Right now I have little kids. I have yet to worry about things like texting (oy), sexting (eek), and Chat Roulette (kill me now). But I am already thinking a lot about trust. And privacy. And how the two don’t always jibe.
Starting now, I tell my kids that they can ask me any question however silly or embarrassing or incriminating. I think that’s an essential first step. But let’s be honest–their questions now are about whether your eyes change color if you stare at something too long, or how the first baby was born, or why Daddy hates the Dallas Cowboys. These are the good old days.
To this day, the greatest stumbling block in my rocky, early teenage-years relationship with my mother was discovering she had read my diary in seventh grade. (I think what she got out of it was that I was in love with some short boy, we made out after school one day, and I had horribly low self-esteem. A normal 13 year-old! Surprise!) I swore I would never do that to my own kid.
And now, here I am with my own daughters, hoping I can make good on that promise. Because I also know that the stakes are so much higher for kids in this World 2.0 that we’re living in.
So here’s something cool.
In my spare time (generally between 3 and 4 AM although in this case, I made an exception) I taped a series of short webisodes for iVillage called The Conversation Thread. My fellow featured panelists include iVillage chief correspondent Kelly Wallace, comedienne Judy Gold, and iVillage blogger Brandi Jeter.
You can tell when we taped it based on the Charlie Sheen references.
It’s a fast, fun discussion about hot topics including whether parenting makes you happy, dealing with kids who talk back, and whether it’s okay to spy on your kids. Please watch it and let me know what you think. If it’s nice.
I have to say, if I got one do-over, it would be a cleaner response to the spying question. (Speaking in soundbytes is hard!) I joked about telling my kids upfront that I have a right to snoop on them, so really, it’s not actually spying if they’re in on it. But I’m not so sure that that’s the right answer.
I think the right answer is that I have no freaking idea what I will do. Same as any other question that comes up about a hypothetical person that my children may or may not be in 5 or 10 years.
If I have children who are deserving of my trust, then they will receive it.
That seems like the best I can promise.
I also would like to say that I have the right to change my mind on that and totally spy on my kids if I am guaranteed to have one of those James Bond Aston Martins with front-firing rockets and an OCTOPUSSY plate. Which will go over huge in Brooklyn.
What do you think about the discussion? Do you agree with Judy’s idea that very little is off limits when it comes to keeping an eye out for your kids?