The need to intrude on your child’s privacy
Posted Saturday, March 9 2013 at 00:00
Gone about the right way, it can be a good thing to keep up to date with what your child is up to, writes Esther Oluka.
Privacy is something that everyone loves to have in their lives. This sort of liberty of doing whatever one wants without having some other person question their actions is something that not only adults want to enjoy, but children as well.
In fact, Sheila Mutoosi, a mother of two teenage daughters aged 15 and 17, says the reason why children, especially teenagers, deserve to be given their personal space is because at times they might not be comfortable involving people in some of the issues that are happening in their lives at a particular point in time.
“Just like any adult, there are things a child may be comfortable keeping to themselves and I strongly believe that every parent should respect this. This is what I do with my daughters,” Mutoosi says.
She sees no reason whatsoever for parents to infringe on the privacy of their children.
Ritah Zawedde Otoke, a counselling psychologist at Uganda Christian University (UCU), says as much as it is good for parents to give children their own personal space, it is also important for them to set limitations as well.
“Yes, give them their personal space but at the same time watch out for certain undesirable habits they tend to have whenever someone is not watching,” Zawedde says.
And each time the parent realises that there is something wrong going on with the child, Zawedde says that the best method of approach involves siting down this child and then addressing the issue in a calm but firm voice.
In regards to which age a parent should or not consider indulging into a child’s personal space, Zawedde says there is no appropriate age though most parents tend to do it when the child clocks 15 years and onwards.
“Most parents tend to consider 15 years and on wards as the time to encroach on the child’s privacy because it is around that time that the teenager tends to go through a lot of the body’s transformations which range from the physical, emotional and psychological aspect,” Zawedde says.
It is because of such transitions that the counsellor says makes parents want to know everything happening in the child’s life. Unfortunately for the majority of these parents, their teenagers have frequently been at loggerheads with them when they have tried on numerous occasions encroaching on their private space.
A teen’s perspective
Tracy Nakimuli, 17, is one of such teenagers. She often argues with her father over his constant habit of sneaking into her room and going through some of her things mainly the phone and diary. Such awkward encounters leave her terribly angry at her father.
“Whenever I find him going through my stuff, I get so mad in that I deliberately stop talking to him for a couple of days,” Nakimuli says.
She hates it because chances are that he can easily land on some of the gifts and love letters that her admirers continuously send her. And if he is to ever find out, the teenager believes that her father will become stricter.
Why you should peak in
Jonathan Okiru, a counsellor with Family Life Network, says much as these teenagers tend to make complaints of parents intruding on their personal space, it is often for their own good. “There are many shocking things that parents always tend to discover when they sneak behind their child’s back. Whenever this happens, these parents have been able to put back the child onto the right track by reprimanding their actions,” Okiru says.
Otherwise if the sneaking was not done in the first place, parents would not be able to know what is really going on with the child.