At the bank of Craig and Mary, our children can make deposits, withdrawals, earn interest and manage their trust accounts on their own. But our children do not have total “banking” privacy. When the question comes up in our home about privacy, we check their trust account statements.
Do our children deserve privacy? Does the bank deserve to give you money? The answer to each question could be yes or could be no. If you have a zero balance in your bank account, then no, the bank does not deserve to give you money. The same is true in our home. Do our kids deserve privacy? It depends on how much trust money they have in their account. I do believe that as children get older, they should have some level of privacy for healthy personal growth. However, as a parent, I have a responsibility to teach and prepare my children for adulthood and to protect them while they are in cyberspace. I like what family psychologist Dr. Keith Kanner says when talking about privacy as it relates to the Internet.
Teens need some privacy to feel independent and trusted by their parents. . . . [But the doctor also says that although] “supervision” is essential to protect children, . . . mental and physical privacy is also important. When parents interrogate or demand knowledge from their kids, like “no secrets,” right away teens feel like they must have done something wrong and they are in trouble. Often, that means that the game is over right there. This type of overprotection can create a bad cycle.
As a parent, it’s often easier to be demanding rather than discerning. We are bigger and stronger and have all the power, so we feel as if we can demand and control much easier than set aside the time to explain things or take them out and talk about them. We may be able to accomplish quite a bit more if we were to take a moment to discern rather than a second to demand. (Just something to think about.)
Old School Example:
Let’s say that when I was younger I wanted to go to the mall and walk around for a few hours. While at the mall, I may want to get into a car with a stranger or maybe take candy from someone I don’t know. In any case, I want the option to do what I want. I may also want to hand out my address to a few people and tell them when I am home alone. Given this old school example, what do you think a healthy parental response should be? How about, “No. You may not go unless I go with you.”
Modern Family Example:
Let’s say that when our children were younger they wanted to surf around the Internet for a few hours. While looking around, they decide to get into a digital car with someone they have never met, take some digital candy and exchange a few messages and pictures. They accept the person’s friend request and give them a digital address as well. Given this example, what do you think a healthy parental response should be? How about “No, you may not go unless I go with you.”
Privacy And Trust:
Privacy and trust go together—one account linked to the other. If a child has earned his or her parents’ trust, he or she buys more privacy. If the child’s behavior causes the parents to doubt, the child makes a withdrawal and loses privacy until his or her trust account has been replenished.
Checking your child’s texts or monitoring your child’s media is not spying, it’s responsible parenting. Spying is an activity engaged in by someone who keeps a secret watch on the actions of others. Be very open about your intentions and why you are monitoring their media.
I use the banking analogy in this post because as adults it’s easy for us to understand. A bank account is an in and out account. You put the money you earn into the account and you take money out of your account to pay bills and enjoy life. If you have a zero balance in your account, you can’t buy anything. Occasionally, you may find your account overdrawn. The same is true for our children at the bank of trust and privacy.
Our kids are teenagers so our ideas of how trust is built may be different than yours. Here are 5 practical ways our kids make deposits in the Bank of Trust in our home.
1. Being truthful
2. Being where they should be
3. Being responsible
4. Being reachable
5. Being home on time
Question: How do you kids build trust with you?
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