Do You Dare

I have authority issues.

          The topic of the week is privacy and if you are a parent, you are probably reading this and laughing really hard. ‘Sure CoupleDumb, I have all the privacy in the world!’ You don’t have to be sarcastic. We hear you. CoupleDumb understands what it feels like to never be able to go to the bathroom alone. We understand the pleasures of shutting a door only to have that bliss shattered by rapid banging and repetitive shouts of ‘Mommy, Daddy!’ We feel you when the only reason you want to have alone time with your spouse/significant other is really to get away from the kids. But this isn’t about your privacy here. We’re going to talk about the kids’ privacy. Now, quickly while they aren’t watching, read the following without interruptions.

          Lee says: Karma is a bitch. I know this because, as we just said, we don’t know what it’s like to go to the bathroom without an audience. My mini-hell stems from the childhood tradition of perching myself on the bathroom counter while my Mom relieved herself. I remember these times very fondly and had some great discussions with my Mom and sister, all while my mother sat on the throne probably wishing that we would leave. So for me to wish for any parental privacy is really hypocrisy.

          However, I in no way want to give the impression that my home was a private sanctuary for us minors. Oh, no. Privacy was the thing of legends and myths and something only Americans talked about (even though I was born in this country, my parents, Cuban immigrants, kept the casa very old school and forgot that I was not born on the island). One thing I did understand was that Cubans and Americans raised their kids differently. What I saw on TV was that kids were treated like humans and we, me and my siblings, were treated like indentured servants. Sounds harsh but seeing locks and even doors closed on the Brady Bunch or even a parent knocking on a door was so foreign to me.

          But privacy is a double-edged sword. Yes, I believe a child should be allowed independence to grow and flourish or make mistakes on their own. It builds character, resilience and their own persona outside of the parental units. However, where I draw the line is the idea that they need complete autonomy. We, as parents, are here to protect them and nurture them. That becomes increasingly difficult if we allow them to keep secrets in the form of locked doors or rooms that are declared off limits.

          I have seen friends create these situations and all I can say is ‘sucks to be you!’ Seriously people, in this age of precociousness, internet crimes, sexting and God knows what other disgusting pastime these kids can think of, do you really feel that impinging on a ‘child’s privacy’ is more damaging than that? We know, as former children ourselves, that a child will do what they want to. Like a duck or crap, a child will find a way to float out of their miserable Gulag we call home. Clamping down on phone time and setting up internet protections and placing locks on the cable TV is just the tip of the iceberg. At some point, you need to check the locks and make sure they held and if need be, rattle them around a little and do some recon.

          This is war, if you haven’t figured that out already. Those of you with little ones are cute with your self-righteous ‘I respect my child as an individual’ bullshit. Wait until they hit puberty. You’ll be taking their doors off the hinges before I can say, ‘I am the fucking Cyber Nanny!’

          Paul says: My bedroom as a youth had 14 windows in it. It was a covered patio that was first converted to a large laundry room then into my bedroom. I still had the washer and dryer as my roommates. The windows ringed the room. I lived in the proverbial glass house or, at least, a glass room in an otherwise normal house. Whether right or wrong, I had no privacy. I had no opportunity to get into trouble. Hell, quietly masturbating at 2 in the morning was a chore.

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