Privacy and respect

By on May 5, 2010

I have been contemplating the issue of privacy in the home: personal, marital, and familial. Recently I watched a popular TV show where parents battled with their teen regarding privacy. I also talked with a couple who was having trouble with privacy for their marriage in their home. All of this culminated in some teenage friends talking about wanting to simultaneously hide and share their lives with their parents.

Authenticity in the home is not so much authoritarian as it is being part of a team. A team needs to share, sacrifice and have knowledge to help one another.  When thinking about privacy for our home, it seems like respect is the underlying value. Character building is the goal of parenting. Kids live in our home and make mistakes. If a home runs on respect for one another, then we can engage in conflict resolution to encourage character. My mom and dad believed that children lived at home in order to coach them through life’s success and failure. They were inquisitive and available but not authoritarian. I guess I am landing on privacy not being so much of an issue if we are committed to letting our kids succeed and fail in our presence. Do they trust us enough for that? Are we trustworthy enough for that?

What are your children’s expectation of privacy in your home? What have you taught them about respecting your privacy?  Have you talked about living authentic, confessing lives before one another in order to help each other grow? Do you hide things from one another in secret and call it privacy?

It seems that the parents I polled who have the least amount of conflict communicated well laid out exceptions before any conflict took  place happened: no locked doors, ask before taking, respect personal space but don’t abuse it, responsibility means not having things to hide, all watch what everyone puts in their eyes and ears. Do your kids respect the rules of the house as an important member in it? I wonder what would happen in our homes if we read together one verse on honor from the Bible every night for a week. I wonder what would happen if we asked God questions about respect and listened for His answers.

Parenting Tip: How often do the demands of someone mess up what you are doing at the moment. We do not like being told to do something at a moment’s notice. Give your kids enough respect to prep them for action. “I will ask you to set the table in 10 min.” Teach your kids how to give a rational appeal to your demands on them. “Yes Dad, I will stop playing the game but can I have 10 min to finish this level?’ “Yes Mom, I will turn off my phone but can I have 2 min to finish this text?’ If they are modeled this respect then they are more apt to show it. “Yes, I will clean your black shirt but I am going to finish this blog entry first”

Book we like: Families were Grace is in Place by Jeff VanVonderen

Age of Opportunity by Paul David Tripp

Grace-based Parenting by Tim Kimmel


  • By Ali, May 5, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

    I think you make a good point about privacy v. secrecy. And it really boils down to communication.

    COMMUNICATION IS HUGE. It really is what respect is all about. If we set up an environment in which healthy communication is supported, encouraged, and protected, we are giving our children a great gift.

  • By Joe, February 9, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

    Wow, this is so helpful! My wife and I have been thinking about becoming foster parents to teenagers and have been discussing the privacy issue. People don’t think it goes both ways, but it does.

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