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My House, My Rules

I know I’m not crazy.

But last week, when I posed a question about my 11-year-old’s “right” to privacy on the “Don’t Fret the Sweat” Facebook page, someone actually called me “nuts.”

The issue? I made clear that I’m a little old school when it comes to my girls and their rooms; the Millner/Chiles “We Run This Contract” clearly states that:

  1. At no time is any child up in this piece allowed to lock doors
  2. While you are allowed to close the door to your room if you have friends over or just need some alone time, please understand that no one whose name is on the mortgage has to knock on said door to enter said room.

But, I acknowledged that as my Mari gets older and her body changes, I can’t help but feel that she deserves some privacy while getting dressed—that it’s unfair of me to just burst into her room knowing that she’s just gotten out of the shower and is most likely unclothed. I do remember what it was like to be 11 and see stuff happening and changing everywhere and being desperate to keep it to myself—too embarrassed for anyone, especially my parents, to see it. But she's still an 11-year-old. With these two things in mind, I asked a very simple question: How do other moms give their kids privacy while maintaining their desire to keep tabs on them?

Well, what a ruckus that question started! One mom said my post sounded “nuts”; others said “kids are people, too” and they “deserve” their privacy, while others, still, insisted that if I didn’t show my kids I trust them by letting them close their doors and get uninterrupted privacy, they would go buck wild when they weren’t in my presence.

Um, I don’t know how you were raised in your house, but at Bettye and Jimmy’s place, we weren’t allowed to close doors. Ever. So I thought I was doing something by allowing my kids to close their doors when they want some alone time or while they’re dressing. Howsumevah, I have a right and responsibility as a parent in my house with my kids to know what they're doing. And if I want to walk in your room to get something, tell you something, give you a hug or give you an order, I'm not going to stand outside the door waiting for a child's permission to walk into the room. No ma’am.

So tell me—is my policy unreasonable? How do you handle “privacy” for your kids in your house? All suggestions/advice welcomed. 

Let’s talk.

For more of Denene's stories about childrearing, check out her personal blog,