As children get older they will want more and more privacy, but it’s important to teach even young children some basic principles. There are two sides—personal privacy and giving privacy to others. It’s important for children to understand when they can and can’t expect privacy. Here are a few things to discuss.


Teach them that they are allowed to ask for privacy.

Depending on their age, you’ll want to teach them when they should have privacy and from whom. For instance, changing their clothes isn’t something they should do in public.

Explain when you need privacy and why.

This will help them understand when they should give someone else privacy, but it also models good behavior for them. If you ask them to leave the room so you can go to the bathroom, they’ll learn that they can (and should) ask for privacy in the same situation.

Let them know to respect other people’s privacy.

If someone asks for some time alone, whether it’s their sibling or a friend, teach them that they should allow that. Siblings, especially, may have a hard time respecting each other’s privacy.

Tell them when you won’t give them privacy and why.

There may be times that you as a parent are NOT going to want to give your child privacy. For instance, you may not give them full privacy if a member of the opposite gender is over, or you might want to have more supervision when it comes to their technology.

Let them know when NOT to have privacy.

Explain to them that they never have to be alone with someone that makes them uncomfortable. Whether this person is an adult, an older cousin or friend, or a peer their same age—they don’t need to have privacy with that person.

The more you talk about privacy with your child, the more you’ll know what’s appropriate and inappropriate for you family. No matter what you decide, however, it’s important that your child and adolescent know that there are times when everyone needs a little privacy.

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