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Is it wrong to read my daughter’s journal?

Question

My fourteen year daughter spends lots of time in her room. She writes every night in a journal that I gave her a few years ago. She locks the book but what she doesn’t know is that I also have a key. It would make me a better mom if I could understand what is going on with her, so I’m very tempted to read her journal when she is not around. Am I wrong?

Answer

What a terrible idea!  Reading your daughter’s private journal is a trust-terminator, and could have a seriously detrimental effect on your relationship with your child. You need to figure out better ways to stay connected with her other than being deceitful. Why don’t you go out to eat together or go shopping or to the movies? Make certain you have family dinners together. Go to her school events. Show interest and ask questions about her life without interrogating her. Give her lots of love and just be around when she is home.

The only time I’d ever advise reading another’s private journal is if you had strong suspicions that your daughter was at imminent risk for hurting herself or someone else.

Question

My eight-year-old boy has had anger issues his entire life, just like his dad. We’ve all accepted that this is just the way he is, but I’m working on trying to get him to express his anger in good ways. I’ve tried teaching him about hitting a pillow, yelling and screaming in his room, or using a punching bag but he still lashes out at other kids or sometimes even at me.

Answer

Unlike what you’ve read in popular Psychology articles, it is not always healthy to express your anger. Instead, your son needs to learn not to let things irritate him. Don’t accept his “anger issues” or excuse his behavior because he acts like his dad. Perhaps he may act differently if he saw his father deal with anger more appropriately. Speak with your family doctor about a referral to a cognitive-behavioral therapist who can work with your son.

Question

My 17-year-old daughter demands that I allow her to smoke in front of me. She feels I am discriminating against her and not accepting her the way she is. I’ve had two family relatives die of lung cancer caused by smoking, and I just cannot tolerate my daughter picking up this terrible habit.

Answer

Tell her the following. “I have spent my entire life trying to keep you safe. You’ve now decided to do something that will ultimately cause you to die an early and painful death. I love you too much to ever allow you to smoke in front of me. I will always be here to help you stop a habit that will cause you many serious health problems.”

 

Next week:  The greatest danger to your marriage—and what to do about it!

Comments

  1. Reply
    babyklamotten November 1, 2011

    Thank you so much for these wise answers! To read the journal of the own child is a really bad idea. It hurts the child and destroy the trust your child brings to you.

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