Dear Christine, Needing Privacy in Novi

  • Posted on April 21, 2018 at 10:52 am

Dear Dr. Christine,
I live in a house with both of my parents. Lately, they are driving me insane. I have no privacy whatsoever. They go through my phone, and they involve themselves too much in my life. I’m growing up! How do I get them to back off? I was wondering if you could answer these questions: 1.) Why do many teenagers feel that their parents invade their privacy? 2.) Is there a reason that parents do this? 3.) How can this be resolved? Needing Privacy in Novi

Dear Needing Privacy, Being a teen, dependent on your parents and trying out how to be an adult is a tough stage of life. Your parents, most likely, have your best interests in heart, and they were teens once, and they remember what they did. Parents are legally responsible for you, so they may invade your privacy, i.e. search your room to see if you are smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or doing drugs. Hopefully they aren’t reading your journal (does anyone journal privately anymore?). Are they tracking where you go on the Internet? Do they ask intrusive questions? Do they have unreasonable demands? The best approach with parents is to be the adult you’re trying to be, and open a discussion with them. Find out what their concerns are about you. Have they lost trust in you? What is it they are looking for? Are their concerns reasonable?
Many times, parents resort to snooping on their kids when they feel like their teens are hiding from them. This can happen with GLBTQ teens who are exploring dating someone of the same sex, and mom and dad are freaking out because they don’t see you with someone of the opposite sex. They are probably trying to understand where they “went wrong” and how you strayed from whatever it was they wanted you to be. This is normal, but uncomfortable, as you are beginning to find out who you are, for you, to live YOUR life. Your parents may not get that you are different from what they expected, and it may not be anyone’s “fault”, but it is hard for people to change their expectations.
Try talking with your parents about your concerns, using “I” statements, noting to them what you notice and what you feel. Ask they what they are looking for. If they ask you directly: “are you gay?” try to answer honestly, if not directly. Perhaps you are, but you’re not ready to come out to them. Then tell them you don’t know who you are and you’re trying to find that out. You don’t have to pick a label, even though your parents might be pushing that. You are you, and who you are is a good, unique person. Discovering yourself is a process, for you, and for your parents. The more you can keep them in the loop and build trust, the easier the process will go.

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067

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