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Children's Privacy - Should Parents Knock Before Entering Their Room?

Updated on January 3, 2020

Ever since the rise of Facebook and social media, privacy has been a constant concern. Parents are more worried about their children’s privacy than ever before. In the hands of an immature child, smartphones are dangerous tools that may share sensitive information - images and videos that you don’t really want others to see.

And online, there is no door to knock on. People just serve what they get on the screen. At home, though, there is always a blurred line between privacy and intimacy. Parents want to have full control over their children’s lives and to know they are safe all the time. But they also want to show their affection and make their children feel loved and accepted. “Why should you knock before entering a room in your own house?” you may ask. Here’s what real estate agents have to say about this delicate issue.

Is a Child’s Room Really Theirs or is it Their Parents’?

Homeowners own the entire house - every room, every bathroom and every square inch of the property. Now, children shouldn’t be treated like renters, obviously. It is the parents’ responsibility to provide for their children. At least as long as they are unable to support themselves.

But every house has its rules. For example, in some homes, taking off your shoes at the entrance is considered normal and polite, although we may be more relaxed with this rule if the house is a mess. Also, guests are expected to ring the doorbell or knock on the door and then wait for the host to open it and invite them in. Imagine if your friends would break into your place without notice. You would probably consider them intruders, not guests. You wouldn’t feel comfortable to have a friend enter your house without knocking, much less a stranger. So, we knock on the door as a matter of form. It’s one of the unwritten rules of politeness which shouldn’t be forgotten within our own homes.

“Treat others the way you want to be treated” is a saying that must be taken literally. So, if you want privacy and time for yourself, then you should give back the gift of privacy. Although it is part of the house, you shouldn’t find it strange to knock on your child’s door. You have doors for a reason. Of course, when they are small, children won’t always react and you can safely enter even if they don’t say anything. As they grow and enter puberty, you should knock and wait for their approval, though. Don’t you find it rude when someone knocks on the door and opens it immediately? Besides, you should treat your teenagers’ room the same way you expect them to treat the master bedroom. You don’t like “surprises”, and your children don’t like constantly suspicious parents.

Moreover, don’t fall in the trap of always assuming that they are hiding things from you or doing something inappropriate. You’ve been a teenager, too, and you know how it’s like. And it’s just a phase. It won’t last forever, so don’t make it harder for them. Do you think you’ve gone too far and your children find you too harsh and strict? Don’t worry! Parenting is not an easy job. So feel free to ask for help and spend some time searching for the best pieces of advice for parents of teenagers online.

Now, if you haven’t knocked on your children’s door before and they start to lock themselves in, they might already be searching for “how to get your parents to knock on your door”. Maybe they even have a strategy in place. So, let’s see how a teenager could make you get rid of this bad habit. Who knew such a trivial object like a door generates so many difficulties when raising teenagers?

How to Get Your Parents to Knock on Your Door?

Yes, this is a phrase your child might be typing into a search engine right now. Living with a roommate might have taught you how important it is to knock on the door and to respect your roommate’s privacy. Living in a studio with others would have had the same result. Even if your teenager doesn’t have the guts to bring up this issue in a conversation, it doesn’t mean that he or she isn’t bothered. Of course, most conflicts can be solved by communicating openly. So, if you don’t change on your own free will, your child will soon gather the strength to face this knocking problem and explicitly ask you to knock on the door in the future.

Another extreme solution would be to repeatedly enter your bedroom “by accident” right when you least expect it. Also, look for hints around the house as well. If your child wants you to knock on the door, he or she may try to find a way to lock the door or ask you to install a lock. Sooner or later, you should expect this request. So, if you have any home improvements in plan, include your child’s room as well and install a lock on their door even if not requested. However, don’t be surprised if your child locks inside and refuses to answer.

So, educate yourself to knock on your child’s door:

  • Even if he or she is only 2 or 4 years old, to instill the importance of knocking.

  • After he or she reaches puberty.

  • After debating this issue with your child and arriving at a consensus regarding door-knocking around the house

  • Whenever the door is closed or locked. They may be preparing a surprise and by snooping around , you may ruin it.

  • When they have company.

Why do Parents Get Mad When You Lock Your Door?

Relax, teenagers wouldn’t search online for an answer to this question. They know their parents are mad for at least one of the following reasons:

Parents are not Able to Check on Their Beloved Child

We all value safety and many parents may have cameras installed outside and inside the house. While home security systems provide peace of mind for parents, they invade can their children's privacy. Some parents are so overprotective that they start to push their children away. However, they must be careful. Remember your teenagers aren’t babies anymore. They are about to become adults and they want to prove to you that they can take care of themselves. After a certain age, children demand more independence, trust and respect.

They are Afraid That Their Child is Involved in Mischievous Activities

A closed door often suggests that your child might be hiding something. Is one of your credit cards missing? Then, your kid might be indulging in an online shopping session or gambling at worst. However, this is not always the case. Children also need time for themselves, to rest, to play, to listen to their favorite music and to make plans for the weekend with their friends. In fact, if you know your child’s entourage, you know what he or she might be up to.

They Might be Worried That Their Children aren’t Getting Enough Sleep

Have you placed a TV in your child’s room? Does your child have a laptop, too? And a smartphone? Wow! That sounds like a lot of screens. Limiting a child’s access to screens is a good starting point when trying to improve the quality of sleep. Set an example by leaving your phone in the kitchen overnight. Also, tell your child to leave all electronic devices in another room for the night. If you have the possibility, designate a room as the “charging station.” And remove the TV as well. You may also want to establish a new rule like “all devices turned off by 10 p.m.”. There will be exceptions, for sure, since students nowadays get a lot of homework and sometimes they have to do it online. So, to catch up on their homework, they may close the door to avoid constant interruptions.

They Might be Concerned about Cyberbullying

Who hasn’t been bullied was probably a bully. One in four students will experience bullying at some point. But from the classroom, it can spread online. Children can be harassed in the virtual world and they may take everything to heart when interacting with peers or with strangers. When a child is bullied, his or her behavior changes. Once again, communicating with your child as well as with the teachers should put an end to all the stress and drama.

In conclusion some parents can do away with a closed door but not with a locked one. You have to establish the rules together and make sure you respect each other’s personal space. Knocking on the door should become a habit, just like outside the home. So, don’t take children’s privacy lightly. They are entitled to privacy just like every one of us.


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