I know what you are thinking, but I am not a snoop by nature. I believe my children should have privacy – to a point. Nevertheless, I reserve the right to snoop. Having raised twin teenage daughters without any major adolescent drama like pregnancy, STD’s, drugs or alcohol abuse I have become somewhat of an authority figure on apposite and effective snooping practices. Successful snooping is an art form; something novice moms out there need to take time to learn. Unlike my mother before me (who was a snoop by nature – and a horrible one), allow me to offer you some ground rules on the subject-at-hand.
1. I only snoop with probable cause
First and foremost, I only snoop, spy and dig when I have probable cause; when I have evidence to suspect that something is awry. For instance, when my 10-year-old comes home acting unexpectedly lovey- dovey, doing her chores sans prodding or otherwise exhibiting out-of-character behaviors that defy explanation, I know she has done something impish. Thus, I snoop. In cases where I have probable cause, I virtually always find “something” amiss, and when I don’t, I know my kid is coming down with the flu.
2. I don’t “hide” my right to snoop
I make it very clear that I reserve the right to snoop at any time. My kids might not like it, but until they pay bills, they don’t get free reign to ride the privacy pony.
3. I do hide my snooping
With that being said, I don’t always make it known when I am snooping or even that I am snooping. A little stealth goes a long way. When your pre-teen, tween or teenager thinks she is “safe”, that is the perfect time to snoop -again remembering rule number one. A quick glance through a phone or a peek at a Facebook account often tells me everything I need to know, and no one need be the wiser.
4. I don’t make mountains out of molehills
All snooping has a downside; you are likely to find something that you don’t like with every trip down Eavesdropper Lane. You have to pick your battles. I only let my kids “have it” over major insubordination or infractions, and I never make a point to “bust” them for every little thing that they do. You shouldn’t either. Give them plenty of rope, and let them make their own mistakes.
5. Use technology, but don’t overuse it
I have GPS tracking on my kids phones, but I don’t use it unless I have a legitimate suspicion or concern about where they might be. I have text message tracking software, but I don’t use it unless they give me reason to. While technology has made it easier to snoop on your kids, it doesn’t mean you need to know everything.
It’s true, I’m not above spying on my kids, but I’m not so low as to do something like read a diary either. You have to give your kids room to fall and fail, so you can help pick them back up -that’s your job. Too much snooping, spying, sneaking and meddling will ruin your relationship with your teenager; and no amount of poking or prying is worth that. Get in, get what you need and get out. You will know what to do from there.
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