Should You Read Your Kid's Text Messages? Nope! And Here's Why... by Sheryl Gould

5 years ago

Should You Read Your Kid's Text Messages? Nope! And Here's Why...

Who of us hasn’t read our kid’s texts? I know I have and I’ve found a lot of valuable information that I wouldn’t have discovered if I hadn’t. Reading my kid’s texts has left me feeling proud, horrified, validated and more anxious than before I started.

But I'm here to say, not so fast.

I am so passionate about this topic because I’ve experienced the damage it does to our relationships when we parent from a place of fear and anxiety. Reading my daughter’s texts didn’t protect her, or keep bad things from happening. In fact, it hurt my relationship with my daughter.

We’re a generation of parents that are overly involved in our kid’s business because we are parenting by fear. We need to know the difference between parenting by fear and being a responsible parent. Instead, let’s be proactive and stay informed, set up house rules and do the research on what it means to keep kids safe in our digital world.

If we talk to our kids, build strong relationships with them and tell them we are not judging them, we can have the important discussions. And they will be more likely to feel safe coming to us when something is wrong, or if they have made a poor decision.

Do you read your kid's text messages? Why or why not?

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Donna John
I agree, Sheryl Gould . I have never read my kids' texts. I honestly can't remember ever having a situation when I even thought about snooping on their phones. You put it very well that we are now parenting by fear. It's hard, but you've got to teach them right from wrong and hope they make the right decisions. We'll always be on the sidelines, though, ready for the game if needed. Curious to see what the rest of the tribe thinks.
Elisa Schmitz
THIS --> "We need to know the difference between parenting by fear and being a responsible parent." You are so right, Sheryl Gould . My parents didn't know where I was half the time. They knew I was OK, and I was. We are so scared today, both as parents and as kids. So much anxiety. What happened in one generation, wow! And technology has made it worse, I think, not better. Thank you for this great insight!!
Sheryl Gould
Donna John - Thanks Donna! For me, it's been hard not to but I know that trust and having these important conversations are most important!
Sheryl Gould
Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds - I am so with you! My parents didn't know either! It is a challenge today to not parent by fear - it is scary to let go! For me too! XO
Ann Marie Patitucci
Thank you for this, Sheryl Gould . I needed it. My son is nearly 12 and we're starting to talk about what life will be like when he has a phone/has social media etc. We're not ready yet but I'm bracing myself for it all!
Sheryl Gould
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead - you're welcome. Happy to hear you're starting to talk about it. Are we ever ready? LOL!
What a great topic! I have and will continue to read my child’s texts, search history, google classroom comments, etc. My child is still learning how to appropriately use electronics and different media and as his parent it is my job to continue to guide him through this confusing and tough process. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked him about his written words and had a very worthwhile discussion on how his words might have been perceived by others, could impact others, if there was a better way to get his idea across, or if they were flat out inappropriate.
Sheryl Gould
Renee Herren - I know it is a great topic! It's so good to wrestle with these things and to ask ourselves what our intention is to read them. Age makes a difference. I like that your approach with your son is bringing up great discussions. That's what we want!
Gina Pomering
Yes, I read his messages and he knows I do so there are no secrets. I tell him point blank you are too young for this kind of relationship, he is 10 and he has a text app on his kindle. We use it for family etc but I read it and I feel no guilt about it. My son can be v naive and I know that. I am his parent not his buddy or friend. I don’t care if he gets mad , it’s my job to protect him from others but also himself. Will I read them when he is 18 , not sure but right now, hell yes I read them.
Sheryl Gould
Gina Pomering - I totally agree - 10 is an age where they need to be monitored and have boundaries, for sure.

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