​Why I Don't Read My Kids' Mail

Here's something I never knew I felt strongly about until I came across a debate on Facebook -- reading your kids' mail. My kids don't really get a lot of mail, but what they do get is usually pretty innocent, and oh yeah, did I mention it's theirs, not mine?


But apparently moms are pretty divided on the subject, and some feel that reading their kids' mail is just par for the course of parenthood. I guess maybe it starts from when they're babies and you have to read their mail because they obviously can't?

Or maybe there's a little bit of Duggar in everyone? Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are famously copied on all text messages their unmarried, adult children send to their paramours. You know, to keep 'em honest.

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I mean, I get it to some extent. We all want to know what's going on in our kids' lives, and as they get older, they tend to share less and less with us. Plus they're just kids, right? There isn't really any reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to the people who lived in you for nine months, is there?

Except there is, at least in my world. Not reading my kids' mail is just the beginning of teaching them that they are their own people, capable of connections with the world outside of their parents. They don't need me looking over their shoulders for every little thing, and unless I thought they were doing drugs or something, why on earth would I invade their privacy and read their mail?

Boundaries are an important part of life, and how are you going to teach your kids to respect other people's if you don't respect theirs? Or maybe I just feel super personally about it since my ex-husband used to open letters addressed to me, and didn't understand why I got upset about it. What was I saying about boundaries again?

They have a right to read their own mail without their mother (or anyone) screening it first. Besides, why steal that joy of opening a letter addressed to them? They're so rare these days, it almost feels like Christmas when a handwritten letter shows up in the mailbox.

Maybe I'm optimistic, or maybe I just haven't hit the dreaded teen years yet, but I want my kids to feel like they can come to me with any issues they may have. I want them to feel safe, and valued, and like they're able to make their own decisions about what they want to share with me. I want them to be autonomous individuals, and one very simple way I can give that to them is by not opening their mail.

Do you read your kids' mail?


Image via slgckgc/Flickr

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