I just found out my tween son has a girlfriend. Had. I think he had a girlfriend, but now they're just good friends and he has a crush on a different girl. I definitely shouldn't know any of this information. But you see, I opened up a journal and the words were just there. In my defense, I thought it was just a sketch book, and I wanted to see what he'd been doodling. But you know what? There's just no way around it. I snooped. I snooped on my kid.
I won't go into detail about what I read, but I found the vulnerability and intensity of his few words utterly sweet. And his self-awareness ... he's already noticed that he's attractive to girls. Oh my God, we are in for it. I saw the next 10 years stretching before me: Late-night calls, furtive text messages, tears (his, theirs). And of course I was shamelessly pleased to find out that the little girls in his world see what a wonderful guy he is -- but what if they break his heart?
I am of two different minds about this snooping. On one hand, I think you should be nosy about your kid. Better to be too inquisitive than indifferent. The best way to be nosy is to actually talk with your kid and build the kind of relationship where they'll feel comfortable confiding in you.
I am definitely working toward this goal! But it's been hard, lately. I work outside the home full-time, so we don't have loads of time together. And then, as he's gotten older, he's been making more claims on privacy.
That gets to the other hand -- I want to respect his privacy. I know it's important to him, to his development and sense of independence. He's at the age where he starts depending more emotionally on his peers, and that's absolutely developmentally appropriate.
Peeking into your child's journal feels like an emotional shortcut. I haven't done the work to earn that personal information. And I know if he knew I took a peek, he would feel violated. It would erode our trust. So I'm keeping my hands off for now. I saw enough to know that his crushes are intense, but still sweet and innocent.
I'll tell you what, though. I am going to be wracking my brains for ways to bring up the topic of girls and crushes ASAP.
How do you feel about snooping in your kids' things? Your right as a parent or too much of a violation?
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