Is Privacy for a Teenager a Privilege or a Right?


photo by ilovemykids85

This one is touchy. I stumbled on a discussion about teenage privacy that really sucked me in. An anonymous mother wanted to know what the rest of us think about a parent removing a teen's bedroom door. The second part to the question was even trickier--is it legal?

The answers from CM moms run the gamut, but it seems most everyone agrees that the first barometer should really be: what did she/he do? There's a general consensus that with teen parenting in particular, the punishment should always fit the crime.

Privacy laws for teens vary from state to state, but generally speaking, the more controversial issues are around the question of a teen's right to certain medical treatment such as birth control or abortion without parental notification. I even found one case about a lesbian teens' legal right to remain "closeted" from her parents. As for the door thing, I couldn't dig up anything on whether or not it is actually illegal to remove one (definitely let me know if you have any real info on this). It seems moms agree, though, that a door should never be removed  "just because." If a teenager is engaging in dangerous behavior, different story. In that case, many moms say the door should come off; the notion being that privacy is earned. 

AvasMommy810, however disagrees with even that reason for removing a door. Hear her out: "Kids will have sex, cut themselves, smoke cigarettes, smoke pot, drink, etc. with or without a door. They'll just do it somewhere else or in the bathroom. Taking a bedroom door off is pointless and unnecessary. If she is doing that stuff I suggest taking her to counseling and family therapy." But blessed5x  found that removing her daughter's door was immediately effective: "When my oldest daughter was 15 she decided to be a disrespectful sassy brat...I told her that I understood her frustration towards me, but in her anger she can not be disrespectful...and if she slammed the door again I would take the door off the hinges. She did it again and I had my hubby take the door off until she apologized...She never did that again, it only lasted one day before she was repenting!" So, what are your feelings about teens and privacy? Have you or would you ever remove a bedroom door?

discipline, independence, privacy, teens


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mommy... mommy22miracles

I've read her journal.  And I would remove her door without a moments hesistation.  My house.  My door.  Period.  However, I read the journal out of concern for her safety.  Copied it, too.  Took the copies and the daughter to a counselor.  No regrets.  She's getting the help she needs.  If I thought taking the door off would help her gain some control over her behavior, I'd do that, too.  Absolutely.

mommombj mommombj

Every family member deserves respect and the ability to have private moments if they so choose.. If from birth you treat children as valued, respected members of the family they will usually grow up to be responsible adults who value the needs of others.Having to take a door off of a teenagers room is a drastic step.

It tells me there have been family problems not addressed for a  a long time.

traci... traciequine

the kids in my hose have these "rights"

1. the right to be fed

2. the right to have  clothing provided for them *that I approve of*

3. the right to an education *and to make the grades Iapprove of*

4. the right to be discplipined for breaking rules

5. the right to leave my home of their own accord the same way they came into this world if they do not see fit to abide by our rules *they came into this world naked and without a penny*

6. The right to privacy is theirs when they leave my home. I do not always invade their privacy but if I choose I will do so without guilt or regret.

These rights are absolute and and not revokable. if they don't like it when they have children of their own they can screw up their lives with the rights they see fit to allow their children to have.

jaimi... jaimie175

I read this discussion yesterday and went through the comments with great interest. One thing that did not seem to be addressed though were the long term consequences of such a choice.  I am referring to the "my house, my door" types of responses.

What is this child or teen going to feel about a parent who does something like this to them? Are they going to respect it or count the days when they can escape and never look back?

We must always treat our children with respect. A good relationship with our children is a precious thing, but it can be destroyed by decisions that demean or humiliate them.

worke... workenmom

I say no in some cases, like one of the other mom's said they will just do whatever somewhere else, and being since i'm in my mid 20's I still remember my teen years and if my parents had taken off my door i would be rebellious, just doing things to make them mad, etc... I guess you'd have to be in that situation though to make that decision, i could sit here and say id never do that or totally do that but change my mind at that moment.

LynnB... LynnB8794

well....I am in the process of raising a teenage daughter! She will turn 14 soon and has started with the back talking and such. If she starts slamming her door, that would upset me some, depending on how much it happened! But we do have a great open relationship. We have butted heads and probably will continue to butt heads but when she needs to talk, there is no hesitation, she comes right to me. At this point in time, I believe that the door should be there for not only her privacy but for me to have some quiet time as well. I did raise my husbands niece and she was a wild child, sneaking out not only her window but right out the front door. She got mixed up with the wrong crowd and even now thinking back, removing her door would not have solved anything. So I guess it really depends on each individual situation. Would love to talk to other home school moms of teenage girls. We got to stick together!

surobb surobb

No, a teenager does not have a right to privacy in his/her parents' house.  I grew up in a single wide mobile home, both parents and 5 kids total.  The boys' bedroom had no door; it opened into the main hallway.  The girls' bedroom was at the end of the hallway and had two doorways.  The one that opened into the hallway had no door.  The other led into the one bathroom, and the door was kept permanently propped open.  The other doorway in the bathroom, that opened into the hallway, had no door.  My parents' bedroom was an Expando that was separated from the living room by a curtain. 

As you can see, privacy was pretty much nonexistent in our house.  But as far as I know, none of us ever felt deprived because of it.  Or if we felt that way at the time, we came to realize that learning to share things and share space was a good life lesson.

bpJef... bpJeffsmom

To a degree, I feel privacy is both expected (while dressing & in the bathroom) but also a priviledge (anything other than those 2 things).  You can raise your child with all the love & respect in the world, but when that child is bipolar & ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), he will not respect you one bit.  When he is told to clean his room, for example, & slams the door so hard it breaks the FRAME, taking the door off is a fitting consequence. 

As for the "my house, my rules", teaching your children this philosophy is preparing them for the real world.  What place of employment is going to allow them to do as they please?  What college is going to allow them to break rules?  What college dorm will allow it?  What apartment building or homeowner's association or police department or store or any other place lets you do whatever you feel like?  You HAVE to teach your children to respect other people's things.   If you don't, you are doing your children a disservice.

My son's door will not be replaced until he earns the money & gets the frame repaired.  At 15, he is capable of this.  Right now, he is protesting, therefore he remains without a door. 

Cafe... Cafe Kierna

Thanks, moms, for all the great feedback. I still find myself leery to make a call on this one until I'm actually faced with such a dilemma. To me, both the yes and no side of this issue seem to have really important and valid arguments. I hope I never have to figure this one out--and I empathize with those who do.

BG1971 BG1971

The consequence must fit the inappropriate actions.  Many a day, my teenagers have lost the "privilege" for privacy by the removal of the door.  I have even had my son remove his own door. This for violating other members of the family's privacy by his "sneaking into" other rooms with intent of "stealing".

MY HOUSE, MY DOORS, MY RULES!  Respect must be earned to be given.  We are dealing with a new breed of teenagers in this society and we must be creative when the opportunity to teach character is presented.


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