Babies and toddlers are dependent on their parents for everything, but as children mature and grow older, they will want to do more for themselves and develop their own independence. When should you start respecting your child’s privacy?
Vocal Requests for Privacy
Children will make their feelings clear on the matter of privacy at an early age. Even if you think it is silly for your 9-year-old son to yell at you to leave the bathroom as he is taking a shower, do not take such requests so lightly or try to reason that you are his mother and that you have every right to come into the bathroom.
The fact is that you do not have a right to enter the room if your child feels the need for privacy while they are in a state of undress or even while they are spending some alone time together thinking things through, processing the day’s events or completing their homework. The sensible thing to do is to knock and only enter if you are told to do so.
When You Are Asked to Knock Before Entering
Many parents refuse to put locks on their children’s bedroom doors and see no problem in walking in unannounced, rummaging through the underwear drawer or reading their daughter’s diary. They reason that it is their house and they have a right to enter their children’s bedrooms.
However, when you are about to enter the adolescent years, the very thought of having your parents enter your room will send you in a tailspin. Even though your son or daughter does not have a lock on their bedroom door, treat them with the same respect as you would if they did. When you are asked to knock before entering, it is safe to assume that it is time to start respecting your child’s privacy. Knocking first will help you to avoid the embarrassment of coming upon them while they are getting dressed or undressed.
Requests for Their Own Room
One of the main reasons why children ask for their own room is because they have outgrown the need for a bunk bed they have shared with their 5-year-old brother or sister. If you have the room and can accommodate your child’s request for their own room, it is important to seriously consider this, not as a selfish request, but as a request for more privacy, which is required when children are growing into young adults.
Giving your children their own room also shows them that you respect the fact that they are growing up. If you do not have the room for separate bedrooms for each child, then at least offer your growing child their own space within their bedroom that they can call their own.
Children deserve the right to increased privacy as they develop into adolescents. It is the parents’ responsibility to give their children the privacy that they need rather than dismiss their requests as foolish or premature.