Is it entirely wrong for parents to read their kids’ diaries, especially if they want to be sure what they’re up to?
Last year, my then-9-year-old son went through some really bad times, and ended up suffering from anxiety, depression, and PTSD symptoms.
It was a horrible time for all of us.
As part of the process of his recovery, I bought him a lockable diary, and encouraged him to write about how he was feeling every day.
Sometimes he would.
Often he wouldn’t want to put his feelings into words, so he’d draw a picture.
Then he’d come to show me what he’d done.
Every day, I’d say: “Sweetheart, are you sure you want me to look? This is your private place for your personal thoughts.
Anything you write in there is between you and yourself.
One day I noticed he didn’t show me his diary.
I didn’t think much of it, other than being pleased that he’d apparently taken my words to heart.
But I did notice that he seemed awkward and withdrawn that afternoon and evening.
I trusted that he’d eventually tell me what was wrong.
About twenty minutes after he went to bed (refusing even to give me a hug), he came back out of his room and asked if we could talk.
“Mummy, I need to tell you something,” he said.
“I wrote something really mean about you in my diary today.
“Okay,” I said.
“No, it was really, really mean.
I wrote that you were the worst mum in the world, and you’re always angry.
He looked up with me with tear-filled eyes and asked, “Aren’t you upset?”
It’s your diary.
If that’s how you were feeling at the time, I’m glad you wrote it down.
That’s what your diary is for.
It lets you get all your feelings out of your body and trap them on a piece of paper so you can look at them.
Your diary is your special, safe place, and anything you write in there is okay.
I promise you that I’ll never look in there.
It’s your special place.
My boy exhaled like the weight of the world had just been lifted from his shoulders, and climbed on to my lap for a cuddle.
“I don’t really think you’re the worst mum in the world,” he said.
“I know,” I said.
“But, you know what? It’s okay if sometimes you feel like I am.
Is it “wrong” to read your child’s diary? Only you can make that value judgement.
I wouldn’t presume to dictate morality to another adult.
However, I think it’s important to think about why you want to read your child’s diary.
Why doesn’t your child tell you what they’re up to? What is it in their behaviour that makes you think they’re doing something dangerous? And, most importantly of all, how will it affect your relationship with your child when they find out you violated their privacy?
Because rest assured, your child will find out.
Once you’ve read something in there—no matter how innocent it is—you will let them know you’ve read it.
How will your child feel? How will that change your relationship? Are you comfortable with the consequences of your actions?
My son doesn’t really think I’m the worst mum in the world.
It was a thing he was feeling because I’d told him he wasn’t allowed to play with his Lego until he’d finished doing his school work.
In that exact moment when he was writing it down, he felt it intensely.
But the very process of writing it and reading it back allowed him to let go of his pre-teen anger.
Half an hour later, he just felt mortified that he’d written it down.
When I was a teenager, I wrote any number of cringe-worthy diary entries about how much I hated my parents (I didn’t and don’t), how much I loved someone at school (I was more in love with the idea of being in love than anything else), and how much I wanted to have sex (which I actually didn’t for many years after I started writing about it).
Everything in my diary was completely and utterly true.
in the exact moment I wrote it.
But my diary was a terrible place to go to figure out what I was actually doing, or what I would likely do in the future.
After I realised my parents had read parts of my diary (because the kid will always find out), my diary became a place to write about only my socially-acceptable thoughts, and I had no way to exorcise those embarrassing, shameful, angsty, “real” feelings.
I stopped keeping a diary a few months later.
Because what good is a diary if you don’t feel comfortable being honest with it?
When I was in middle school I was gifted a diary from my grandmother for my birthday.
It was one of those battery operated ones that you needed a password to open.
I loved it….
until it lead me to one of the most humiliating experiences of my life.
I was a good kid who was raised by a single mom who is the type that should’ve never had kids.
Unstable, couldn’t keep a job, abusive mentally and physically, cared more about her current boyfriend at the time than her kids, 3 kids to 3 different guys, constantly moving us around from town to town, school district to school district, etc.
So I never got to do normal teenage stuff, never went out with friends, never could keep friends long enough because we were always moving, always stuck home babysitting while she went out.
We had finally stayed somewhere long enough where I could make good friends, actually get to know other people, and I got a developed a crush on a guy in one of my classes.
So I wrote about it in my new diary and I loved it.
It was so much fun and so nice to be able to feel like a normal girl, and do something a normal girl would do like write about a crush she had on a boy in school.
It wasn’t anything bad, nothing sexual at all, just he’s so cute, he has nice eyes, blah, blah, blah.
Big mistake because my mother was the type to blow everything out of proportion.
She had always loved humiliated me.
Especially as I got older and started getting pretty.
I became a threat to her.
She was the black sheep of the family, and she was always afraid of me outdoing her in life.
So one day when I was at school she broke open the diary, read everything I wrote about my friends, my crush, etc.
She calls the school and tells them that I’m to stay away from my crush because I’m an obsessive stalker, and that they need to keep me away from him because I’m dangerous.
So then the school calls his parents and tells them about it.
When I got home she berated me and said that I was sick in the head, obsessed with this guy, said that she was going to send me away, and told me that she had called the school, and told them I was a stalker, and that I had to change my classes, and that his parents were informed about it as well.
As you can imagine I was beyond mortified.
I had to change classes and everything just became awkward at school.
I had to avoid my crush at all times.
The lunch line, the cafeteria, walking through the halls.
I was worried that he’d told others about what had happened.
One of my friends was in band with him, and talked to him often, and so I had to avoid her as well when they were talking between classes, and the cafeteria.
We ended up moving again eventually anyway so it was short-lived, but to this day I still have trouble expressing myself on paper.
I used to write poetry also, and stopped after that incident.
Can someone use this against me? What if someone gets ahold of this? So no, I really don’t think it’s ok to humiliate your child by reading their private thoughts and feelings.
Nothing good can come from it.
If you see something that you don’t like and confront them about it they’re just going to know that you invaded their privacy, end up feeling humiliated, and keep everything bottled up instead.
They’ll hide more things from you, and mistrust you because you violated one of the few places where they felt safe.
No parent needs to know everything that their child thinks and feels.
If there’s something going on that you think that you need to know about then treat them like they’re actual people.
Be a person that they can trust and come to, and sit them down and talk about things.
No subject should be off bounds.
Open communication is key but invading their privacy is just going to makes things worse, make them resent you, and push them further away.
They’ll just have another reason to see you as invalid, and as an enemy.
I know this is a highly controversial subject, but.
I kept a journal starting in the ninth grade.
I didn’t keep it hidden, but didn’t leave it in the open either.
I was sure my mom was reading it when I was at school, and one day I wrote, “ I think my nosey mom is reading my journal.
” I wasn’t a bad kid so there wasn’t anything damning in what I wrote, but I was insecure and had lots of boyfriend drama.
Sometimes I wrote in “code” so she wouldn’t know what I was talking about.
Now I go back and read them and I’m like, “What in the heck was I talking about?”
I swore I wasn’t going to be a nosey parent, but I sometimes was.
None of my children kept a diary or journal but I’d see notes they’d written at school.
Generally I wouldn’t go digging, but if they were left out, I didn’t blink an eye about reading them.
Depending on the content, whether it seemed relevant to their welfare, determined if I kept reading.
Yes, I think kids need privacy, but I feel like keeping my kids safe was my number one priority, and if that meant invading their privacy, I would do it.
Fortunately, for good or bad, my children were pretty open to me.
My daughter talked to me before her first kiss.
For privacy I’ll call the boy Jake.
She said, I think I’m ready to let Jake kiss me.
We’ve been going together long enough that I don’t think I’d be causally given my kisses away.
” Of course I gave a momma comment saying I trusted her judgement, but to be careful because kissing can lead to other things.
A few months later I was chatting on the phone with his mom and my daughter walked through the room and said, “Momma, tell Mrs.
_____ to tell Jake I’m breaking up with him.
” I asked her why and told her I liked him.
She said, “because he keeps trying to feel my boobs!” OH! OK! So, I told his mom, and heard her yell, “JACOB!!!”
Luckily she was open enough to talk with me about it, but what if she had been writing in a diary about it and felt like she was trapped, or didn’t know how to handle it? Or she was scared or felt like she was being sexually taken advantage of and needed help?
I feel like you have to weigh it out.
Is privacy more important than safety? Are you reading it to be nosey or protective? If you are reading something that obviously doesn’t pertain to anything that could be physically or emotionally harmful, then you shouldn’t be reading that part.
If they say they hate you, you can’t be mad.
Most teens hate their parents at times.
If they say they hate their life and should just want to die, they are probably being a normal melodramatic teen on a bad day, but it would warrant keeping a careful watch, and try promoting some dialogue about how they think things are going.
But if you see something that would indicate that they are or are planning on doing something harmful, you have to intervene.
The best thing is to try to have a nonjudgmental relationship with your child, where they feel like they can talk to you about their problems without you freaking out or making them feel stupid or inferior.
No matter how busy you are, make time to talk about things they are interested in, and NEVER make them feel like you think the things they are worried about are just “teenager stuff” that they are going to look back on one day as silly, or it’s just a “crush” and you’ll get over it.
Because their problems are just as important to them in their stage of life as yours are to you in yours.
Growing up, I had intense anger episodes, which I’ve recently found out were from BPD.
In my early teenage years, I kept a diary, and I used it for the sole purpose of venting during my anger episodes.
I mean, sometimes I wrote innocent thoughts and musings, but mostly the diary was full of anger.
It was an outlet.
One day, my parents found my diary.
They read it.
They were pissed at all the things I had said about them (they were very strict, controlling parents, so I got mad at them a lot.
And we weren’t allowed to show them our emotions, so I had no way to tell them how I felt.
) They were angry, saying I was a terrible child and had issues and…yeah.
They also made fun of me for some of the secrets I had written—one was that I wanted to “mate” with this one kid.
It’s embarrassing to even admit that right here but I worded it that way in my diary because I was too afraid to blatantly say “sex.
” That was how emotionally manipulative and controlling my parents were.
We were never, ever allowed to talk about sex, so I couldn’t even write it in something that was meant for my own eyes, that I had trust that only I would see.
So at least instead of getting angry about my sexual thoughts, they made fun of me for it for years.
But of course, my self-esteem took a huge hit from that.
I never wrote in a diary again.
I took to writing freeform poetry with creative written imagery to get across my feelings to only myself.
When I read my old poems, I can feel again what I felt back then, and even sometimes remember what I was going through at the time.
But others would find it very difficult to decipher.
Unless you sincerely suspect your kid of damaging behavior to others (wanting to harm someone or something), do not ever read your kid’s diary/journal.
Ask them what’s up.
Care about their response.
Look inwards and try to accept that you’re not perfect and may have made a mistake.
Your kid will appreciate this more than you could know.
I dont really know the answer here, but I have my own opinions.
A diary should be a private space where someone can vent their emotions without any fears of judgements or repercussions.
When I was younger and having a lot of tough experiences with my father, the psychologist I’d been seeing suggested my brother and I both get a journal where we can write and she said that it was super important that we feel safe with it and made it clear to my mom that our journals were not to be read.
I used my journal a lot.
Any time I was upset or happy, I'd write about it in my journal.
My living situation with my dad was pretty bad at the time.
His common-law wife was very abusive of me and my brother, physically, emotionally and psychologically, and my dad failed us by calling us liars when we tried to tell him what was happening.
I wrote about it in my journal.
My dad's parents, my grandparents anniversary is the day after my birthday.
One year, for my 12th birthday, my step-mother decided since it was my grandparents 40th anniversary that during my birthday party, they should surprise them with a cake that was supposed to be mine and instead get it made out to them for their anniversary.
My dad and step-mother asked me if it was okay with me, and I said yes.
I was a little disappointed, when you're a kid your birthday is like the biggest deal, possibly more exciting than Christmas even because your birthday is all about you.
But I said it was okay because I didn't want to be a brat or demanding.
So my birthday party came, and my step-mother brought out the cake and some of the kids started singing happy birthday.
For a second I got all excited and thought it was all a ruse to surprise me with a cake after all, but turns out the kids just fucked up, and the anniversary cake did happen.
And it was fine, after the “anniversary cake” they brought out cup cakes that were arranged to make a ‘12’ with candles in them that I made my wish on and blew out.
It was fine, I wasn't too upset about the cake because I still got sang to and made my wish and all that junk that's a big deal when you're 12.
So that night, I went home and wrote about it in my journal.
I remember I wrote, “My birthday wasn't as bad as I thought it would be!…” and continued to write about how much fun I had, the cupcakes shaped like a ‘12’ and so on.
I closed my journal and placed it on the bottom of the piles of books on my night stand.
I understand that saying "wasn't as bad as I thought it would be,” would suggest that I thought the party was bad, just not AS bad as it could have been, but that really wasn't my intention.
I really meant, “contrary to what I thought, the party wasn't bad,” but as a 12 year old writing in my private journal, I didn't think about how it would sound, because no one else was supposed to be reading it.
The next day, my dad and step-mother had a fight.
When I say they fought, I mean they screamed at each other, she threw things at him, called my brother and I horrible names and said awful things about us.
That's always how it happened, the fight could have nothing to do with us, but she would drag us into it, I was a brat and a selfish witch/bitch, my brother was a pathological liar and a “retard” (such a lovely woman).
I didn't think it was anything unusual, until my dad called me into his bedroom.
He asked me why I wrote in my journal that “my birthday didn't suck as bad as I thought it would.
” I was confused because that wasn't what I wrote and I asked why he even had an idea of what was written in my journal.
He told me that ‘she’ had been in there to clean and “saw my journal open on my desk and decided to take a look”.
Firstly, that was a lie because my journal was closed and underneath a pile of other books.
Secondly, even if my journal was open on my desk, she had no right to read it.
It was supposed to be a private space where I could feel safe to say what I wanted to say.
I told him that wasn't what I wrote and that I never meant to insult anyone, that I had gone on to write about how much fun I had, but after my step mother got upset, it was too late for rationality, she always followed through.
When I got my period for the first time, I tried to tell my dad quietly so I could get a pad and go to the washroom (thankfully my mom is amazing and was always honest with me, so I knew what a period was and what I needed).
She freaked out and accused me of keeping secrets and even after she found out what I'd said to him, she doubted me and didnt believe I had my period.
She was so angry after that and it became a big deal, so dumb.
Anyway, I remember going to see my psychologist and with all the issues stemming from living with my dad, he came with me one time.
I told her that his spouse had read my journal and that they had gotten mad at me for what I wrote and wouldn't listen or take what I said about my poor phrasing as true.
I will never forget the psychologist’s reaction.
She was shocked and just said, “Oh no… you should’t have done that.
You need to not read her journal, you need to respect her privacy and her right to a private journal.
” He told her that so long as I wasn't telling him the “truth”, he would continue to read it.
Needless to say, I took my journal to my moms house and never brought it back to my dad’s house again.
Later on he gave me shit for taking the journal “my grandma bought me (she gave me a Chapter’s gift card and I bought the journal with it) and keeping it at my moms”.
I was a kid and scared to say it but I remember thinking, well obviously I'm not gonna bring my journal to your house when you straight up said you would continue to read it.
And to read it because I was lying to him, which I wasn’t.
I no longer trusted him because he betrayed that trust.
He betrayed that trust when he believed that woman over his own children and called us liars.
I had stopped trusting him long before this, but this was just another time he betrayed that trust.
My mom never read my journal, or at least never acted in a way to suggest she did.
And I trust my mom immensely.
My own belief is that a journal is a safe space to lay down your thoughts and feelings.
It should only be read if you are invited to read it.
I felt so, so betrayed from that incident with my dad, and I will never forget it, among other things.
That psychologist is still present in my life and has helped me get through a lot of things.
She had always made sense to me and the fact that she, as a professional, felt that a journal ought to be kept private and respected was enough to me, my own experiences merely solidified those thoughts.
I believe that unless one is invited to read another’s diary or journal, you should respect their privacy.
Edit: I just wanted to add as well, if a parent feels that their kid is hiding something important from them, instead of invading their privacy, maybe they should ask themself why it is their kid feels the need to hide it from them in the first place? In terms of my story, I wasn't comfortable enough with my dad or step-mother to be honest and tell them that I was disappointed about not getting a cake (can you blame me from her reaction though?).
When you point one finger, there's three pointing back at you, turn your concern inward and think about what you can do to foster a more respectful, healthy and nurturing relationship with your kids.
During the time when Xanga, Blogger and MySpace were the IN thing, I was a teenager (13) that was living with my grandma after my parents’ divorce as neither of them wanted me.
I still saw my mom on weekends, which was basically me in front of the computer screen while she watched tv.
One day, I noticed an anonymous comment on my message board, on my blog, saying ,”How dare you talk shit about your parents and your life online.
I had mentioned how my mom didn't allow me to go to a friend’s BBQ party and hated her.
I put a password on the blog.
My mom confronted me.
“How am I going to know about your life if you put a password on your blog?”
I just kept silent, and she just went on being an alcoholic for a few more years before she got remarried and we barely saw each other again.
I didn't have an answer for her then, but I wish I told her then, that if she wanted to know about my life, she could have just asked.
Her being sneaky, the way she dealt with the divorce, and with me, made everything worse.
My dad did the same thing too.
Stalking me in public (i’d see him following me when I meet my friends).
Also, listening in to my calls, reading my texts when I slept, locking me in my room, feeding me food through a crack of my room door, before locking the door again.
All I did, was get really good at being a shitty teenager.
With the amount of time I had being stuck in a locked room, I just created better schemes.
Unless your kid is doing some really fucked up shit, I suggest letting your kid enjoy the idea of privacy.
If not, you just might make your kid over-manipulative without intending to.
Edit: in case I didn't manage to make it clear, it was my mom who left the anonymous comment on my message board.
I had a journal when I was thirteen.
I wrote a lot in it.
Writing was my way to deal with my emotions, and figure out what and how I was thinking.
Looking back on it now, a lot of it was very embarrassing, but I knew that back then as well.
My mother read it.
I had some information about a girl I liked and some teachers I liked, to an almost obsessive degree, because I didn’t know how my feelings worked at the time and nobody had ever really taught me about that.
She read all of it.
It was only about seven pages, but you’d be amazed what you can write in seven pages of a college ruled notebook with small handwriting.
She made fun of me for what I wrote in there, teasing me about the girl I liked, and still, last I saw her, brought up that I liked that girl.
It wasn’t because I was not straight, but because I liked someone.
She always teased me.
Granted, you may not tease your child, but they are their own people, and deserve their own privacy.
Would you read your coworker’s diary were it to be left on their desk? Would you deem it acceptable for your children to read yours?
I mentioned that I haven’t seen my mother in a while.
I moved out within a week of turning eighteen.
It’s for more reasons than just comfort, but her going through my journal years ago led to me not wanting to tell her anything because I didn’t feel safe.
I didn’t talk to her for a week after that, and I haven’t trusted her since.
Don’t do this to your child.
It will ruin your relationship with them.
Treat your kids respectfully.
They’re people, too.
I’m really confused about why anyone would read their kids’ diaries, but I will not insult you a million times.
First of all, imagine this:
You have a diary.
You just wrote all your deepest, darkest secrets in there (this includes that secret about you liking that person you sit next to).
You also wrote angry stuff about people because they insulted you and you wrote that you hated your parents because they yelled at you for doing something.
your parents read your diary and all your so-called ‘friends’ read your diary.
Now your parents are angry at you (again) for jotting down your thoughts on them yelling at you.
And your friends hate you for writing one offensive word about something for some reason.
Don’t read your kids’ diaries! NO NO NO NO NO! PLEASE DON’T!
People read my diary and I can’t get them to stop and it makes me so mad and angry and sad and I feel like crying and no one else has a diary in my school and it’s like I’m a weird monster or something .
but now I’m too personal.
Diaries are not good if you want to figure out what your kids are up to.
Diaries are a place where your kids write their thoughts on what has just happened to them and the intensity of these feelings will probably soon fade away.
Diaries are a private place.
PLEASE DON’T READ YOUR KIDS’ DIARIES!
I am 70 years old.
When I went to summer camp I made friends of some boys who lived too far from my home to visit.
They also lived far enough away for phone calls to be long distance and expensive.
So we wrote letters to each other.
We wrote about sports, cars and girls.
I carefully kept each letter folded in its envelope and all the letters held together by a rubber band.
My mother read everyone of them a put them back together exactly the same way I had organized them.
Then at dinner that night she bawled me out for having sick friends that wrote letters about what they had done with girls.
I yelled at her, “What do you want me to do have friends who wrote me letters about what they did with other boys?” (Remember this was a long time ago, a different era.
) She ran upstairs to her bedroom laid done on her bed and had a kicking, screaming tantrum.
When I was in high school I tried to be a writer.
As Hemingway said, “The first draft of anything is shit.
” So when my mom went through my hand written first drafts (this was before computers and word processors) she said out loud at the dinner table that my writing was, “shit and crazy.
I just started screaming something about, “ Can’t I have any privacy?” Or something like that.
I was so upset that I don't remember exactly what I said.
This time my mother, father and brother just sat there and continued eating.
Quite often I think that the silence of being ignored is worse than being yelled at.
I never trusted my mother about anything.
She is 92 and I still don’t trust her.
A diary is not a calendar, nor a legal document, and chances are if you read your child’s diary – at the expense of their privacy and loss of their lifelong trust and respect – you wouldn’t really find out what they are “up to.
When I was merely 14, my family moved.
I had a boyfriend, but a boyfriend I had never had a date with.
We had met at a school band concert, and talked on the phone all the time after that.
After I moved, he wrote me a “break up letter” (can you imagine?) and I was so hurt, I took pen to paper to write all the things I wanted to say to him.
Including, among other things, that I had moved on (in 10 days) and had dated someone else and lost my virginity.
On hindsight, it is hilarious.
But apparently, this “diary note” that I had written found its way to beneath my bed where it was found by my dad! And read.
And then my mother and I had to have a “talk” where I was so embarrassed.
The fact is, nothing untoward happened to me at all at 14.
I was writing about curiosities and realities that were in my growing adult mind, not the physical realm.
I was experimenting with a facsimile of the adult world, and experiencing rejection and pride.
That was practice for what my adult life would really hold.
I needed to figure it out for myself.
I needed to experiment with those feelings and reactions in a safe way.
When you read your child’s diaries, you are getting not a picture of their life, but a picture of an image or a version of themselves that they are experimenting with as they develop as adolescents.
They may need to express these ideas and experiences verbally or in writing as a way to make sense of them.
Several months ago, as my husband and I cleaned out the garage, I found my diary from 3rd grade.
On one particular day, I declared my unending love for a boy (Doug) whom I knew I would love for all of time.
On day 2, I wrote of my longing for this boy.
There were tears, hurt, unrequited love of enormous proportions.
You should know that I was 7, and I had only met the boy twice, both times before age 5.
He was also 8.
On day 3, things with “Doug” weren’t working out.
On day 4, I had moved on.
Don’t read your child’s diaries.
It is just a bad idea on every level.
Take them out to lunch instead.
Tell them how much you like them.
Most of the responses I have seen to this question are INSANE.
Holy ass-backwards mentalities, Batman! I HIGHLY doubt that the vast majority, if ANY, of those who responded are married adults with children.
Their answers are chilling, if not terrifying.
A child has ABSOLUTELY NO EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY IN HIS/HER PARENTS’ HOME, let alone a RIGHT to privacy.
Are these people kidding with this stuff? A parent and a child are NOT peers.
There are no rights involved here.
How did that kid even get a diary, anyway? His/her parents’ money, that’s how.
Mom and Dad OWN that diary, along with the pen that wrote in it, along with the electricity and the light bulb that provided the light in which to write in it and the bed on which the child sat when he/she was writing.
There is NO SUCH THING AS INVADING YOUR OWN CHILD’S PRIVACY, because your child’s privacy does not exist.
Everything within your home either belongs to you or is your responsibility.
Until a child is responsible for himself/herself, there is no such thing as privacy.
Those are the facts.
That being said, unless there is something troubling going on, like a rapid and extreme change in behavior, likes and dislikes, grooming habits, or grades, there is absolutely no reason to be reading your child’s diary.
You should let them be, within reason.
If everything is fine, and a good parent should know if everything is fine, then the only reason to snoop around in your kid’s stuff is for self-gratification and to satisfy your own curiosities.
Don’t be a busybody.
You either trust your parenting skills or you don’t.
If you even feel there is a need to read your child’s diary, it is the same as admitting failure as a parent.
If you can recognize that there is something terribly wrong, and realize that you are a failure in all conventional methods of parenting such as normal and open communication, then by all means, go ahead and snoop if you are trying to save your kid’s life.
But if you just want to get an inside scoop on your child’s personal affairs, I would suggest you simply talk to your child instead.
It’s what good parents do.
Your child is a human being, not your own personal soap opera.
I don't think so.
It breaks the trust which can be difficult to repair.
Although, I would understand why other parents would do it.
They want to know what's up with their kid or if they are suffering from anxiety or depression.
My parents had this habit of snooping around my stuff and I didn't like it.
Especially my mom, she would look at my facebook a lot and even stalk my suitor's facebook account.
That made me manage what other people can see on my timeline.
My parents once hacked my account and read my personal messages because they want to find out if I have a boyfriend or not.
I am not like the other kids.
I don't sneak out, I don't smoke, drink nor do drugs of any kind.
Sure, there are times that I hide things but it is not like I am doing a crime or something.
When I started writing a diary, I started writing in Spanish and other languages just to make sure no one can understand it.
My mom reads my sister’s diary as well because I saw her do it once while my little sister is sleeping.
One of the things I really want is some privacy but it is not how it goes here.
As long as you live under their roof then you should always comply with their rules and never question it.
If they want their kids to be more honest then parents should know how to listen to what their children are saying.
Why don't they sit down, have a nice family conversation and talk about it in a calm way.
Reach out to your kids, make them understand your intentions (that you are their parent and you want to help) and build trust.
I've tried talking about how I feel once but it didn't work out very much.
I don't think they would understand.
They would just laugh about it or worse tell me to get over it, you just need to be tough.
My parents were once called because I am a chatty person, I am ridiculously talkative.
I love sharing stories.
There are times that my teacher would shushh me up from talking to other kids.
Teachers find it annoying so they called my parents.
When I was asked once why I was like that.
I admit that I don't feel happy not being able to go outside and play with the other kids.
I just feel a rush of excitement to meet and to be able to be with other kids.
They got mad at me when I bursted that out because they were embarrassed and other people heard it as well.
At first, they were silent and smiling but after we got home, they were like what are you saying? What are you talking about? We let you play outside!
Well, they do let me out but not a lot like the other kids.
I only understood why as I got older but their initial reaction made me feel horrible.
I remember that specific moment because it is what made me feel more distant, quiet and I ended up isolating myself from them.
I am an asian and getting good grades or even competing with other kids on the top of the class are big deal here.
So whenever my parents are disappointed because I made several mistakes on my exam or a student less smarter than I am got a higher grade, they would go ballistic.
I ended up having anxiety and losing my confidence to do things.
I only started obeying out of fear of being hit or seeing their reaction.
Maybe they are not just an emotional people.
Their method of discipline is quite harsh especially my dad because he can't stand rebelliois kids and he deals with it the hard way to strike fear in their hearts, which is very effective.
I can vouch for that.
In my country, hitting kids are normal though social workers are continously spreading awareness about the consequences it might bring to the child in the future, some are still stubborn.
Their reasoning? I grew up that way and I turned out to be fine.
People like to assume that one person's experiences defines everyone else's.
If I ever have children (probably won't) I'm never reading their diary.
They need their own way to express themselves and be alone with their thoughts.
I really wished my mother had taken this route.
She pushed herself into every part of my life and I had no personal space.
One day (I think was 10 or something), she found my diary.
I begged her not to read it.
I was a good kid; I got straight As, my teachers loved me, I was receiving all the awards at school… but sometimes I just needed somewhere to talk about how I felt.
I'm her daughter and everything I do is her business.
She read the whole diary and kept it.
I wasn't terrified.
I didn't care if she told my dad what I had written… but she had a habit of gossiping and I knew the church and everyone in our family would know.
And of course, they found out.
People would ask me if I was okay, if I needed to talk, why would I hide things from my mother.
Yeah, went on until I was 18 and moved out to college.
But don't worry! My mom had plenty of opportunities to gain my trust back and all she did was talk talk talk.
These days she wonders why I don't trust her.
I just can't.
I'm in my mid-20s and I can't even trust my own mother.
There's so many things she doesn't know about me and I don't plan on ever opening up.
She doesn't deserve my trust.
Yes, no one should read them.
I’ve kept a diary since I was 6 years old.
And when I reread them, I usually burst out laughing at my own ridiculousness…or want to crawl in a hole out of embarassment! haha Why? Because when you’re 6, 10, 13, 16, 20 even…things spit out of your brain onto your diary's pages that sometimes even are ridiculous to yourself let alone another person.
Or, you’ve confided in the privacy of pages you knew no one was going to read in order to express what you were feeling in a moment, whether it was something to vent, something secret, or something embarassing.
Sometimes that’s all a child/teenager (or adult) needs to do is vent or release a secret onto pages.
And those thoughts don’t always accurately represent how you feel about people or situations, especially if you were venting.
For instance, hasn’t almost everyone been really mad at a parent at some point in their life, like right after a fight? Or thought or said things they don’t mean about a friend? What if those mean things were written in a diary, knowing your parent or friends would never get hurt because you wrote them somewhere secret in order to vent? Those words, if read by others, would hurt them very much and would not be an accurate representation of your feelings towards them.
I know somewhere in one of my childhood diaries are some mean words about those I love (family and friends), but it does not at all represent how I feel about them.
So, not only is it a breach of trust/privacy for a parent to read a child’s diary, but it’s very unfair as well.
Short Version: Unless you have evidence of the child doing drugs, or having sex under the age of 18, yes.
Yes it is very wrong, and they'll find out and hate you forever and never fully trust you again.
When I was little(6/7) I kept a diary.
A cute little spiral notebook covered in little drawings of cupcakes that I had recived for my birthday.
I would draw and write in my trademarked chicken scratch how I felt, how my day went, and what my dolls and animals had done that day.
(I was a very imaginative child.
When I was eight, I walked into my room and saw my mom, sitting on my bed, reading it.
Page by page.
I was devastated.
When she saw me, she didn't even hide what she was doing.
She called me over and immediately lectured me on something I had drawn.
(It was sexual in subject, and very inappropriate for a child of that age, but she had exposed me to it.
She went on for what seemed to be half an hour, and then ripped the pages out and crumpled them up, and threw them away.
My favorite dress drawing was on the back of one of them.
Now, I never write in my notebooks, except to test out ship names and keep track of money.
I loved writing, and if it weren't for that, I'd probably do it more.
(I should also probably add that when I was 13, I downloaded one of those “password protected journals” to my phone.
Within a month, she had figured out the password and was reading it, questioning me about the stuff I wrote.
I officially can't stand to write any kind of journal, and don't even explain why, when someone asks.
First, are you willing to sort out their problems if you have found out from the diary rather than blaming them or judging them second, what sort of parents are you? do you put your personal life (and sex life) before your kid’s happiness and would not make them uncomfortable by doing mean things.
If your answer is YES, then there cannot be any harm in reading their diaries and act upon them because what you want is good for your kids.
I know, some people would say “they will hate you for this for rest of their life”, then this simply means they (kids) dont understand family values/family bond and living for each other not for themselves.
or probably they were never taught or never shown by their parents.
No matter who you are and what you do, your kids will never like it (when you oppose them) and reason is simple, they cannot think the way you think and there would always be clashes but you will have to make them understand and show them your love, your care and your concerns for them, so dont worry about making them upset by doing good for them because they will understand it later and will thank you.
I and my siblings had no objection when our parents did interfere in our personal life this includes buying clothes for us, checking school bags everyday, reading diaries, not letting to close the door and many more because we knew parents first priority is us and they want only good for us and no matter what happens they are standing by us.
I have learned the family values from my parents and I am proud they did interfere in each and everything of my life, because if I am successful, it is only because of them and things they taught me.
I am from India and gets very surprised when I see people saying
“dont read diaries or they will hate you for rest of their life”
“dont ask them to cut hair or they will hate you for rest of their life”
“dont suggest about clothes or they will hate you for rest of their life”
“give them as privacy as you can or they will hate you for rest of their life”
“let them go to friends and parties or they will hate you for rest of their life”
“let them do whatever they want or they will hate you for rest of their life”
or they will hate you for rest of their life”
Really!!! havent the kids been taught what family is because if they were, they can never hate you for your good deeds.
but on the other hand, I am shocked from the some of the parents point of view as well because they care only one thing SEX and their life and dont want to sacrifice anything for their kids.
other day reading one question on quora “ ”
Do you believe, if someone will show the kids that their personal needs are more important that their (kids) comfortable then how can you expect from kids to put you first rather than their personal comfort zone.
“you have shown yours and they are defining theirs”
So this is simply give and take…”What goes around comes around”…if you respect your kinds and put them first, they will do the same thing but if you show them your urges are before them then dont expect them respecting you before their own wishes…………….
I am not arguing with anyone and not judging anyone, this is only what I think and sorry, if someone does not like my thoughts.
When I was six years old, my mom gave me a diary.
I would write about memorable events – like losing my first tooth, the gifts the tooth fairy left for me, the school dance, moving away.
As I grew older, I wrote more and more personal stuff – about friendships, relationships, how I felt like an outcast, my suicide attempts, how I really wanted to just die and get life over with already.
My mom never read my diary as a kid, and I loved her for that.
But last year, I was thirteen, and she read my diary.
Worse, she brought up the stuff I wrote in conversation.
She wasn’t supportive.
She was disgusted.
Because she didn’t want a child who was ‘overdramatic’ and ‘immature’ and a ‘suicidal freak’.
She told my dad.
My dad was nice but I knew he was disappointed.
He tried to talk to me, but I ran away crying.
I locked myself in my room for a week without eating, throwing up every night, skipping school, mutilating my wrists and thighs.
I was recovering, because Quora helped me a lot and so did my diary.
But then they read my diary and ruined that.
I don’t know if it’s okay for parents to read their kids’ diaries or not, but I know that what they did wrecked my life.
It's COMPLETELY WRONG and SO FUCKING ANNOYING.
However, I do have my own solution regarding this problem with my parents
When I was young, like typical Asian parents do, my mom used to read my diaries.
And she used to ask me about those what I wrote in the diary and we would fight and those fights occasionally lead to big tensions for me.
So I started hiding my diaries out of her sight, but she will always figure out a way to find it no matter if I hide in the locked cupboard she will open it with another key.
Upon getting fed up of the situation, I started a habit of writing my diary with my own language with signs.
And that HELPS.
It enables me to put my diary anywhere I want without needing to worry about my mom understanding it.
My mom definitely sensed that it's a diary with different language , but she can never figure out what is written because only I know what it means as it is my own language .
The same way that parents want to teach kids that their actions have consequences, the parents have to remember that reading someone’s diary without permission has consequences too.
You might end up ripping out a piece of your child’s heart that you can never grow back.
Without that piece, they may never be able to completely trust you or anyone else again.
If he or she has written about very personal things that they feel ashamed or embarrassed about, or maybe things of a sexual nature, they may never be able to look at you the same way again, they may project onto you the bad feelings the feel about themselves, even if it isn’t true.
(Example: she thinks she is a fat pig who needs to die.
You read the diary, now she think you think she’s a fat pig who needs to die too, even when you use your most patronizing, simpering voice to coo ‘Oh honey you’re beee-yooo-teee-fulll’ she just wants to punch you in the face and tell you to fuck off, because not only aren’t you getting it, now you’re just making it worse by lying.
Now the reality of the situation is, she’s a bit overweight, definitely doesn’t look like a pig, but could look better.
She could certainly use some diet or exercise.
And you might naively suggest this.
But you also remember that girls much larger and uglier than your daughter seem to not be suicidal and hostile so then you realize maybe the weight isn’t the true issue.
The issue might be bullying or low self-esteem or experiencing delusional thinking or body dysmorphic disorder or anything else.
But none of that matters because you just shit all over your daughter’s trust and you’re ONE OF THEM now, the people who think she’s disgusting and make her feel like shit.
Good luck climbing out of that hole, mom!) You may end up destroying your relationship forever.
If you want to know what’s going on in your child’s life, EARN THEIR TRUST.
Tell them about your life as a teen.
All the embarrassing things like your first time trying drugs or having sex or getting bullied or doing something wrong and stupid and feeling guilty.
If your child sees that you ‘get it’ they will be more likely to confide in you.
Especially if they know that you won’t overreact and punish them and make them feel like shit instead of actually helping.
Watch 13 Reasons Why.
It’s about a girl who is getting bullied and kills herself.
Watch the mom and dad who always give the performance of ‘reaching out’ but the reaching out is on such a superficial level that it’s like the daughter might be a million miles away.
And guess what? if Hannah had had a diary and her mom and dad had read it and confronted her in “Honey, we just want to help you!” sort of way, I still feel like she would have felt so violated and would have lost her shit and jumped out a window BECAUSE THE FOUNDATION OF TRUST WASN’T THERE.
Well, if you’re “unsure of what they’re up to,” then it’s clear that they don’t trust you to come to you for things, and something happened that is really screwed up.
Parents don’t want to believe this though, and continue to be inaccessible to their kids, judging them (when the kids make the mistake of coming to them), micromanaging them, projecting their control issues onto them, confuse fear for respect (when it’s not, and no, making your kid fear you by spanking them is horrendous), and erroneously believe that anxiety means they’re doing something “right” when you aren’t.
If you want to cultivate lifelong distrust in your kids, and unhealthy coping mechanisms, as well as a secret side, then by all means, destroy your kids trust.
At some points I could tape things to the underside of things to hide things, and hid in my closet so hard they almost called the cops on me because they couldn’t find me for 4 hours while they searched the same closet that I was hiding in 13 times.
I can avoid being seen like Aragorn.
I was a sneaky devious kid, with clearly an eating disorder struggle that was fueled by these control issues.
Reading your kid’s diary is going to further cement that distrust.
My parents and siblings tried to read my diary and there were times my mom asked me to hand it over.
Why do you think I suddenly made my own code ring and code book and started writing it in 14 different codes? And alternated entries with bullshit entries akin to “Drink Your Ovaltine?” At least it would slow them down.
Yeah, if you decode a turd like one of those bullshit entries, please toss my journal across the room in rage and never bother to read my life details ever again.
It only took until I was 30 for my parents to find out how to rebuild trust with me again.
A lot of people don’t even get that afforded to them.
Of course its wrong!!! I used to hate it when my parents snooped in my stuff.
My mom was the worst, going in my room as soon as I left it and looking through my stuff.
She would do the same thing with my backpack, and once even found a note that was a mild spat back and forth between me and another kid in my class (which had been resolved by then anyway).
She proceeded to read the whole thing out loud, when it was NONE of her business to begin with!!! Finally I got so mad about her going through my private stuff that I put a footlocker I had taken to camp as a kid in my room with a lock that only I knew the combination to.
If it made her mad oh well but that’s what she gets for not respecting my privacy.
As if that wasn’t bad enough she dragged me to a psychiatrist because she thought I was depressed because I was being very secretive and not telling her stuff.
I told her that I was entitled to a private life and that was that! My dad on the other hand was worse.
He acted like there were certain areas of the house I was never allowed in, even the spare bedroom downstairs that had exercise equipment and a spare TV that I would watch when he was hogging the one in the den.
I did it anyway of course and rode the bike while I watched TV.
Then again after spending enough time with his side of the family I understood why he was so weird.
Putting aside morality for just a moment (I’ll address it soon), it’s simply not a good idea.
A child’s diary is their safe space.
A space where they can be completely true to themselves.
They can be 100% honest about their thoughts, feelings, desires, who they like and dislike and for what reason.
They can make all their rash, impulsive statements in their diary instead of out loud, and instead of bottling up their feelings.
Once they find out you’ve been reading it (And they will find out.
), they won't feel comfortable being honest in their diary anymore.
They may stop keeping one entirely.
And they won’t be able to trust you anymore.
If your child isn’t telling you what they’re up to, there’s a reason for it.
It could be that you’ve shown you don’t care.
It could be that they think you’ll be mad or react badly.
It could be that they’re not ready to talk about it.
Most likely, it’s that for some reason or another, they don’t see you as a safe person to talk to.
Coming back to morality, yes, it’s entirely wrong.
People have a right to privacy, and children are in fact people.
You shouldn’t be digging through your child’s things, or reading their diary/blog/etc, or taking off their door, or looking through their phone.
All of these things rid your child of their privacy, make them feel unsafe around you, make them feel unsafe being honest even in private spaces, and leave them unable to properly vent.
And it makes them less likely to tell you anything, not more.
It’s entirely wrong to read your child’s diary.
Even if you want to be sure what they’re up to.
If it’s not warranted and you’re just being nosy, you need to back the f*ck up.
My own parents, both of them, used to find and read the rare few diaries I kept as a kid, and boy did they blow up about the stupid shit in it (come on, I was 6–8 at the time).
Know what effect that had? Nobody, AND I MEAN NOBODY… Enters my room without me in it, if I can help it.
If I DO see you go in for anything, you’ve got five seconds, ten tops, to get your ass back outta that room.
If you’re not right back out, I’m right up your ass to make sure you ain’t diggin’ through shit.
It’s privacy invasion at it’s finest and unless you want your kid(s) to have a privacy complex like this, you better not.
However… If you have a legit reason, such as suspected drug use, drinking, sleeping around, and the like… Then and only then do I say yes.
Curiosity and being the parent alone does not in any way grant you a free pass to read whatever you want or go snooping, no matter how much you think it does.
You may own the house, but that room is sacred sanctuary for them to get away from shit, you included.
You go and violate that, they have nowhere to escape to, and no way to safely write their thoughts.
It gets held in, and we all know how detrimental that can be.
You want that? Pardon my edge, but I’m already aggravated… Not to mention this struck a nerve.
*EDIT:* Even if you find it laying open, CLOSE IT AND DO NOT READ IT.
It’s not an invitation, and it would behoove you not to take it as such, I don’t care HOW tempted you are.