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What Does Privacy Even Mean for a Teen?

The age-old struggle of teens trying to gain their independence and parents trying to let go is sometimes often difficult to gauge. There is uncertainty on how much space to give a teen and how much privacy a parent should give to their adolescent. As your teen begins to get older, they are continuously developing physically, cognitively, and socially which means that parents have to allow them the space they need to become responsible as well as independent. Teenagers need privacy although they need to be monitored and guided along the way.  All teens are not created equal when it comes to giving them their privacy. If a parent has an intuition that something is not right with what their teen's actions are showing, then they should take every precaution to make sure their teen is safe and making good decisions. Otherwise, there are some reasonable ways to respect a teen's privacy unless they give extenuating circumstances for a parent to get more involved.
  • Knocking before entering their room.
  • Refraining from rummaging through their drawers and other belongings.
  • Abstaining from reading notes, text messages, emails, or social media private messages to simply be nosy.
  • Asking before looking in their backpacks, purses, or other personal belongings.
  • Inquiring if they wish for you to join them in their patient room at their doctor's appointments, depending on their age, is a good idea.
Although the parents should clearly be in charge of their teenager's well-being, giving them some leeway in their privacy can generate more respect between both parties. If there seems to be some secrecy in the teen's behaviors or emotions, parents should take their own actions to understand what is happening within their teen because there is a huge difference between privacy and secrecy.   Setting boundaries and rules surrounding the teenager's actions is extremely important to guide them through this critical time of self-discovered independence. Teenagers do not always think through their decisions and may put themselves in risky situations without considering the consequences. Parental supervision is important to keep teens in line for success and sometimes that may mean having to use unconventional methods to look for clues. With guidance and regulation from their parents, teens can make choices that are conducive to their home life, education, and relationships. Having parents who are willing to give their teens the privilege of privacy will hopefully be pleasantly surprised when the uplifting results prove to be favorable.

Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center leads the way with progressive, evidence-based programming to most effectively treat each individual adolescent while focusing on the uniqueness of each client. Healing the mind, the body, and the spirit as one in the same can make the biggest difference in staying sober.

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