Mom Publishes Her Daughter's Diary Online -- So What?

Mom Moment 26

Believe it or not, some kids still keep handwritten diaries. Whodathunk? And for parents whose kids do this, they're in a bit of a tough position. Do they read their kid's diary so they can know if anything is going on their kid's life that they should know about? Like sex? Drugs? Rock 'n' roll? If they do that, and they find something, then they're in the awkward position of having to explain to their child that they HAVE NO PRIVACY. Nowadays, parents -- especially moms, let's face it -- are all too prone to blog about their kids too. How are those kids going to feel when they grow up and all the dirty details of their childhood is out there on the Internet? Will they care, or will privacy be nothing but a cute relic of a bygone era by then anyway? One mom is coming in for a drubbing for doubly invading her 5-year-old daughter's privacy: She read her child's diary AND published it online.

Kim Bongiorno, who writes the blog Let Me Start By Saying, began getting a tad worried when her 5-year-old daughter took up a journaling habit. She apparently kept her diary's key on a ring on her finger and would say, "Do NOT look at me, Mama. I'm writing in my diary."

Concerned that her daughter was "hiding her sad" in her diary, Bongiorno wasn't about to let a 5-year-old tell her to mind her own business, so she snatched the ring and took a peek. Much to her relief, her daughter's diary was filled with expressions of love such as, "I love rainbows. I love my friends. I wish I had flowers. I love cold water. I love movies."

The blogger decided she wanted to publish this stunning prose (eye roll) as a way of reassuring parents that kids can actually be sweet and simple. Something like that. I think she just liked what she saw, knew it would be clicky, and wanted to publish it. 

But moms were not amused. Wrote one, who echoed the thoughts of many:

Besides drawing attention to yourself and your blog, it's difficult to understand what you hoped to accomplish by reading your daughter's diary, writing an article about it, and posting pictures of pages in her diary. No matter how reassured you were by what you read, and how much you thought others would be as impressed as you are with the sentiments your daughter expressed, I think violating her trust and sharing her diary with the world is despicable.

Says another:

My mother did a similar thing to me when I was quite young. I never quite trusted her again.

Normally I would be right behind these sentiments. I thought the mom who wrote about her troubled "Adam Lanza"-like son had saddled him with a horrific comparison that could have lifelong real world repercussions for him. I thank GOD my mom didn't have Wordpress.

But I'm not convinced that a 5-year-old should have privacy. Yes, she should be able to pee by herself. But writing her innermost thoughts and being able to keep them from me? Nope. If they're nice, positive thoughts, as these ones were, then what was the harm in looking? If they're not, and they are negative, sad, worrisome thoughts, thoughts that perhaps even talk about abuse or bullying, then I absolutely need to know about it. The harm would have been in NOT looking. Bongiorno defends herself, writing:

She's my kid, and I need to be able to check in on her -- she's not even 6 yo yet, so in my opinion, she can't have too much of a say here.

As for publishing her daughter's thoughts, the ones Bongiorno photographs are pretty harmless. I don't think that a future employer will be much concerned with them.

Anyway, Bongiorno claims she got her daughter's permission before publishing -- which is kind of absurd. As if a 5-year-old understands the permanence of the interwebs!

Bongiorno was only doing what a mom should do -- being super nosy. As for publishing her daughter's innermost thoughts, I hope this doesn't continue into her daughter's teen years.

Was this mom right or wrong to do this?

Image via FairyWorld Lock & Key Diary/Amazon

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Rosas... RosasMummy

this makes me feel sick. Children are people. like real human individuals, you should only pry into their private thoughts if u have some real cause for concern not jut because they are 5 so that's fine.

Vegeta Vegeta

Dude, she's 5. Let her have her little book. She ain't writing about that black out drunk party she went to. Congrats to the mom who ruined her kids one special secret thing. Good thing this kid isn't like 13, the mom posting diary entries on the internet would be mortifing.

Serab... Serabelle

While I agree that a parent should keep tabs on their kid and watch for things like bullies, violating their privacy by reading their diary is not the way to do it. And if you do as a mother feel it is your right to do so, at least be sneaky about it! And by God, do not post it on the internet! At least she's only 5, her friends/ bullies aren't trolling the internet yet, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear this mom did this again in 10 years when she's 15. Everyone deserves a little privacy, so unless you have reason to believe your kid is writing bad things, leave their diary alone!

nonmember avatar blue

SO...if her husband thought she was "hiding her sad" and decided to read her would she feel. Then, what if he published her thoughts? She would be livid, I bet. Her daughter is a HUMAN, a person. And individual. For god sakes, treat her like one!! Not a pawn for blog clicks. She can't have an opinion? How about, she is too young to have an educated opinion about it. I bet if she could wrap her head around what the mom was doing, she would be horrified. If there is something up with your kiddo and you can't get through, I guess you can choose to read their diary. Publishing it, is a betrayal of power and trust. Her age does not matter. She is a person, who should be respected. Oh man, I hope that girl gets hold of her mother's diary some day.

nonmember avatar Pam

Why would she let a 5-year old have a diary with a lock, be told by that 5 year old to not look when she's writing in that diary, then totally disregard that trust by reading and sharing it with the world. At 5 the diary is a neat private fun thing. Her mother just took that trust away for a blog post and her own selfish concerns. This mom may not feel it's a big deal but it's so easy to lose trust with a child and this will not be forgotten. She may want to work on talking with her daughter and trusting her responses instead of snooping.

Hawks... Hawks_Baby

This mother is completely in the wrong! Just because her daughter is five does not give this woman the right to invade her daughter's privacy! That girl deserves her right to keep her private thoughts to herself!

nonmember avatar Kathryn

I believe it was wrong. 5 years old or not. You shouldn't have to force information from your child, especially something as trust-breaking as reading a private journal. A cellphone would be one thing, but what a 5 year old would do with a cellphone is beyond me.

No, if you feel something is bothering your child sit them down and talk with them. Trust your child to be honest with you. Innocent until proven guilty. If your child simply won't open up to you, then perhaps your relationship is not strong enough for them to trust you with such information. I know I never trusted my mom with any major information because she blabbed it all the time. Which only led me to believe for a long time that no one could be trusted with my secrets. Being nosy is one thing. Being untrustworthy is something else.

Christine Armington

"Hiding her sad", really?! She is 5, any "sad" she has she would come to her mother with as long as she felt that her mother was trustworthy and would welcome her expression of emotion. Wait .... the Mom did read her diary and then publish it online, maybe the kid already know how untrustworthy her mom is and THAT is why the mom has to worry so much!


Monica Curry

I can't believe you would condone this Kiri... I don't care if she IS only 5, everyone deserves to keep their thoughts to themselves. You do NOT gain trust with your children by violating their privacy. Personally, I'd rather my kids know that I'm there for them IF they want to talk to me. If they don't want to talk, that's there right.

nonmember avatar Octoberbird

This is hard to believe. If I was 5 and my mom did something similar, I wouldn't trust her the same way again. Children's minds are formed very early on, so they have to understand that ANY invasion of privacy is not okay (unless it's obvious that there are SERIOUS problems). The little kid is only 5!!!! What, did the mom expect her to write about how she got knocked up at a party after too many beers???? Then the little girl will learn that it's ok to read other people's stuff and tell someone else.

When I was about 16, my mom discovered my diary and read it out of curiosity. It wasn't any big, dark secret, just a bunch of lame poems, but I wasn't ready to show it to anyone nevertheless. The fact that she read it made me mad for a loooooong period of time, even though she said she was proud of my talent.

The mom in this situation could have read the diary as a LAST resort (if her daughter was behaving strangely), but she sure as hell was wrong to publish it on the Internet, even if it was a bunch of childish scribbles.

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