Monday, March 16, 2009


Over the past few weeks, I have been writing about some of the dangerous trends teenagers are involved in. All this may have parents wondering, do I snoop or not?

I believe teenagers have a right to privacy. After all, this is a time when they are becoming more independent and starting to make decisions on their own. BUT…once your teen steps into that danger zone of drugs, cutting, alcohol…then they lose their right to privacy.

Whether you snoop or not is a tough decision only you can make. A lot will depend on the kind of relationship you have with your teen. Just remember, it’s your house. I told my daughter I would be searching her room from time to time, but I never told WHEN I would be searching.

So how do you decide if you should “snoop” or not? If you notice a change in your child’s behavior, unusual odors coming from their room (like cigarette smoke or pot – learn to recognize what pot smells like) or if they use incense or Lysol to try to cover up those odors (it doesn’t really cover them up), then you need to find out what is going on behind those closed doors.

A lot of parents don’t want to upset their child, so they often ignore the obvious. I didn’t care if my daughter got upset with me. In fact, from the ages of 14 to almost 17, she stayed mad at me. And rightly so…I put her in treatment twice...I put her on house arrest, and every time she got mad and stormed out of the house, I would call the local police to go pick her up and bring her home. Yes, it killed me every time I saw her in the backseat of that patrol car, but the point I’m trying to make is that, as parents, we have to do whatever it takes to protect our children. You can’t be their best friend. You have to be the parent.
Teenagers are very clever when it comes to hiding the alcohol, drugs or drug/cutting paraphernalia. Make sure you check all hiding spots:

- Dresser drawers beneath clothing
- Desk drawers
- CD/DVD/Video cases
- Jewelry boxes
- Backpack, purses, duffle bags (check all pockets)
- Under the bed
- Look for slits in the mattress, especially the under side
- In a plant, buried in the dirt
- In between books on a bookshelf
- Inside books with pages cut out
- Makeup cases – fake lipstick tubes or compacts
- Inside over-the-counter medicine bottles (Tylenol, Aleve)
- Inside empty candy bags, such as M&M’s and Skittles
- Inside jacket pockets or pockets in clothes hanging in their closet
- Inside shoes or boots
These are tough times our teens are living in, and if you suspect your child is drinking, using drugs or cutting, snooping can save your child.

JUST REMEMBER: It’s your home and your child. You set the rules, and even though you want to respect their right to privacy, it should never be at the price of his/her health or safety.

If you find alcohol or drugs, ask your child about it. Don’t avoid the subject. He will argue with you, but stand your ground and ignore his argument. Again, remember, it’s your house. Your rules. Your tough love will hurt you more than it hurts your child, and believe me, your child will thank you one day for that tough love you showed.

(If you find pills you don’t recognize, take them to your local pharmacist, he will be glad to identify them and tell you the effects they can have if abused.)

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Rachele Bennett said...

I don't look forward to the day when I feel the need to snoop. Mine are only 5 and 2 so not much "hiding" is going on. I wish they could stay this age forever.

Anonymous said...

Great Post. For now our boy is only 2.5, but if the years go as fast as the last 2.5 years, I'll be doing some snooping myself. I do have young nieces, and nephews to watch out for!

Sandy said...

This is a really good post! I believe that communication is crucial, but I also let my kids know that I will be checking their room from time to time. I think I have to if I want to be a responsible parent!

Welcome to SITS! It's great to have you in the SITStahood:0)


I'm totally pro-snooping if the need ever presents itself.

Welcome to the SITS community!

angi_b72 said...

Welcome to SITS!! I think you will love this great blogging community!!

I have a 14 year old...i feel you on all these things!! Scary world now a days!

Brandy said...

I'm pro-snooping too. Thankfully I don't have any reason to do it...although I periodically check the online stuff just to be safe.

Thanks for the tips! Welcome to SITS!

Carma Sez said...

Those are some scary stats! I finally have a teenager in the house and it helps to be aware of all this :-)
Also wanted to stop by and say "hi" and welcome to SITS. I know that you will enjoy being a part of this vibrant group of bloggers!

Ash said...

I'm printing this list out for future reference - my boys, at 6 and 3, will be there before I know it.


Welcome to SiTS! Em

Judah said...

very unformative post. It is so important to be truly involved.
welcome to SITS you will love it around here

Julie said...

I'm sure I will be a snooper. Thanks for the tips on where to look. Stopping by to say welcome to the SITS community.

DiPaola Momma said...

I needed to be reminded of some of these things THANKS! My teen son (15) is really very good and pretty open with me as far as teenagers go. I think sometimes I let that lull me into a false sense of security.

Welcome to SITS!

Rachael Schirano \\ Rachael Schirano Photography said...

tough love is, well, tough. but i agree, it must be practiced, especially if you fear trouble is brewing. burying your head in the sand as a parent definitely doesn't make it go away. thanks for the honest look.

just stopping by today to wish a warm welcome to sits, we are thrilled to have you as part of the community!

Anonymous said...

My little guy is still very young, but I really appreciate the info you shared. I'm a little nervous about the teen years.

Welcome to SITS!

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

Oh, I was definitely a snooper when I felt it was warranted. Very informative post!

Dropping by to welcome you to SITS - glad to have you join us!

Just Lisa said...

scary stuff, but a needed message. Ugh! I wish my daughter could stay 3 forever!

I came by to Welcome you to SITS!

Ann On and On... said...

The reality of it all is shocking...I'm in for snooping.

I came over to say "Welcome to the SITS-ahood!" It is great to have you!! Jump on over to my blog, click the Giveaway tab....I have two going on right now.

Mamarazzi said...

GREAT post...and I agree. i WILL snoop if i get the feeling that I need to. fo' shizzle!

I am here to welcome you to SITS. You are going to love being part of this amazing community of women. So welcome to the SITStahood!!

Anonymous said...

You have a great, educational blog for parents here! These are things that us newbie parents are going to want to remember!
I am stopping by to welcome you to the SitS community! It's a great community and we are so glad you joined!

The Rambler said...

Great post and information.

Visiting from SITS to say welcome and hello.

Aubrey said...

OMGoodness! Scary stuff.
A really great post though. My husband and I have a soon to be 16 year old boy and 12 year old girl.
I have never had a suspicion that something questionable was going on. If I did, I know I would be a snooping, concerned parent!

Aubrey said...

Oh! I'm also coming over from SITS to give you a big WELCOME!

Rhea said...

Those are some good ideas for hiding spots. I've never thought about it.

I'm here as part of the SITS Welcome Wagon! I've been with SITS for quite a while now. I've read so many fun blogs, met so many amazing women, and really enjoyed the blogger support system they have set up. Tiffany and Heather, the founders, are really great. Welcome to the group, SITSta!

Unknown said...

I'm on the fence with this one. My mom snooped so much that I still have boundary and privacy issues. My DD is only 9 but I do go through her backpack with her a few times each week.
Hopefully there will be no need for me to snoop but I will do random checks as she gets older.

betty-NZ said...

I will have no problem snooping if I think there is something wrong. I will trust them, but keep an eye out.

After all kids have parents because they don't know how to make right decisions!!! If they should be left to their own decisions at 12, then why can't they get a job and support themselves?

Michelle W said...

Wow scary stuff! My kids are 7, 4 and 2 and I am already starting to worry!

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Enjoy Birth said...

Great tips. I think even though my boys are young, I need to start with this attitude and let them know I will be snooping on a random basis. That when they get cell phones, I will be checking their texts, etc.
This way it won't be viewed as a punishment if they start doing bad things, rather it is just the normal way our family operates. :)

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