Balancing Privacy and Accountability for Older Children

Balancing Privacy and Accountability for Older Children


As children get older and ask for more privacy, what is a good balance of granting freedom while maintaining parental involvement?

Seeking Middle Ground

Dear Seeking,

We have been entrusted with a great responsibility as parents. Our children are put into our care to raise, love, nurture, and teach them. Parenting requires a very hands-on approach when kids are young, but as they mature, the process gradually transitions more toward a mentoring role.

As parents, we need to be involved in our kids’ lives. We need to give attention to their activities, friends, and interests. It’s important to maintain ongoing conversations about their lives. We need to actively train them on how to make good decisions and to be responsible for their actions. Intentional parenting is needed to transition our kids from dependent children to independent and wise adults.

Privacy is a privilege children earn from a relationship built on trust and respect. It is not a right.

Privacy is a privilege children earn from a relationship built on trust and respect. It is not a right. Set expectations for your kids so they have plenty of opportunities to earn your trust. For example, consider questions like these:

  • Are curfews and time expectations met consistently?
  • Are homework, chores, and other responsibilities done well and finished when expected?
  • Are they where they said they would be, with people you expect them to be with?
  • Are devices and technology being used appropriately?

Parenting also comes with the responsibility of disciplining our children when trust has been broken. Any red flags should automatically take away the privilege of privacy. You will need to confront them about the issue, set new boundaries, and work with them to rebuild trust.

Talk with your children about what privacy looks like for them. Be sure they know that if trust is broken from any type of poor behavior, they will lose this privilege. Being held accountable for their actions and decisions is a great way for kids to show parents they are ready for more freedom and privacy!

Yours in accountability,
Ali

“Ask Ali” is an op-ed column answering common questions about accountability and related topics. Do you have a question for Ali? Send your question to [email protected]. Please note that the views and opinions expressed may not represent those of Accountable2You.

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