You’ve lived through our kid’s 1 am feedings, toddler temper tantrums, their very first time at daycare and their back-to-school blues. Now, your beloved child is becoming a teenager and you’ve noticed a problem: they are transitioning from an eager-to-share kid with bright eyes to a much more private young adult who often locks their bedroom door.
Teen years are a period of intense growth —
physically, mentally and emotionally. Often, it’s a period of conflict
between parents and children as kids try to separate themselves from the
family to become more independent. While house extensions such asteenage retreats and granny flatsmay
provide them with the autonomy and the space they need, it’s also a
matter of understanding why they need privacy during this period in
Is privacy important for teenagers?
Some parents confuse the word privacy with secrecy, which is why they often end up snooping around their children’s lives, jeopardising their relationship with their child. What they don’t realise is that privacy helps teenagers trust their own decisions: plus, it helps build their self-confidence. If a child shares every single problem with their parents, they will eventually just make decisions based on what their parents think instead of coming up with solutions themselves.
need for privacy also stems from trust issues. Teenagers want to be
trusted. They want to be thought of as mature young adults who are
capable of being independent. According to the experts from ReachOut
Parents, themutual trust that you form with your childwill
also help them in their transition to adulthood. It will set them up to
develop healthy relationships in the future and will also strengthen
your bond with them.
However, giving your teenager space
doesn’t mean ignoring them. It means respecting their privacy and not
always meddling in their personal lives.Maintaining a communicative and open relationshipwill
also build the foundation for mutual trust. The stronger the
foundation, the more comfortable you can be about giving your child some
privacy and space without necessarily giving them free rein.
When to Step In: Pick Your Battles Wisely
There may be a time that you do need to interfere in your teenager’s life. This doesn’t mean intruding into their business if they had a fight with a friend or following them to the mall during a date.
teenager loses interest in the hobbies they used to enjoy, sleeps all
the time, stops socialising, shows signs of alcohol or drug use and has
become withdrawn — it may be time to intervene. Try to communicate with
your child about the changes in their behaviour. Ask why they no longer
hang out with their friends or about the erratic changes in their sleep
schedule. Then, listen to what your child says and try to understand
where they come from. If all you get in response is an ‘I don’t know’ or
a lifeless shrug, consider having your childsee a counsellor.
With all the changes that are happening to their bodies, teenagers deserve private time to themselves as long as they don’t abuse the autonomy they’ve been given. However, a long-lasting switch in behaviour or personality may signal real trouble — the kind that needs professional help.