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Life Lessons: Is it okay for me to snoop and read my teenage daughter's journal?

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Dear Cheryl,

I suspect that something is going on with my daughter. Lately her grades have gone down, and she has been hanging around some of her peers that are of questionable character. I do my best with her, but I am a single mom. I work, and I’m not always at home. I know that my daughter keeps a journal, and I know where she keeps it. I have never read it, but now I am tempted. I believe that her journal may have the information I need to know so that I can talk to her and find some help for her. I just don’t know if I feel right about reading her journal. Is it an invasion of privacy or a necessary evil?

Confused in Charlotte

Dear Confused,

There is absolutely no evil in wanting to help your daughter. By all means, do what you need to do to find out what is going on with her. If she will not open up to you personally, then you need to be a parent and do what it takes to keep her and others safe. Read her journal. Talk to friends. Talk to teachers. Look at phone and Facebook messages (If you don’t have her password, then demand it). You are her parent. Your number one goal while she is in your care is to keep her safe. Do not hesitate to do that. She may get angry, but she will get over it.

Recently in the news, there have been some horrific stories of teenagers who have done some horrible things that might have been prevented if the parents had snooped a bit more into what their children were doing. Teenagers leave clues on what is going on in their lives. They write in journals. They get on Facebook. They frequent certain websites. They have phone messages. Don’t be afraid to be a parent. It is your job, and one that could save your daughter’s very life.

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