My high school daughter went to the school dance this weekend and one of her best friends arrived at the dance drunk. I know this because I read my daughter's journal this morning. My daughter is confused, and very mad and disappointed in her friend, as stated in her journal, and is ready to end the relationship with her friend if it doesn't change. While I'm glad that was her reaction to her friends' drinking, it sets itself up as a teaching moment. But to have this teaching moment, I need to divulge that I read her journal, which I don't want to do. Should I just keep quiet? We had a discussion when I picked her up at the end of the dance, and she said some of the older kids were drunk and said, "I don't understand why they do that? What is the point?" So we did have a discussion then about how they think they are being cool and how it can lead to trouble etc., but at the time I didn't know she was talking about her friend. Thank you Barbara!
From: info withdrawn at LW's request
Should you just keep quiet? ABSOLUTELY!
The second you divulge that you have spied on your daughter -- and that's what you did -- you lose all credibility, not to mention trust. In other words, you jeopardize your relationship. Snooping may be a way for you to get information, but at what price? Once you have information, what do you do with it? If it's life and death info -- you learn that your child's best friend is suicidal -- then, OK, saving a life is worth the potential risk. But short of that, it's better not to have information you can't act on. Which means you need to find other ways to get information. Which, in fact, you did!
The conversation in the car sounds like it gave you everything you needed to know, short of the person they were talking about. Not only that, but you had your teachable moment without putting anything or anyone at risk. You couldn't have done better had you known the name of the person she talked about.
As I wrote in the article I cited above, if you have reason to think that there's a problem, that can be the exception to snooping. But even that is tricky. Better to get your information in legitimate ways: listening to the kids' conversations, asking questions, talking to friends. And if you need any more convincing, think back to your own teen years and how totally outraged you would have been to find out that your mom or dad read your diary.
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