Many parents struggle to keep their younger children’s door open no matter how many times they tell them not to close their bedroom door. Unless you are extreme, you can’t really take the door off – since you do want to provide your children with basic privacy to change, for example.
What is the secret trick that keeps your kids listening? Many parents are torn between what is the right boundary: to give your children the space and privacy they “need” or enforcing strong guidelines on allowed door use? This is not to say that children shouldn’t have alone time in their rooms to read, relax, and self-explore. This is specifically related to children who have peers over; the presumption of privacy is inappropriate for younger children (and old children/teens who have opposite sex guests).
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. It really all begins with the level of respect your child has for you and for themselves. Dr. Jim Taylor, professor at the University of San Francisco, who specializes in psychology of business, sport, and parenting, explains that being friends with your child is not beneficial for them. Parents must maintain their role as parents and set boundaries where necessary to keep them safe.
With respect to the room door, it should stay closed unless there is a question of safety. Specifically, when friends are over, your children should understand that there will be no presumption of privacy, especially if the friends are kids you may not know. Additionally, Dr. Taylor states that if you teach your child the value of respect early, they will benefit in many ways which will positively carry over into adulthood. Children who are taught exemplary respect:
- Are happier, more successful, and have healthier relationships.
- Are unselfish, considerate, caring, and generous.
- Respect you and other influential adults.
- Honor reasonable boundaries placed on them.
- Are more likely to trust you and abide by your directives.
It’s not that simple to just impose new rules and restrictions on your children; you must start young and gradually give your children more freedoms as they earn them. Once it is established, your children will understand that having a door is a privilege and closing the door to keep you out for any reason (other than changing and other agreed upon details, of course) will not be tolerated.
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