Should Teenagers Be Able To Lock Their Bedroom Doors?
07/28/2021, 1:50 PM
When your child enters their teenage years, they’re likely to want more privacy. Maybe they start closing their door during the day or at night when they go to bed. Maybe this means they start locking their bedroom door, and when you try to enter their room to clean or bring them their laundry, you suddenly find yourself facing a locked door for the first time.
At some point, this is a concern that you may face as a parent and a discussion that your family may need to have. Should your teenager be allowed to lock their bedroom door? Ultimately, only you can decide what’s right for your kids and your family, but this guide can help you choose.
DON’T ASSUME THE WORST
While you may be startled when you face a locked bedroom door for the first time, avoid assuming the worst. A desire for privacy is natural as we get older, and your teenager may be seeking privacy as they mature. This isn’t necessarily a sign that your child is doing anything they shouldn’t be like sneaking out or drinking.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid invading your teenager’s privacy unless there are warning signs. While you should know what your kids are doing and have online restrictions in place, the most crucial step is talking to your kids about the dangers that are out there and trusting them with the freedom to make the right decisions.
Teenagers aren’t likely to be open with you at all times or share all of their activities and thoughts. But the honest conversations you have had with your child and the tools you have given them will help them navigate their everyday choices as they become more independent.
Your teenager needs to know you respect them and their desire for some privacy. This degree of privacy can help your child become more independent and build self-confidence. Of course, you also need to be able to trust your child. If you have reasons not to trust your teen with more privacy, a door lock may not be the right option for your family.
However, if your child hasn’t given you any reasons not to trust them, you may want to consider giving them this added degree of privacy. Though not always the case, many teenagers who have a history of making good decisions are less likely to engage in dangerous or risky behavior.
RESPECTING YOUR TEENAGER’S PRIVACY
For teenagers, privacy is a must. During their teen years, your child is selecting traits that help them build their identity, trying out different aspects of their personality and testing ways to participate in social situations and the culture. Many teenagers use the privacy of their own bedrooms as a safe space for experimenting.
WHEN SHOULD YOU ALLOW YOUR TEENAGER TO CLOSE THEIR BEDROOM DOOR?
You may decide that the best decision for your family is to allow your teenager the chance to experience being alone with themselves. Many parents choose to allow their teenagers to close their bedroom doors while alone or with siblings or friends. Depending on your teen’s sexuality, you may choose to make an exception for friends of the opposite sex. This is a decision that only you can make and will depend on how trustworthy your child is, along with how much you trust their friends.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOUR TEENAGER ENGAGES IN UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIORS?
Have the difficult conversationsPrivacy privileges may be revoked temporarily if you discover that your child is engaging in behaviors you don’t approve of in their room, such as drinking alcohol. With privacy comes responsibility, and you need to be able to trust your teen with both, so you may want to revoke privacy privileges until the trust is reestablished.
If you notice warning signs, you may want to start a discussion with your child. Warning signs may include:
· Your teenager’s grades have been dropping.
· Your teenager has been withdrawing emotionally.
· Your teenager has suddenly been having trouble sleeping.
· Your teenager has been getting in trouble in school or at home.
· Your teenager has been hiding things, like a vape in their pocket.
· Additionally, if you overhear your teen talking with a friend about dating violence or you see them crying over a social media post, it may be time to reassess their privacy privileges and talk with them.
Ultimately, keeping your kids safe is more important than their privacy, and these red flags may signal that something harmful is occurring.
While you can’t expect your teenager to tell you everything, you should maintain an open dialogue that allows you to get to know your teen, gives your teen the chance to discuss their problems and ideas and establishes a strong bond between the two of you based on understanding and love. This can ensure you and your teenager can remain close while they enjoy privacy privileges in your home.
r child to keep private, you can begin figuring out the additional ways you can give your teenager more privacy, such as:
Permitting your teenager to have alone time.
Leaving your teenager’s notebooks and journals alone.
Asking if you can get something out of your teenager’s backpack or wallet.
Letting your teenager see their doctor privately if this is what they prefer.
Leaving your teenager’s phone alone rather than snooping through their emails and texts.
Allowing your teenager to have private conversations with siblings or friends without demanding details.
If you’re unsure how much privacy to award, you may want to assess how responsible your teenager is with their obligations. Do they complete homework on time? Do they arrive on time for school, work, appointments and their curfew? Do they do their chores? If your teenager has demonstrated that they are responsible, you may want to give them a little more of the privacy they have earned by gaining your trust.