feel this way? (Like I do)

What do you guys think?

Paul says: No, kids do not have privacy but they do have boundaries. Privacy, the way that I think you are using it here, has a connotation of ownership and I do come from the ‘you don’t own shit’ school of parenting. Children are chattel, albeit very special property. (Oh, my children must love me.) We have the right to have as many houses, car and children as we want, no matter how ill conceived the idea may be. If we didn’t, then Octo-mom would never have been allowed to have the second litter. If the child wants to own their space then they need to get a job and a mortgage.

That being said, there is a sense of boundaries. Though a child does not own their space, they can make the statement that the space is important to them and you can honor that statement, giving it importance also. This gives the child a sense of propriety without ownership. I always knock on my daughter’s door but I do not necessarily wait for her to allow me access.

Speaking to the important part of your question, entering the area that you have both agreed is important gives a clear message. You are saying ‘I do not trust you’.  Now, before your react, check in with yourself. That may be the statement that you want to make. If, as an example, you think that your child is using drugs, then you do not trust their judgment. It that is the message, then say it. If you cannot look your kid in the eye and tell them that you do not trust them and why with what they need to do to earn your trust, then don’t go in the room. You can’t handle it.

Lee says: Isn’t he cute? He thought she meant my space not a ‘Myspace’ page.  Pilar, I totally hear you. Like I have said before, our only job is to keep them safe. We do this by teaching them right from wrong, how to wash and that sticking cheerios up their nose is bad. Part of keeping them safe is also protecting them from the big bad world. There are some sick fucks who prey on weak kids. By definition, a weak child is one who has parents who are not involved in their lives. 

          When our daughter wanted a ‘myspace’, we helped her set it up and kept her password. Paul and I created our own page to monitor her. The same thing happened when she joined Facebook. I joined to watch her and once again, I have her user name and password. A few months ago, she posted a picture of herself on Facebook which we deemed inappropriate because she appeared seductive. That was totally our judgment but it didn’t matter. She removed the picture.    

          I agree with my better half that kids have boundaries not privacy. The semantics are important. Privacy has more to do with secrecy and boundaries delineate levels of safety. Since we don’t believe in secrecy, boundaries always win over. Only one bedroom is allowed to be locked in our home; that’s ours. The lock is a boundary (we will have a post soon regarding bedroom rules). The boundary is to keep the kids from being scarred and that is the only time the door is locked. 

One comment

  • Shareefah

    There is not much more to say since I agree with all of you regarding this privacy/boundary issue. As a child I did not have privacy, my mom searched my room and bookbag on a regular basis. Although, I appreciate her role as a mother I would have appreciated some conversation to go along with what I called at that time, an invasion of privacy. I think what Lee and Paul did is a good way to do it, if you’re going to allow them to have a myspace page or whatever other page on a social network a conversation should be had first. By assisting with the set up and creating the screen name and password they are not under the belief that they have privacy. If you did not do that I think a conversation should take place. It can be made clear that its not all about you trusting or distrusting them but not trusting the sexual predators and other crazies out there.

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