Do you have a right to read your teens personal diary

Do you have a right to read your teen’s personal diary?


I don't agree with the assumption that rights are the most relevant issue here, but I'll go along with that.
The two main rights I see in this situation are property and privacy.
The first one relates to you and the teen, the second relates only to the teen.

These questions are too far removed from the actual situation.
The first one is nitpicky and doesn’t match the gravity of a situation.
“Yes, it's mine, so I can read it” or “No, it's mine, so I can't read it” are both superficial answers to a deeper question.
The second also seems silly.
Teenagers crave privacy.
It helps them as they develop an identity independent of their parents, a crucial step to adulthood.
Respecting their privacy helps them mature and learn how to respect others.

The only relevant issue that arises from these questions is that “what if.
” It seems to suggest that the potential, not even definite or known consequences would justify you (maybe) violating your child's rights to privacy.
Granted, parents have uncanny instincts as to whether or not their child is up to something dangerous, but you could still be wrong.
And if you're wrong, then it means your initial justification isn't valid, and you just violated your child's privacy for nothing.

So looking at this problem as a question of rights doesn't fit.
This question is about the relationship between parent and child and the values that promote a healthy one like honesty, respect, and communication.
Are you being honest if you read their diary? Respectful? It's not honest to go behind your child's back and read their diary, but sometimes we can violate the principle of honesty if it's really important.
So is it really important? Is there really no other way you can find out what you need to know about your child’s safety?
If you've fostered an environment of open communication and continually emphasized to your child that they can tell you anything, that you will put their safety and happiness before any judgement and reprimanding, then there likely isn't anything in that diary that you need to know.

If you haven't, start right now.

Either way, you will either break the existing trust between you and your child or ruin your chance at building it by opening that diary.


I am almost 16 years old.
I have a job, I get straight A’s.
I don’t do drugs, an I’ve never once come home wasted.
I would say that, yes, I am a good girl, despite any speculations that may go on in my head.

And yet three days ago my mother read my personal diary.

She was looking for information about a party I was planning to attend, and what I was planning to do there.
She was also looking for information about a boy I have been involved with recently.

And she found that information.
Yes, there was going to be a party.
Yes, I was going to drink, and yes, I was planning on hooking up with a specific guy.

Unbeknownst to her, whilst I had planned all this in my diary, I had also last minute pulled out of those plans.

My mum found what she was looking for, but she would also have found many other things.

She would have seen the angry rants when I was at my bratty worst, the tear stained pages about friends who are dropping acid and boys who are terrifying.
The cartoons.
The page about how once I self-harmed, which is right before the page where talk about my favourite Kardashian sister, and after the part where I contemplate my sexuality.

Reading my diary gave my mum the shock of her life, knowing how much I actually know about the world.

I am firmly of the belief that telling your child “just don’t have sex” and “just don’t drink”, really doesn’t fucking work.
Of course teenagers are going to try things, and its completely natural for them to want to do so.
As a parent, you should of course, make your child aware of the potential consequences of their actions, but if it comes to it, its better to have a 16 year old who has safe sex, and drinks safely, than a girl who is dead because the boundaries set for her were completely unrealistic, and she snuck out one night, and it all went wrong.

Actions speak louder than words.
I did not go to that party that night, regardless of what I planned, or said I would do.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t go to a party some other time, be that next week, or when I leave school and leave home.

What I do at that party now is up to you, mum.
Will you let me be safe? Or will you lock me up and wait for me to go crazy the moment I leave home?
I don’t think anyone has the ‘right’ to breach someones personal privacy, and I hold the belief that reading someones personal diary is wrong.
But also, parents have the right to monitor their childs safety if they fear something really really bad is happening.
I still wish that my mother had not read my diary, but I do not blame her for doing so, because I sincerely believe she did it out of love.

That being said, she could have just, you know, talked to me, in a calm manner, and listened to what I had to say, instead of completely breaking the small amount of trust I had in her before.

So, if you genuinely fear something bad is happening, like life-threatening, and think that reading your teens diary is the only thing to do to protect them, then by all means you should do that.
They are your child, and you love and want to protect them.
But only as a last resort.

If you do decide to read it, keep one thing in mind:
A diary is often a reflection of someones most illogical, senseless, emotion-fuelled thoughts.
As a teen, you don’t write in a diary when you are having a balanced and calm day.
You write when you are confused, and upset, and scared, and angry.

What someone writes when they are at their emotional lowest does not define who they are as a person.

Mum, I’m sorry that the things I said hurt and disappointed you.
But at the same time, I’m not sorry for being confused, and I’m not sorry for being curious, and I’m not sorry for having the emotions I expressed in my diary.

Which at the end of the day, no one was supposed to see.


I’m going anonymous because people I know personally follow my account, and I’d rather not have them associate this with me.

Absolutely not.

Back in secondary school, I kept a diary, in which I’d pen my thoughts of the day – the writings of a confused, pubescent teen.
I’d keep my diary wedged between my mattresses or tucked into the folds of my clothes, and back then, I was an avid writer.

One fateful day, my class had a sex education lesson and we were told a very vivid description of the whole abortion process.
Having an overactive imagination, I tried to place myself in the abortee’s shoes and felt nauseous.
Later that day, I went home to pen down my thoughts on the class, and mentioned that my mouth “tasted like pennies” when I thought about aborting a fetus.
After writing, I hid my diary, as per usual.

For the next few days, my mother behaved strangely around me – purposefully cornering me to have discussions about relationships and boys, and being hostile and tense.
Being suspicious, I decided to hide my diary in the bathroom cupboard – something I’d not done before.

That Friday, she and I headed to the gym, still talking about relationships and boys.
Having had enough, I began to refuse answering directly.
Her questions then became more hostile and accusatory about who I’d been seeing (no one), etc.
, until she snapped and said she knew I’d had sex and she demanded to meet the boy.
I was flabbergasted; what was she talking about? How could she accuse me for no good reason? I didn’t do anything! We screamed at each other, back and forth, until she admitted she’d read my diary.
She told me that was her proof and to stop lying.

Furious, I stormed home, with her hot on my heels and just as worked up.
I ran into the bathroom and locked the door while she pounded on the door.
I emerged with the book.
She snatched it and flipped to the entry on abortion and pointed out the phrase, “tasted like pennies.

At this point, while I’m sure things are fairly obvious, I want to point out that English is not my mother’s first language.

After pointing at the phrase, she told me to explain myself and I screamed, “P-E-N-N-I-E-S.
That spells PENNIES, as in coins! My mouth ‘tasting like pennies’ means I wanted to throw up!”
She became silent, and let out a quiet oh.
She had thought I wrote that I’d been giving some guy a blowjob.

I locked myself in my room that night and cried myself to sleep.

The fact that I can recall this memory so well shows how much it impacted me.
After that experience, I couldn’t keep a diary anymore, try as I might – the words didn’t flow right and I couldn’t keep the habit up, until I gave up trying.
I didn’t know, before then, that she read my entries.
I felt vulnerable, like my thoughts, once written down or spoken aloud, were there to be judged, misconstrued, and misinterpreted.

My diary was a way for me to reflect on things I had learnt or experienced, how I acted, and most importantly, writing helped me ask questions about myself that many teenagers would relate to.
These questions were innocent, and things a teenager ponders about as they enter adulthood – musings without any definitive action.

Most parents want to, understandably, protect their children from the dangers of the real world, but by reading your child’s diary, you threaten a natural learning process and you lose your child’s trust in you.

If your child trusts you, they will ask you questions and have discussions with you on their own accord, without you needing to intervene.
It is normal for a growing individual to want to seek guidance from a trustworthy guardian.
Trying to forcefully expedite the process or intrusive helicopter-parenting will only push them away.

If you value your relationship with your child and hope to continue having one in the future, then for crying out loud, don’t read your child’s diary!


I guess I'm going to receive alot of backlash for this.

I have read most of he answers here , they all say no , give your teen some privacy, it's a way of teaching respect and so on.

Pls read this first :
These two girls haven't returned to their homes,
I once read about a woman in a local paper whose 13 yr old son ran away with a woman, not to be found, they only found plans and love notes and poems written in his dairy about few days after he went missing, that was 2013 he still hasn’t been found .

When I newly joined Quora, I read about a woman that lost her daughter to an online predator , the girl was 16 then, she reconnected with her daughter 3 years later and she was already a mother to his baby , and quite miserable and hates her mother (Brainwashed) , some comments suggested she accepts her fate and the girl is an adult and can choose her destiny …blah blah.

And a whole lot more
Now look at this
This is the hierarchy of needs (human needs not animal …lol)
Now please judge , is privacy needs higher than saftey and security needs .
NO.

Diary, cell phones , computers , internet , neighborhood, whatever poses any danger , I owe my kids to protect them and keep them safe ( even from themselves atimes ) at almost all costs, and I will do that to the best of my ability.

So yes I will read it (sneakily) and if I see a major red flag I will take necessary measures, otherwise I will keep a low profile (yes I am a spyparent).

That being said , I encourage all parents to keep an open minded and cordial relationship with their kids , let them be able to come to you with any and every form of troubles on their mind (crushes, being bullied , depression, classes, what they feel about your mum , about your boyfriends and girlfriends, their siblings),and try to tackle the issue without being overtly judgemental ( even if every nerve of you is cringing).

Remember it's you and your kid VS the problem , not you against the child .

If your kids feel they have secrets so dark they cannot tell you, the problem is with you the parent.

Footnotes:
Teen girl who ran away with a man she’d never met
Our 15-year-old daughter ran away to be with a man she met on the internet.
.
.
I didn’t think it happened to clever girls

Now bring the rain.


I believe that everyone should have a basic right to privacy.

Now, I never had any privacy, and I still don’t.
I was never allowed to be in my bedroom during the day, never allowed to close my door, never allowed to be on the computer without a parent supervising, never allowed to use any electronics without supervision, for that matter.

Then, one day, I started a journal.
I wrote about everything in it.
How I felt about my parents, sexual things, all of my feelings, what happened in school, everything.
I wrote in that thing like crazy.
I trusted it more than anything else.
I didn’t expect my parents to one day up and read it.

I got in a ton of trouble, for all of my feelings against my parents that I thought were private.
I expected to have at least one place where I could truly be myself, but they did not think that.
All of my trust in them was gone, just like that.

Now, a couple years later, I still do not trust either of them at all, with anything.
I recently started a new journal, and I am terrified that one of them will read it.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t have even started a new one because they read the last one, and history is the best predictor of future behavior and all that, but I was bursting with emotions and no one to talk to that I could trust.
So I have one now.

The other day, my mom was talking to me and crying about how I never told her anything.
I couldn’t tell her that that was because I no longer trust her with any information, because that would hurt her feelings.
She then told me that she was going to read my journal.

I stared at her like she had grown another head.
I was stunned.
I thought that she finally respected my privacy, and maybe even had adopted some morals about it.
Apparently that was not the case.

After we had a short, concise conversation about privacy, she concluded that she would read it if I left it out in the open.

I am now terrified to leave it anywhere, anytime.
If I’m writing in it on the kitchen table, and I get up to go to the bathroom, I worry about her reading it.
If I leave it downstairs in my backpack at night, I worry about her reading it.
I am always worrying about that.
I do not trust my mother anymore with any of my personal information, because of this one little incident.

Sure, go ahead and read your child’s journal.
Go ahead and violate their trust and privacy.
They will eventually know that you have no respect for them at all, and will never trust them to not do bad things.
You will lose your child’s trust for a very long time, but if you’re okay with that, that’s fine.


God no!
When I was younger I had a special padlock diary.
My aunt got it for me on my 7th birthday, I didn’t use the thing until I was 12.

(something similar to this….
Image from google)
That’s when things went downhill.

I would write my everything in the diary, what I felt, who I hated, secrets, and my family…
I went for a shower but left my key on the desk, It would usually be wrapped around my neck like a necklace but I felt really tired after the shower and went to bed.

The next morning I felt awful but I shook it off and went to school,
When I felt around my neck at 3rd period I noticed that my key wasn’t there…
Panic
When school finally ended I rushed home in under 15 minuetes, I looked on my desk and found….
that the key was still there.
.
.
A sigh of relief escaped my chest.

Now keep in mind that I’ve written in that diary for 3 years so a lot of stuff was in that thing.

When I headed downstairs for afternoon tea I saw my mum sitting on the couch, she looked mad.
I felt a bit of dread at the pit of my stomach but tried to shake it off, before I could run back upstairs with my sandwich I heard my mum call me…
She told me to sit down, the feeling of dread intensified,
“What were those horrible things you wrote about me in that stupid book of yours”
My fears were confirmed.

When I write about my life, I tend to get a bit descriptive, when something bad happens I feel the need to write it down to get my head sorted out, the “bad” things I’d written were just complaints I can’t say to her face and they weren’t just limited to my mother either.

My whole family was written in that book and everything I experiance is written in that book,
“Mum I can explain, the book means nothi-”
“Is this how you feel! Do you know how disrespectful it is to me that you’ve written such horrible words”
My mum’s asian so respect is something she takes very seriously.

“But that my private book, I didn’t think you’d look through it”
“I am your mother, you shouldn’t have to hide such things, how dare you belittle my efforts into bringing you into this country! You know when I was small I didn’t have these stupid DSP’s or WiiWii crap or station games! It’s this rubbish that makes y-”
This rant went on for a while, My mum eventually just left me off but I destroyed that book and made sure that she would never see any of my secrets, I learned to bottle everything inside.

After that incident I could never look at her in the same as before nor talk with her like old times.

There is a barrier of trust that gets breached and you can’t fix a relationship afterwards.
My mum looked through a period of my life that I would rather keep hidden but she broke my trust and lectured me after about how keeping secrets was wrong.

Funny enough that incident made me a better liar and because of it let me sneak off and do what I want.

Moral of the story, trust your kid and keep to her privacy.


To start off, it is an invasion of privacy.
Yes you may be their parent and yes you may feel entitled to be able to read it, but in reality you are not.
The thoughts that are written in that diary/journal are all feelings and thoughts that they decided to keep to themselves.

If they were comfortable to talk to you about it they will, but in the meantime they may be coping with self issues and problems and just writing about it helps them feel better and you should be understanding of that.
They may also not want to share some things due to the fear of being judged.
Writing helps both emotionally and with mental health.

In this case I speak for myself.
I am not a teen anymore but when I was about 12 years old in the seventh grade I began my first poetry journal/book.
All pieces on what I would feel on that exact day.
To this day I still do not let anyone read a single poem that is written on those pages.
Because they are all things about myself that no one could ever understand.
It became my sanctuary, the only time I was able to release my emotions and thoughts on how I truly felt.
I kept mostly every emotion and problem that I had bottled up inside.
Rhyming words and jotting random things down was just my way of coping.
I wrote down everything I would feel, but never actually had the strength to come forward and say or talk about.

If you are concerned that the teen may be going through something serious then ask them about it, instead of giving into the temptation of wanting to read from what is theirs.
Once you read it without permission, trust will be broken.
And now they really won’t be able to communicate with you at all.

JUST DO NOT DO IT


No you dont, unless you want them to be scarred for life
I use to write diary until my mom found it and read it.
It was the most personal thing I ever had.
I was having some issue at school and even wrote a list of people I hate and wrote below it
“ the day I become successful I will find them and tell them look how irritating me turned out.

It has been 10yrs since still my mom ask me how those people got on the list.
She was your best friend.
How is she on the list.
My brother still make fun of me about my list.
It has become a family joke.

I stopped writing diaries after that incident.
But when I used to write it down I used to feel healed.
After that incident I felt violated and felt I have no space or privacy.
I had no way to let go of my worries without the paranoia of been under watch.
Diary was my go to place.
Now it doesn't exist.

Now when I feel too sad/depressed/worried, I write it down and then burn those paper after that or cut it into small pieces and throw them in different places, so no one could put them together.
That's how paranoiad I have become.

Do you want your child to feel the same way, violated?! Give them their space.
Let them figure out their life.
Did you go to your parents for help for every tiny thing that happened to you when you were a teenager?
Make your relation with your child so strong that instead of you prying on them, they will come to you when they cannot handle their issues.
Tell them that you are there for them and will help them even in any kind of situation.

Be their friend not a detective.
Help them,not investigate on them


Let me ask you this: does your teenager have the right to read your personal diary? The one you so lovingly write in and take great pains to hide from their prying eyes?! No? Then buzz off! If you don’t want them reading what you write in YOUR personal diary/journal, then don’t read theirs.

My step dad ransacked my room looking for the little diary that I had bought at the dollar store with my allowance without his permission and he was desperate to find out what was written in it.

Once he did find it and read it, he realized the journal he was reading was my story journal as homes didn’t have computers or internet—only the Military had computers and internet access.

I bought two journals one that didn’t have a lock and one that had a lock whose key I kept on a piece of string around my neck at all times.

If you don’t want your teenager reading YOUR personal diary, then what makes you think that you have the ‘right’ to read theirs? It’s none of your business what’s written in that diary.

It’s a safe haven for them to write down their true feelings without fear of reprimandation from adults.
The life of a teenager in 2017 is more stressful than it was when you were a teenager in the preceeding decades.

Just butt out and leave their personal property alone!


No.

When I was younger I kept two fake journals to keep my mom from reading my real one.
Finally she figured this out so I bought a lock for it.
Once my mom found the key she read my journal and our relationship was never the same.
Keep in mind that I wrote down all of my thoughts and feelings in this journal.
I wrote about the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Apparently all that stuck out to my mom was the ugly.
My brother was home visiting us over summer break from MIT.
After reading my journal she became intent on reading my brothers to see if her “perfect” son was as “emotionaly damaged” and “mean” as I was.
After reading his PRIVATE journal she forced us both into therapy.
(He was 20 and I was 12 at the time) Once we get to therapy the therapist expects us to be these deeply troubled kids from what my mom had been saying about us.
After our first therapy session the therapist was totally perplexed.
She tells us our mom read our journals and was worried, but that she didn’t see what was wrong.
After telling both me and my brother this she spoke to my mom.
That night at dinner she was furious.
She said we were only sabotaging ourselves and she was done trying to help us.

So NO! I don’t think anyone including a parent has a right to read their child’s journal.
I know if my mother hadn’t read mine my life and relationship with her after that would have been so much better.


About 2 years ago, my best friend was acting incredibly down.
She wasn't eating, sleeping or doing well in school.
She's one of those teens who would have never slacked at school so i knew something was wrong.

She was also typically very bubbly and positive but for the past few weeks she had become into a completely different person.
Obviously something was wrong.

She was refusing to talk about herself no matter how hard it tried.

One day, i went over to her house a little early.
She was with her dad for another 20 minutes (her parents are divorced)so i went to her room to wait for her.

Her diary was lying open on the bed and i know i probably shouldn't have but i looked.

She was in a very dark place.
She was dealing with self hate and bullying.
Her dad was abusing her.
Just looking at the words, i could tell she was depressed.
.
I heard the garage door and knew she was home.
I put the diary back.

When she came into the room i could now see the bruises she so desperately tried to hide.

I barely slept that night.
I was going back and forth in if i should tell someone.
The next day, i met with my vice principal and told him.
For the past two years she's been seeing a counselor and less of her dad.
Of course there's a lot of things going on between court and her dad but i respect that privacy.

She's been much happier since and is doing great.

So to answer your question, it depends.
Now i know she's my best friend and not my child.
But i think you should respect the privacy of your teen.
Unless you see the warning signs of something much bigger.
Think about it.
If i hadn't looked at her diary, she probably wouldn't be here today.
In her diary, she talked about some really dark things that nobody should ever deal with.

So make your own call.
They might hate you for it at first but know that it's for their own good .

If you are ever dealing with anything like this, TALK TO SOMEONE.
Stay safe and remember you are loved♥️


I keep seeing answers about people being beaten by their parents because of what their journal says.
But I don’t think you’ll beat your child, so I’ll talk about my experiences.

I’ve been keeping a diary/journal/sketchbook for the past year and a half.
It’s really detailed, and explains what I’m going through mentally and whatever.

I know my mum is reading my diary.
I’m not sure how long, but I only recently realized.
I haven’t confronted her about it, and she hasn’t asked me about it.
But I now keep it in a different hiding spot, and take it to school with me.

I don’t trust my mom anymore.
At all.
I always thought we were close, but when I found out about her snooping, all of my trust disappeared.
I’m now 10000x more cautious and secretive about what I do, and it’s harder to talk to her because of what she did.

I have a close friend, I’ll call him Conner, but his parent’s always go through his stuff.
He doesn’t have a journal, more of a series of loose paper that he writes on whenever he gets upset.

His parents read that, and also go through his phone and browser history.

He hates his parents.
I regularly text/hear him talk about how upset this makes him, how he wants to cut them off when he moves out because they don’t respect them.
His parents aren’t that bad of people, they just treat their kids more like pets/belongings than actual people.

DO NOT EVER READ YOUR CHILDS DIARY OR GO THROUGH THEIR PERSONAL BELONGINGS.

If you think they’re depressed, talk to them.

If you think they are hiding something, talk to them
You should NEVER violate their privacy just because you’re curious.

Kids don’t share everything with you, they keep a lot private.
If they choose not to tell you, it’s their business, and you need to back off.


Look at the many many MANY stories posted here.
Lots of stuff about how the person has a horrible relationship with their parent(s), lack of trust, scarring memories and abandonment of their writing hobby.

Now there’s me.
How’s my relationship with my mom? Awesome, actually.
We’re very close.
We get together to hang out as often as we can and we can talk to each other about anything honestly.

What’s the difference between me and the other answers here?
My mom didn’t snoop through my journals.

“But Kay, how do you know your mom didn’t sneak peeks in your diary without you knowing?”
I went through a period where I was secretive about anything I wrote (thanks to a particular middle school moment but I digress).
So I carried my journals, short story collections and sketchpads with me at all times and if I ever needed to leave them, I had ways to detect if they were touched.
It was nerve-wrecking at school but I relaxed at home because there was never any indication the books were looked at.

From the start, my mom and I have been open.
I could ask my mother anything without getting into trouble or anyone getting upset (unless it was deathly serious which was still rare).
She was completely honest with me; gave me the answer or would tell me she wasn’t comfortable talking about it until I was older.

My mom took an interest in my life.
She supported my hobbies while introducing me to new activities and would ask about my day almost every day.
If I didn’t feel comfortable sharing on the rare occasion, mom would back off after giving me a hug and telling me she was there for me whenever I did need to talk.
No suspicion or jumps to conclusions.

“So do you think you have a right to read your teen’s diary or not?!”
Privacy is a rare thing nowadays what with social media, security cameras everywhere and everyone trying to find out what you’re doing every second of the day.
Sometimes the only privacy you get is your own thoughts.
And writing is a very helpful way to understand your thought processes.

By looking at someone’s journal, you’re invading their “safe place”.
Taking away someone’s “safe place” can have devastating consequences on the person’s mental condition.

Again, look at the other answers here.
So many relationships crumbled to dust, so many damaged individuals.
All because a parent was nosy and felt entitled to read their kid’s journal.

If you want to know what your child is up to, JUST ASK.
Build a proper relationship with your teen! Talk to them about their day, what’s going on, hobbies, take an interest in your teen’s life.
If they don’t want to talk about something, you back off.
Let them know they can talk to you whenever they need to.
And don’t yell or punish them right after they do talk to you; discuss everything thoroughly and calmly.

Remember that honesty and trust are important components of a relationship as well.
You be open about what your teen asks you (if you don’t feel comfortable sharing, let them know that and say you’ll discuss it when you feel ready).
And have faith too.
Trust your child is making good decisions.
After all, you raised them so their actions are a reflection of your parenting.
If you don’t trust them to do the right thing, what does that say about you?
One more thing.

There are times where it might be hard to figure out something is wrong.
Your kid won’t talk to you about anything, their personality becomes depressed, grades suddenly go from perfect to failing, etc.

If you have a CLEAR reason to suspect something is wrong with your child (not just paranoid delusions), ONLY THEN you can peek at the journal.
And you do it to make sure your child isn’t involved in anything dangerous or suffering from mental illness.
If they are, you help them.


Absolutely not.
A diary is a private journal where a person should feel comfortable to write their most private thoughts, feelings and experiences.
If a parent violates that trust, they violate all trust and any future confidence and confidance that could occur.
Even when students write journals in English class in school the teacher does not read them.
Generally at the end of the term the students select a small number of entries to submit for grading, and the rest remain private.

If you open that door, how can you expect your child to learn to respect your privacy? Parents have many things they usually wish to be kept away from the eyes of their young: tax returns, investments, special drawers beside the bed, another couple they may hang out with an awful lot, a bag of something green/white/pills they don't want their kids to see, a saucy latex number, a stack of XXX classics, a juvie record, an oopsie with the accountant last Xmas party and so on.
And so on.

Teens need their privacy, and they are absolutely entitled to it.
It's far more preferable to cultivate a better and more fruitful conversational relationship with your teen than to ruin your relationship forever by crossing that line.
And in crossing it you'll find that they'll never forget it: anyone who has had this trust violated holds that grudge steadfastly to them like a crucifix in a scary Romanian forest (insert wolves howling).
The best place to talk to your kid is at the dinner table.
Teens today know a lot about what is going on in the world, and many are frustrated and disturbed by current events.
You could start there.
My ex’s parents would participate in their all their sons’ education by reading the same English and History books.
In doing so they were not only better equipped to help with homework, but it made for great dinner conversation and they were much better parents.
They were certainly much more involved and elicited much more talk from their kids than my parents ever bothered to do, and today they are all very close as adults.


Its a personal diary.
Yes some parents can reason themselves into reading it.
.
but most of the time its a really REALLY bad idea.
A diary is a place to vent, to write thing they’d never say in real life, someone to confide in, things written in anger, frustration and more (and instantly forgotten after) and so on.
Ultimately it would be a massive breach of trust and unless there are extremely good reasons behind it (and its done in the right way – preferably with willing permission) .
.
any kind of trust could easily be utterly ruined.
The teen may also have a far harder time confiding in others (including writing things down in a diary+) which in turn may turn him/her inwards and cause mental damage (higher risk at least).
So overall.
.
No, you don’t have a right to read the diary of your children/teen.

On the other hand.
.
I did read a post (for a somewhat similar question) where someone gave an example of the right kind of reasoning behind reading their diary (and the right way).
To sum up this is what I remember;
The mother had become increasingly concerned and worried for her daughter, and regardless of how hard she tried to get her teen to confide in her, her daughter reacted with hostility (which just made her even more worried).
Ultimately she reached a point where where she decided that her daughter’s privacy vs her concern regarding her teen’s escalating behaviour fell second.
And so she read her diary.
Afterwards she quickly got her daughter into therapy (there were no mention of discussing what she’d read with her daughter – the mother just reacted to what she learned in the best way she knew how) and also found a new school for her (thereby solving the biggest problems the girl had (massive bullying problem to the point the girl was wondering if she wanted to live).
Because of the mother’s interference her daughter grew up to be a strong and healthy woman (whereas otherwise she might not have grown up at all).
So.
.

Parents don’t have a right as such but at times their teen’s privacy vs true parental concern will mean they may choose to take that path and it would be the right thing to do.
But in most causes it won’t be and a parent would be far better off trying to create and foster a good relationship with their teen (wikihow has several good articles on the topic) and that way earn their trust and confidence.


No.

My parents don't seem to trust me very much- as a matter of fact, they openly accuse me of being “too secretive”.
One day when I was 8 or 9, we got into an argument over… something, I forgot, but it ended with my mom going under my bed, as my older brother and sister watched, and pulling out my personal folder on sketches and my journal.

Let me just say, I love sketching, but I HATE showing other people my sketches and innermost thoughts for a reason that belongs in a Quora answer of its own.
Knowing this, my mother went through everything, leaving the sketches in plain view of my siblings, and reading all my personal entries aloud.
Now despite the fact that I was going through a bit of crap at that time, I never wrote down my absolute BIGGEST secrets, and after this, I think I never will.

I'm 17 now, and I still don't like telling any personal issues to my parents.
I just don't trust them to handle it responsibly.
The worst things I tell them are superficial things, like “I'm really nervous I won't get into this college.
” They still think they should go through my phone and belongings to keep me safe, but it really does more harm than good.


No.
Absolutely, a hundred percent, no.

Between the two covers of a diary, lies a safe haven- a sanctuary which, under no circumstance should ever be broken.

As of today, I’ve kept a diary for over three years.

Within those colored, hello-kitty patterned pages lie dozens of painful, happy, sorrowful but genuine memories.
Personal memories which were written for my eyes only.

Two years ago, I had a school project that involved one of my friends coming over.
Since my library and study are conveniently conjoined, we decided that it was the best place to do our project.

I left my diary in one of the desk’s many compartments.
Thinking I could trust her not to snoop around, I exited the room unburdened to fetch more art supplies.

When I returned, my diary was no longer in the compartment, but sitting atop the desk.
I thought nothing of it and resumed the project- which we finished in the short span of an hour.

The next day, I was greeted by the cruel laughter of my schoolmates.
As you most probably already concluded, I had absolutely no idea what was going on.
Suddenly, a friend wordlessly thrust me her phone.
It was an Instagram page.
The contents of my diary flashed before my eyes.

I don’t remember what happened afterwards, just the unbelievable pain I felt.
The betrayal, the hurt.

So unless you want your child to feel the same thing, DO NOT READ THEIR DIARY.


Please don’t.

I was 8 when I started journaling.
Initially, it would be stupid stuff like – “We had science quiz today”, “mom made pulao for dinner”, etc.

I kept writing a daily basis, would choose the best journals, and use color pencils, sometimes stick photos, and try to make it more of a memory book.

I went off to boarding school, in Grade 8.
Your teachers and matron, reserve the right to go through your stuff, so my hobby was halted for a wee-bit.

I became real good friends with one of the guys in my class, and for the lack of better atmosphere to talk, he sent me a letter one day.
This was pure friendship, no crush, no flirting, or any romantic angle.
I wrote back to him.
We would exchange them during class.
It would bring a smile to my face.
What would we talk?
Ideology, beliefs, aspirations, what we expect from life and math homework.
It would often contain gossip about our fellow classmates too in good humor.

I returned home for my Grade 11, and started living with my mom.
It is not easy for a teenage girl having lived her life on her terms for 3 years, to come back under the rules of your mom.
Mom and I would have huge fights, heated arguments and loads of tears.
To cope with this, I started journaling again.

5–6 months later, I return home to find my mom in tears, sitting with all my journals open.
She had read all of them, every single of them, including my kiddish journals from aged 9–12.

She was hurt by what I had written for the recent few months, genuinely hurt.
I was on the defensive, and hated her for invading my privacy.
We did not fight that day.
We went to bed, hungry.

We had an awkward silence for a very long time, she would not get in my way and I would live by all her rules.
We both slowly forgot what I had written, and I threw away all my journals.

Though it is not one of my bad memory, I have not touched a journal ever since.

The only thing I have written down for memory is my first kiss with my husband.

I wish I could write again, but I don’t want to hurt anyone around me.

I wish I could do it without the fear of my journal being read by someone.

It is very good therapy, lack of which you lose some of your self-confidence, and you try to find attention in a fellow human being, making you vulnerable.

So please do not read your teen’s diary.
They deserve that privacy.


I say it is both a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answer.
And because I want to take the unpopular route and say that a parent does have some right to see a child’s diary/journal under very specific situations.
(And if they own a diary.
)
Since there are too many ‘no’ answers and you the viewer had possibly read all of those before coming to this answer.
I feel that at some point that a parent has a responsibility to intervene for their safety and for others.

If you set curfews, and the child goes over, gets hurt and doesn’t talk about it.
Well, expect mother bear go into your phone records.

And maybe some will have to call the police in some.

YES:
If you have a clear and reasonable-sound suspicious that your child is;
Such as the case of Alyssa Bustamante who was 15 around the time where she repeatedly stabbed Elizabeth Olten to death before calmly writing about the "pretty enjoyable" murder in her journal.

"I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they're dead," the entry read.

"I don't know how to feel atm [at the moment].
It was ahmazing.
As soon as you get over the 'ohmygawd I can't do this' feeling, it's pretty enjoyable.

"I'm kinda nervous and shaky though right now.
Kay, I gotta go to church now.
.
.
lol [laugh out loud].
"[2]
Like Graham Young, the Tea-Cup Poisoner where he recorded dosage and reactions.
[3] To be honest, he was begging to have his privacy invaded when he was reading Mein Kampf out in the open during the 1960s.

This is also seen in the Columbine High School Massacre, through the journals left behind by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
Through them, investigators discovered that the teens had been planning for a year to bomb the school in an attack similar to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings.

There is more stuff that ring serious alarm bells for a parent or anyone for that matter if they came across his entries.

November 1998: Eric writes in detail about how he wants to have violent sex with a woman, quoting a line from Nine Inch Nails' song Closer (a song about having rough, animalistic sex).
This heated entry dissolves into a gory description of how he would like to taste human flesh.
The cannibalistic rant eventually wraps around to school where Eric shifts his attention from a woman to a freshman, going on in vivid detail about the twisted, violent things he'd like to do.
[4]
And then there is this.
Journals, Diaries and School Papers .
Where it said, “Class of 98.
Top of the ‘Should had died list’.

And when your kid is not talking anything about it and hearing all of the stories of how children were driven to suicide because of bullying, that journal he or she keeps under their bed is going to be tempting.
Or I will say safety values over privacy in this on.

This happened to a friend of mine who was bullied and he didn’t say anything about it.
His parents only found out when they peeked over his social media and immediately moved schools, his bullies were sending messages of how he should kill himself.

He is now college captain.

Not really reading into a personal diary but, kind of similar?
Now this is all in assumptions that you have some alarm bells ringing about your child.
Like past history, if they hurt someone, if they have a violet tendency, criminal history and all that stuff.

(And much would had been better in hindsight if the parents check in Harris’ room for his weapons and his diaries about his disturbed mind.
)
EDIT: And I just want to mention to add a little more salt into the mix, all the examples I read where from teens around the time of their deeds.

EDIT:EDIT: As I was discussing with another user about this question.
I think it added more depth concerning about trust.
Of how we should trust teens to eventually tell them of how they feel to their parents.

If I know kids and I know kids because I am a kid is that we hid anything from our parents.
It can be small or it can be big.
, even if it hurts us or even kills us in the end.

Why? Reasons can be because we don’t want our parents to worry.
For other extreme situation, it is to ensure that they don’t call the police as I have listed above.

Lets used Columbine as an example again;
After the duo was arrested for stealing a television set 15 months earlier.
Eric wrote an essay for his angry class management saying that he was reformed.

But his private journal tells a different story.

“Isn’t America supposed to be the land of the free? How come if I’m free that I can’t deprived of some fucking dumb shit of his possessions.
If he leaves in the front seat of his fucking van, in plain sight, in the middle of fucking nowhere, on a fucking Friday night.
Natural Selection.
Fucker should had been shot.

I think a parent should had monitored their child after they came out from reform, be a bit more glued to ensure they stay on the right path.
Trust was already severed the moment he or she committed a crime.


This is a bone of contention for many people – just how far will you go, as a parent, to protect your children, to ensure they are managing well with their life’s challenges… I have a 20 year old daughter who has kept a diary since she was very young, and not once, not even one page have I read of her personal thoughts.
I knew exactly where her diary was, and I made absolutely certain that she knew she could leave it out in the open and I would not read it.
I trusted my daughter to speak to me if she was struggling with anything – and if I couldn’t help, we would find a solution, together.
I also assured her that if she needed to blow off some steam about me, she could turn to those few people she trusted that knew me, and knew her, but to only speak to them if she truly felt their advice would be helpful and not cruel.

Trusting your teenager in this day and age is a touchy subject because life has many more dangers now than ever before.
Dangers that could impact on your children in such a way that they could suffer untold traumas, stress, pressure – anything.
Having said that, trust is one of the corner stones of a good relationship with your children.
Trust them to be smart? Then teach them to be smart.
You want them to make good decisions? Teach them what making any decision looks like through actually and actively making decisions with them, and in front of them.
Making decisions for them is a whole other batch of nuts, and I feel that if you need to do this, you must have a good reason for it, an explainable one.
Your children, and teenagers especially need to know the why and how-come of such things.

I promised my daughter I would never read her diary because I knew that I had brought her up to understand that, while I am doing everything I can to be a good mother, sometimes I make mistakes and sometimes she will too.
Having a diary is a good thing for teenagers – diaries don’t get angry, they don’t judge, they don’t explain and rationalise, they don’t incite fury, they don’t tell you what to do and when and why, diaries can be torn up in frustration and then replaced, they can keep secrets like no other being would…diaries are there for those times your teenager needs to get through something, regardless of whether it’s good or bad.

I guess what I am saying is RESPECT your teenager’s privacy! The only time you should ever read a diary is: Never.
If you have established and continue to uphold an open and trusting relationship with your son or your daughter, you won’t need to read their very personal thoughts.
Reading your child’s diary will change everything and not for the better – is it worth losing the trust, respect and love of your child? No.

In a world where everything is crazy, nothing is rooted in common sense and everything comes easily, having a true and loving relationship with your teenager is the most precious accomplishment you could experience.
Best of all? Your kid will one day have children of his or her own, and they will teach their children about trust, respect and love.
After all, you taught them, and if life has shown me anything, it is that the adage “monkey see, monkey do” is pretty much on point.
LOL


Hell.
No.
My mom bought me my first diary.
You know what else she gave me? A lock.
So that I would understand that the thoughts I put down in that diary were mine and mine alone.
I don't know what it is with parents today and your obsession with violating every level of your kids privacy, but behavior like reading through your kids texts and diaries without any real reason (you suspect they are doing something seriously shady, you believe they may be in danger) is the reason why your damn kids don't trust you.
Why should a child feel safe sharing their thoughts with a parent who they know will rifle through their private notes anyway? If you can't talk to your child, then that is on YOU.
Have you even made an attempt to speak to them about whatever is on your mind, or do you just want to read through their diary because you know they have one? Parents swear they are doing their due diligence by sneaking through their children's things and then hiding behind “it's my house so I can do what I want" but all they are doing is letting their kids know they need to be MORE secretive and MORE sneaky.
Because reading through your child's diary isn't going to help with communication, it's going to make them ANGRY, make them feel VIOLATED, and you will most definitely alienate them.
Unless you truly suspect your child is hiding some serious shit, mind your goddamn business and let your kid have ONE private outlet.


When I was a teenager I was pretty awkward and didn’t have many friends, but even the friends I had, I wouldn't tell most of my thoughts to.
I kept a diary and I wrote everything in there instead.
One summer I went to one of those summer camps at the seaside (as kids here often do).
Quite a few of my classmates went and I was really excited because I thought maybe I would get the chance to make friends with the cool kids this way, being stuck at a summer camp together for a week.
However, I soon realised they’never think I was good enough to be part of their little group and I ended up being pretty bored most of the time so I wrote everything that was going on in my head into my diary.
You can see where this is going, right?
Anyway, the “cool” kids soon realised I kept a diary and were naturally intrigued about what I might have written, so a whole bunch of them went ahead and looked for it in the dorm while I wasn't around, locked themselves in and giggled at my silly schoolgirl thoughts until I came back banging on the door.
I wish I could say I knew what was going on the whole time, but I was honestly so naive it never crossed my childish mind anyone would do anything so malicious.

They then proceeded to mock me for the rest of the camp for everything I wrote, including a crush I had on a boy who was also part of their group.
And don’t forget some of these people I'd have to face at school every day.
I wanted to die.
Honestly, I thought my life was over.
I felt incredibly betrayed and stupid for not seeing it coming.
I blamed myself as much as them and it took me forever to get over it.

And this was just a bunch of kids from school! I don’t even want to imagine how awful I'd feel had this been my own mother!
Don’t betray your teenager’s trust like that.
It’s not worth it.
It's already hard for teenagers to trust their parents just trying to gauge how accepting parents will be of the person they're just starting to become, so don’t make it worse.
Be there for them.
Listen, and don’t judge and you won’t have to read their diary because they’ll tell you everything on their own.

Thanks for the edits, I've corrected some of the mistakes listed and I've kept some of the alternative spellings (namely realise) as I usually go for the British spelling system in all my writing (in spite of my accent, and possibly writing style which is probably a lot more on the American side).


Would I have a right, simply out of curiosity? Then the answer is ‘no’.
As that would be an invasion of their privacy.

But if I sensed something was seriously wrong and for some reason or another we couldn’t otherwise get through to them, (signs of depression, distant and out of the ordinary behavior, or – the worst – if they’ve gone missing!) then in those types of circumstances, it would be considered a necessary option.

I remember when I was a teenager myself, maybe 14 or 15 at the time, when I had started writing about some of my unruly behavior and lawless activities, such as break-ins of local schools in my area, destroying private property, trespassing, shoplifting, etc.

Then one day I come home to find my dad red with fury after finding and reading through my notebook.
What’s more, he was shocked to the core, shouting things like, “I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS MY OWN SON!! WHO AM I RAISING IN THIS HOUSE?? WHAT IS THIS??” holding up my notebook as evidence.

Thankfully, I had a knack for getting out of tense situations when under pressure, whereupon my lying/acting/improv mechanism kicked in, and told him that it was all fiction.
That I had been trying my hand at writing and was writing a story in the first person POV.

I guess the events detailed in my notebook had been so unbelievable and out of character from the son he thought he knew, that he believed my defensive explanation.
So, crisis averted.

However, I’m now 38 years of age and a completely different person to the teenager that was, but still remember the nakedness and vulnerability I felt to the invasion of my private notes.
(Although, I doubt my dad even realized what he had stumbled on when he picked up my notebook – until it was too late).


Do you have a right to read your teen’s personal diary?


I don't agree with the assumption that rights are the most relevant issue here, but I'll go along with that.
The two main rights I see in this situation are property and privacy.
The first one relates to you and the teen, the second relates only to the teen.

These questions are too far removed from the actual situation.
The first one is nitpicky and doesn’t match the gravity of a situation.
“Yes, it's mine, so I can read it” or “No, it's mine, so I can't read it” are both superficial answers to a deeper question.
The second also seems silly.
Teenagers crave privacy.
It helps them as they develop an identity independent of their parents, a crucial step to adulthood.
Respecting their privacy helps them mature and learn how to respect others.

The only relevant issue that arises from these questions is that “what if.
” It seems to suggest that the potential, not even definite or known consequences would justify you (maybe) violating your child's rights to privacy.
Granted, parents have uncanny instincts as to whether or not their child is up to something dangerous, but you could still be wrong.
And if you're wrong, then it means your initial justification isn't valid, and you just violated your child's privacy for nothing.

So looking at this problem as a question of rights doesn't fit.
This question is about the relationship between parent and child and the values that promote a healthy one like honesty, respect, and communication.
Are you being honest if you read their diary? Respectful? It's not honest to go behind your child's back and read their diary, but sometimes we can violate the principle of honesty if it's really important.
So is it really important? Is there really no other way you can find out what you need to know about your child’s safety?
If you've fostered an environment of open communication and continually emphasized to your child that they can tell you anything, that you will put their safety and happiness before any judgement and reprimanding, then there likely isn't anything in that diary that you need to know.

If you haven't, start right now.

Either way, you will either break the existing trust between you and your child or ruin your chance at building it by opening that diary.


I am almost 16 years old.
I have a job, I get straight A’s.
I don’t do drugs, an I’ve never once come home wasted.
I would say that, yes, I am a good girl, despite any speculations that may go on in my head.

And yet three days ago my mother read my personal diary.

She was looking for information about a party I was planning to attend, and what I was planning to do there.
She was also looking for information about a boy I have been involved with recently.

And she found that information.
Yes, there was going to be a party.
Yes, I was going to drink, and yes, I was planning on hooking up with a specific guy.

Unbeknownst to her, whilst I had planned all this in my diary, I had also last minute pulled out of those plans.

My mum found what she was looking for, but she would also have found many other things.

She would have seen the angry rants when I was at my bratty worst, the tear stained pages about friends who are dropping acid and boys who are terrifying.
The cartoons.
The page about how once I self-harmed, which is right before the page where talk about my favourite Kardashian sister, and after the part where I contemplate my sexuality.

Reading my diary gave my mum the shock of her life, knowing how much I actually know about the world.

I am firmly of the belief that telling your child “just don’t have sex” and “just don’t drink”, really doesn’t fucking work.
Of course teenagers are going to try things, and its completely natural for them to want to do so.
As a parent, you should of course, make your child aware of the potential consequences of their actions, but if it comes to it, its better to have a 16 year old who has safe sex, and drinks safely, than a girl who is dead because the boundaries set for her were completely unrealistic, and she snuck out one night, and it all went wrong.

Actions speak louder than words.
I did not go to that party that night, regardless of what I planned, or said I would do.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t go to a party some other time, be that next week, or when I leave school and leave home.

What I do at that party now is up to you, mum.
Will you let me be safe? Or will you lock me up and wait for me to go crazy the moment I leave home?
I don’t think anyone has the ‘right’ to breach someones personal privacy, and I hold the belief that reading someones personal diary is wrong.
But also, parents have the right to monitor their childs safety if they fear something really really bad is happening.
I still wish that my mother had not read my diary, but I do not blame her for doing so, because I sincerely believe she did it out of love.

That being said, she could have just, you know, talked to me, in a calm manner, and listened to what I had to say, instead of completely breaking the small amount of trust I had in her before.

So, if you genuinely fear something bad is happening, like life-threatening, and think that reading your teens diary is the only thing to do to protect them, then by all means you should do that.
They are your child, and you love and want to protect them.
But only as a last resort.

If you do decide to read it, keep one thing in mind:
A diary is often a reflection of someones most illogical, senseless, emotion-fuelled thoughts.
As a teen, you don’t write in a diary when you are having a balanced and calm day.
You write when you are confused, and upset, and scared, and angry.

What someone writes when they are at their emotional lowest does not define who they are as a person.

Mum, I’m sorry that the things I said hurt and disappointed you.
But at the same time, I’m not sorry for being confused, and I’m not sorry for being curious, and I’m not sorry for having the emotions I expressed in my diary.

Which at the end of the day, no one was supposed to see.


I’m going anonymous because people I know personally follow my account, and I’d rather not have them associate this with me.

Absolutely not.

Back in secondary school, I kept a diary, in which I’d pen my thoughts of the day – the writings of a confused, pubescent teen.
I’d keep my diary wedged between my mattresses or tucked into the folds of my clothes, and back then, I was an avid writer.

One fateful day, my class had a sex education lesson and we were told a very vivid description of the whole abortion process.
Having an overactive imagination, I tried to place myself in the abortee’s shoes and felt nauseous.
Later that day, I went home to pen down my thoughts on the class, and mentioned that my mouth “tasted like pennies” when I thought about aborting a fetus.
After writing, I hid my diary, as per usual.

For the next few days, my mother behaved strangely around me – purposefully cornering me to have discussions about relationships and boys, and being hostile and tense.
Being suspicious, I decided to hide my diary in the bathroom cupboard – something I’d not done before.

That Friday, she and I headed to the gym, still talking about relationships and boys.
Having had enough, I began to refuse answering directly.
Her questions then became more hostile and accusatory about who I’d been seeing (no one), etc.
, until she snapped and said she knew I’d had sex and she demanded to meet the boy.
I was flabbergasted; what was she talking about? How could she accuse me for no good reason? I didn’t do anything! We screamed at each other, back and forth, until she admitted she’d read my diary.
She told me that was her proof and to stop lying.

Furious, I stormed home, with her hot on my heels and just as worked up.
I ran into the bathroom and locked the door while she pounded on the door.
I emerged with the book.
She snatched it and flipped to the entry on abortion and pointed out the phrase, “tasted like pennies.

At this point, while I’m sure things are fairly obvious, I want to point out that English is not my mother’s first language.

After pointing at the phrase, she told me to explain myself and I screamed, “P-E-N-N-I-E-S.
That spells PENNIES, as in coins! My mouth ‘tasting like pennies’ means I wanted to throw up!”
She became silent, and let out a quiet oh.
She had thought I wrote that I’d been giving some guy a blowjob.

I locked myself in my room that night and cried myself to sleep.

The fact that I can recall this memory so well shows how much it impacted me.
After that experience, I couldn’t keep a diary anymore, try as I might – the words didn’t flow right and I couldn’t keep the habit up, until I gave up trying.
I didn’t know, before then, that she read my entries.
I felt vulnerable, like my thoughts, once written down or spoken aloud, were there to be judged, misconstrued, and misinterpreted.

My diary was a way for me to reflect on things I had learnt or experienced, how I acted, and most importantly, writing helped me ask questions about myself that many teenagers would relate to.
These questions were innocent, and things a teenager ponders about as they enter adulthood – musings without any definitive action.

Most parents want to, understandably, protect their children from the dangers of the real world, but by reading your child’s diary, you threaten a natural learning process and you lose your child’s trust in you.

If your child trusts you, they will ask you questions and have discussions with you on their own accord, without you needing to intervene.
It is normal for a growing individual to want to seek guidance from a trustworthy guardian.
Trying to forcefully expedite the process or intrusive helicopter-parenting will only push them away.

If you value your relationship with your child and hope to continue having one in the future, then for crying out loud, don’t read your child’s diary!


I guess I'm going to receive alot of backlash for this.

I have read most of he answers here , they all say no , give your teen some privacy, it's a way of teaching respect and so on.

Pls read this first :
These two girls haven't returned to their homes,
I once read about a woman in a local paper whose 13 yr old son ran away with a woman, not to be found, they only found plans and love notes and poems written in his dairy about few days after he went missing, that was 2013 he still hasn’t been found .

When I newly joined Quora, I read about a woman that lost her daughter to an online predator , the girl was 16 then, she reconnected with her daughter 3 years later and she was already a mother to his baby , and quite miserable and hates her mother (Brainwashed) , some comments suggested she accepts her fate and the girl is an adult and can choose her destiny …blah blah.

And a whole lot more
Now look at this
This is the hierarchy of needs (human needs not animal …lol)
Now please judge , is privacy needs higher than saftey and security needs .
NO.

Diary, cell phones , computers , internet , neighborhood, whatever poses any danger , I owe my kids to protect them and keep them safe ( even from themselves atimes ) at almost all costs, and I will do that to the best of my ability.

So yes I will read it (sneakily) and if I see a major red flag I will take necessary measures, otherwise I will keep a low profile (yes I am a spyparent).

That being said , I encourage all parents to keep an open minded and cordial relationship with their kids , let them be able to come to you with any and every form of troubles on their mind (crushes, being bullied , depression, classes, what they feel about your mum , about your boyfriends and girlfriends, their siblings),and try to tackle the issue without being overtly judgemental ( even if every nerve of you is cringing).

Remember it's you and your kid VS the problem , not you against the child .

If your kids feel they have secrets so dark they cannot tell you, the problem is with you the parent.

Footnotes:
Teen girl who ran away with a man she’d never met
Our 15-year-old daughter ran away to be with a man she met on the internet.
.
.
I didn’t think it happened to clever girls

Now bring the rain.


I believe that everyone should have a basic right to privacy.

Now, I never had any privacy, and I still don’t.
I was never allowed to be in my bedroom during the day, never allowed to close my door, never allowed to be on the computer without a parent supervising, never allowed to use any electronics without supervision, for that matter.

Then, one day, I started a journal.
I wrote about everything in it.
How I felt about my parents, sexual things, all of my feelings, what happened in school, everything.
I wrote in that thing like crazy.
I trusted it more than anything else.
I didn’t expect my parents to one day up and read it.

I got in a ton of trouble, for all of my feelings against my parents that I thought were private.
I expected to have at least one place where I could truly be myself, but they did not think that.
All of my trust in them was gone, just like that.

Now, a couple years later, I still do not trust either of them at all, with anything.
I recently started a new journal, and I am terrified that one of them will read it.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t have even started a new one because they read the last one, and history is the best predictor of future behavior and all that, but I was bursting with emotions and no one to talk to that I could trust.
So I have one now.

The other day, my mom was talking to me and crying about how I never told her anything.
I couldn’t tell her that that was because I no longer trust her with any information, because that would hurt her feelings.
She then told me that she was going to read my journal.

I stared at her like she had grown another head.
I was stunned.
I thought that she finally respected my privacy, and maybe even had adopted some morals about it.
Apparently that was not the case.

After we had a short, concise conversation about privacy, she concluded that she would read it if I left it out in the open.

I am now terrified to leave it anywhere, anytime.
If I’m writing in it on the kitchen table, and I get up to go to the bathroom, I worry about her reading it.
If I leave it downstairs in my backpack at night, I worry about her reading it.
I am always worrying about that.
I do not trust my mother anymore with any of my personal information, because of this one little incident.

Sure, go ahead and read your child’s journal.
Go ahead and violate their trust and privacy.
They will eventually know that you have no respect for them at all, and will never trust them to not do bad things.
You will lose your child’s trust for a very long time, but if you’re okay with that, that’s fine.


God no!
When I was younger I had a special padlock diary.
My aunt got it for me on my 7th birthday, I didn’t use the thing until I was 12.

(something similar to this….
Image from google)
That’s when things went downhill.

I would write my everything in the diary, what I felt, who I hated, secrets, and my family…
I went for a shower but left my key on the desk, It would usually be wrapped around my neck like a necklace but I felt really tired after the shower and went to bed.

The next morning I felt awful but I shook it off and went to school,
When I felt around my neck at 3rd period I noticed that my key wasn’t there…
Panic
When school finally ended I rushed home in under 15 minuetes, I looked on my desk and found….
that the key was still there.
.
.
A sigh of relief escaped my chest.

Now keep in mind that I’ve written in that diary for 3 years so a lot of stuff was in that thing.

When I headed downstairs for afternoon tea I saw my mum sitting on the couch, she looked mad.
I felt a bit of dread at the pit of my stomach but tried to shake it off, before I could run back upstairs with my sandwich I heard my mum call me…
She told me to sit down, the feeling of dread intensified,
“What were those horrible things you wrote about me in that stupid book of yours”
My fears were confirmed.

When I write about my life, I tend to get a bit descriptive, when something bad happens I feel the need to write it down to get my head sorted out, the “bad” things I’d written were just complaints I can’t say to her face and they weren’t just limited to my mother either.

My whole family was written in that book and everything I experiance is written in that book,
“Mum I can explain, the book means nothi-”
“Is this how you feel! Do you know how disrespectful it is to me that you’ve written such horrible words”
My mum’s asian so respect is something she takes very seriously.

“But that my private book, I didn’t think you’d look through it”
“I am your mother, you shouldn’t have to hide such things, how dare you belittle my efforts into bringing you into this country! You know when I was small I didn’t have these stupid DSP’s or WiiWii crap or station games! It’s this rubbish that makes y-”
This rant went on for a while, My mum eventually just left me off but I destroyed that book and made sure that she would never see any of my secrets, I learned to bottle everything inside.

After that incident I could never look at her in the same as before nor talk with her like old times.

There is a barrier of trust that gets breached and you can’t fix a relationship afterwards.
My mum looked through a period of my life that I would rather keep hidden but she broke my trust and lectured me after about how keeping secrets was wrong.

Funny enough that incident made me a better liar and because of it let me sneak off and do what I want.

Moral of the story, trust your kid and keep to her privacy.


To start off, it is an invasion of privacy.
Yes you may be their parent and yes you may feel entitled to be able to read it, but in reality you are not.
The thoughts that are written in that diary/journal are all feelings and thoughts that they decided to keep to themselves.

If they were comfortable to talk to you about it they will, but in the meantime they may be coping with self issues and problems and just writing about it helps them feel better and you should be understanding of that.
They may also not want to share some things due to the fear of being judged.
Writing helps both emotionally and with mental health.

In this case I speak for myself.
I am not a teen anymore but when I was about 12 years old in the seventh grade I began my first poetry journal/book.
All pieces on what I would feel on that exact day.
To this day I still do not let anyone read a single poem that is written on those pages.
Because they are all things about myself that no one could ever understand.
It became my sanctuary, the only time I was able to release my emotions and thoughts on how I truly felt.
I kept mostly every emotion and problem that I had bottled up inside.
Rhyming words and jotting random things down was just my way of coping.
I wrote down everything I would feel, but never actually had the strength to come forward and say or talk about.

If you are concerned that the teen may be going through something serious then ask them about it, instead of giving into the temptation of wanting to read from what is theirs.
Once you read it without permission, trust will be broken.
And now they really won’t be able to communicate with you at all.

JUST DO NOT DO IT


No you dont, unless you want them to be scarred for life
I use to write diary until my mom found it and read it.
It was the most personal thing I ever had.
I was having some issue at school and even wrote a list of people I hate and wrote below it
“ the day I become successful I will find them and tell them look how irritating me turned out.

It has been 10yrs since still my mom ask me how those people got on the list.
She was your best friend.
How is she on the list.
My brother still make fun of me about my list.
It has become a family joke.

I stopped writing diaries after that incident.
But when I used to write it down I used to feel healed.
After that incident I felt violated and felt I have no space or privacy.
I had no way to let go of my worries without the paranoia of been under watch.
Diary was my go to place.
Now it doesn't exist.

Now when I feel too sad/depressed/worried, I write it down and then burn those paper after that or cut it into small pieces and throw them in different places, so no one could put them together.
That's how paranoiad I have become.

Do you want your child to feel the same way, violated?! Give them their space.
Let them figure out their life.
Did you go to your parents for help for every tiny thing that happened to you when you were a teenager?
Make your relation with your child so strong that instead of you prying on them, they will come to you when they cannot handle their issues.
Tell them that you are there for them and will help them even in any kind of situation.

Be their friend not a detective.
Help them,not investigate on them


Let me ask you this: does your teenager have the right to read your personal diary? The one you so lovingly write in and take great pains to hide from their prying eyes?! No? Then buzz off! If you don’t want them reading what you write in YOUR personal diary/journal, then don’t read theirs.

My step dad ransacked my room looking for the little diary that I had bought at the dollar store with my allowance without his permission and he was desperate to find out what was written in it.

Once he did find it and read it, he realized the journal he was reading was my story journal as homes didn’t have computers or internet—only the Military had computers and internet access.

I bought two journals one that didn’t have a lock and one that had a lock whose key I kept on a piece of string around my neck at all times.

If you don’t want your teenager reading YOUR personal diary, then what makes you think that you have the ‘right’ to read theirs? It’s none of your business what’s written in that diary.

It’s a safe haven for them to write down their true feelings without fear of reprimandation from adults.
The life of a teenager in 2017 is more stressful than it was when you were a teenager in the preceeding decades.

Just butt out and leave their personal property alone!


No.

When I was younger I kept two fake journals to keep my mom from reading my real one.
Finally she figured this out so I bought a lock for it.
Once my mom found the key she read my journal and our relationship was never the same.
Keep in mind that I wrote down all of my thoughts and feelings in this journal.
I wrote about the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Apparently all that stuck out to my mom was the ugly.
My brother was home visiting us over summer break from MIT.
After reading my journal she became intent on reading my brothers to see if her “perfect” son was as “emotionaly damaged” and “mean” as I was.
After reading his PRIVATE journal she forced us both into therapy.
(He was 20 and I was 12 at the time) Once we get to therapy the therapist expects us to be these deeply troubled kids from what my mom had been saying about us.
After our first therapy session the therapist was totally perplexed.
She tells us our mom read our journals and was worried, but that she didn’t see what was wrong.
After telling both me and my brother this she spoke to my mom.
That night at dinner she was furious.
She said we were only sabotaging ourselves and she was done trying to help us.

So NO! I don’t think anyone including a parent has a right to read their child’s journal.
I know if my mother hadn’t read mine my life and relationship with her after that would have been so much better.


About 2 years ago, my best friend was acting incredibly down.
She wasn't eating, sleeping or doing well in school.
She's one of those teens who would have never slacked at school so i knew something was wrong.

She was also typically very bubbly and positive but for the past few weeks she had become into a completely different person.
Obviously something was wrong.

She was refusing to talk about herself no matter how hard it tried.

One day, i went over to her house a little early.
She was with her dad for another 20 minutes (her parents are divorced)so i went to her room to wait for her.

Her diary was lying open on the bed and i know i probably shouldn't have but i looked.

She was in a very dark place.
She was dealing with self hate and bullying.
Her dad was abusing her.
Just looking at the words, i could tell she was depressed.
.
I heard the garage door and knew she was home.
I put the diary back.

When she came into the room i could now see the bruises she so desperately tried to hide.

I barely slept that night.
I was going back and forth in if i should tell someone.
The next day, i met with my vice principal and told him.
For the past two years she's been seeing a counselor and less of her dad.
Of course there's a lot of things going on between court and her dad but i respect that privacy.

She's been much happier since and is doing great.

So to answer your question, it depends.
Now i know she's my best friend and not my child.
But i think you should respect the privacy of your teen.
Unless you see the warning signs of something much bigger.
Think about it.
If i hadn't looked at her diary, she probably wouldn't be here today.
In her diary, she talked about some really dark things that nobody should ever deal with.

So make your own call.
They might hate you for it at first but know that it's for their own good .

If you are ever dealing with anything like this, TALK TO SOMEONE.
Stay safe and remember you are loved♥️


I keep seeing answers about people being beaten by their parents because of what their journal says.
But I don’t think you’ll beat your child, so I’ll talk about my experiences.

I’ve been keeping a diary/journal/sketchbook for the past year and a half.
It’s really detailed, and explains what I’m going through mentally and whatever.

I know my mum is reading my diary.
I’m not sure how long, but I only recently realized.
I haven’t confronted her about it, and she hasn’t asked me about it.
But I now keep it in a different hiding spot, and take it to school with me.

I don’t trust my mom anymore.
At all.
I always thought we were close, but when I found out about her snooping, all of my trust disappeared.
I’m now 10000x more cautious and secretive about what I do, and it’s harder to talk to her because of what she did.

I have a close friend, I’ll call him Conner, but his parent’s always go through his stuff.
He doesn’t have a journal, more of a series of loose paper that he writes on whenever he gets upset.

His parents read that, and also go through his phone and browser history.

He hates his parents.
I regularly text/hear him talk about how upset this makes him, how he wants to cut them off when he moves out because they don’t respect them.
His parents aren’t that bad of people, they just treat their kids more like pets/belongings than actual people.

DO NOT EVER READ YOUR CHILDS DIARY OR GO THROUGH THEIR PERSONAL BELONGINGS.

If you think they’re depressed, talk to them.

If you think they are hiding something, talk to them
You should NEVER violate their privacy just because you’re curious.

Kids don’t share everything with you, they keep a lot private.
If they choose not to tell you, it’s their business, and you need to back off.


Look at the many many MANY stories posted here.
Lots of stuff about how the person has a horrible relationship with their parent(s), lack of trust, scarring memories and abandonment of their writing hobby.

Now there’s me.
How’s my relationship with my mom? Awesome, actually.
We’re very close.
We get together to hang out as often as we can and we can talk to each other about anything honestly.

What’s the difference between me and the other answers here?
My mom didn’t snoop through my journals.

“But Kay, how do you know your mom didn’t sneak peeks in your diary without you knowing?”
I went through a period where I was secretive about anything I wrote (thanks to a particular middle school moment but I digress).
So I carried my journals, short story collections and sketchpads with me at all times and if I ever needed to leave them, I had ways to detect if they were touched.
It was nerve-wrecking at school but I relaxed at home because there was never any indication the books were looked at.

From the start, my mom and I have been open.
I could ask my mother anything without getting into trouble or anyone getting upset (unless it was deathly serious which was still rare).
She was completely honest with me; gave me the answer or would tell me she wasn’t comfortable talking about it until I was older.

My mom took an interest in my life.
She supported my hobbies while introducing me to new activities and would ask about my day almost every day.
If I didn’t feel comfortable sharing on the rare occasion, mom would back off after giving me a hug and telling me she was there for me whenever I did need to talk.
No suspicion or jumps to conclusions.

“So do you think you have a right to read your teen’s diary or not?!”
Privacy is a rare thing nowadays what with social media, security cameras everywhere and everyone trying to find out what you’re doing every second of the day.
Sometimes the only privacy you get is your own thoughts.
And writing is a very helpful way to understand your thought processes.

By looking at someone’s journal, you’re invading their “safe place”.
Taking away someone’s “safe place” can have devastating consequences on the person’s mental condition.

Again, look at the other answers here.
So many relationships crumbled to dust, so many damaged individuals.
All because a parent was nosy and felt entitled to read their kid’s journal.

If you want to know what your child is up to, JUST ASK.
Build a proper relationship with your teen! Talk to them about their day, what’s going on, hobbies, take an interest in your teen’s life.
If they don’t want to talk about something, you back off.
Let them know they can talk to you whenever they need to.
And don’t yell or punish them right after they do talk to you; discuss everything thoroughly and calmly.

Remember that honesty and trust are important components of a relationship as well.
You be open about what your teen asks you (if you don’t feel comfortable sharing, let them know that and say you’ll discuss it when you feel ready).
And have faith too.
Trust your child is making good decisions.
After all, you raised them so their actions are a reflection of your parenting.
If you don’t trust them to do the right thing, what does that say about you?
One more thing.

There are times where it might be hard to figure out something is wrong.
Your kid won’t talk to you about anything, their personality becomes depressed, grades suddenly go from perfect to failing, etc.

If you have a CLEAR reason to suspect something is wrong with your child (not just paranoid delusions), ONLY THEN you can peek at the journal.
And you do it to make sure your child isn’t involved in anything dangerous or suffering from mental illness.
If they are, you help them.


Absolutely not.
A diary is a private journal where a person should feel comfortable to write their most private thoughts, feelings and experiences.
If a parent violates that trust, they violate all trust and any future confidence and confidance that could occur.
Even when students write journals in English class in school the teacher does not read them.
Generally at the end of the term the students select a small number of entries to submit for grading, and the rest remain private.

If you open that door, how can you expect your child to learn to respect your privacy? Parents have many things they usually wish to be kept away from the eyes of their young: tax returns, investments, special drawers beside the bed, another couple they may hang out with an awful lot, a bag of something green/white/pills they don't want their kids to see, a saucy latex number, a stack of XXX classics, a juvie record, an oopsie with the accountant last Xmas party and so on.
And so on.

Teens need their privacy, and they are absolutely entitled to it.
It's far more preferable to cultivate a better and more fruitful conversational relationship with your teen than to ruin your relationship forever by crossing that line.
And in crossing it you'll find that they'll never forget it: anyone who has had this trust violated holds that grudge steadfastly to them like a crucifix in a scary Romanian forest (insert wolves howling).
The best place to talk to your kid is at the dinner table.
Teens today know a lot about what is going on in the world, and many are frustrated and disturbed by current events.
You could start there.
My ex’s parents would participate in their all their sons’ education by reading the same English and History books.
In doing so they were not only better equipped to help with homework, but it made for great dinner conversation and they were much better parents.
They were certainly much more involved and elicited much more talk from their kids than my parents ever bothered to do, and today they are all very close as adults.


Its a personal diary.
Yes some parents can reason themselves into reading it.
.
but most of the time its a really REALLY bad idea.
A diary is a place to vent, to write thing they’d never say in real life, someone to confide in, things written in anger, frustration and more (and instantly forgotten after) and so on.
Ultimately it would be a massive breach of trust and unless there are extremely good reasons behind it (and its done in the right way – preferably with willing permission) .
.
any kind of trust could easily be utterly ruined.
The teen may also have a far harder time confiding in others (including writing things down in a diary+) which in turn may turn him/her inwards and cause mental damage (higher risk at least).
So overall.
.
No, you don’t have a right to read the diary of your children/teen.

On the other hand.
.
I did read a post (for a somewhat similar question) where someone gave an example of the right kind of reasoning behind reading their diary (and the right way).
To sum up this is what I remember;
The mother had become increasingly concerned and worried for her daughter, and regardless of how hard she tried to get her teen to confide in her, her daughter reacted with hostility (which just made her even more worried).
Ultimately she reached a point where where she decided that her daughter’s privacy vs her concern regarding her teen’s escalating behaviour fell second.
And so she read her diary.
Afterwards she quickly got her daughter into therapy (there were no mention of discussing what she’d read with her daughter – the mother just reacted to what she learned in the best way she knew how) and also found a new school for her (thereby solving the biggest problems the girl had (massive bullying problem to the point the girl was wondering if she wanted to live).
Because of the mother’s interference her daughter grew up to be a strong and healthy woman (whereas otherwise she might not have grown up at all).
So.
.

Parents don’t have a right as such but at times their teen’s privacy vs true parental concern will mean they may choose to take that path and it would be the right thing to do.
But in most causes it won’t be and a parent would be far better off trying to create and foster a good relationship with their teen (wikihow has several good articles on the topic) and that way earn their trust and confidence.


Do you have a right to read your teen’s personal diary?


I don't agree with the assumption that rights are the most relevant issue here, but I'll go along with that.
The two main rights I see in this situation are property and privacy.
The first one relates to you and the teen, the second relates only to the teen.

These questions are too far removed from the actual situation.
The first one is nitpicky and doesn’t match the gravity of a situation.
“Yes, it's mine, so I can read it” or “No, it's mine, so I can't read it” are both superficial answers to a deeper question.
The second also seems silly.
Teenagers crave privacy.
It helps them as they develop an identity independent of their parents, a crucial step to adulthood.
Respecting their privacy helps them mature and learn how to respect others.

The only relevant issue that arises from these questions is that “what if.
” It seems to suggest that the potential, not even definite or known consequences would justify you (maybe) violating your child's rights to privacy.
Granted, parents have uncanny instincts as to whether or not their child is up to something dangerous, but you could still be wrong.
And if you're wrong, then it means your initial justification isn't valid, and you just violated your child's privacy for nothing.

So looking at this problem as a question of rights doesn't fit.
This question is about the relationship between parent and child and the values that promote a healthy one like honesty, respect, and communication.
Are you being honest if you read their diary? Respectful? It's not honest to go behind your child's back and read their diary, but sometimes we can violate the principle of honesty if it's really important.
So is it really important? Is there really no other way you can find out what you need to know about your child’s safety?
If you've fostered an environment of open communication and continually emphasized to your child that they can tell you anything, that you will put their safety and happiness before any judgement and reprimanding, then there likely isn't anything in that diary that you need to know.

If you haven't, start right now.

Either way, you will either break the existing trust between you and your child or ruin your chance at building it by opening that diary.


I am almost 16 years old.
I have a job, I get straight A’s.
I don’t do drugs, an I’ve never once come home wasted.
I would say that, yes, I am a good girl, despite any speculations that may go on in my head.

And yet three days ago my mother read my personal diary.

She was looking for information about a party I was planning to attend, and what I was planning to do there.
She was also looking for information about a boy I have been involved with recently.

And she found that information.
Yes, there was going to be a party.
Yes, I was going to drink, and yes, I was planning on hooking up with a specific guy.

Unbeknownst to her, whilst I had planned all this in my diary, I had also last minute pulled out of those plans.

My mum found what she was looking for, but she would also have found many other things.

She would have seen the angry rants when I was at my bratty worst, the tear stained pages about friends who are dropping acid and boys who are terrifying.
The cartoons.
The page about how once I self-harmed, which is right before the page where talk about my favourite Kardashian sister, and after the part where I contemplate my sexuality.

Reading my diary gave my mum the shock of her life, knowing how much I actually know about the world.

I am firmly of the belief that telling your child “just don’t have sex” and “just don’t drink”, really doesn’t fucking work.
Of course teenagers are going to try things, and its completely natural for them to want to do so.
As a parent, you should of course, make your child aware of the potential consequences of their actions, but if it comes to it, its better to have a 16 year old who has safe sex, and drinks safely, than a girl who is dead because the boundaries set for her were completely unrealistic, and she snuck out one night, and it all went wrong.

Actions speak louder than words.
I did not go to that party that night, regardless of what I planned, or said I would do.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t go to a party some other time, be that next week, or when I leave school and leave home.

What I do at that party now is up to you, mum.
Will you let me be safe? Or will you lock me up and wait for me to go crazy the moment I leave home?
I don’t think anyone has the ‘right’ to breach someones personal privacy, and I hold the belief that reading someones personal diary is wrong.
But also, parents have the right to monitor their childs safety if they fear something really really bad is happening.
I still wish that my mother had not read my diary, but I do not blame her for doing so, because I sincerely believe she did it out of love.

That being said, she could have just, you know, talked to me, in a calm manner, and listened to what I had to say, instead of completely breaking the small amount of trust I had in her before.

So, if you genuinely fear something bad is happening, like life-threatening, and think that reading your teens diary is the only thing to do to protect them, then by all means you should do that.
They are your child, and you love and want to protect them.
But only as a last resort.

If you do decide to read it, keep one thing in mind:
A diary is often a reflection of someones most illogical, senseless, emotion-fuelled thoughts.
As a teen, you don’t write in a diary when you are having a balanced and calm day.
You write when you are confused, and upset, and scared, and angry.

What someone writes when they are at their emotional lowest does not define who they are as a person.

Mum, I’m sorry that the things I said hurt and disappointed you.
But at the same time, I’m not sorry for being confused, and I’m not sorry for being curious, and I’m not sorry for having the emotions I expressed in my diary.

Which at the end of the day, no one was supposed to see.


I’m going anonymous because people I know personally follow my account, and I’d rather not have them associate this with me.

Absolutely not.

Back in secondary school, I kept a diary, in which I’d pen my thoughts of the day – the writings of a confused, pubescent teen.
I’d keep my diary wedged between my mattresses or tucked into the folds of my clothes, and back then, I was an avid writer.

One fateful day, my class had a sex education lesson and we were told a very vivid description of the whole abortion process.
Having an overactive imagination, I tried to place myself in the abortee’s shoes and felt nauseous.
Later that day, I went home to pen down my thoughts on the class, and mentioned that my mouth “tasted like pennies” when I thought about aborting a fetus.
After writing, I hid my diary, as per usual.

For the next few days, my mother behaved strangely around me – purposefully cornering me to have discussions about relationships and boys, and being hostile and tense.
Being suspicious, I decided to hide my diary in the bathroom cupboard – something I’d not done before.

That Friday, she and I headed to the gym, still talking about relationships and boys.
Having had enough, I began to refuse answering directly.
Her questions then became more hostile and accusatory about who I’d been seeing (no one), etc.
, until she snapped and said she knew I’d had sex and she demanded to meet the boy.
I was flabbergasted; what was she talking about? How could she accuse me for no good reason? I didn’t do anything! We screamed at each other, back and forth, until she admitted she’d read my diary.
She told me that was her proof and to stop lying.

Furious, I stormed home, with her hot on my heels and just as worked up.
I ran into the bathroom and locked the door while she pounded on the door.
I emerged with the book.
She snatched it and flipped to the entry on abortion and pointed out the phrase, “tasted like pennies.

At this point, while I’m sure things are fairly obvious, I want to point out that English is not my mother’s first language.

After pointing at the phrase, she told me to explain myself and I screamed, “P-E-N-N-I-E-S.
That spells PENNIES, as in coins! My mouth ‘tasting like pennies’ means I wanted to throw up!”
She became silent, and let out a quiet oh.
She had thought I wrote that I’d been giving some guy a blowjob.

I locked myself in my room that night and cried myself to sleep.

The fact that I can recall this memory so well shows how much it impacted me.
After that experience, I couldn’t keep a diary anymore, try as I might – the words didn’t flow right and I couldn’t keep the habit up, until I gave up trying.
I didn’t know, before then, that she read my entries.
I felt vulnerable, like my thoughts, once written down or spoken aloud, were there to be judged, misconstrued, and misinterpreted.

My diary was a way for me to reflect on things I had learnt or experienced, how I acted, and most importantly, writing helped me ask questions about myself that many teenagers would relate to.
These questions were innocent, and things a teenager ponders about as they enter adulthood – musings without any definitive action.

Most parents want to, understandably, protect their children from the dangers of the real world, but by reading your child’s diary, you threaten a natural learning process and you lose your child’s trust in you.

If your child trusts you, they will ask you questions and have discussions with you on their own accord, without you needing to intervene.
It is normal for a growing individual to want to seek guidance from a trustworthy guardian.
Trying to forcefully expedite the process or intrusive helicopter-parenting will only push them away.

If you value your relationship with your child and hope to continue having one in the future, then for crying out loud, don’t read your child’s diary!


I guess I'm going to receive alot of backlash for this.

I have read most of he answers here , they all say no , give your teen some privacy, it's a way of teaching respect and so on.

Pls read this first :
These two girls haven't returned to their homes,
I once read about a woman in a local paper whose 13 yr old son ran away with a woman, not to be found, they only found plans and love notes and poems written in his dairy about few days after he went missing, that was 2013 he still hasn’t been found .

When I newly joined Quora, I read about a woman that lost her daughter to an online predator , the girl was 16 then, she reconnected with her daughter 3 years later and she was already a mother to his baby , and quite miserable and hates her mother (Brainwashed) , some comments suggested she accepts her fate and the girl is an adult and can choose her destiny …blah blah.

And a whole lot more
Now look at this
This is the hierarchy of needs (human needs not animal …lol)
Now please judge , is privacy needs higher than saftey and security needs .
NO.

Diary, cell phones , computers , internet , neighborhood, whatever poses any danger , I owe my kids to protect them and keep them safe ( even from themselves atimes ) at almost all costs, and I will do that to the best of my ability.

So yes I will read it (sneakily) and if I see a major red flag I will take necessary measures, otherwise I will keep a low profile (yes I am a spyparent).

That being said , I encourage all parents to keep an open minded and cordial relationship with their kids , let them be able to come to you with any and every form of troubles on their mind (crushes, being bullied , depression, classes, what they feel about your mum , about your boyfriends and girlfriends, their siblings),and try to tackle the issue without being overtly judgemental ( even if every nerve of you is cringing).

Remember it's you and your kid VS the problem , not you against the child .

If your kids feel they have secrets so dark they cannot tell you, the problem is with you the parent.

Footnotes:
Teen girl who ran away with a man she’d never met
Our 15-year-old daughter ran away to be with a man she met on the internet.
.
.
I didn’t think it happened to clever girls

Now bring the rain.


I believe that everyone should have a basic right to privacy.

Now, I never had any privacy, and I still don’t.
I was never allowed to be in my bedroom during the day, never allowed to close my door, never allowed to be on the computer without a parent supervising, never allowed to use any electronics without supervision, for that matter.

Then, one day, I started a journal.
I wrote about everything in it.
How I felt about my parents, sexual things, all of my feelings, what happened in school, everything.
I wrote in that thing like crazy.
I trusted it more than anything else.
I didn’t expect my parents to one day up and read it.

I got in a ton of trouble, for all of my feelings against my parents that I thought were private.
I expected to have at least one place where I could truly be myself, but they did not think that.
All of my trust in them was gone, just like that.

Now, a couple years later, I still do not trust either of them at all, with anything.
I recently started a new journal, and I am terrified that one of them will read it.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t have even started a new one because they read the last one, and history is the best predictor of future behavior and all that, but I was bursting with emotions and no one to talk to that I could trust.
So I have one now.

The other day, my mom was talking to me and crying about how I never told her anything.
I couldn’t tell her that that was because I no longer trust her with any information, because that would hurt her feelings.
She then told me that she was going to read my journal.

I stared at her like she had grown another head.
I was stunned.
I thought that she finally respected my privacy, and maybe even had adopted some morals about it.
Apparently that was not the case.

After we had a short, concise conversation about privacy, she concluded that she would read it if I left it out in the open.

I am now terrified to leave it anywhere, anytime.
If I’m writing in it on the kitchen table, and I get up to go to the bathroom, I worry about her reading it.
If I leave it downstairs in my backpack at night, I worry about her reading it.
I am always worrying about that.
I do not trust my mother anymore with any of my personal information, because of this one little incident.

Sure, go ahead and read your child’s journal.
Go ahead and violate their trust and privacy.
They will eventually know that you have no respect for them at all, and will never trust them to not do bad things.
You will lose your child’s trust for a very long time, but if you’re okay with that, that’s fine.


God no!
When I was younger I had a special padlock diary.
My aunt got it for me on my 7th birthday, I didn’t use the thing until I was 12.

(something similar to this….
Image from google)
That’s when things went downhill.

I would write my everything in the diary, what I felt, who I hated, secrets, and my family…
I went for a shower but left my key on the desk, It would usually be wrapped around my neck like a necklace but I felt really tired after the shower and went to bed.

The next morning I felt awful but I shook it off and went to school,
When I felt around my neck at 3rd period I noticed that my key wasn’t there…
Panic
When school finally ended I rushed home in under 15 minuetes, I looked on my desk and found….
that the key was still there.
.
.
A sigh of relief escaped my chest.

Now keep in mind that I’ve written in that diary for 3 years so a lot of stuff was in that thing.

When I headed downstairs for afternoon tea I saw my mum sitting on the couch, she looked mad.
I felt a bit of dread at the pit of my stomach but tried to shake it off, before I could run back upstairs with my sandwich I heard my mum call me…
She told me to sit down, the feeling of dread intensified,
“What were those horrible things you wrote about me in that stupid book of yours”
My fears were confirmed.

When I write about my life, I tend to get a bit descriptive, when something bad happens I feel the need to write it down to get my head sorted out, the “bad” things I’d written were just complaints I can’t say to her face and they weren’t just limited to my mother either.

My whole family was written in that book and everything I experiance is written in that book,
“Mum I can explain, the book means nothi-”
“Is this how you feel! Do you know how disrespectful it is to me that you’ve written such horrible words”
My mum’s asian so respect is something she takes very seriously.

“But that my private book, I didn’t think you’d look through it”
“I am your mother, you shouldn’t have to hide such things, how dare you belittle my efforts into bringing you into this country! You know when I was small I didn’t have these stupid DSP’s or WiiWii crap or station games! It’s this rubbish that makes y-”
This rant went on for a while, My mum eventually just left me off but I destroyed that book and made sure that she would never see any of my secrets, I learned to bottle everything inside.

After that incident I could never look at her in the same as before nor talk with her like old times.

There is a barrier of trust that gets breached and you can’t fix a relationship afterwards.
My mum looked through a period of my life that I would rather keep hidden but she broke my trust and lectured me after about how keeping secrets was wrong.

Funny enough that incident made me a better liar and because of it let me sneak off and do what I want.

Moral of the story, trust your kid and keep to her privacy.


To start off, it is an invasion of privacy.
Yes you may be their parent and yes you may feel entitled to be able to read it, but in reality you are not.
The thoughts that are written in that diary/journal are all feelings and thoughts that they decided to keep to themselves.

If they were comfortable to talk to you about it they will, but in the meantime they may be coping with self issues and problems and just writing about it helps them feel better and you should be understanding of that.
They may also not want to share some things due to the fear of being judged.
Writing helps both emotionally and with mental health.

In this case I speak for myself.
I am not a teen anymore but when I was about 12 years old in the seventh grade I began my first poetry journal/book.
All pieces on what I would feel on that exact day.
To this day I still do not let anyone read a single poem that is written on those pages.
Because they are all things about myself that no one could ever understand.
It became my sanctuary, the only time I was able to release my emotions and thoughts on how I truly felt.
I kept mostly every emotion and problem that I had bottled up inside.
Rhyming words and jotting random things down was just my way of coping.
I wrote down everything I would feel, but never actually had the strength to come forward and say or talk about.

If you are concerned that the teen may be going through something serious then ask them about it, instead of giving into the temptation of wanting to read from what is theirs.
Once you read it without permission, trust will be broken.
And now they really won’t be able to communicate with you at all.

JUST DO NOT DO IT


No you dont, unless you want them to be scarred for life
I use to write diary until my mom found it and read it.
It was the most personal thing I ever had.
I was having some issue at school and even wrote a list of people I hate and wrote below it
“ the day I become successful I will find them and tell them look how irritating me turned out.

It has been 10yrs since still my mom ask me how those people got on the list.
She was your best friend.
How is she on the list.
My brother still make fun of me about my list.
It has become a family joke.

I stopped writing diaries after that incident.
But when I used to write it down I used to feel healed.
After that incident I felt violated and felt I have no space or privacy.
I had no way to let go of my worries without the paranoia of been under watch.
Diary was my go to place.
Now it doesn't exist.

Now when I feel too sad/depressed/worried, I write it down and then burn those paper after that or cut it into small pieces and throw them in different places, so no one could put them together.
That's how paranoiad I have become.

Do you want your child to feel the same way, violated?! Give them their space.
Let them figure out their life.
Did you go to your parents for help for every tiny thing that happened to you when you were a teenager?
Make your relation with your child so strong that instead of you prying on them, they will come to you when they cannot handle their issues.
Tell them that you are there for them and will help them even in any kind of situation.

Be their friend not a detective.
Help them,not investigate on them


Let me ask you this: does your teenager have the right to read your personal diary? The one you so lovingly write in and take great pains to hide from their prying eyes?! No? Then buzz off! If you don’t want them reading what you write in YOUR personal diary/journal, then don’t read theirs.

My step dad ransacked my room looking for the little diary that I had bought at the dollar store with my allowance without his permission and he was desperate to find out what was written in it.

Once he did find it and read it, he realized the journal he was reading was my story journal as homes didn’t have computers or internet—only the Military had computers and internet access.

I bought two journals one that didn’t have a lock and one that had a lock whose key I kept on a piece of string around my neck at all times.

If you don’t want your teenager reading YOUR personal diary, then what makes you think that you have the ‘right’ to read theirs? It’s none of your business what’s written in that diary.

It’s a safe haven for them to write down their true feelings without fear of reprimandation from adults.
The life of a teenager in 2017 is more stressful than it was when you were a teenager in the preceeding decades.

Just butt out and leave their personal property alone!


No.

When I was younger I kept two fake journals to keep my mom from reading my real one.
Finally she figured this out so I bought a lock for it.
Once my mom found the key she read my journal and our relationship was never the same.
Keep in mind that I wrote down all of my thoughts and feelings in this journal.
I wrote about the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Apparently all that stuck out to my mom was the ugly.
My brother was home visiting us over summer break from MIT.
After reading my journal she became intent on reading my brothers to see if her “perfect” son was as “emotionaly damaged” and “mean” as I was.
After reading his PRIVATE journal she forced us both into therapy.
(He was 20 and I was 12 at the time) Once we get to therapy the therapist expects us to be these deeply troubled kids from what my mom had been saying about us.
After our first therapy session the therapist was totally perplexed.
She tells us our mom read our journals and was worried, but that she didn’t see what was wrong.
After telling both me and my brother this she spoke to my mom.
That night at dinner she was furious.
She said we were only sabotaging ourselves and she was done trying to help us.

So NO! I don’t think anyone including a parent has a right to read their child’s journal.
I know if my mother hadn’t read mine my life and relationship with her after that would have been so much better.


About 2 years ago, my best friend was acting incredibly down.
She wasn't eating, sleeping or doing well in school.
She's one of those teens who would have never slacked at school so i knew something was wrong.

She was also typically very bubbly and positive but for the past few weeks she had become into a completely different person.
Obviously something was wrong.

She was refusing to talk about herself no matter how hard it tried.

One day, i went over to her house a little early.
She was with her dad for another 20 minutes (her parents are divorced)so i went to her room to wait for her.

Her diary was lying open on the bed and i know i probably shouldn't have but i looked.

She was in a very dark place.
She was dealing with self hate and bullying.
Her dad was abusing her.
Just looking at the words, i could tell she was depressed.
.
I heard the garage door and knew she was home.
I put the diary back.

When she came into the room i could now see the bruises she so desperately tried to hide.

I barely slept that night.
I was going back and forth in if i should tell someone.
The next day, i met with my vice principal and told him.
For the past two years she's been seeing a counselor and less of her dad.
Of course there's a lot of things going on between court and her dad but i respect that privacy.

She's been much happier since and is doing great.

So to answer your question, it depends.
Now i know she's my best friend and not my child.
But i think you should respect the privacy of your teen.
Unless you see the warning signs of something much bigger.
Think about it.
If i hadn't looked at her diary, she probably wouldn't be here today.
In her diary, she talked about some really dark things that nobody should ever deal with.

So make your own call.
They might hate you for it at first but know that it's for their own good .

If you are ever dealing with anything like this, TALK TO SOMEONE.
Stay safe and remember you are loved♥️


I keep seeing answers about people being beaten by their parents because of what their journal says.
But I don’t think you’ll beat your child, so I’ll talk about my experiences.

I’ve been keeping a diary/journal/sketchbook for the past year and a half.
It’s really detailed, and explains what I’m going through mentally and whatever.

I know my mum is reading my diary.
I’m not sure how long, but I only recently realized.
I haven’t confronted her about it, and she hasn’t asked me about it.
But I now keep it in a different hiding spot, and take it to school with me.

I don’t trust my mom anymore.
At all.
I always thought we were close, but when I found out about her snooping, all of my trust disappeared.
I’m now 10000x more cautious and secretive about what I do, and it’s harder to talk to her because of what she did.

I have a close friend, I’ll call him Conner, but his parent’s always go through his stuff.
He doesn’t have a journal, more of a series of loose paper that he writes on whenever he gets upset.

His parents read that, and also go through his phone and browser history.

He hates his parents.
I regularly text/hear him talk about how upset this makes him, how he wants to cut them off when he moves out because they don’t respect them.
His parents aren’t that bad of people, they just treat their kids more like pets/belongings than actual people.

DO NOT EVER READ YOUR CHILDS DIARY OR GO THROUGH THEIR PERSONAL BELONGINGS.

If you think they’re depressed, talk to them.

If you think they are hiding something, talk to them
You should NEVER violate their privacy just because you’re curious.

Kids don’t share everything with you, they keep a lot private.
If they choose not to tell you, it’s their business, and you need to back off.


Look at the many many MANY stories posted here.
Lots of stuff about how the person has a horrible relationship with their parent(s), lack of trust, scarring memories and abandonment of their writing hobby.

Now there’s me.
How’s my relationship with my mom? Awesome, actually.
We’re very close.
We get together to hang out as often as we can and we can talk to each other about anything honestly.

What’s the difference between me and the other answers here?
My mom didn’t snoop through my journals.

“But Kay, how do you know your mom didn’t sneak peeks in your diary without you knowing?”
I went through a period where I was secretive about anything I wrote (thanks to a particular middle school moment but I digress).
So I carried my journals, short story collections and sketchpads with me at all times and if I ever needed to leave them, I had ways to detect if they were touched.
It was nerve-wrecking at school but I relaxed at home because there was never any indication the books were looked at.

From the start, my mom and I have been open.
I could ask my mother anything without getting into trouble or anyone getting upset (unless it was deathly serious which was still rare).
She was completely honest with me; gave me the answer or would tell me she wasn’t comfortable talking about it until I was older.

My mom took an interest in my life.
She supported my hobbies while introducing me to new activities and would ask about my day almost every day.
If I didn’t feel comfortable sharing on the rare occasion, mom would back off after giving me a hug and telling me she was there for me whenever I did need to talk.
No suspicion or jumps to conclusions.

“So do you think you have a right to read your teen’s diary or not?!”
Privacy is a rare thing nowadays what with social media, security cameras everywhere and everyone trying to find out what you’re doing every second of the day.
Sometimes the only privacy you get is your own thoughts.
And writing is a very helpful way to understand your thought processes.

By looking at someone’s journal, you’re invading their “safe place”.
Taking away someone’s “safe place” can have devastating consequences on the person’s mental condition.

Again, look at the other answers here.
So many relationships crumbled to dust, so many damaged individuals.
All because a parent was nosy and felt entitled to read their kid’s journal.

If you want to know what your child is up to, JUST ASK.
Build a proper relationship with your teen! Talk to them about their day, what’s going on, hobbies, take an interest in your teen’s life.
If they don’t want to talk about something, you back off.
Let them know they can talk to you whenever they need to.
And don’t yell or punish them right after they do talk to you; discuss everything thoroughly and calmly.

Remember that honesty and trust are important components of a relationship as well.
You be open about what your teen asks you (if you don’t feel comfortable sharing, let them know that and say you’ll discuss it when you feel ready).
And have faith too.
Trust your child is making good decisions.
After all, you raised them so their actions are a reflection of your parenting.
If you don’t trust them to do the right thing, what does that say about you?
One more thing.

There are times where it might be hard to figure out something is wrong.
Your kid won’t talk to you about anything, their personality becomes depressed, grades suddenly go from perfect to failing, etc.

If you have a CLEAR reason to suspect something is wrong with your child (not just paranoid delusions), ONLY THEN you can peek at the journal.
And you do it to make sure your child isn’t involved in anything dangerous or suffering from mental illness.
If they are, you help them.


Absolutely not.
A diary is a private journal where a person should feel comfortable to write their most private thoughts, feelings and experiences.
If a parent violates that trust, they violate all trust and any future confidence and confidance that could occur.
Even when students write journals in English class in school the teacher does not read them.
Generally at the end of the term the students select a small number of entries to submit for grading, and the rest remain private.

If you open that door, how can you expect your child to learn to respect your privacy? Parents have many things they usually wish to be kept away from the eyes of their young: tax returns, investments, special drawers beside the bed, another couple they may hang out with an awful lot, a bag of something green/white/pills they don't want their kids to see, a saucy latex number, a stack of XXX classics, a juvie record, an oopsie with the accountant last Xmas party and so on.
And so on.

Teens need their privacy, and they are absolutely entitled to it.
It's far more preferable to cultivate a better and more fruitful conversational relationship with your teen than to ruin your relationship forever by crossing that line.
And in crossing it you'll find that they'll never forget it: anyone who has had this trust violated holds that grudge steadfastly to them like a crucifix in a scary Romanian forest (insert wolves howling).
The best place to talk to your kid is at the dinner table.
Teens today know a lot about what is going on in the world, and many are frustrated and disturbed by current events.
You could start there.
My ex’s parents would participate in their all their sons’ education by reading the same English and History books.
In doing so they were not only better equipped to help with homework, but it made for great dinner conversation and they were much better parents.
They were certainly much more involved and elicited much more talk from their kids than my parents ever bothered to do, and today they are all very close as adults.


Its a personal diary.
Yes some parents can reason themselves into reading it.
.
but most of the time its a really REALLY bad idea.
A diary is a place to vent, to write thing they’d never say in real life, someone to confide in, things written in anger, frustration and more (and instantly forgotten after) and so on.
Ultimately it would be a massive breach of trust and unless there are extremely good reasons behind it (and its done in the right way – preferably with willing permission) .
.
any kind of trust could easily be utterly ruined.
The teen may also have a far harder time confiding in others (including writing things down in a diary+) which in turn may turn him/her inwards and cause mental damage (higher risk at least).
So overall.
.
No, you don’t have a right to read the diary of your children/teen.

On the other hand.
.
I did read a post (for a somewhat similar question) where someone gave an example of the right kind of reasoning behind reading their diary (and the right way).
To sum up this is what I remember;
The mother had become increasingly concerned and worried for her daughter, and regardless of how hard she tried to get her teen to confide in her, her daughter reacted with hostility (which just made her even more worried).
Ultimately she reached a point where where she decided that her daughter’s privacy vs her concern regarding her teen’s escalating behaviour fell second.
And so she read her diary.
Afterwards she quickly got her daughter into therapy (there were no mention of discussing what she’d read with her daughter – the mother just reacted to what she learned in the best way she knew how) and also found a new school for her (thereby solving the biggest problems the girl had (massive bullying problem to the point the girl was wondering if she wanted to live).
Because of the mother’s interference her daughter grew up to be a strong and healthy woman (whereas otherwise she might not have grown up at all).
So.
.

Parents don’t have a right as such but at times their teen’s privacy vs true parental concern will mean they may choose to take that path and it would be the right thing to do.
But in most causes it won’t be and a parent would be far better off trying to create and foster a good relationship with their teen (wikihow has several good articles on the topic) and that way earn their trust and confidence.


No.

My parents don't seem to trust me very much- as a matter of fact, they openly accuse me of being “too secretive”.
One day when I was 8 or 9, we got into an argument over… something, I forgot, but it ended with my mom going under my bed, as my older brother and sister watched, and pulling out my personal folder on sketches and my journal.

Let me just say, I love sketching, but I HATE showing other people my sketches and innermost thoughts for a reason that belongs in a Quora answer of its own.
Knowing this, my mother went through everything, leaving the sketches in plain view of my siblings, and reading all my personal entries aloud.
Now despite the fact that I was going through a bit of crap at that time, I never wrote down my absolute BIGGEST secrets, and after this, I think I never will.

I'm 17 now, and I still don't like telling any personal issues to my parents.
I just don't trust them to handle it responsibly.
The worst things I tell them are superficial things, like “I'm really nervous I won't get into this college.
” They still think they should go through my phone and belongings to keep me safe, but it really does more harm than good.


No.
Absolutely, a hundred percent, no.

Between the two covers of a diary, lies a safe haven- a sanctuary which, under no circumstance should ever be broken.

As of today, I’ve kept a diary for over three years.

Within those colored, hello-kitty patterned pages lie dozens of painful, happy, sorrowful but genuine memories.
Personal memories which were written for my eyes only.

Two years ago, I had a school project that involved one of my friends coming over.
Since my library and study are conveniently conjoined, we decided that it was the best place to do our project.

I left my diary in one of the desk’s many compartments.
Thinking I could trust her not to snoop around, I exited the room unburdened to fetch more art supplies.

When I returned, my diary was no longer in the compartment, but sitting atop the desk.
I thought nothing of it and resumed the project- which we finished in the short span of an hour.

The next day, I was greeted by the cruel laughter of my schoolmates.
As you most probably already concluded, I had absolutely no idea what was going on.
Suddenly, a friend wordlessly thrust me her phone.
It was an Instagram page.
The contents of my diary flashed before my eyes.

I don’t remember what happened afterwards, just the unbelievable pain I felt.
The betrayal, the hurt.

So unless you want your child to feel the same thing, DO NOT READ THEIR DIARY.


Please don’t.

I was 8 when I started journaling.
Initially, it would be stupid stuff like – “We had science quiz today”, “mom made pulao for dinner”, etc.

I kept writing a daily basis, would choose the best journals, and use color pencils, sometimes stick photos, and try to make it more of a memory book.

I went off to boarding school, in Grade 8.
Your teachers and matron, reserve the right to go through your stuff, so my hobby was halted for a wee-bit.

I became real good friends with one of the guys in my class, and for the lack of better atmosphere to talk, he sent me a letter one day.
This was pure friendship, no crush, no flirting, or any romantic angle.
I wrote back to him.
We would exchange them during class.
It would bring a smile to my face.
What would we talk?
Ideology, beliefs, aspirations, what we expect from life and math homework.
It would often contain gossip about our fellow classmates too in good humor.

I returned home for my Grade 11, and started living with my mom.
It is not easy for a teenage girl having lived her life on her terms for 3 years, to come back under the rules of your mom.
Mom and I would have huge fights, heated arguments and loads of tears.
To cope with this, I started journaling again.

5–6 months later, I return home to find my mom in tears, sitting with all my journals open.
She had read all of them, every single of them, including my kiddish journals from aged 9–12.

She was hurt by what I had written for the recent few months, genuinely hurt.
I was on the defensive, and hated her for invading my privacy.
We did not fight that day.
We went to bed, hungry.

We had an awkward silence for a very long time, she would not get in my way and I would live by all her rules.
We both slowly forgot what I had written, and I threw away all my journals.

Though it is not one of my bad memory, I have not touched a journal ever since.

The only thing I have written down for memory is my first kiss with my husband.

I wish I could write again, but I don’t want to hurt anyone around me.

I wish I could do it without the fear of my journal being read by someone.

It is very good therapy, lack of which you lose some of your self-confidence, and you try to find attention in a fellow human being, making you vulnerable.

So please do not read your teen’s diary.
They deserve that privacy.


I say it is both a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answer.
And because I want to take the unpopular route and say that a parent does have some right to see a child’s diary/journal under very specific situations.
(And if they own a diary.
)
Since there are too many ‘no’ answers and you the viewer had possibly read all of those before coming to this answer.
I feel that at some point that a parent has a responsibility to intervene for their safety and for others.

If you set curfews, and the child goes over, gets hurt and doesn’t talk about it.
Well, expect mother bear go into your phone records.

And maybe some will have to call the police in some.

YES:
If you have a clear and reasonable-sound suspicious that your child is;
Such as the case of Alyssa Bustamante who was 15 around the time where she repeatedly stabbed Elizabeth Olten to death before calmly writing about the "pretty enjoyable" murder in her journal.

"I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they're dead," the entry read.

"I don't know how to feel atm [at the moment].
It was ahmazing.
As soon as you get over the 'ohmygawd I can't do this' feeling, it's pretty enjoyable.

"I'm kinda nervous and shaky though right now.
Kay, I gotta go to church now.
.
.
lol [laugh out loud].
"[2]
Like Graham Young, the Tea-Cup Poisoner where he recorded dosage and reactions.
[3] To be honest, he was begging to have his privacy invaded when he was reading Mein Kampf out in the open during the 1960s.

This is also seen in the Columbine High School Massacre, through the journals left behind by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
Through them, investigators discovered that the teens had been planning for a year to bomb the school in an attack similar to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings.

There is more stuff that ring serious alarm bells for a parent or anyone for that matter if they came across his entries.

November 1998: Eric writes in detail about how he wants to have violent sex with a woman, quoting a line from Nine Inch Nails' song Closer (a song about having rough, animalistic sex).
This heated entry dissolves into a gory description of how he would like to taste human flesh.
The cannibalistic rant eventually wraps around to school where Eric shifts his attention from a woman to a freshman, going on in vivid detail about the twisted, violent things he'd like to do.
[4]
And then there is this.
Journals, Diaries and School Papers .
Where it said, “Class of 98.
Top of the ‘Should had died list’.

And when your kid is not talking anything about it and hearing all of the stories of how children were driven to suicide because of bullying, that journal he or she keeps under their bed is going to be tempting.
Or I will say safety values over privacy in this on.

This happened to a friend of mine who was bullied and he didn’t say anything about it.
His parents only found out when they peeked over his social media and immediately moved schools, his bullies were sending messages of how he should kill himself.

He is now college captain.

Not really reading into a personal diary but, kind of similar?
Now this is all in assumptions that you have some alarm bells ringing about your child.
Like past history, if they hurt someone, if they have a violet tendency, criminal history and all that stuff.

(And much would had been better in hindsight if the parents check in Harris’ room for his weapons and his diaries about his disturbed mind.
)
EDIT: And I just want to mention to add a little more salt into the mix, all the examples I read where from teens around the time of their deeds.

EDIT:EDIT: As I was discussing with another user about this question.
I think it added more depth concerning about trust.
Of how we should trust teens to eventually tell them of how they feel to their parents.

If I know kids and I know kids because I am a kid is that we hid anything from our parents.
It can be small or it can be big.
, even if it hurts us or even kills us in the end.

Why? Reasons can be because we don’t want our parents to worry.
For other extreme situation, it is to ensure that they don’t call the police as I have listed above.

Lets used Columbine as an example again;
After the duo was arrested for stealing a television set 15 months earlier.
Eric wrote an essay for his angry class management saying that he was reformed.

But his private journal tells a different story.

“Isn’t America supposed to be the land of the free? How come if I’m free that I can’t deprived of some fucking dumb shit of his possessions.
If he leaves in the front seat of his fucking van, in plain sight, in the middle of fucking nowhere, on a fucking Friday night.
Natural Selection.
Fucker should had been shot.

I think a parent should had monitored their child after they came out from reform, be a bit more glued to ensure they stay on the right path.
Trust was already severed the moment he or she committed a crime.


This is a bone of contention for many people – just how far will you go, as a parent, to protect your children, to ensure they are managing well with their life’s challenges… I have a 20 year old daughter who has kept a diary since she was very young, and not once, not even one page have I read of her personal thoughts.
I knew exactly where her diary was, and I made absolutely certain that she knew she could leave it out in the open and I would not read it.
I trusted my daughter to speak to me if she was struggling with anything – and if I couldn’t help, we would find a solution, together.
I also assured her that if she needed to blow off some steam about me, she could turn to those few people she trusted that knew me, and knew her, but to only speak to them if she truly felt their advice would be helpful and not cruel.

Trusting your teenager in this day and age is a touchy subject because life has many more dangers now than ever before.
Dangers that could impact on your children in such a way that they could suffer untold traumas, stress, pressure – anything.
Having said that, trust is one of the corner stones of a good relationship with your children.
Trust them to be smart? Then teach them to be smart.
You want them to make good decisions? Teach them what making any decision looks like through actually and actively making decisions with them, and in front of them.
Making decisions for them is a whole other batch of nuts, and I feel that if you need to do this, you must have a good reason for it, an explainable one.
Your children, and teenagers especially need to know the why and how-come of such things.

I promised my daughter I would never read her diary because I knew that I had brought her up to understand that, while I am doing everything I can to be a good mother, sometimes I make mistakes and sometimes she will too.
Having a diary is a good thing for teenagers – diaries don’t get angry, they don’t judge, they don’t explain and rationalise, they don’t incite fury, they don’t tell you what to do and when and why, diaries can be torn up in frustration and then replaced, they can keep secrets like no other being would…diaries are there for those times your teenager needs to get through something, regardless of whether it’s good or bad.

I guess what I am saying is RESPECT your teenager’s privacy! The only time you should ever read a diary is: Never.
If you have established and continue to uphold an open and trusting relationship with your son or your daughter, you won’t need to read their very personal thoughts.
Reading your child’s diary will change everything and not for the better – is it worth losing the trust, respect and love of your child? No.

In a world where everything is crazy, nothing is rooted in common sense and everything comes easily, having a true and loving relationship with your teenager is the most precious accomplishment you could experience.
Best of all? Your kid will one day have children of his or her own, and they will teach their children about trust, respect and love.
After all, you taught them, and if life has shown me anything, it is that the adage “monkey see, monkey do” is pretty much on point.
LOL


Hell.
No.
My mom bought me my first diary.
You know what else she gave me? A lock.
So that I would understand that the thoughts I put down in that diary were mine and mine alone.
I don't know what it is with parents today and your obsession with violating every level of your kids privacy, but behavior like reading through your kids texts and diaries without any real reason (you suspect they are doing something seriously shady, you believe they may be in danger) is the reason why your damn kids don't trust you.
Why should a child feel safe sharing their thoughts with a parent who they know will rifle through their private notes anyway? If you can't talk to your child, then that is on YOU.
Have you even made an attempt to speak to them about whatever is on your mind, or do you just want to read through their diary because you know they have one? Parents swear they are doing their due diligence by sneaking through their children's things and then hiding behind “it's my house so I can do what I want" but all they are doing is letting their kids know they need to be MORE secretive and MORE sneaky.
Because reading through your child's diary isn't going to help with communication, it's going to make them ANGRY, make them feel VIOLATED, and you will most definitely alienate them.
Unless you truly suspect your child is hiding some serious shit, mind your goddamn business and let your kid have ONE private outlet.


When I was a teenager I was pretty awkward and didn’t have many friends, but even the friends I had, I wouldn't tell most of my thoughts to.
I kept a diary and I wrote everything in there instead.
One summer I went to one of those summer camps at the seaside (as kids here often do).
Quite a few of my classmates went and I was really excited because I thought maybe I would get the chance to make friends with the cool kids this way, being stuck at a summer camp together for a week.
However, I soon realised they’never think I was good enough to be part of their little group and I ended up being pretty bored most of the time so I wrote everything that was going on in my head into my diary.
You can see where this is going, right?
Anyway, the “cool” kids soon realised I kept a diary and were naturally intrigued about what I might have written, so a whole bunch of them went ahead and looked for it in the dorm while I wasn't around, locked themselves in and giggled at my silly schoolgirl thoughts until I came back banging on the door.
I wish I could say I knew what was going on the whole time, but I was honestly so naive it never crossed my childish mind anyone would do anything so malicious.

They then proceeded to mock me for the rest of the camp for everything I wrote, including a crush I had on a boy who was also part of their group.
And don’t forget some of these people I'd have to face at school every day.
I wanted to die.
Honestly, I thought my life was over.
I felt incredibly betrayed and stupid for not seeing it coming.
I blamed myself as much as them and it took me forever to get over it.

And this was just a bunch of kids from school! I don’t even want to imagine how awful I'd feel had this been my own mother!
Don’t betray your teenager’s trust like that.
It’s not worth it.
It's already hard for teenagers to trust their parents just trying to gauge how accepting parents will be of the person they're just starting to become, so don’t make it worse.
Be there for them.
Listen, and don’t judge and you won’t have to read their diary because they’ll tell you everything on their own.

Thanks for the edits, I've corrected some of the mistakes listed and I've kept some of the alternative spellings (namely realise) as I usually go for the British spelling system in all my writing (in spite of my accent, and possibly writing style which is probably a lot more on the American side).


Would I have a right, simply out of curiosity? Then the answer is ‘no’.
As that would be an invasion of their privacy.

But if I sensed something was seriously wrong and for some reason or another we couldn’t otherwise get through to them, (signs of depression, distant and out of the ordinary behavior, or – the worst – if they’ve gone missing!) then in those types of circumstances, it would be considered a necessary option.

I remember when I was a teenager myself, maybe 14 or 15 at the time, when I had started writing about some of my unruly behavior and lawless activities, such as break-ins of local schools in my area, destroying private property, trespassing, shoplifting, etc.

Then one day I come home to find my dad red with fury after finding and reading through my notebook.
What’s more, he was shocked to the core, shouting things like, “I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS MY OWN SON!! WHO AM I RAISING IN THIS HOUSE?? WHAT IS THIS??” holding up my notebook as evidence.

Thankfully, I had a knack for getting out of tense situations when under pressure, whereupon my lying/acting/improv mechanism kicked in, and told him that it was all fiction.
That I had been trying my hand at writing and was writing a story in the first person POV.

I guess the events detailed in my notebook had been so unbelievable and out of character from the son he thought he knew, that he believed my defensive explanation.
So, crisis averted.

However, I’m now 38 years of age and a completely different person to the teenager that was, but still remember the nakedness and vulnerability I felt to the invasion of my private notes.
(Although, I doubt my dad even realized what he had stumbled on when he picked up my notebook – until it was too late).


Do you have a right to read your teen’s personal diary?


I don't agree with the assumption that rights are the most relevant issue here, but I'll go along with that.
The two main rights I see in this situation are property and privacy.
The first one relates to you and the teen, the second relates only to the teen.

These questions are too far removed from the actual situation.
The first one is nitpicky and doesn’t match the gravity of a situation.
“Yes, it's mine, so I can read it” or “No, it's mine, so I can't read it” are both superficial answers to a deeper question.
The second also seems silly.
Teenagers crave privacy.
It helps them as they develop an identity independent of their parents, a crucial step to adulthood.
Respecting their privacy helps them mature and learn how to respect others.

The only relevant issue that arises from these questions is that “what if.
” It seems to suggest that the potential, not even definite or known consequences would justify you (maybe) violating your child's rights to privacy.
Granted, parents have uncanny instincts as to whether or not their child is up to something dangerous, but you could still be wrong.
And if you're wrong, then it means your initial justification isn't valid, and you just violated your child's privacy for nothing.

So looking at this problem as a question of rights doesn't fit.
This question is about the relationship between parent and child and the values that promote a healthy one like honesty, respect, and communication.
Are you being honest if you read their diary? Respectful? It's not honest to go behind your child's back and read their diary, but sometimes we can violate the principle of honesty if it's really important.
So is it really important? Is there really no other way you can find out what you need to know about your child’s safety?
If you've fostered an environment of open communication and continually emphasized to your child that they can tell you anything, that you will put their safety and happiness before any judgement and reprimanding, then there likely isn't anything in that diary that you need to know.

If you haven't, start right now.

Either way, you will either break the existing trust between you and your child or ruin your chance at building it by opening that diary.


I am almost 16 years old.
I have a job, I get straight A’s.
I don’t do drugs, an I’ve never once come home wasted.
I would say that, yes, I am a good girl, despite any speculations that may go on in my head.

And yet three days ago my mother read my personal diary.

She was looking for information about a party I was planning to attend, and what I was planning to do there.
She was also looking for information about a boy I have been involved with recently.

And she found that information.
Yes, there was going to be a party.
Yes, I was going to drink, and yes, I was planning on hooking up with a specific guy.

Unbeknownst to her, whilst I had planned all this in my diary, I had also last minute pulled out of those plans.

My mum found what she was looking for, but she would also have found many other things.

She would have seen the angry rants when I was at my bratty worst, the tear stained pages about friends who are dropping acid and boys who are terrifying.
The cartoons.
The page about how once I self-harmed, which is right before the page where talk about my favourite Kardashian sister, and after the part where I contemplate my sexuality.

Reading my diary gave my mum the shock of her life, knowing how much I actually know about the world.

I am firmly of the belief that telling your child “just don’t have sex” and “just don’t drink”, really doesn’t fucking work.
Of course teenagers are going to try things, and its completely natural for them to want to do so.
As a parent, you should of course, make your child aware of the potential consequences of their actions, but if it comes to it, its better to have a 16 year old who has safe sex, and drinks safely, than a girl who is dead because the boundaries set for her were completely unrealistic, and she snuck out one night, and it all went wrong.

Actions speak louder than words.
I did not go to that party that night, regardless of what I planned, or said I would do.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t go to a party some other time, be that next week, or when I leave school and leave home.

What I do at that party now is up to you, mum.
Will you let me be safe? Or will you lock me up and wait for me to go crazy the moment I leave home?
I don’t think anyone has the ‘right’ to breach someones personal privacy, and I hold the belief that reading someones personal diary is wrong.
But also, parents have the right to monitor their childs safety if they fear something really really bad is happening.
I still wish that my mother had not read my diary, but I do not blame her for doing so, because I sincerely believe she did it out of love.

That being said, she could have just, you know, talked to me, in a calm manner, and listened to what I had to say, instead of completely breaking the small amount of trust I had in her before.

So, if you genuinely fear something bad is happening, like life-threatening, and think that reading your teens diary is the only thing to do to protect them, then by all means you should do that.
They are your child, and you love and want to protect them.
But only as a last resort.

If you do decide to read it, keep one thing in mind:
A diary is often a reflection of someones most illogical, senseless, emotion-fuelled thoughts.
As a teen, you don’t write in a diary when you are having a balanced and calm day.
You write when you are confused, and upset, and scared, and angry.

What someone writes when they are at their emotional lowest does not define who they are as a person.

Mum, I’m sorry that the things I said hurt and disappointed you.
But at the same time, I’m not sorry for being confused, and I’m not sorry for being curious, and I’m not sorry for having the emotions I expressed in my diary.

Which at the end of the day, no one was supposed to see.


I’m going anonymous because people I know personally follow my account, and I’d rather not have them associate this with me.

Absolutely not.

Back in secondary school, I kept a diary, in which I’d pen my thoughts of the day – the writings of a confused, pubescent teen.
I’d keep my diary wedged between my mattresses or tucked into the folds of my clothes, and back then, I was an avid writer.

One fateful day, my class had a sex education lesson and we were told a very vivid description of the whole abortion process.
Having an overactive imagination, I tried to place myself in the abortee’s shoes and felt nauseous.
Later that day, I went home to pen down my thoughts on the class, and mentioned that my mouth “tasted like pennies” when I thought about aborting a fetus.
After writing, I hid my diary, as per usual.

For the next few days, my mother behaved strangely around me – purposefully cornering me to have discussions about relationships and boys, and being hostile and tense.
Being suspicious, I decided to hide my diary in the bathroom cupboard – something I’d not done before.

That Friday, she and I headed to the gym, still talking about relationships and boys.
Having had enough, I began to refuse answering directly.
Her questions then became more hostile and accusatory about who I’d been seeing (no one), etc.
, until she snapped and said she knew I’d had sex and she demanded to meet the boy.
I was flabbergasted; what was she talking about? How could she accuse me for no good reason? I didn’t do anything! We screamed at each other, back and forth, until she admitted she’d read my diary.
She told me that was her proof and to stop lying.

Furious, I stormed home, with her hot on my heels and just as worked up.
I ran into the bathroom and locked the door while she pounded on the door.
I emerged with the book.
She snatched it and flipped to the entry on abortion and pointed out the phrase, “tasted like pennies.

At this point, while I’m sure things are fairly obvious, I want to point out that English is not my mother’s first language.

After pointing at the phrase, she told me to explain myself and I screamed, “P-E-N-N-I-E-S.
That spells PENNIES, as in coins! My mouth ‘tasting like pennies’ means I wanted to throw up!”
She became silent, and let out a quiet oh.
She had thought I wrote that I’d been giving some guy a blowjob.

I locked myself in my room that night and cried myself to sleep.

The fact that I can recall this memory so well shows how much it impacted me.
After that experience, I couldn’t keep a diary anymore, try as I might – the words didn’t flow right and I couldn’t keep the habit up, until I gave up trying.
I didn’t know, before then, that she read my entries.
I felt vulnerable, like my thoughts, once written down or spoken aloud, were there to be judged, misconstrued, and misinterpreted.

My diary was a way for me to reflect on things I had learnt or experienced, how I acted, and most importantly, writing helped me ask questions about myself that many teenagers would relate to.
These questions were innocent, and things a teenager ponders about as they enter adulthood – musings without any definitive action.

Most parents want to, understandably, protect their children from the dangers of the real world, but by reading your child’s diary, you threaten a natural learning process and you lose your child’s trust in you.

If your child trusts you, they will ask you questions and have discussions with you on their own accord, without you needing to intervene.
It is normal for a growing individual to want to seek guidance from a trustworthy guardian.
Trying to forcefully expedite the process or intrusive helicopter-parenting will only push them away.

If you value your relationship with your child and hope to continue having one in the future, then for crying out loud, don’t read your child’s diary!


I guess I'm going to receive alot of backlash for this.

I have read most of he answers here , they all say no , give your teen some privacy, it's a way of teaching respect and so on.

Pls read this first :
These two girls haven't returned to their homes,
I once read about a woman in a local paper whose 13 yr old son ran away with a woman, not to be found, they only found plans and love notes and poems written in his dairy about few days after he went missing, that was 2013 he still hasn’t been found .

When I newly joined Quora, I read about a woman that lost her daughter to an online predator , the girl was 16 then, she reconnected with her daughter 3 years later and she was already a mother to his baby , and quite miserable and hates her mother (Brainwashed) , some comments suggested she accepts her fate and the girl is an adult and can choose her destiny …blah blah.

And a whole lot more
Now look at this
This is the hierarchy of needs (human needs not animal …lol)
Now please judge , is privacy needs higher than saftey and security needs .
NO.

Diary, cell phones , computers , internet , neighborhood, whatever poses any danger , I owe my kids to protect them and keep them safe ( even from themselves atimes ) at almost all costs, and I will do that to the best of my ability.

So yes I will read it (sneakily) and if I see a major red flag I will take necessary measures, otherwise I will keep a low profile (yes I am a spyparent).

That being said , I encourage all parents to keep an open minded and cordial relationship with their kids , let them be able to come to you with any and every form of troubles on their mind (crushes, being bullied , depression, classes, what they feel about your mum , about your boyfriends and girlfriends, their siblings),and try to tackle the issue without being overtly judgemental ( even if every nerve of you is cringing).

Remember it's you and your kid VS the problem , not you against the child .

If your kids feel they have secrets so dark they cannot tell you, the problem is with you the parent.

Footnotes:
Teen girl who ran away with a man she’d never met
Our 15-year-old daughter ran away to be with a man she met on the internet.
.
.
I didn’t think it happened to clever girls

Now bring the rain.


I believe that everyone should have a basic right to privacy.

Now, I never had any privacy, and I still don’t.
I was never allowed to be in my bedroom during the day, never allowed to close my door, never allowed to be on the computer without a parent supervising, never allowed to use any electronics without supervision, for that matter.

Then, one day, I started a journal.
I wrote about everything in it.
How I felt about my parents, sexual things, all of my feelings, what happened in school, everything.
I wrote in that thing like crazy.
I trusted it more than anything else.
I didn’t expect my parents to one day up and read it.

I got in a ton of trouble, for all of my feelings against my parents that I thought were private.
I expected to have at least one place where I could truly be myself, but they did not think that.
All of my trust in them was gone, just like that.

Now, a couple years later, I still do not trust either of them at all, with anything.
I recently started a new journal, and I am terrified that one of them will read it.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t have even started a new one because they read the last one, and history is the best predictor of future behavior and all that, but I was bursting with emotions and no one to talk to that I could trust.
So I have one now.

The other day, my mom was talking to me and crying about how I never told her anything.
I couldn’t tell her that that was because I no longer trust her with any information, because that would hurt her feelings.
She then told me that she was going to read my journal.

I stared at her like she had grown another head.
I was stunned.
I thought that she finally respected my privacy, and maybe even had adopted some morals about it.
Apparently that was not the case.

After we had a short, concise conversation about privacy, she concluded that she would read it if I left it out in the open.

I am now terrified to leave it anywhere, anytime.
If I’m writing in it on the kitchen table, and I get up to go to the bathroom, I worry about her reading it.
If I leave it downstairs in my backpack at night, I worry about her reading it.
I am always worrying about that.
I do not trust my mother anymore with any of my personal information, because of this one little incident.

Sure, go ahead and read your child’s journal.
Go ahead and violate their trust and privacy.
They will eventually know that you have no respect for them at all, and will never trust them to not do bad things.
You will lose your child’s trust for a very long time, but if you’re okay with that, that’s fine.


God no!
When I was younger I had a special padlock diary.
My aunt got it for me on my 7th birthday, I didn’t use the thing until I was 12.

(something similar to this….
Image from google)
That’s when things went downhill.

I would write my everything in the diary, what I felt, who I hated, secrets, and my family…
I went for a shower but left my key on the desk, It would usually be wrapped around my neck like a necklace but I felt really tired after the shower and went to bed.

The next morning I felt awful but I shook it off and went to school,
When I felt around my neck at 3rd period I noticed that my key wasn’t there…
Panic
When school finally ended I rushed home in under 15 minuetes, I looked on my desk and found….
that the key was still there.
.
.
A sigh of relief escaped my chest.

Now keep in mind that I’ve written in that diary for 3 years so a lot of stuff was in that thing.

When I headed downstairs for afternoon tea I saw my mum sitting on the couch, she looked mad.
I felt a bit of dread at the pit of my stomach but tried to shake it off, before I could run back upstairs with my sandwich I heard my mum call me…
She told me to sit down, the feeling of dread intensified,
“What were those horrible things you wrote about me in that stupid book of yours”
My fears were confirmed.

When I write about my life, I tend to get a bit descriptive, when something bad happens I feel the need to write it down to get my head sorted out, the “bad” things I’d written were just complaints I can’t say to her face and they weren’t just limited to my mother either.

My whole family was written in that book and everything I experiance is written in that book,
“Mum I can explain, the book means nothi-”
“Is this how you feel! Do you know how disrespectful it is to me that you’ve written such horrible words”
My mum’s asian so respect is something she takes very seriously.

“But that my private book, I didn’t think you’d look through it”
“I am your mother, you shouldn’t have to hide such things, how dare you belittle my efforts into bringing you into this country! You know when I was small I didn’t have these stupid DSP’s or WiiWii crap or station games! It’s this rubbish that makes y-”
This rant went on for a while, My mum eventually just left me off but I destroyed that book and made sure that she would never see any of my secrets, I learned to bottle everything inside.

After that incident I could never look at her in the same as before nor talk with her like old times.

There is a barrier of trust that gets breached and you can’t fix a relationship afterwards.
My mum looked through a period of my life that I would rather keep hidden but she broke my trust and lectured me after about how keeping secrets was wrong.

Funny enough that incident made me a better liar and because of it let me sneak off and do what I want.

Moral of the story, trust your kid and keep to her privacy.


To start off, it is an invasion of privacy.
Yes you may be their parent and yes you may feel entitled to be able to read it, but in reality you are not.
The thoughts that are written in that diary/journal are all feelings and thoughts that they decided to keep to themselves.

If they were comfortable to talk to you about it they will, but in the meantime they may be coping with self issues and problems and just writing about it helps them feel better and you should be understanding of that.
They may also not want to share some things due to the fear of being judged.
Writing helps both emotionally and with mental health.

In this case I speak for myself.
I am not a teen anymore but when I was about 12 years old in the seventh grade I began my first poetry journal/book.
All pieces on what I would feel on that exact day.
To this day I still do not let anyone read a single poem that is written on those pages.
Because they are all things about myself that no one could ever understand.
It became my sanctuary, the only time I was able to release my emotions and thoughts on how I truly felt.
I kept mostly every emotion and problem that I had bottled up inside.
Rhyming words and jotting random things down was just my way of coping.
I wrote down everything I would feel, but never actually had the strength to come forward and say or talk about.

If you are concerned that the teen may be going through something serious then ask them about it, instead of giving into the temptation of wanting to read from what is theirs.
Once you read it without permission, trust will be broken.
And now they really won’t be able to communicate with you at all.

JUST DO NOT DO IT


No you dont, unless you want them to be scarred for life
I use to write diary until my mom found it and read it.
It was the most personal thing I ever had.
I was having some issue at school and even wrote a list of people I hate and wrote below it
“ the day I become successful I will find them and tell them look how irritating me turned out.

It has been 10yrs since still my mom ask me how those people got on the list.
She was your best friend.
How is she on the list.
My brother still make fun of me about my list.
It has become a family joke.

I stopped writing diaries after that incident.
But when I used to write it down I used to feel healed.
After that incident I felt violated and felt I have no space or privacy.
I had no way to let go of my worries without the paranoia of been under watch.
Diary was my go to place.
Now it doesn't exist.

Now when I feel too sad/depressed/worried, I write it down and then burn those paper after that or cut it into small pieces and throw them in different places, so no one could put them together.
That's how paranoiad I have become.

Do you want your child to feel the same way, violated?! Give them their space.
Let them figure out their life.
Did you go to your parents for help for every tiny thing that happened to you when you were a teenager?
Make your relation with your child so strong that instead of you prying on them, they will come to you when they cannot handle their issues.
Tell them that you are there for them and will help them even in any kind of situation.

Be their friend not a detective.
Help them,not investigate on them


Let me ask you this: does your teenager have the right to read your personal diary? The one you so lovingly write in and take great pains to hide from their prying eyes?! No? Then buzz off! If you don’t want them reading what you write in YOUR personal diary/journal, then don’t read theirs.

My step dad ransacked my room looking for the little diary that I had bought at the dollar store with my allowance without his permission and he was desperate to find out what was written in it.

Once he did find it and read it, he realized the journal he was reading was my story journal as homes didn’t have computers or internet—only the Military had computers and internet access.

I bought two journals one that didn’t have a lock and one that had a lock whose key I kept on a piece of string around my neck at all times.

If you don’t want your teenager reading YOUR personal diary, then what makes you think that you have the ‘right’ to read theirs? It’s none of your business what’s written in that diary.

It’s a safe haven for them to write down their true feelings without fear of reprimandation from adults.
The life of a teenager in 2017 is more stressful than it was when you were a teenager in the preceeding decades.

Just butt out and leave their personal property alone!


No.

When I was younger I kept two fake journals to keep my mom from reading my real one.
Finally she figured this out so I bought a lock for it.
Once my mom found the key she read my journal and our relationship was never the same.
Keep in mind that I wrote down all of my thoughts and feelings in this journal.
I wrote about the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Apparently all that stuck out to my mom was the ugly.
My brother was home visiting us over summer break from MIT.
After reading my journal she became intent on reading my brothers to see if her “perfect” son was as “emotionaly damaged” and “mean” as I was.
After reading his PRIVATE journal she forced us both into therapy.
(He was 20 and I was 12 at the time) Once we get to therapy the therapist expects us to be these deeply troubled kids from what my mom had been saying about us.
After our first therapy session the therapist was totally perplexed.
She tells us our mom read our journals and was worried, but that she didn’t see what was wrong.
After telling both me and my brother this she spoke to my mom.
That night at dinner she was furious.
She said we were only sabotaging ourselves and she was done trying to help us.

So NO! I don’t think anyone including a parent has a right to read their child’s journal.
I know if my mother hadn’t read mine my life and relationship with her after that would have been so much better.


About 2 years ago, my best friend was acting incredibly down.
She wasn't eating, sleeping or doing well in school.
She's one of those teens who would have never slacked at school so i knew something was wrong.

She was also typically very bubbly and positive but for the past few weeks she had become into a completely different person.
Obviously something was wrong.

She was refusing to talk about herself no matter how hard it tried.

One day, i went over to her house a little early.
She was with her dad for another 20 minutes (her parents are divorced)so i went to her room to wait for her.

Her diary was lying open on the bed and i know i probably shouldn't have but i looked.

She was in a very dark place.
She was dealing with self hate and bullying.
Her dad was abusing her.
Just looking at the words, i could tell she was depressed.
.
I heard the garage door and knew she was home.
I put the diary back.

When she came into the room i could now see the bruises she so desperately tried to hide.

I barely slept that night.
I was going back and forth in if i should tell someone.
The next day, i met with my vice principal and told him.
For the past two years she's been seeing a counselor and less of her dad.
Of course there's a lot of things going on between court and her dad but i respect that privacy.

She's been much happier since and is doing great.

So to answer your question, it depends.
Now i know she's my best friend and not my child.
But i think you should respect the privacy of your teen.
Unless you see the warning signs of something much bigger.
Think about it.
If i hadn't looked at her diary, she probably wouldn't be here today.
In her diary, she talked about some really dark things that nobody should ever deal with.

So make your own call.
They might hate you for it at first but know that it's for their own good .

If you are ever dealing with anything like this, TALK TO SOMEONE.
Stay safe and remember you are loved♥️


I keep seeing answers about people being beaten by their parents because of what their journal says.
But I don’t think you’ll beat your child, so I’ll talk about my experiences.

I’ve been keeping a diary/journal/sketchbook for the past year and a half.
It’s really detailed, and explains what I’m going through mentally and whatever.

I know my mum is reading my diary.
I’m not sure how long, but I only recently realized.
I haven’t confronted her about it, and she hasn’t asked me about it.
But I now keep it in a different hiding spot, and take it to school with me.

I don’t trust my mom anymore.
At all.
I always thought we were close, but when I found out about her snooping, all of my trust disappeared.
I’m now 10000x more cautious and secretive about what I do, and it’s harder to talk to her because of what she did.

I have a close friend, I’ll call him Conner, but his parent’s always go through his stuff.
He doesn’t have a journal, more of a series of loose paper that he writes on whenever he gets upset.

His parents read that, and also go through his phone and browser history.

He hates his parents.
I regularly text/hear him talk about how upset this makes him, how he wants to cut them off when he moves out because they don’t respect them.
His parents aren’t that bad of people, they just treat their kids more like pets/belongings than actual people.

DO NOT EVER READ YOUR CHILDS DIARY OR GO THROUGH THEIR PERSONAL BELONGINGS.

If you think they’re depressed, talk to them.

If you think they are hiding something, talk to them
You should NEVER violate their privacy just because you’re curious.

Kids don’t share everything with you, they keep a lot private.
If they choose not to tell you, it’s their business, and you need to back off.


Look at the many many MANY stories posted here.
Lots of stuff about how the person has a horrible relationship with their parent(s), lack of trust, scarring memories and abandonment of their writing hobby.

Now there’s me.
How’s my relationship with my mom? Awesome, actually.
We’re very close.
We get together to hang out as often as we can and we can talk to each other about anything honestly.

What’s the difference between me and the other answers here?
My mom didn’t snoop through my journals.

“But Kay, how do you know your mom didn’t sneak peeks in your diary without you knowing?”
I went through a period where I was secretive about anything I wrote (thanks to a particular middle school moment but I digress).
So I carried my journals, short story collections and sketchpads with me at all times and if I ever needed to leave them, I had ways to detect if they were touched.
It was nerve-wrecking at school but I relaxed at home because there was never any indication the books were looked at.

From the start, my mom and I have been open.
I could ask my mother anything without getting into trouble or anyone getting upset (unless it was deathly serious which was still rare).
She was completely honest with me; gave me the answer or would tell me she wasn’t comfortable talking about it until I was older.

My mom took an interest in my life.
She supported my hobbies while introducing me to new activities and would ask about my day almost every day.
If I didn’t feel comfortable sharing on the rare occasion, mom would back off after giving me a hug and telling me she was there for me whenever I did need to talk.
No suspicion or jumps to conclusions.

“So do you think you have a right to read your teen’s diary or not?!”
Privacy is a rare thing nowadays what with social media, security cameras everywhere and everyone trying to find out what you’re doing every second of the day.
Sometimes the only privacy you get is your own thoughts.
And writing is a very helpful way to understand your thought processes.

By looking at someone’s journal, you’re invading their “safe place”.
Taking away someone’s “safe place” can have devastating consequences on the person’s mental condition.

Again, look at the other answers here.
So many relationships crumbled to dust, so many damaged individuals.
All because a parent was nosy and felt entitled to read their kid’s journal.

If you want to know what your child is up to, JUST ASK.
Build a proper relationship with your teen! Talk to them about their day, what’s going on, hobbies, take an interest in your teen’s life.
If they don’t want to talk about something, you back off.
Let them know they can talk to you whenever they need to.
And don’t yell or punish them right after they do talk to you; discuss everything thoroughly and calmly.

Remember that honesty and trust are important components of a relationship as well.
You be open about what your teen asks you (if you don’t feel comfortable sharing, let them know that and say you’ll discuss it when you feel ready).
And have faith too.
Trust your child is making good decisions.
After all, you raised them so their actions are a reflection of your parenting.
If you don’t trust them to do the right thing, what does that say about you?
One more thing.

There are times where it might be hard to figure out something is wrong.
Your kid won’t talk to you about anything, their personality becomes depressed, grades suddenly go from perfect to failing, etc.

If you have a CLEAR reason to suspect something is wrong with your child (not just paranoid delusions), ONLY THEN you can peek at the journal.
And you do it to make sure your child isn’t involved in anything dangerous or suffering from mental illness.
If they are, you help them.


Absolutely not.
A diary is a private journal where a person should feel comfortable to write their most private thoughts, feelings and experiences.
If a parent violates that trust, they violate all trust and any future confidence and confidance that could occur.
Even when students write journals in English class in school the teacher does not read them.
Generally at the end of the term the students select a small number of entries to submit for grading, and the rest remain private.

If you open that door, how can you expect your child to learn to respect your privacy? Parents have many things they usually wish to be kept away from the eyes of their young: tax returns, investments, special drawers beside the bed, another couple they may hang out with an awful lot, a bag of something green/white/pills they don't want their kids to see, a saucy latex number, a stack of XXX classics, a juvie record, an oopsie with the accountant last Xmas party and so on.
And so on.

Teens need their privacy, and they are absolutely entitled to it.
It's far more preferable to cultivate a better and more fruitful conversational relationship with your teen than to ruin your relationship forever by crossing that line.
And in crossing it you'll find that they'll never forget it: anyone who has had this trust violated holds that grudge steadfastly to them like a crucifix in a scary Romanian forest (insert wolves howling).
The best place to talk to your kid is at the dinner table.
Teens today know a lot about what is going on in the world, and many are frustrated and disturbed by current events.
You could start there.
My ex’s parents would participate in their all their sons’ education by reading the same English and History books.
In doing so they were not only better equipped to help with homework, but it made for great dinner conversation and they were much better parents.
They were certainly much more involved and elicited much more talk from their kids than my parents ever bothered to do, and today they are all very close as adults.


Its a personal diary.
Yes some parents can reason themselves into reading it.
.
but most of the time its a really REALLY bad idea.
A diary is a place to vent, to write thing they’d never say in real life, someone to confide in, things written in anger, frustration and more (and instantly forgotten after) and so on.
Ultimately it would be a massive breach of trust and unless there are extremely good reasons behind it (and its done in the right way – preferably with willing permission) .
.
any kind of trust could easily be utterly ruined.
The teen may also have a far harder time confiding in others (including writing things down in a diary+) which in turn may turn him/her inwards and cause mental damage (higher risk at least).
So overall.
.
No, you don’t have a right to read the diary of your children/teen.

On the other hand.
.
I did read a post (for a somewhat similar question) where someone gave an example of the right kind of reasoning behind reading their diary (and the right way).
To sum up this is what I remember;
The mother had become increasingly concerned and worried for her daughter, and regardless of how hard she tried to get her teen to confide in her, her daughter reacted with hostility (which just made her even more worried).
Ultimately she reached a point where where she decided that her daughter’s privacy vs her concern regarding her teen’s escalating behaviour fell second.
And so she read her diary.
Afterwards she quickly got her daughter into therapy (there were no mention of discussing what she’d read with her daughter – the mother just reacted to what she learned in the best way she knew how) and also found a new school for her (thereby solving the biggest problems the girl had (massive bullying problem to the point the girl was wondering if she wanted to live).
Because of the mother’s interference her daughter grew up to be a strong and healthy woman (whereas otherwise she might not have grown up at all).
So.
.

Parents don’t have a right as such but at times their teen’s privacy vs true parental concern will mean they may choose to take that path and it would be the right thing to do.
But in most causes it won’t be and a parent would be far better off trying to create and foster a good relationship with their teen (wikihow has several good articles on the topic) and that way earn their trust and confidence.


No.

My parents don't seem to trust me very much- as a matter of fact, they openly accuse me of being “too secretive”.
One day when I was 8 or 9, we got into an argument over… something, I forgot, but it ended with my mom going under my bed, as my older brother and sister watched, and pulling out my personal folder on sketches and my journal.

Let me just say, I love sketching, but I HATE showing other people my sketches and innermost thoughts for a reason that belongs in a Quora answer of its own.
Knowing this, my mother went through everything, leaving the sketches in plain view of my siblings, and reading all my personal entries aloud.
Now despite the fact that I was going through a bit of crap at that time, I never wrote down my absolute BIGGEST secrets, and after this, I think I never will.

I'm 17 now, and I still don't like telling any personal issues to my parents.
I just don't trust them to handle it responsibly.
The worst things I tell them are superficial things, like “I'm really nervous I won't get into this college.
” They still think they should go through my phone and belongings to keep me safe, but it really does more harm than good.


No.
Absolutely, a hundred percent, no.

Between the two covers of a diary, lies a safe haven- a sanctuary which, under no circumstance should ever be broken.

As of today, I’ve kept a diary for over three years.

Within those colored, hello-kitty patterned pages lie dozens of painful, happy, sorrowful but genuine memories.
Personal memories which were written for my eyes only.

Two years ago, I had a school project that involved one of my friends coming over.
Since my library and study are conveniently conjoined, we decided that it was the best place to do our project.

I left my diary in one of the desk’s many compartments.
Thinking I could trust her not to snoop around, I exited the room unburdened to fetch more art supplies.

When I returned, my diary was no longer in the compartment, but sitting atop the desk.
I thought nothing of it and resumed the project- which we finished in the short span of an hour.

The next day, I was greeted by the cruel laughter of my schoolmates.
As you most probably already concluded, I had absolutely no idea what was going on.
Suddenly, a friend wordlessly thrust me her phone.
It was an Instagram page.
The contents of my diary flashed before my eyes.

I don’t remember what happened afterwards, just the unbelievable pain I felt.
The betrayal, the hurt.

So unless you want your child to feel the same thing, DO NOT READ THEIR DIARY.


Please don’t.

I was 8 when I started journaling.
Initially, it would be stupid stuff like – “We had science quiz today”, “mom made pulao for dinner”, etc.

I kept writing a daily basis, would choose the best journals, and use color pencils, sometimes stick photos, and try to make it more of a memory book.

I went off to boarding school, in Grade 8.
Your teachers and matron, reserve the right to go through your stuff, so my hobby was halted for a wee-bit.

I became real good friends with one of the guys in my class, and for the lack of better atmosphere to talk, he sent me a letter one day.
This was pure friendship, no crush, no flirting, or any romantic angle.
I wrote back to him.
We would exchange them during class.
It would bring a smile to my face.
What would we talk?
Ideology, beliefs, aspirations, what we expect from life and math homework.
It would often contain gossip about our fellow classmates too in good humor.

I returned home for my Grade 11, and started living with my mom.
It is not easy for a teenage girl having lived her life on her terms for 3 years, to come back under the rules of your mom.
Mom and I would have huge fights, heated arguments and loads of tears.
To cope with this, I started journaling again.

5–6 months later, I return home to find my mom in tears, sitting with all my journals open.
She had read all of them, every single of them, including my kiddish journals from aged 9–12.

She was hurt by what I had written for the recent few months, genuinely hurt.
I was on the defensive, and hated her for invading my privacy.
We did not fight that day.
We went to bed, hungry.

We had an awkward silence for a very long time, she would not get in my way and I would live by all her rules.
We both slowly forgot what I had written, and I threw away all my journals.

Though it is not one of my bad memory, I have not touched a journal ever since.

The only thing I have written down for memory is my first kiss with my husband.

I wish I could write again, but I don’t want to hurt anyone around me.

I wish I could do it without the fear of my journal being read by someone.

It is very good therapy, lack of which you lose some of your self-confidence, and you try to find attention in a fellow human being, making you vulnerable.

So please do not read your teen’s diary.
They deserve that privacy.


I say it is both a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answer.
And because I want to take the unpopular route and say that a parent does have some right to see a child’s diary/journal under very specific situations.
(And if they own a diary.
)
Since there are too many ‘no’ answers and you the viewer had possibly read all of those before coming to this answer.
I feel that at some point that a parent has a responsibility to intervene for their safety and for others.

If you set curfews, and the child goes over, gets hurt and doesn’t talk about it.
Well, expect mother bear go into your phone records.

And maybe some will have to call the police in some.

YES:
If you have a clear and reasonable-sound suspicious that your child is;
Such as the case of Alyssa Bustamante who was 15 around the time where she repeatedly stabbed Elizabeth Olten to death before calmly writing about the "pretty enjoyable" murder in her journal.

"I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they're dead," the entry read.

"I don't know how to feel atm [at the moment].
It was ahmazing.
As soon as you get over the 'ohmygawd I can't do this' feeling, it's pretty enjoyable.

"I'm kinda nervous and shaky though right now.
Kay, I gotta go to church now.
.
.
lol [laugh out loud].
"[2]
Like Graham Young, the Tea-Cup Poisoner where he recorded dosage and reactions.
[3] To be honest, he was begging to have his privacy invaded when he was reading Mein Kampf out in the open during the 1960s.

This is also seen in the Columbine High School Massacre, through the journals left behind by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
Through them, investigators discovered that the teens had been planning for a year to bomb the school in an attack similar to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings.

There is more stuff that ring serious alarm bells for a parent or anyone for that matter if they came across his entries.

November 1998: Eric writes in detail about how he wants to have violent sex with a woman, quoting a line from Nine Inch Nails' song Closer (a song about having rough, animalistic sex).
This heated entry dissolves into a gory description of how he would like to taste human flesh.
The cannibalistic rant eventually wraps around to school where Eric shifts his attention from a woman to a freshman, going on in vivid detail about the twisted, violent things he'd like to do.
[4]
And then there is this.
Journals, Diaries and School Papers .
Where it said, “Class of 98.
Top of the ‘Should had died list’.

And when your kid is not talking anything about it and hearing all of the stories of how children were driven to suicide because of bullying, that journal he or she keeps under their bed is going to be tempting.
Or I will say safety values over privacy in this on.

This happened to a friend of mine who was bullied and he didn’t say anything about it.
His parents only found out when they peeked over his social media and immediately moved schools, his bullies were sending messages of how he should kill himself.

He is now college captain.

Not really reading into a personal diary but, kind of similar?
Now this is all in assumptions that you have some alarm bells ringing about your child.
Like past history, if they hurt someone, if they have a violet tendency, criminal history and all that stuff.

(And much would had been better in hindsight if the parents check in Harris’ room for his weapons and his diaries about his disturbed mind.
)
EDIT: And I just want to mention to add a little more salt into the mix, all the examples I read where from teens around the time of their deeds.

EDIT:EDIT: As I was discussing with another user about this question.
I think it added more depth concerning about trust.
Of how we should trust teens to eventually tell them of how they feel to their parents.

If I know kids and I know kids because I am a kid is that we hid anything from our parents.
It can be small or it can be big.
, even if it hurts us or even kills us in the end.

Why? Reasons can be because we don’t want our parents to worry.
For other extreme situation, it is to ensure that they don’t call the police as I have listed above.

Lets used Columbine as an example again;
After the duo was arrested for stealing a television set 15 months earlier.
Eric wrote an essay for his angry class management saying that he was reformed.

But his private journal tells a different story.

“Isn’t America supposed to be the land of the free? How come if I’m free that I can’t deprived of some fucking dumb shit of his possessions.
If he leaves in the front seat of his fucking van, in plain sight, in the middle of fucking nowhere, on a fucking Friday night.
Natural Selection.
Fucker should had been shot.

I think a parent should had monitored their child after they came out from reform, be a bit more glued to ensure they stay on the right path.
Trust was already severed the moment he or she committed a crime.


This is a bone of contention for many people – just how far will you go, as a parent, to protect your children, to ensure they are managing well with their life’s challenges… I have a 20 year old daughter who has kept a diary since she was very young, and not once, not even one page have I read of her personal thoughts.
I knew exactly where her diary was, and I made absolutely certain that she knew she could leave it out in the open and I would not read it.
I trusted my daughter to speak to me if she was struggling with anything – and if I couldn’t help, we would find a solution, together.
I also assured her that if she needed to blow off some steam about me, she could turn to those few people she trusted that knew me, and knew her, but to only speak to them if she truly felt their advice would be helpful and not cruel.

Trusting your teenager in this day and age is a touchy subject because life has many more dangers now than ever before.
Dangers that could impact on your children in such a way that they could suffer untold traumas, stress, pressure – anything.
Having said that, trust is one of the corner stones of a good relationship with your children.
Trust them to be smart? Then teach them to be smart.
You want them to make good decisions? Teach them what making any decision looks like through actually and actively making decisions with them, and in front of them.
Making decisions for them is a whole other batch of nuts, and I feel that if you need to do this, you must have a good reason for it, an explainable one.
Your children, and teenagers especially need to know the why and how-come of such things.

I promised my daughter I would never read her diary because I knew that I had brought her up to understand that, while I am doing everything I can to be a good mother, sometimes I make mistakes and sometimes she will too.
Having a diary is a good thing for teenagers – diaries don’t get angry, they don’t judge, they don’t explain and rationalise, they don’t incite fury, they don’t tell you what to do and when and why, diaries can be torn up in frustration and then replaced, they can keep secrets like no other being would…diaries are there for those times your teenager needs to get through something, regardless of whether it’s good or bad.

I guess what I am saying is RESPECT your teenager’s privacy! The only time you should ever read a diary is: Never.
If you have established and continue to uphold an open and trusting relationship with your son or your daughter, you won’t need to read their very personal thoughts.
Reading your child’s diary will change everything and not for the better – is it worth losing the trust, respect and love of your child? No.

In a world where everything is crazy, nothing is rooted in common sense and everything comes easily, having a true and loving relationship with your teenager is the most precious accomplishment you could experience.
Best of all? Your kid will one day have children of his or her own, and they will teach their children about trust, respect and love.
After all, you taught them, and if life has shown me anything, it is that the adage “monkey see, monkey do” is pretty much on point.
LOL


Hell.
No.
My mom bought me my first diary.
You know what else she gave me? A lock.
So that I would understand that the thoughts I put down in that diary were mine and mine alone.
I don't know what it is with parents today and your obsession with violating every level of your kids privacy, but behavior like reading through your kids texts and diaries without any real reason (you suspect they are doing something seriously shady, you believe they may be in danger) is the reason why your damn kids don't trust you.
Why should a child feel safe sharing their thoughts with a parent who they know will rifle through their private notes anyway? If you can't talk to your child, then that is on YOU.
Have you even made an attempt to speak to them about whatever is on your mind, or do you just want to read through their diary because you know they have one? Parents swear they are doing their due diligence by sneaking through their children's things and then hiding behind “it's my house so I can do what I want" but all they are doing is letting their kids know they need to be MORE secretive and MORE sneaky.
Because reading through your child's diary isn't going to help with communication, it's going to make them ANGRY, make them feel VIOLATED, and you will most definitely alienate them.
Unless you truly suspect your child is hiding some serious shit, mind your goddamn business and let your kid have ONE private outlet.


When I was a teenager I was pretty awkward and didn’t have many friends, but even the friends I had, I wouldn't tell most of my thoughts to.
I kept a diary and I wrote everything in there instead.
One summer I went to one of those summer camps at the seaside (as kids here often do).
Quite a few of my classmates went and I was really excited because I thought maybe I would get the chance to make friends with the cool kids this way, being stuck at a summer camp together for a week.
However, I soon realised they’never think I was good enough to be part of their little group and I ended up being pretty bored most of the time so I wrote everything that was going on in my head into my diary.
You can see where this is going, right?
Anyway, the “cool” kids soon realised I kept a diary and were naturally intrigued about what I might have written, so a whole bunch of them went ahead and looked for it in the dorm while I wasn't around, locked themselves in and giggled at my silly schoolgirl thoughts until I came back banging on the door.
I wish I could say I knew what was going on the whole time, but I was honestly so naive it never crossed my childish mind anyone would do anything so malicious.

They then proceeded to mock me for the rest of the camp for everything I wrote, including a crush I had on a boy who was also part of their group.
And don’t forget some of these people I'd have to face at school every day.
I wanted to die.
Honestly, I thought my life was over.
I felt incredibly betrayed and stupid for not seeing it coming.
I blamed myself as much as them and it took me forever to get over it.

And this was just a bunch of kids from school! I don’t even want to imagine how awful I'd feel had this been my own mother!
Don’t betray your teenager’s trust like that.
It’s not worth it.
It's already hard for teenagers to trust their parents just trying to gauge how accepting parents will be of the person they're just starting to become, so don’t make it worse.
Be there for them.
Listen, and don’t judge and you won’t have to read their diary because they’ll tell you everything on their own.

Thanks for the edits, I've corrected some of the mistakes listed and I've kept some of the alternative spellings (namely realise) as I usually go for the British spelling system in all my writing (in spite of my accent, and possibly writing style which is probably a lot more on the American side).


Would I have a right, simply out of curiosity? Then the answer is ‘no’.
As that would be an invasion of their privacy.

But if I sensed something was seriously wrong and for some reason or another we couldn’t otherwise get through to them, (signs of depression, distant and out of the ordinary behavior, or – the worst – if they’ve gone missing!) then in those types of circumstances, it would be considered a necessary option.

I remember when I was a teenager myself, maybe 14 or 15 at the time, when I had started writing about some of my unruly behavior and lawless activities, such as break-ins of local schools in my area, destroying private property, trespassing, shoplifting, etc.

Then one day I come home to find my dad red with fury after finding and reading through my notebook.
What’s more, he was shocked to the core, shouting things like, “I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS MY OWN SON!! WHO AM I RAISING IN THIS HOUSE?? WHAT IS THIS??” holding up my notebook as evidence.

Thankfully, I had a knack for getting out of tense situations when under pressure, whereupon my lying/acting/improv mechanism kicked in, and told him that it was all fiction.
That I had been trying my hand at writing and was writing a story in the first person POV.

I guess the events detailed in my notebook had been so unbelievable and out of character from the son he thought he knew, that he believed my defensive explanation.
So, crisis averted.

However, I’m now 38 years of age and a completely different person to the teenager that was, but still remember the nakedness and vulnerability I felt to the invasion of my private notes.
(Although, I doubt my dad even realized what he had stumbled on when he picked up my notebook – until it was too late).


Do you have a right to read your teen’s personal diary?


I don't agree with the assumption that rights are the most relevant issue here, but I'll go along with that.
The two main rights I see in this situation are property and privacy.
The first one relates to you and the teen, the second relates only to the teen.

These questions are too far removed from the actual situation.
The first one is nitpicky and doesn’t match the gravity of a situation.
“Yes, it's mine, so I can read it” or “No, it's mine, so I can't read it” are both superficial answers to a deeper question.
The second also seems silly.
Teenagers crave privacy.
It helps them as they develop an identity independent of their parents, a crucial step to adulthood.
Respecting their privacy helps them mature and learn how to respect others.

The only relevant issue that arises from these questions is that “what if.
” It seems to suggest that the potential, not even definite or known consequences would justify you (maybe) violating your child's rights to privacy.
Granted, parents have uncanny instincts as to whether or not their child is up to something dangerous, but you could still be wrong.
And if you're wrong, then it means your initial justification isn't valid, and you just violated your child's privacy for nothing.

So looking at this problem as a question of rights doesn't fit.
This question is about the relationship between parent and child and the values that promote a healthy one like honesty, respect, and communication.
Are you being honest if you read their diary? Respectful? It's not honest to go behind your child's back and read their diary, but sometimes we can violate the principle of honesty if it's really important.
So is it really important? Is there really no other way you can find out what you need to know about your child’s safety?
If you've fostered an environment of open communication and continually emphasized to your child that they can tell you anything, that you will put their safety and happiness before any judgement and reprimanding, then there likely isn't anything in that diary that you need to know.

If you haven't, start right now.

Either way, you will either break the existing trust between you and your child or ruin your chance at building it by opening that diary.


I am almost 16 years old.
I have a job, I get straight A’s.
I don’t do drugs, an I’ve never once come home wasted.
I would say that, yes, I am a good girl, despite any speculations that may go on in my head.

And yet three days ago my mother read my personal diary.

She was looking for information about a party I was planning to attend, and what I was planning to do there.
She was also looking for information about a boy I have been involved with recently.

And she found that information.
Yes, there was going to be a party.
Yes, I was going to drink, and yes, I was planning on hooking up with a specific guy.

Unbeknownst to her, whilst I had planned all this in my diary, I had also last minute pulled out of those plans.

My mum found what she was looking for, but she would also have found many other things.

She would have seen the angry rants when I was at my bratty worst, the tear stained pages about friends who are dropping acid and boys who are terrifying.
The cartoons.
The page about how once I self-harmed, which is right before the page where talk about my favourite Kardashian sister, and after the part where I contemplate my sexuality.

Reading my diary gave my mum the shock of her life, knowing how much I actually know about the world.

I am firmly of the belief that telling your child “just don’t have sex” and “just don’t drink”, really doesn’t fucking work.
Of course teenagers are going to try things, and its completely natural for them to want to do so.
As a parent, you should of course, make your child aware of the potential consequences of their actions, but if it comes to it, its better to have a 16 year old who has safe sex, and drinks safely, than a girl who is dead because the boundaries set for her were completely unrealistic, and she snuck out one night, and it all went wrong.

Actions speak louder than words.
I did not go to that party that night, regardless of what I planned, or said I would do.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t go to a party some other time, be that next week, or when I leave school and leave home.

What I do at that party now is up to you, mum.
Will you let me be safe? Or will you lock me up and wait for me to go crazy the moment I leave home?
I don’t think anyone has the ‘right’ to breach someones personal privacy, and I hold the belief that reading someones personal diary is wrong.
But also, parents have the right to monitor their childs safety if they fear something really really bad is happening.
I still wish that my mother had not read my diary, but I do not blame her for doing so, because I sincerely believe she did it out of love.

That being said, she could have just, you know, talked to me, in a calm manner, and listened to what I had to say, instead of completely breaking the small amount of trust I had in her before.

So, if you genuinely fear something bad is happening, like life-threatening, and think that reading your teens diary is the only thing to do to protect them, then by all means you should do that.
They are your child, and you love and want to protect them.
But only as a last resort.

If you do decide to read it, keep one thing in mind:
A diary is often a reflection of someones most illogical, senseless, emotion-fuelled thoughts.
As a teen, you don’t write in a diary when you are having a balanced and calm day.
You write when you are confused, and upset, and scared, and angry.

What someone writes when they are at their emotional lowest does not define who they are as a person.

Mum, I’m sorry that the things I said hurt and disappointed you.
But at the same time, I’m not sorry for being confused, and I’m not sorry for being curious, and I’m not sorry for having the emotions I expressed in my diary.

Which at the end of the day, no one was supposed to see.


I’m going anonymous because people I know personally follow my account, and I’d rather not have them associate this with me.

Absolutely not.

Back in secondary school, I kept a diary, in which I’d pen my thoughts of the day – the writings of a confused, pubescent teen.
I’d keep my diary wedged between my mattresses or tucked into the folds of my clothes, and back then, I was an avid writer.

One fateful day, my class had a sex education lesson and we were told a very vivid description of the whole abortion process.
Having an overactive imagination, I tried to place myself in the abortee’s shoes and felt nauseous.
Later that day, I went home to pen down my thoughts on the class, and mentioned that my mouth “tasted like pennies” when I thought about aborting a fetus.
After writing, I hid my diary, as per usual.

For the next few days, my mother behaved strangely around me – purposefully cornering me to have discussions about relationships and boys, and being hostile and tense.
Being suspicious, I decided to hide my diary in the bathroom cupboard – something I’d not done before.

That Friday, she and I headed to the gym, still talking about relationships and boys.
Having had enough, I began to refuse answering directly.
Her questions then became more hostile and accusatory about who I’d been seeing (no one), etc.
, until she snapped and said she knew I’d had sex and she demanded to meet the boy.
I was flabbergasted; what was she talking about? How could she accuse me for no good reason? I didn’t do anything! We screamed at each other, back and forth, until she admitted she’d read my diary.
She told me that was her proof and to stop lying.

Furious, I stormed home, with her hot on my heels and just as worked up.
I ran into the bathroom and locked the door while she pounded on the door.
I emerged with the book.
She snatched it and flipped to the entry on abortion and pointed out the phrase, “tasted like pennies.

At this point, while I’m sure things are fairly obvious, I want to point out that English is not my mother’s first language.

After pointing at the phrase, she told me to explain myself and I screamed, “P-E-N-N-I-E-S.
That spells PENNIES, as in coins! My mouth ‘tasting like pennies’ means I wanted to throw up!”
She became silent, and let out a quiet oh.
She had thought I wrote that I’d been giving some guy a blowjob.

I locked myself in my room that night and cried myself to sleep.

The fact that I can recall this memory so well shows how much it impacted me.
After that experience, I couldn’t keep a diary anymore, try as I might – the words didn’t flow right and I couldn’t keep the habit up, until I gave up trying.
I didn’t know, before then, that she read my entries.
I felt vulnerable, like my thoughts, once written down or spoken aloud, were there to be judged, misconstrued, and misinterpreted.

My diary was a way for me to reflect on things I had learnt or experienced, how I acted, and most importantly, writing helped me ask questions about myself that many teenagers would relate to.
These questions were innocent, and things a teenager ponders about as they enter adulthood – musings without any definitive action.

Most parents want to, understandably, protect their children from the dangers of the real world, but by reading your child’s diary, you threaten a natural learning process and you lose your child’s trust in you.

If your child trusts you, they will ask you questions and have discussions with you on their own accord, without you needing to intervene.
It is normal for a growing individual to want to seek guidance from a trustworthy guardian.
Trying to forcefully expedite the process or intrusive helicopter-parenting will only push them away.

If you value your relationship with your child and hope to continue having one in the future, then for crying out loud, don’t read your child’s diary!


I guess I'm going to receive alot of backlash for this.

I have read most of he answers here , they all say no , give your teen some privacy, it's a way of teaching respect and so on.

Pls read this first :
These two girls haven't returned to their homes,
I once read about a woman in a local paper whose 13 yr old son ran away with a woman, not to be found, they only found plans and love notes and poems written in his dairy about few days after he went missing, that was 2013 he still hasn’t been found .

When I newly joined Quora, I read about a woman that lost her daughter to an online predator , the girl was 16 then, she reconnected with her daughter 3 years later and she was already a mother to his baby , and quite miserable and hates her mother (Brainwashed) , some comments suggested she accepts her fate and the girl is an adult and can choose her destiny …blah blah.

And a whole lot more
Now look at this
This is the hierarchy of needs (human needs not animal …lol)
Now please judge , is privacy needs higher than saftey and security needs .
NO.

Diary, cell phones , computers , internet , neighborhood, whatever poses any danger , I owe my kids to protect them and keep them safe ( even from themselves atimes ) at almost all costs, and I will do that to the best of my ability.

So yes I will read it (sneakily) and if I see a major red flag I will take necessary measures, otherwise I will keep a low profile (yes I am a spyparent).

That being said , I encourage all parents to keep an open minded and cordial relationship with their kids , let them be able to come to you with any and every form of troubles on their mind (crushes, being bullied , depression, classes, what they feel about your mum , about your boyfriends and girlfriends, their siblings),and try to tackle the issue without being overtly judgemental ( even if every nerve of you is cringing).

Remember it's you and your kid VS the problem , not you against the child .

If your kids feel they have secrets so dark they cannot tell you, the problem is with you the parent.

Footnotes:
Teen girl who ran away with a man she’d never met
Our 15-year-old daughter ran away to be with a man she met on the internet.
.
.
I didn’t think it happened to clever girls

Now bring the rain.


I believe that everyone should have a basic right to privacy.

Now, I never had any privacy, and I still don’t.
I was never allowed to be in my bedroom during the day, never allowed to close my door, never allowed to be on the computer without a parent supervising, never allowed to use any electronics without supervision, for that matter.

Then, one day, I started a journal.
I wrote about everything in it.
How I felt about my parents, sexual things, all of my feelings, what happened in school, everything.
I wrote in that thing like crazy.
I trusted it more than anything else.
I didn’t expect my parents to one day up and read it.

I got in a ton of trouble, for all of my feelings against my parents that I thought were private.
I expected to have at least one place where I could truly be myself, but they did not think that.
All of my trust in them was gone, just like that.

Now, a couple years later, I still do not trust either of them at all, with anything.
I recently started a new journal, and I am terrified that one of them will read it.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t have even started a new one because they read the last one, and history is the best predictor of future behavior and all that, but I was bursting with emotions and no one to talk to that I could trust.
So I have one now.

The other day, my mom was talking to me and crying about how I never told her anything.
I couldn’t tell her that that was because I no longer trust her with any information, because that would hurt her feelings.
She then told me that she was going to read my journal.

I stared at her like she had grown another head.
I was stunned.
I thought that she finally respected my privacy, and maybe even had adopted some morals about it.
Apparently that was not the case.

After we had a short, concise conversation about privacy, she concluded that she would read it if I left it out in the open.

I am now terrified to leave it anywhere, anytime.
If I’m writing in it on the kitchen table, and I get up to go to the bathroom, I worry about her reading it.
If I leave it downstairs in my backpack at night, I worry about her reading it.
I am always worrying about that.
I do not trust my mother anymore with any of my personal information, because of this one little incident.

Sure, go ahead and read your child’s journal.
Go ahead and violate their trust and privacy.
They will eventually know that you have no respect for them at all, and will never trust them to not do bad things.
You will lose your child’s trust for a very long time, but if you’re okay with that, that’s fine.


God no!
When I was younger I had a special padlock diary.
My aunt got it for me on my 7th birthday, I didn’t use the thing until I was 12.

(something similar to this….
Image from google)
That’s when things went downhill.

I would write my everything in the diary, what I felt, who I hated, secrets, and my family…
I went for a shower but left my key on the desk, It would usually be wrapped around my neck like a necklace but I felt really tired after the shower and went to bed.

The next morning I felt awful but I shook it off and went to school,
When I felt around my neck at 3rd period I noticed that my key wasn’t there…
Panic
When school finally ended I rushed home in under 15 minuetes, I looked on my desk and found….
that the key was still there.
.
.
A sigh of relief escaped my chest.

Now keep in mind that I’ve written in that diary for 3 years so a lot of stuff was in that thing.

When I headed downstairs for afternoon tea I saw my mum sitting on the couch, she looked mad.
I felt a bit of dread at the pit of my stomach but tried to shake it off, before I could run back upstairs with my sandwich I heard my mum call me…
She told me to sit down, the feeling of dread intensified,
“What were those horrible things you wrote about me in that stupid book of yours”
My fears were confirmed.

When I write about my life, I tend to get a bit descriptive, when something bad happens I feel the need to write it down to get my head sorted out, the “bad” things I’d written were just complaints I can’t say to her face and they weren’t just limited to my mother either.

My whole family was written in that book and everything I experiance is written in that book,
“Mum I can explain, the book means nothi-”
“Is this how you feel! Do you know how disrespectful it is to me that you’ve written such horrible words”
My mum’s asian so respect is something she takes very seriously.

“But that my private book, I didn’t think you’d look through it”
“I am your mother, you shouldn’t have to hide such things, how dare you belittle my efforts into bringing you into this country! You know when I was small I didn’t have these stupid DSP’s or WiiWii crap or station games! It’s this rubbish that makes y-”
This rant went on for a while, My mum eventually just left me off but I destroyed that book and made sure that she would never see any of my secrets, I learned to bottle everything inside.

After that incident I could never look at her in the same as before nor talk with her like old times.

There is a barrier of trust that gets breached and you can’t fix a relationship afterwards.
My mum looked through a period of my life that I would rather keep hidden but she broke my trust and lectured me after about how keeping secrets was wrong.

Funny enough that incident made me a better liar and because of it let me sneak off and do what I want.

Moral of the story, trust your kid and keep to her privacy.


To start off, it is an invasion of privacy.
Yes you may be their parent and yes you may feel entitled to be able to read it, but in reality you are not.
The thoughts that are written in that diary/journal are all feelings and thoughts that they decided to keep to themselves.

If they were comfortable to talk to you about it they will, but in the meantime they may be coping with self issues and problems and just writing about it helps them feel better and you should be understanding of that.
They may also not want to share some things due to the fear of being judged.
Writing helps both emotionally and with mental health.

In this case I speak for myself.
I am not a teen anymore but when I was about 12 years old in the seventh grade I began my first poetry journal/book.
All pieces on what I would feel on that exact day.
To this day I still do not let anyone read a single poem that is written on those pages.
Because they are all things about myself that no one could ever understand.
It became my sanctuary, the only time I was able to release my emotions and thoughts on how I truly felt.
I kept mostly every emotion and problem that I had bottled up inside.
Rhyming words and jotting random things down was just my way of coping.
I wrote down everything I would feel, but never actually had the strength to come forward and say or talk about.

If you are concerned that the teen may be going through something serious then ask them about it, instead of giving into the temptation of wanting to read from what is theirs.
Once you read it without permission, trust will be broken.
And now they really won’t be able to communicate with you at all.

JUST DO NOT DO IT


No you dont, unless you want them to be scarred for life
I use to write diary until my mom found it and read it.
It was the most personal thing I ever had.
I was having some issue at school and even wrote a list of people I hate and wrote below it
“ the day I become successful I will find them and tell them look how irritating me turned out.

It has been 10yrs since still my mom ask me how those people got on the list.
She was your best friend.
How is she on the list.
My brother still make fun of me about my list.
It has become a family joke.

I stopped writing diaries after that incident.
But when I used to write it down I used to feel healed.
After that incident I felt violated and felt I have no space or privacy.
I had no way to let go of my worries without the paranoia of been under watch.
Diary was my go to place.
Now it doesn't exist.

Now when I feel too sad/depressed/worried, I write it down and then burn those paper after that or cut it into small pieces and throw them in different places, so no one could put them together.
That's how paranoiad I have become.

Do you want your child to feel the same way, violated?! Give them their space.
Let them figure out their life.
Did you go to your parents for help for every tiny thing that happened to you when you were a teenager?
Make your relation with your child so strong that instead of you prying on them, they will come to you when they cannot handle their issues.
Tell them that you are there for them and will help them even in any kind of situation.

Be their friend not a detective.
Help them,not investigate on them


Let me ask you this: does your teenager have the right to read your personal diary? The one you so lovingly write in and take great pains to hide from their prying eyes?! No? Then buzz off! If you don’t want them reading what you write in YOUR personal diary/journal, then don’t read theirs.

My step dad ransacked my room looking for the little diary that I had bought at the dollar store with my allowance without his permission and he was desperate to find out what was written in it.

Once he did find it and read it, he realized the journal he was reading was my story journal as homes didn’t have computers or internet—only the Military had computers and internet access.

I bought two journals one that didn’t have a lock and one that had a lock whose key I kept on a piece of string around my neck at all times.

If you don’t want your teenager reading YOUR personal diary, then what makes you think that you have the ‘right’ to read theirs? It’s none of your business what’s written in that diary.

It’s a safe haven for them to write down their true feelings without fear of reprimandation from adults.
The life of a teenager in 2017 is more stressful than it was when you were a teenager in the preceeding decades.

Just butt out and leave their personal property alone!


No.

When I was younger I kept two fake journals to keep my mom from reading my real one.
Finally she figured this out so I bought a lock for it.
Once my mom found the key she read my journal and our relationship was never the same.
Keep in mind that I wrote down all of my thoughts and feelings in this journal.
I wrote about the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Apparently all that stuck out to my mom was the ugly.
My brother was home visiting us over summer break from MIT.
After reading my journal she became intent on reading my brothers to see if her “perfect” son was as “emotionaly damaged” and “mean” as I was.
After reading his PRIVATE journal she forced us both into therapy.
(He was 20 and I was 12 at the time) Once we get to therapy the therapist expects us to be these deeply troubled kids from what my mom had been saying about us.
After our first therapy session the therapist was totally perplexed.
She tells us our mom read our journals and was worried, but that she didn’t see what was wrong.
After telling both me and my brother this she spoke to my mom.
That night at dinner she was furious.
She said we were only sabotaging ourselves and she was done trying to help us.

So NO! I don’t think anyone including a parent has a right to read their child’s journal.
I know if my mother hadn’t read mine my life and relationship with her after that would have been so much better.


About 2 years ago, my best friend was acting incredibly down.
She wasn't eating, sleeping or doing well in school.
She's one of those teens who would have never slacked at school so i knew something was wrong.

She was also typically very bubbly and positive but for the past few weeks she had become into a completely different person.
Obviously something was wrong.

She was refusing to talk about herself no matter how hard it tried.

One day, i went over to her house a little early.
She was with her dad for another 20 minutes (her parents are divorced)so i went to her room to wait for her.

Her diary was lying open on the bed and i know i probably shouldn't have but i looked.

She was in a very dark place.
She was dealing with self hate and bullying.
Her dad was abusing her.
Just looking at the words, i could tell she was depressed.
.
I heard the garage door and knew she was home.
I put the diary back.

When she came into the room i could now see the bruises she so desperately tried to hide.

I barely slept that night.
I was going back and forth in if i should tell someone.
The next day, i met with my vice principal and told him.
For the past two years she's been seeing a counselor and less of her dad.
Of course there's a lot of things going on between court and her dad but i respect that privacy.

She's been much happier since and is doing great.

So to answer your question, it depends.
Now i know she's my best friend and not my child.
But i think you should respect the privacy of your teen.
Unless you see the warning signs of something much bigger.
Think about it.
If i hadn't looked at her diary, she probably wouldn't be here today.
In her diary, she talked about some really dark things that nobody should ever deal with.

So make your own call.
They might hate you for it at first but know that it's for their own good .

If you are ever dealing with anything like this, TALK TO SOMEONE.
Stay safe and remember you are loved♥️


I keep seeing answers about people being beaten by their parents because of what their journal says.
But I don’t think you’ll beat your child, so I’ll talk about my experiences.

I’ve been keeping a diary/journal/sketchbook for the past year and a half.
It’s really detailed, and explains what I’m going through mentally and whatever.

I know my mum is reading my diary.
I’m not sure how long, but I only recently realized.
I haven’t confronted her about it, and she hasn’t asked me about it.
But I now keep it in a different hiding spot, and take it to school with me.

I don’t trust my mom anymore.
At all.
I always thought we were close, but when I found out about her snooping, all of my trust disappeared.
I’m now 10000x more cautious and secretive about what I do, and it’s harder to talk to her because of what she did.

I have a close friend, I’ll call him Conner, but his parent’s always go through his stuff.
He doesn’t have a journal, more of a series of loose paper that he writes on whenever he gets upset.

His parents read that, and also go through his phone and browser history.

He hates his parents.
I regularly text/hear him talk about how upset this makes him, how he wants to cut them off when he moves out because they don’t respect them.
His parents aren’t that bad of people, they just treat their kids more like pets/belongings than actual people.

DO NOT EVER READ YOUR CHILDS DIARY OR GO THROUGH THEIR PERSONAL BELONGINGS.

If you think they’re depressed, talk to them.

If you think they are hiding something, talk to them
You should NEVER violate their privacy just because you’re curious.

Kids don’t share everything with you, they keep a lot private.
If they choose not to tell you, it’s their business, and you need to back off.


Look at the many many MANY stories posted here.
Lots of stuff about how the person has a horrible relationship with their parent(s), lack of trust, scarring memories and abandonment of their writing hobby.

Now there’s me.
How’s my relationship with my mom? Awesome, actually.
We’re very close.
We get together to hang out as often as we can and we can talk to each other about anything honestly.

What’s the difference between me and the other answers here?
My mom didn’t snoop through my journals.

“But Kay, how do you know your mom didn’t sneak peeks in your diary without you knowing?”
I went through a period where I was secretive about anything I wrote (thanks to a particular middle school moment but I digress).
So I carried my journals, short story collections and sketchpads with me at all times and if I ever needed to leave them, I had ways to detect if they were touched.
It was nerve-wrecking at school but I relaxed at home because there was never any indication the books were looked at.

From the start, my mom and I have been open.
I could ask my mother anything without getting into trouble or anyone getting upset (unless it was deathly serious which was still rare).
She was completely honest with me; gave me the answer or would tell me she wasn’t comfortable talking about it until I was older.

My mom took an interest in my life.
She supported my hobbies while introducing me to new activities and would ask about my day almost every day.
If I didn’t feel comfortable sharing on the rare occasion, mom would back off after giving me a hug and telling me she was there for me whenever I did need to talk.
No suspicion or jumps to conclusions.

“So do you think you have a right to read your teen’s diary or not?!”
Privacy is a rare thing nowadays what with social media, security cameras everywhere and everyone trying to find out what you’re doing every second of the day.
Sometimes the only privacy you get is your own thoughts.
And writing is a very helpful way to understand your thought processes.

By looking at someone’s journal, you’re invading their “safe place”.
Taking away someone’s “safe place” can have devastating consequences on the person’s mental condition.

Again, look at the other answers here.
So many relationships crumbled to dust, so many damaged individuals.
All because a parent was nosy and felt entitled to read their kid’s journal.

If you want to know what your child is up to, JUST ASK.
Build a proper relationship with your teen! Talk to them about their day, what’s going on, hobbies, take an interest in your teen’s life.
If they don’t want to talk about something, you back off.
Let them know they can talk to you whenever they need to.
And don’t yell or punish them right after they do talk to you; discuss everything thoroughly and calmly.

Remember that honesty and trust are important components of a relationship as well.
You be open about what your teen asks you (if you don’t feel comfortable sharing, let them know that and say you’ll discuss it when you feel ready).
And have faith too.
Trust your child is making good decisions.
After all, you raised them so their actions are a reflection of your parenting.
If you don’t trust them to do the right thing, what does that say about you?
One more thing.

There are times where it might be hard to figure out something is wrong.
Your kid won’t talk to you about anything, their personality becomes depressed, grades suddenly go from perfect to failing, etc.

If you have a CLEAR reason to suspect something is wrong with your child (not just paranoid delusions), ONLY THEN you can peek at the journal.
And you do it to make sure your child isn’t involved in anything dangerous or suffering from mental illness.
If they are, you help them.


Absolutely not.
A diary is a private journal where a person should feel comfortable to write their most private thoughts, feelings and experiences.
If a parent violates that trust, they violate all trust and any future confidence and confidance that could occur.
Even when students write journals in English class in school the teacher does not read them.
Generally at the end of the term the students select a small number of entries to submit for grading, and the rest remain private.

If you open that door, how can you expect your child to learn to respect your privacy? Parents have many things they usually wish to be kept away from the eyes of their young: tax returns, investments, special drawers beside the bed, another couple they may hang out with an awful lot, a bag of something green/white/pills they don't want their kids to see, a saucy latex number, a stack of XXX classics, a juvie record, an oopsie with the accountant last Xmas party and so on.
And so on.

Teens need their privacy, and they are absolutely entitled to it.
It's far more preferable to cultivate a better and more fruitful conversational relationship with your teen than to ruin your relationship forever by crossing that line.
And in crossing it you'll find that they'll never forget it: anyone who has had this trust violated holds that grudge steadfastly to them like a crucifix in a scary Romanian forest (insert wolves howling).
The best place to talk to your kid is at the dinner table.
Teens today know a lot about what is going on in the world, and many are frustrated and disturbed by current events.
You could start there.
My ex’s parents would participate in their all their sons’ education by reading the same English and History books.
In doing so they were not only better equipped to help with homework, but it made for great dinner conversation and they were much better parents.
They were certainly much more involved and elicited much more talk from their kids than my parents ever bothered to do, and today they are all very close as adults.


Its a personal diary.
Yes some parents can reason themselves into reading it.
.
but most of the time its a really REALLY bad idea.
A diary is a place to vent, to write thing they’d never say in real life, someone to confide in, things written in anger, frustration and more (and instantly forgotten after) and so on.
Ultimately it would be a massive breach of trust and unless there are extremely good reasons behind it (and its done in the right way – preferably with willing permission) .
.
any kind of trust could easily be utterly ruined.
The teen may also have a far harder time confiding in others (including writing things down in a diary+) which in turn may turn him/her inwards and cause mental damage (higher risk at least).
So overall.
.
No, you don’t have a right to read the diary of your children/teen.

On the other hand.
.
I did read a post (for a somewhat similar question) where someone gave an example of the right kind of reasoning behind reading their diary (and the right way).
To sum up this is what I remember;
The mother had become increasingly concerned and worried for her daughter, and regardless of how hard she tried to get her teen to confide in her, her daughter reacted with hostility (which just made her even more worried).
Ultimately she reached a point where where she decided that her daughter’s privacy vs her concern regarding her teen’s escalating behaviour fell second.
And so she read her diary.
Afterwards she quickly got her daughter into therapy (there were no mention of discussing what she’d read with her daughter – the mother just reacted to what she learned in the best way she knew how) and also found a new school for her (thereby solving the biggest problems the girl had (massive bullying problem to the point the girl was wondering if she wanted to live).
Because of the mother’s interference her daughter grew up to be a strong and healthy woman (whereas otherwise she might not have grown up at all).
So.
.

Parents don’t have a right as such but at times their teen’s privacy vs true parental concern will mean they may choose to take that path and it would be the right thing to do.
But in most causes it won’t be and a parent would be far better off trying to create and foster a good relationship with their teen (wikihow has several good articles on the topic) and that way earn their trust and confidence.


No.

My parents don't seem to trust me very much- as a matter of fact, they openly accuse me of being “too secretive”.
One day when I was 8 or 9, we got into an argument over… something, I forgot, but it ended with my mom going under my bed, as my older brother and sister watched, and pulling out my personal folder on sketches and my journal.

Let me just say, I love sketching, but I HATE showing other people my sketches and innermost thoughts for a reason that belongs in a Quora answer of its own.
Knowing this, my mother went through everything, leaving the sketches in plain view of my siblings, and reading all my personal entries aloud.
Now despite the fact that I was going through a bit of crap at that time, I never wrote down my absolute BIGGEST secrets, and after this, I think I never will.

I'm 17 now, and I still don't like telling any personal issues to my parents.
I just don't trust them to handle it responsibly.
The worst things I tell them are superficial things, like “I'm really nervous I won't get into this college.
” They still think they should go through my phone and belongings to keep me safe, but it really does more harm than good.


No.
Absolutely, a hundred percent, no.

Between the two covers of a diary, lies a safe haven- a sanctuary which, under no circumstance should ever be broken.

As of today, I’ve kept a diary for over three years.

Within those colored, hello-kitty patterned pages lie dozens of painful, happy, sorrowful but genuine memories.
Personal memories which were written for my eyes only.

Two years ago, I had a school project that involved one of my friends coming over.
Since my library and study are conveniently conjoined, we decided that it was the best place to do our project.

I left my diary in one of the desk’s many compartments.
Thinking I could trust her not to snoop around, I exited the room unburdened to fetch more art supplies.

When I returned, my diary was no longer in the compartment, but sitting atop the desk.
I thought nothing of it and resumed the project- which we finished in the short span of an hour.

The next day, I was greeted by the cruel laughter of my schoolmates.
As you most probably already concluded, I had absolutely no idea what was going on.
Suddenly, a friend wordlessly thrust me her phone.
It was an Instagram page.
The contents of my diary flashed before my eyes.

I don’t remember what happened afterwards, just the unbelievable pain I felt.
The betrayal, the hurt.

So unless you want your child to feel the same thing, DO NOT READ THEIR DIARY.


Do you have a right to read your teen’s personal diary?


I don't agree with the assumption that rights are the most relevant issue here, but I'll go along with that.
The two main rights I see in this situation are property and privacy.
The first one relates to you and the teen, the second relates only to the teen.

These questions are too far removed from the actual situation.
The first one is nitpicky and doesn’t match the gravity of a situation.
“Yes, it's mine, so I can read it” or “No, it's mine, so I can't read it” are both superficial answers to a deeper question.
The second also seems silly.
Teenagers crave privacy.
It helps them as they develop an identity independent of their parents, a crucial step to adulthood.
Respecting their privacy helps them mature and learn how to respect others.

The only relevant issue that arises from these questions is that “what if.
” It seems to suggest that the potential, not even definite or known consequences would justify you (maybe) violating your child's rights to privacy.
Granted, parents have uncanny instincts as to whether or not their child is up to something dangerous, but you could still be wrong.
And if you're wrong, then it means your initial justification isn't valid, and you just violated your child's privacy for nothing.

So looking at this problem as a question of rights doesn't fit.
This question is about the relationship between parent and child and the values that promote a healthy one like honesty, respect, and communication.
Are you being honest if you read their diary? Respectful? It's not honest to go behind your child's back and read their diary, but sometimes we can violate the principle of honesty if it's really important.
So is it really important? Is there really no other way you can find out what you need to know about your child’s safety?
If you've fostered an environment of open communication and continually emphasized to your child that they can tell you anything, that you will put their safety and happiness before any judgement and reprimanding, then there likely isn't anything in that diary that you need to know.

If you haven't, start right now.

Either way, you will either break the existing trust between you and your child or ruin your chance at building it by opening that diary.


I am almost 16 years old.
I have a job, I get straight A’s.
I don’t do drugs, an I’ve never once come home wasted.
I would say that, yes, I am a good girl, despite any speculations that may go on in my head.

And yet three days ago my mother read my personal diary.

She was looking for information about a party I was planning to attend, and what I was planning to do there.
She was also looking for information about a boy I have been involved with recently.

And she found that information.
Yes, there was going to be a party.
Yes, I was going to drink, and yes, I was planning on hooking up with a specific guy.

Unbeknownst to her, whilst I had planned all this in my diary, I had also last minute pulled out of those plans.

My mum found what she was looking for, but she would also have found many other things.

She would have seen the angry rants when I was at my bratty worst, the tear stained pages about friends who are dropping acid and boys who are terrifying.
The cartoons.
The page about how once I self-harmed, which is right before the page where talk about my favourite Kardashian sister, and after the part where I contemplate my sexuality.

Reading my diary gave my mum the shock of her life, knowing how much I actually know about the world.

I am firmly of the belief that telling your child “just don’t have sex” and “just don’t drink”, really doesn’t fucking work.
Of course teenagers are going to try things, and its completely natural for them to want to do so.
As a parent, you should of course, make your child aware of the potential consequences of their actions, but if it comes to it, its better to have a 16 year old who has safe sex, and drinks safely, than a girl who is dead because the boundaries set for her were completely unrealistic, and she snuck out one night, and it all went wrong.

Actions speak louder than words.
I did not go to that party that night, regardless of what I planned, or said I would do.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t go to a party some other time, be that next week, or when I leave school and leave home.

What I do at that party now is up to you, mum.
Will you let me be safe? Or will you lock me up and wait for me to go crazy the moment I leave home?
I don’t think anyone has the ‘right’ to breach someones personal privacy, and I hold the belief that reading someones personal diary is wrong.
But also, parents have the right to monitor their childs safety if they fear something really really bad is happening.
I still wish that my mother had not read my diary, but I do not blame her for doing so, because I sincerely believe she did it out of love.

That being said, she could have just, you know, talked to me, in a calm manner, and listened to what I had to say, instead of completely breaking the small amount of trust I had in her before.

So, if you genuinely fear something bad is happening, like life-threatening, and think that reading your teens diary is the only thing to do to protect them, then by all means you should do that.
They are your child, and you love and want to protect them.
But only as a last resort.

If you do decide to read it, keep one thing in mind:
A diary is often a reflection of someones most illogical, senseless, emotion-fuelled thoughts.
As a teen, you don’t write in a diary when you are having a balanced and calm day.
You write when you are confused, and upset, and scared, and angry.

What someone writes when they are at their emotional lowest does not define who they are as a person.

Mum, I’m sorry that the things I said hurt and disappointed you.
But at the same time, I’m not sorry for being confused, and I’m not sorry for being curious, and I’m not sorry for having the emotions I expressed in my diary.

Which at the end of the day, no one was supposed to see.


I’m going anonymous because people I know personally follow my account, and I’d rather not have them associate this with me.

Absolutely not.

Back in secondary school, I kept a diary, in which I’d pen my thoughts of the day – the writings of a confused, pubescent teen.
I’d keep my diary wedged between my mattresses or tucked into the folds of my clothes, and back then, I was an avid writer.

One fateful day, my class had a sex education lesson and we were told a very vivid description of the whole abortion process.
Having an overactive imagination, I tried to place myself in the abortee’s shoes and felt nauseous.
Later that day, I went home to pen down my thoughts on the class, and mentioned that my mouth “tasted like pennies” when I thought about aborting a fetus.
After writing, I hid my diary, as per usual.

For the next few days, my mother behaved strangely around me – purposefully cornering me to have discussions about relationships and boys, and being hostile and tense.
Being suspicious, I decided to hide my diary in the bathroom cupboard – something I’d not done before.

That Friday, she and I headed to the gym, still talking about relationships and boys.
Having had enough, I began to refuse answering directly.
Her questions then became more hostile and accusatory about who I’d been seeing (no one), etc.
, until she snapped and said she knew I’d had sex and she demanded to meet the boy.
I was flabbergasted; what was she talking about? How could she accuse me for no good reason? I didn’t do anything! We screamed at each other, back and forth, until she admitted she’d read my diary.
She told me that was her proof and to stop lying.

Furious, I stormed home, with her hot on my heels and just as worked up.
I ran into the bathroom and locked the door while she pounded on the door.
I emerged with the book.
She snatched it and flipped to the entry on abortion and pointed out the phrase, “tasted like pennies.

At this point, while I’m sure things are fairly obvious, I want to point out that English is not my mother’s first language.

After pointing at the phrase, she told me to explain myself and I screamed, “P-E-N-N-I-E-S.
That spells PENNIES, as in coins! My mouth ‘tasting like pennies’ means I wanted to throw up!”
She became silent, and let out a quiet oh.
She had thought I wrote that I’d been giving some guy a blowjob.

I locked myself in my room that night and cried myself to sleep.

The fact that I can recall this memory so well shows how much it impacted me.
After that experience, I couldn’t keep a diary anymore, try as I might – the words didn’t flow right and I couldn’t keep the habit up, until I gave up trying.
I didn’t know, before then, that she read my entries.
I felt vulnerable, like my thoughts, once written down or spoken aloud, were there to be judged, misconstrued, and misinterpreted.

My diary was a way for me to reflect on things I had learnt or experienced, how I acted, and most importantly, writing helped me ask questions about myself that many teenagers would relate to.
These questions were innocent, and things a teenager ponders about as they enter adulthood – musings without any definitive action.

Most parents want to, understandably, protect their children from the dangers of the real world, but by reading your child’s diary, you threaten a natural learning process and you lose your child’s trust in you.

If your child trusts you, they will ask you questions and have discussions with you on their own accord, without you needing to intervene.
It is normal for a growing individual to want to seek guidance from a trustworthy guardian.
Trying to forcefully expedite the process or intrusive helicopter-parenting will only push them away.

If you value your relationship with your child and hope to continue having one in the future, then for crying out loud, don’t read your child’s diary!


I guess I'm going to receive alot of backlash for this.

I have read most of he answers here , they all say no , give your teen some privacy, it's a way of teaching respect and so on.

Pls read this first :
These two girls haven't returned to their homes,
I once read about a woman in a local paper whose 13 yr old son ran away with a woman, not to be found, they only found plans and love notes and poems written in his dairy about few days after he went missing, that was 2013 he still hasn’t been found .

When I newly joined Quora, I read about a woman that lost her daughter to an online predator , the girl was 16 then, she reconnected with her daughter 3 years later and she was already a mother to his baby , and quite miserable and hates her mother (Brainwashed) , some comments suggested she accepts her fate and the girl is an adult and can choose her destiny …blah blah.

And a whole lot more
Now look at this
This is the hierarchy of needs (human needs not animal …lol)
Now please judge , is privacy needs higher than saftey and security needs .
NO.

Diary, cell phones , computers , internet , neighborhood, whatever poses any danger , I owe my kids to protect them and keep them safe ( even from themselves atimes ) at almost all costs, and I will do that to the best of my ability.

So yes I will read it (sneakily) and if I see a major red flag I will take necessary measures, otherwise I will keep a low profile (yes I am a spyparent).

That being said , I encourage all parents to keep an open minded and cordial relationship with their kids , let them be able to come to you with any and every form of troubles on their mind (crushes, being bullied , depression, classes, what they feel about your mum , about your boyfriends and girlfriends, their siblings),and try to tackle the issue without being overtly judgemental ( even if every nerve of you is cringing).

Remember it's you and your kid VS the problem , not you against the child .

If your kids feel they have secrets so dark they cannot tell you, the problem is with you the parent.

Footnotes:
Teen girl who ran away with a man she’d never met
Our 15-year-old daughter ran away to be with a man she met on the internet.
.
.
I didn’t think it happened to clever girls

Now bring the rain.


I believe that everyone should have a basic right to privacy.

Now, I never had any privacy, and I still don’t.
I was never allowed to be in my bedroom during the day, never allowed to close my door, never allowed to be on the computer without a parent supervising, never allowed to use any electronics without supervision, for that matter.

Then, one day, I started a journal.
I wrote about everything in it.
How I felt about my parents, sexual things, all of my feelings, what happened in school, everything.
I wrote in that thing like crazy.
I trusted it more than anything else.
I didn’t expect my parents to one day up and read it.

I got in a ton of trouble, for all of my feelings against my parents that I thought were private.
I expected to have at least one place where I could truly be myself, but they did not think that.
All of my trust in them was gone, just like that.

Now, a couple years later, I still do not trust either of them at all, with anything.
I recently started a new journal, and I am terrified that one of them will read it.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t have even started a new one because they read the last one, and history is the best predictor of future behavior and all that, but I was bursting with emotions and no one to talk to that I could trust.
So I have one now.

The other day, my mom was talking to me and crying about how I never told her anything.
I couldn’t tell her that that was because I no longer trust her with any information, because that would hurt her feelings.
She then told me that she was going to read my journal.

I stared at her like she had grown another head.
I was stunned.
I thought that she finally respected my privacy, and maybe even had adopted some morals about it.
Apparently that was not the case.

After we had a short, concise conversation about privacy, she concluded that she would read it if I left it out in the open.

I am now terrified to leave it anywhere, anytime.
If I’m writing in it on the kitchen table, and I get up to go to the bathroom, I worry about her reading it.
If I leave it downstairs in my backpack at night, I worry about her reading it.
I am always worrying about that.
I do not trust my mother anymore with any of my personal information, because of this one little incident.

Sure, go ahead and read your child’s journal.
Go ahead and violate their trust and privacy.
They will eventually know that you have no respect for them at all, and will never trust them to not do bad things.
You will lose your child’s trust for a very long time, but if you’re okay with that, that’s fine.


God no!
When I was younger I had a special padlock diary.
My aunt got it for me on my 7th birthday, I didn’t use the thing until I was 12.

(something similar to this….
Image from google)
That’s when things went downhill.

I would write my everything in the diary, what I felt, who I hated, secrets, and my family…
I went for a shower but left my key on the desk, It would usually be wrapped around my neck like a necklace but I felt really tired after the shower and went to bed.

The next morning I felt awful but I shook it off and went to school,
When I felt around my neck at 3rd period I noticed that my key wasn’t there…
Panic
When school finally ended I rushed home in under 15 minuetes, I looked on my desk and found….
that the key was still there.
.
.
A sigh of relief escaped my chest.

Now keep in mind that I’ve written in that diary for 3 years so a lot of stuff was in that thing.

When I headed downstairs for afternoon tea I saw my mum sitting on the couch, she looked mad.
I felt a bit of dread at the pit of my stomach but tried to shake it off, before I could run back upstairs with my sandwich I heard my mum call me…
She told me to sit down, the feeling of dread intensified,
“What were those horrible things you wrote about me in that stupid book of yours”
My fears were confirmed.

When I write about my life, I tend to get a bit descriptive, when something bad happens I feel the need to write it down to get my head sorted out, the “bad” things I’d written were just complaints I can’t say to her face and they weren’t just limited to my mother either.

My whole family was written in that book and everything I experiance is written in that book,
“Mum I can explain, the book means nothi-”
“Is this how you feel! Do you know how disrespectful it is to me that you’ve written such horrible words”
My mum’s asian so respect is something she takes very seriously.

“But that my private book, I didn’t think you’d look through it”
“I am your mother, you shouldn’t have to hide such things, how dare you belittle my efforts into bringing you into this country! You know when I was small I didn’t have these stupid DSP’s or WiiWii crap or station games! It’s this rubbish that makes y-”
This rant went on for a while, My mum eventually just left me off but I destroyed that book and made sure that she would never see any of my secrets, I learned to bottle everything inside.

After that incident I could never look at her in the same as before nor talk with her like old times.

There is a barrier of trust that gets breached and you can’t fix a relationship afterwards.
My mum looked through a period of my life that I would rather keep hidden but she broke my trust and lectured me after about how keeping secrets was wrong.

Funny enough that incident made me a better liar and because of it let me sneak off and do what I want.

Moral of the story, trust your kid and keep to her privacy.


To start off, it is an invasion of privacy.
Yes you may be their parent and yes you may feel entitled to be able to read it, but in reality you are not.
The thoughts that are written in that diary/journal are all feelings and thoughts that they decided to keep to themselves.

If they were comfortable to talk to you about it they will, but in the meantime they may be coping with self issues and problems and just writing about it helps them feel better and you should be understanding of that.
They may also not want to share some things due to the fear of being judged.
Writing helps both emotionally and with mental health.

In this case I speak for myself.
I am not a teen anymore but when I was about 12 years old in the seventh grade I began my first poetry journal/book.
All pieces on what I would feel on that exact day.
To this day I still do not let anyone read a single poem that is written on those pages.
Because they are all things about myself that no one could ever understand.
It became my sanctuary, the only time I was able to release my emotions and thoughts on how I truly felt.
I kept mostly every emotion and problem that I had bottled up inside.
Rhyming words and jotting random things down was just my way of coping.
I wrote down everything I would feel, but never actually had the strength to come forward and say or talk about.

If you are concerned that the teen may be going through something serious then ask them about it, instead of giving into the temptation of wanting to read from what is theirs.
Once you read it without permission, trust will be broken.
And now they really won’t be able to communicate with you at all.

JUST DO NOT DO IT


No you dont, unless you want them to be scarred for life
I use to write diary until my mom found it and read it.
It was the most personal thing I ever had.
I was having some issue at school and even wrote a list of people I hate and wrote below it
“ the day I become successful I will find them and tell them look how irritating me turned out.

It has been 10yrs since still my mom ask me how those people got on the list.
She was your best friend.
How is she on the list.
My brother still make fun of me about my list.
It has become a family joke.

I stopped writing diaries after that incident.
But when I used to write it down I used to feel healed.
After that incident I felt violated and felt I have no space or privacy.
I had no way to let go of my worries without the paranoia of been under watch.
Diary was my go to place.
Now it doesn't exist.

Now when I feel too sad/depressed/worried, I write it down and then burn those paper after that or cut it into small pieces and throw them in different places, so no one could put them together.
That's how paranoiad I have become.

Do you want your child to feel the same way, violated?! Give them their space.
Let them figure out their life.
Did you go to your parents for help for every tiny thing that happened to you when you were a teenager?
Make your relation with your child so strong that instead of you prying on them, they will come to you when they cannot handle their issues.
Tell them that you are there for them and will help them even in any kind of situation.

Be their friend not a detective.
Help them,not investigate on them


Let me ask you this: does your teenager have the right to read your personal diary? The one you so lovingly write in and take great pains to hide from their prying eyes?! No? Then buzz off! If you don’t want them reading what you write in YOUR personal diary/journal, then don’t read theirs.

My step dad ransacked my room looking for the little diary that I had bought at the dollar store with my allowance without his permission and he was desperate to find out what was written in it.

Once he did find it and read it, he realized the journal he was reading was my story journal as homes didn’t have computers or internet—only the Military had computers and internet access.

I bought two journals one that didn’t have a lock and one that had a lock whose key I kept on a piece of string around my neck at all times.

If you don’t want your teenager reading YOUR personal diary, then what makes you think that you have the ‘right’ to read theirs? It’s none of your business what’s written in that diary.

It’s a safe haven for them to write down their true feelings without fear of reprimandation from adults.
The life of a teenager in 2017 is more stressful than it was when you were a teenager in the preceeding decades.

Just butt out and leave their personal property alone!


No.

When I was younger I kept two fake journals to keep my mom from reading my real one.
Finally she figured this out so I bought a lock for it.
Once my mom found the key she read my journal and our relationship was never the same.
Keep in mind that I wrote down all of my thoughts and feelings in this journal.
I wrote about the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Apparently all that stuck out to my mom was the ugly.
My brother was home visiting us over summer break from MIT.
After reading my journal she became intent on reading my brothers to see if her “perfect” son was as “emotionaly damaged” and “mean” as I was.
After reading his PRIVATE journal she forced us both into therapy.
(He was 20 and I was 12 at the time) Once we get to therapy the therapist expects us to be these deeply troubled kids from what my mom had been saying about us.
After our first therapy session the therapist was totally perplexed.
She tells us our mom read our journals and was worried, but that she didn’t see what was wrong.
After telling both me and my brother this she spoke to my mom.
That night at dinner she was furious.
She said we were only sabotaging ourselves and she was done trying to help us.

So NO! I don’t think anyone including a parent has a right to read their child’s journal.
I know if my mother hadn’t read mine my life and relationship with her after that would have been so much better.


About 2 years ago, my best friend was acting incredibly down.
She wasn't eating, sleeping or doing well in school.
She's one of those teens who would have never slacked at school so i knew something was wrong.

She was also typically very bubbly and positive but for the past few weeks she had become into a completely different person.
Obviously something was wrong.

She was refusing to talk about herself no matter how hard it tried.

One day, i went over to her house a little early.
She was with her dad for another 20 minutes (her parents are divorced)so i went to her room to wait for her.

Her diary was lying open on the bed and i know i probably shouldn't have but i looked.

She was in a very dark place.
She was dealing with self hate and bullying.
Her dad was abusing her.
Just looking at the words, i could tell she was depressed.
.
I heard the garage door and knew she was home.
I put the diary back.

When she came into the room i could now see the bruises she so desperately tried to hide.

I barely slept that night.
I was going back and forth in if i should tell someone.
The next day, i met with my vice principal and told him.
For the past two years she's been seeing a counselor and less of her dad.
Of course there's a lot of things going on between court and her dad but i respect that privacy.

She's been much happier since and is doing great.

So to answer your question, it depends.
Now i know she's my best friend and not my child.
But i think you should respect the privacy of your teen.
Unless you see the warning signs of something much bigger.
Think about it.
If i hadn't looked at her diary, she probably wouldn't be here today.
In her diary, she talked about some really dark things that nobody should ever deal with.

So make your own call.
They might hate you for it at first but know that it's for their own good .

If you are ever dealing with anything like this, TALK TO SOMEONE.
Stay safe and remember you are loved♥️


I keep seeing answers about people being beaten by their parents because of what their journal says.
But I don’t think you’ll beat your child, so I’ll talk about my experiences.

I’ve been keeping a diary/journal/sketchbook for the past year and a half.
It’s really detailed, and explains what I’m going through mentally and whatever.

I know my mum is reading my diary.
I’m not sure how long, but I only recently realized.
I haven’t confronted her about it, and she hasn’t asked me about it.
But I now keep it in a different hiding spot, and take it to school with me.

I don’t trust my mom anymore.
At all.
I always thought we were close, but when I found out about her snooping, all of my trust disappeared.
I’m now 10000x more cautious and secretive about what I do, and it’s harder to talk to her because of what she did.

I have a close friend, I’ll call him Conner, but his parent’s always go through his stuff.
He doesn’t have a journal, more of a series of loose paper that he writes on whenever he gets upset.

His parents read that, and also go through his phone and browser history.

He hates his parents.
I regularly text/hear him talk about how upset this makes him, how he wants to cut them off when he moves out because they don’t respect them.
His parents aren’t that bad of people, they just treat their kids more like pets/belongings than actual people.

DO NOT EVER READ YOUR CHILDS DIARY OR GO THROUGH THEIR PERSONAL BELONGINGS.

If you think they’re depressed, talk to them.

If you think they are hiding something, talk to them
You should NEVER violate their privacy just because you’re curious.

Kids don’t share everything with you, they keep a lot private.
If they choose not to tell you, it’s their business, and you need to back off.


Look at the many many MANY stories posted here.
Lots of stuff about how the person has a horrible relationship with their parent(s), lack of trust, scarring memories and abandonment of their writing hobby.

Now there’s me.
How’s my relationship with my mom? Awesome, actually.
We’re very close.
We get together to hang out as often as we can and we can talk to each other about anything honestly.

What’s the difference between me and the other answers here?
My mom didn’t snoop through my journals.

“But Kay, how do you know your mom didn’t sneak peeks in your diary without you knowing?”
I went through a period where I was secretive about anything I wrote (thanks to a particular middle school moment but I digress).
So I carried my journals, short story collections and sketchpads with me at all times and if I ever needed to leave them, I had ways to detect if they were touched.
It was nerve-wrecking at school but I relaxed at home because there was never any indication the books were looked at.

From the start, my mom and I have been open.
I could ask my mother anything without getting into trouble or anyone getting upset (unless it was deathly serious which was still rare).
She was completely honest with me; gave me the answer or would tell me she wasn’t comfortable talking about it until I was older.

My mom took an interest in my life.
She supported my hobbies while introducing me to new activities and would ask about my day almost every day.
If I didn’t feel comfortable sharing on the rare occasion, mom would back off after giving me a hug and telling me she was there for me whenever I did need to talk.
No suspicion or jumps to conclusions.

“So do you think you have a right to read your teen’s diary or not?!”
Privacy is a rare thing nowadays what with social media, security cameras everywhere and everyone trying to find out what you’re doing every second of the day.
Sometimes the only privacy you get is your own thoughts.
And writing is a very helpful way to understand your thought processes.

By looking at someone’s journal, you’re invading their “safe place”.
Taking away someone’s “safe place” can have devastating consequences on the person’s mental condition.

Again, look at the other answers here.
So many relationships crumbled to dust, so many damaged individuals.
All because a parent was nosy and felt entitled to read their kid’s journal.

If you want to know what your child is up to, JUST ASK.
Build a proper relationship with your teen! Talk to them about their day, what’s going on, hobbies, take an interest in your teen’s life.
If they don’t want to talk about something, you back off.
Let them know they can talk to you whenever they need to.
And don’t yell or punish them right after they do talk to you; discuss everything thoroughly and calmly.

Remember that honesty and trust are important components of a relationship as well.
You be open about what your teen asks you (if you don’t feel comfortable sharing, let them know that and say you’ll discuss it when you feel ready).
And have faith too.
Trust your child is making good decisions.
After all, you raised them so their actions are a reflection of your parenting.
If you don’t trust them to do the right thing, what does that say about you?
One more thing.

There are times where it might be hard to figure out something is wrong.
Your kid won’t talk to you about anything, their personality becomes depressed, grades suddenly go from perfect to failing, etc.

If you have a CLEAR reason to suspect something is wrong with your child (not just paranoid delusions), ONLY THEN you can peek at the journal.
And you do it to make sure your child isn’t involved in anything dangerous or suffering from mental illness.
If they are, you help them.


Absolutely not.
A diary is a private journal where a person should feel comfortable to write their most private thoughts, feelings and experiences.
If a parent violates that trust, they violate all trust and any future confidence and confidance that could occur.
Even when students write journals in English class in school the teacher does not read them.
Generally at the end of the term the students select a small number of entries to submit for grading, and the rest remain private.

If you open that door, how can you expect your child to learn to respect your privacy? Parents have many things they usually wish to be kept away from the eyes of their young: tax returns, investments, special drawers beside the bed, another couple they may hang out with an awful lot, a bag of something green/white/pills they don't want their kids to see, a saucy latex number, a stack of XXX classics, a juvie record, an oopsie with the accountant last Xmas party and so on.
And so on.

Teens need their privacy, and they are absolutely entitled to it.
It's far more preferable to cultivate a better and more fruitful conversational relationship with your teen than to ruin your relationship forever by crossing that line.
And in crossing it you'll find that they'll never forget it: anyone who has had this trust violated holds that grudge steadfastly to them like a crucifix in a scary Romanian forest (insert wolves howling).
The best place to talk to your kid is at the dinner table.
Teens today know a lot about what is going on in the world, and many are frustrated and disturbed by current events.
You could start there.
My ex’s parents would participate in their all their sons’ education by reading the same English and History books.
In doing so they were not only better equipped to help with homework, but it made for great dinner conversation and they were much better parents.
They were certainly much more involved and elicited much more talk from their kids than my parents ever bothered to do, and today they are all very close as adults.


Its a personal diary.
Yes some parents can reason themselves into reading it.
.
but most of the time its a really REALLY bad idea.
A diary is a place to vent, to write thing they’d never say in real life, someone to confide in, things written in anger, frustration and more (and instantly forgotten after) and so on.
Ultimately it would be a massive breach of trust and unless there are extremely good reasons behind it (and its done in the right way – preferably with willing permission) .
.
any kind of trust could easily be utterly ruined.
The teen may also have a far harder time confiding in others (including writing things down in a diary+) which in turn may turn him/her inwards and cause mental damage (higher risk at least).
So overall.
.
No, you don’t have a right to read the diary of your children/teen.

On the other hand.
.
I did read a post (for a somewhat similar question) where someone gave an example of the right kind of reasoning behind reading their diary (and the right way).
To sum up this is what I remember;
The mother had become increasingly concerned and worried for her daughter, and regardless of how hard she tried to get her teen to confide in her, her daughter reacted with hostility (which just made her even more worried).
Ultimately she reached a point where where she decided that her daughter’s privacy vs her concern regarding her teen’s escalating behaviour fell second.
And so she read her diary.
Afterwards she quickly got her daughter into therapy (there were no mention of discussing what she’d read with her daughter – the mother just reacted to what she learned in the best way she knew how) and also found a new school for her (thereby solving the biggest problems the girl had (massive bullying problem to the point the girl was wondering if she wanted to live).
Because of the mother’s interference her daughter grew up to be a strong and healthy woman (whereas otherwise she might not have grown up at all).
So.
.

Parents don’t have a right as such but at times their teen’s privacy vs true parental concern will mean they may choose to take that path and it would be the right thing to do.
But in most causes it won’t be and a parent would be far better off trying to create and foster a good relationship with their teen (wikihow has several good articles on the topic) and that way earn their trust and confidence.


No.

My parents don't seem to trust me very much- as a matter of fact, they openly accuse me of being “too secretive”.
One day when I was 8 or 9, we got into an argument over… something, I forgot, but it ended with my mom going under my bed, as my older brother and sister watched, and pulling out my personal folder on sketches and my journal.

Let me just say, I love sketching, but I HATE showing other people my sketches and innermost thoughts for a reason that belongs in a Quora answer of its own.
Knowing this, my mother went through everything, leaving the sketches in plain view of my siblings, and reading all my personal entries aloud.
Now despite the fact that I was going through a bit of crap at that time, I never wrote down my absolute BIGGEST secrets, and after this, I think I never will.

I'm 17 now, and I still don't like telling any personal issues to my parents.
I just don't trust them to handle it responsibly.
The worst things I tell them are superficial things, like “I'm really nervous I won't get into this college.
” They still think they should go through my phone and belongings to keep me safe, but it really does more harm than good.


No.
Absolutely, a hundred percent, no.

Between the two covers of a diary, lies a safe haven- a sanctuary which, under no circumstance should ever be broken.

As of today, I’ve kept a diary for over three years.

Within those colored, hello-kitty patterned pages lie dozens of painful, happy, sorrowful but genuine memories.
Personal memories which were written for my eyes only.

Two years ago, I had a school project that involved one of my friends coming over.
Since my library and study are conveniently conjoined, we decided that it was the best place to do our project.

I left my diary in one of the desk’s many compartments.
Thinking I could trust her not to snoop around, I exited the room unburdened to fetch more art supplies.

When I returned, my diary was no longer in the compartment, but sitting atop the desk.
I thought nothing of it and resumed the project- which we finished in the short span of an hour.

The next day, I was greeted by the cruel laughter of my schoolmates.
As you most probably already concluded, I had absolutely no idea what was going on.
Suddenly, a friend wordlessly thrust me her phone.
It was an Instagram page.
The contents of my diary flashed before my eyes.

I don’t remember what happened afterwards, just the unbelievable pain I felt.
The betrayal, the hurt.

So unless you want your child to feel the same thing, DO NOT READ THEIR DIARY.


Please don’t.

I was 8 when I started journaling.
Initially, it would be stupid stuff like – “We had science quiz today”, “mom made pulao for dinner”, etc.

I kept writing a daily basis, would choose the best journals, and use color pencils, sometimes stick photos, and try to make it more of a memory book.

I went off to boarding school, in Grade 8.
Your teachers and matron, reserve the right to go through your stuff, so my hobby was halted for a wee-bit.

I became real good friends with one of the guys in my class, and for the lack of better atmosphere to talk, he sent me a letter one day.
This was pure friendship, no crush, no flirting, or any romantic angle.
I wrote back to him.
We would exchange them during class.
It would bring a smile to my face.
What would we talk?
Ideology, beliefs, aspirations, what we expect from life and math homework.
It would often contain gossip about our fellow classmates too in good humor.

I returned home for my Grade 11, and started living with my mom.
It is not easy for a teenage girl having lived her life on her terms for 3 years, to come back under the rules of your mom.
Mom and I would have huge fights, heated arguments and loads of tears.
To cope with this, I started journaling again.

5–6 months later, I return home to find my mom in tears, sitting with all my journals open.
She had read all of them, every single of them, including my kiddish journals from aged 9–12.

She was hurt by what I had written for the recent few months, genuinely hurt.
I was on the defensive, and hated her for invading my privacy.
We did not fight that day.
We went to bed, hungry.

We had an awkward silence for a very long time, she would not get in my way and I would live by all her rules.
We both slowly forgot what I had written, and I threw away all my journals.

Though it is not one of my bad memory, I have not touched a journal ever since.

The only thing I have written down for memory is my first kiss with my husband.

I wish I could write again, but I don’t want to hurt anyone around me.

I wish I could do it without the fear of my journal being read by someone.

It is very good therapy, lack of which you lose some of your self-confidence, and you try to find attention in a fellow human being, making you vulnerable.

So please do not read your teen’s diary.
They deserve that privacy.


I say it is both a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answer.
And because I want to take the unpopular route and say that a parent does have some right to see a child’s diary/journal under very specific situations.
(And if they own a diary.
)
Since there are too many ‘no’ answers and you the viewer had possibly read all of those before coming to this answer.
I feel that at some point that a parent has a responsibility to intervene for their safety and for others.

If you set curfews, and the child goes over, gets hurt and doesn’t talk about it.
Well, expect mother bear go into your phone records.

And maybe some will have to call the police in some.

YES:
If you have a clear and reasonable-sound suspicious that your child is;
Such as the case of Alyssa Bustamante who was 15 around the time where she repeatedly stabbed Elizabeth Olten to death before calmly writing about the "pretty enjoyable" murder in her journal.

"I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they're dead," the entry read.

"I don't know how to feel atm [at the moment].
It was ahmazing.
As soon as you get over the 'ohmygawd I can't do this' feeling, it's pretty enjoyable.

"I'm kinda nervous and shaky though right now.
Kay, I gotta go to church now.
.
.
lol [laugh out loud].
"[2]
Like Graham Young, the Tea-Cup Poisoner where he recorded dosage and reactions.
[3] To be honest, he was begging to have his privacy invaded when he was reading Mein Kampf out in the open during the 1960s.

This is also seen in the Columbine High School Massacre, through the journals left behind by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
Through them, investigators discovered that the teens had been planning for a year to bomb the school in an attack similar to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings.

There is more stuff that ring serious alarm bells for a parent or anyone for that matter if they came across his entries.

November 1998: Eric writes in detail about how he wants to have violent sex with a woman, quoting a line from Nine Inch Nails' song Closer (a song about having rough, animalistic sex).
This heated entry dissolves into a gory description of how he would like to taste human flesh.
The cannibalistic rant eventually wraps around to school where Eric shifts his attention from a woman to a freshman, going on in vivid detail about the twisted, violent things he'd like to do.
[4]
And then there is this.
Journals, Diaries and School Papers .
Where it said, “Class of 98.
Top of the ‘Should had died list’.

And when your kid is not talking anything about it and hearing all of the stories of how children were driven to suicide because of bullying, that journal he or she keeps under their bed is going to be tempting.
Or I will say safety values over privacy in this on.

This happened to a friend of mine who was bullied and he didn’t say anything about it.
His parents only found out when they peeked over his social media and immediately moved schools, his bullies were sending messages of how he should kill himself.

He is now college captain.

Not really reading into a personal diary but, kind of similar?
Now this is all in assumptions that you have some alarm bells ringing about your child.
Like past history, if they hurt someone, if they have a violet tendency, criminal history and all that stuff.

(And much would had been better in hindsight if the parents check in Harris’ room for his weapons and his diaries about his disturbed mind.
)
EDIT: And I just want to mention to add a little more salt into the mix, all the examples I read where from teens around the time of their deeds.

EDIT:EDIT: As I was discussing with another user about this question.
I think it added more depth concerning about trust.
Of how we should trust teens to eventually tell them of how they feel to their parents.

If I know kids and I know kids because I am a kid is that we hid anything from our parents.
It can be small or it can be big.
, even if it hurts us or even kills us in the end.

Why? Reasons can be because we don’t want our parents to worry.
For other extreme situation, it is to ensure that they don’t call the police as I have listed above.

Lets used Columbine as an example again;
After the duo was arrested for stealing a television set 15 months earlier.
Eric wrote an essay for his angry class management saying that he was reformed.

But his private journal tells a different story.

“Isn’t America supposed to be the land of the free? How come if I’m free that I can’t deprived of some fucking dumb shit of his possessions.
If he leaves in the front seat of his fucking van, in plain sight, in the middle of fucking nowhere, on a fucking Friday night.
Natural Selection.
Fucker should had been shot.

I think a parent should had monitored their child after they came out from reform, be a bit more glued to ensure they stay on the right path.
Trust was already severed the moment he or she committed a crime.


This is a bone of contention for many people – just how far will you go, as a parent, to protect your children, to ensure they are managing well with their life’s challenges… I have a 20 year old daughter who has kept a diary since she was very young, and not once, not even one page have I read of her personal thoughts.
I knew exactly where her diary was, and I made absolutely certain that she knew she could leave it out in the open and I would not read it.
I trusted my daughter to speak to me if she was struggling with anything – and if I couldn’t help, we would find a solution, together.
I also assured her that if she needed to blow off some steam about me, she could turn to those few people she trusted that knew me, and knew her, but to only speak to them if she truly felt their advice would be helpful and not cruel.

Trusting your teenager in this day and age is a touchy subject because life has many more dangers now than ever before.
Dangers that could impact on your children in such a way that they could suffer untold traumas, stress, pressure – anything.
Having said that, trust is one of the corner stones of a good relationship with your children.
Trust them to be smart? Then teach them to be smart.
You want them to make good decisions? Teach them what making any decision looks like through actually and actively making decisions with them, and in front of them.
Making decisions for them is a whole other batch of nuts, and I feel that if you need to do this, you must have a good reason for it, an explainable one.
Your children, and teenagers especially need to know the why and how-come of such things.

I promised my daughter I would never read her diary because I knew that I had brought her up to understand that, while I am doing everything I can to be a good mother, sometimes I make mistakes and sometimes she will too.
Having a diary is a good thing for teenagers – diaries don’t get angry, they don’t judge, they don’t explain and rationalise, they don’t incite fury, they don’t tell you what to do and when and why, diaries can be torn up in frustration and then replaced, they can keep secrets like no other being would…diaries are there for those times your teenager needs to get through something, regardless of whether it’s good or bad.

I guess what I am saying is RESPECT your teenager’s privacy! The only time you should ever read a diary is: Never.
If you have established and continue to uphold an open and trusting relationship with your son or your daughter, you won’t need to read their very personal thoughts.
Reading your child’s diary will change everything and not for the better – is it worth losing the trust, respect and love of your child? No.

In a world where everything is crazy, nothing is rooted in common sense and everything comes easily, having a true and loving relationship with your teenager is the most precious accomplishment you could experience.
Best of all? Your kid will one day have children of his or her own, and they will teach their children about trust, respect and love.
After all, you taught them, and if life has shown me anything, it is that the adage “monkey see, monkey do” is pretty much on point.
LOL


Hell.
No.
My mom bought me my first diary.
You know what else she gave me? A lock.
So that I would understand that the thoughts I put down in that diary were mine and mine alone.
I don't know what it is with parents today and your obsession with violating every level of your kids privacy, but behavior like reading through your kids texts and diaries without any real reason (you suspect they are doing something seriously shady, you believe they may be in danger) is the reason why your damn kids don't trust you.
Why should a child feel safe sharing their thoughts with a parent who they know will rifle through their private notes anyway? If you can't talk to your child, then that is on YOU.
Have you even made an attempt to speak to them about whatever is on your mind, or do you just want to read through their diary because you know they have one? Parents swear they are doing their due diligence by sneaking through their children's things and then hiding behind “it's my house so I can do what I want" but all they are doing is letting their kids know they need to be MORE secretive and MORE sneaky.
Because reading through your child's diary isn't going to help with communication, it's going to make them ANGRY, make them feel VIOLATED, and you will most definitely alienate them.
Unless you truly suspect your child is hiding some serious shit, mind your goddamn business and let your kid have ONE private outlet.


When I was a teenager I was pretty awkward and didn’t have many friends, but even the friends I had, I wouldn't tell most of my thoughts to.
I kept a diary and I wrote everything in there instead.
One summer I went to one of those summer camps at the seaside (as kids here often do).
Quite a few of my classmates went and I was really excited because I thought maybe I would get the chance to make friends with the cool kids this way, being stuck at a summer camp together for a week.
However, I soon realised they’never think I was good enough to be part of their little group and I ended up being pretty bored most of the time so I wrote everything that was going on in my head into my diary.
You can see where this is going, right?
Anyway, the “cool” kids soon realised I kept a diary and were naturally intrigued about what I might have written, so a whole bunch of them went ahead and looked for it in the dorm while I wasn't around, locked themselves in and giggled at my silly schoolgirl thoughts until I came back banging on the door.
I wish I could say I knew what was going on the whole time, but I was honestly so naive it never crossed my childish mind anyone would do anything so malicious.

They then proceeded to mock me for the rest of the camp for everything I wrote, including a crush I had on a boy who was also part of their group.
And don’t forget some of these people I'd have to face at school every day.
I wanted to die.
Honestly, I thought my life was over.
I felt incredibly betrayed and stupid for not seeing it coming.
I blamed myself as much as them and it took me forever to get over it.

And this was just a bunch of kids from school! I don’t even want to imagine how awful I'd feel had this been my own mother!
Don’t betray your teenager’s trust like that.
It’s not worth it.
It's already hard for teenagers to trust their parents just trying to gauge how accepting parents will be of the person they're just starting to become, so don’t make it worse.
Be there for them.
Listen, and don’t judge and you won’t have to read their diary because they’ll tell you everything on their own.

Thanks for the edits, I've corrected some of the mistakes listed and I've kept some of the alternative spellings (namely realise) as I usually go for the British spelling system in all my writing (in spite of my accent, and possibly writing style which is probably a lot more on the American side).


Would I have a right, simply out of curiosity? Then the answer is ‘no’.
As that would be an invasion of their privacy.

But if I sensed something was seriously wrong and for some reason or another we couldn’t otherwise get through to them, (signs of depression, distant and out of the ordinary behavior, or – the worst – if they’ve gone missing!) then in those types of circumstances, it would be considered a necessary option.

I remember when I was a teenager myself, maybe 14 or 15 at the time, when I had started writing about some of my unruly behavior and lawless activities, such as break-ins of local schools in my area, destroying private property, trespassing, shoplifting, etc.

Then one day I come home to find my dad red with fury after finding and reading through my notebook.
What’s more, he was shocked to the core, shouting things like, “I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS MY OWN SON!! WHO AM I RAISING IN THIS HOUSE?? WHAT IS THIS??” holding up my notebook as evidence.

Thankfully, I had a knack for getting out of tense situations when under pressure, whereupon my lying/acting/improv mechanism kicked in, and told him that it was all fiction.
That I had been trying my hand at writing and was writing a story in the first person POV.

I guess the events detailed in my notebook had been so unbelievable and out of character from the son he thought he knew, that he believed my defensive explanation.
So, crisis averted.

However, I’m now 38 years of age and a completely different person to the teenager that was, but still remember the nakedness and vulnerability I felt to the invasion of my private notes.
(Although, I doubt my dad even realized what he had stumbled on when he picked up my notebook – until it was too late).


My mother read my diary and then took it a step further by proofreading it.

Yes, you read that correctly.
My mother actually edited my journal entries by correcting my grammar and making suggestions for “improvement”.

Additionally, she berated me for the feelings I had.
Not only did my mother invade my privacy, but she used what I said against me.
At one point, she told a friend what I had written about her and that she (my mother) could not believe I could be so two-faced.

Sadly, when I brought the incident up to my psychologist, he sided with my mother.
The psychologist said that anything under her roof was hers and privacy was a privilege.
Needless to say that I began keeping an online journal so that she could not find it.
Unfortunately, the website no longer exists and the ten years of journal entries were erased.

Moral of the story: give your child some damn privacy.

Edit: This incident occurred in 2001, when I was in high school.
I still journal, but offline, and they sit neatly aligned on my bookshelf 3,000 miles away from my mother.


Let’s step off the high moral ground here and get to the nitty gritty.

I don’t know where the “right” would come from, but given the parent’s general responsibility for their children, the parents at least have some authority to do whatever they imagine might serve the child’s best interest.

But that leaves open the simple question: Supposing the parent has the right, should he or she read the diary?
Probably not, except in the rare case that the material therein has some bearing on criminal or serious pathological conditions.

So, generally, don’t do it.
But why not?
First of all, what you find may cause you to change your parenting style based on the private information you find.
This change will be detected by the kid, who will suspect that you were peeking at their private stuff.
If the relationship between you and your kid is to be based on trust, then you as parent must be trustworthy, even if your kid is not.

Second of all, what you find may actually have been written for your eyes and may include material which is provocative or scary and also false.
Your kid is gaming you; don’t play the game.

Finally, as your kid tests the boundaries, he or she will want to know how they are being evaluated and judged.
Some of this will be evident from the way the parent engages the child directly, in “the open.
” Following house rules is one thing, but attempting to control what the kids thinks privately is another.
The stuff in the diary, whether real or contrived, reflects a thought process.
A person’s thoughts and beliefs can’t be controlled, so you should not even try.
That diary may be one of the few ways your kid has to express private thoughts and ideas, on the way to establishing their own identity.
It is your job to protect it, not to co-opt it.
You’ll lose.

Hope that helps.


Do you have a right to read your teen’s personal diary?


I don't agree with the assumption that rights are the most relevant issue here, but I'll go along with that.
The two main rights I see in this situation are property and privacy.
The first one relates to you and the teen, the second relates only to the teen.

These questions are too far removed from the actual situation.
The first one is nitpicky and doesn’t match the gravity of a situation.
“Yes, it's mine, so I can read it” or “No, it's mine, so I can't read it” are both superficial answers to a deeper question.
The second also seems silly.
Teenagers crave privacy.
It helps them as they develop an identity independent of their parents, a crucial step to adulthood.
Respecting their privacy helps them mature and learn how to respect others.

The only relevant issue that arises from these questions is that “what if.
” It seems to suggest that the potential, not even definite or known consequences would justify you (maybe) violating your child's rights to privacy.
Granted, parents have uncanny instincts as to whether or not their child is up to something dangerous, but you could still be wrong.
And if you're wrong, then it means your initial justification isn't valid, and you just violated your child's privacy for nothing.

So looking at this problem as a question of rights doesn't fit.
This question is about the relationship between parent and child and the values that promote a healthy one like honesty, respect, and communication.
Are you being honest if you read their diary? Respectful? It's not honest to go behind your child's back and read their diary, but sometimes we can violate the principle of honesty if it's really important.
So is it really important? Is there really no other way you can find out what you need to know about your child’s safety?
If you've fostered an environment of open communication and continually emphasized to your child that they can tell you anything, that you will put their safety and happiness before any judgement and reprimanding, then there likely isn't anything in that diary that you need to know.

If you haven't, start right now.

Either way, you will either break the existing trust between you and your child or ruin your chance at building it by opening that diary.


I am almost 16 years old.
I have a job, I get straight A’s.
I don’t do drugs, an I’ve never once come home wasted.
I would say that, yes, I am a good girl, despite any speculations that may go on in my head.

And yet three days ago my mother read my personal diary.

She was looking for information about a party I was planning to attend, and what I was planning to do there.
She was also looking for information about a boy I have been involved with recently.

And she found that information.
Yes, there was going to be a party.
Yes, I was going to drink, and yes, I was planning on hooking up with a specific guy.

Unbeknownst to her, whilst I had planned all this in my diary, I had also last minute pulled out of those plans.

My mum found what she was looking for, but she would also have found many other things.

She would have seen the angry rants when I was at my bratty worst, the tear stained pages about friends who are dropping acid and boys who are terrifying.
The cartoons.
The page about how once I self-harmed, which is right before the page where talk about my favourite Kardashian sister, and after the part where I contemplate my sexuality.

Reading my diary gave my mum the shock of her life, knowing how much I actually know about the world.

I am firmly of the belief that telling your child “just don’t have sex” and “just don’t drink”, really doesn’t fucking work.
Of course teenagers are going to try things, and its completely natural for them to want to do so.
As a parent, you should of course, make your child aware of the potential consequences of their actions, but if it comes to it, its better to have a 16 year old who has safe sex, and drinks safely, than a girl who is dead because the boundaries set for her were completely unrealistic, and she snuck out one night, and it all went wrong.

Actions speak louder than words.
I did not go to that party that night, regardless of what I planned, or said I would do.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t go to a party some other time, be that next week, or when I leave school and leave home.

What I do at that party now is up to you, mum.
Will you let me be safe? Or will you lock me up and wait for me to go crazy the moment I leave home?
I don’t think anyone has the ‘right’ to breach someones personal privacy, and I hold the belief that reading someones personal diary is wrong.
But also, parents have the right to monitor their childs safety if they fear something really really bad is happening.
I still wish that my mother had not read my diary, but I do not blame her for doing so, because I sincerely believe she did it out of love.

That being said, she could have just, you know, talked to me, in a calm manner, and listened to what I had to say, instead of completely breaking the small amount of trust I had in her before.

So, if you genuinely fear something bad is happening, like life-threatening, and think that reading your teens diary is the only thing to do to protect them, then by all means you should do that.
They are your child, and you love and want to protect them.
But only as a last resort.

If you do decide to read it, keep one thing in mind:
A diary is often a reflection of someones most illogical, senseless, emotion-fuelled thoughts.
As a teen, you don’t write in a diary when you are having a balanced and calm day.
You write when you are confused, and upset, and scared, and angry.

What someone writes when they are at their emotional lowest does not define who they are as a person.

Mum, I’m sorry that the things I said hurt and disappointed you.
But at the same time, I’m not sorry for being confused, and I’m not sorry for being curious, and I’m not sorry for having the emotions I expressed in my diary.

Which at the end of the day, no one was supposed to see.


I’m going anonymous because people I know personally follow my account, and I’d rather not have them associate this with me.

Absolutely not.

Back in secondary school, I kept a diary, in which I’d pen my thoughts of the day – the writings of a confused, pubescent teen.
I’d keep my diary wedged between my mattresses or tucked into the folds of my clothes, and back then, I was an avid writer.

One fateful day, my class had a sex education lesson and we were told a very vivid description of the whole abortion process.
Having an overactive imagination, I tried to place myself in the abortee’s shoes and felt nauseous.
Later that day, I went home to pen down my thoughts on the class, and mentioned that my mouth “tasted like pennies” when I thought about aborting a fetus.
After writing, I hid my diary, as per usual.

For the next few days, my mother behaved strangely around me – purposefully cornering me to have discussions about relationships and boys, and being hostile and tense.
Being suspicious, I decided to hide my diary in the bathroom cupboard – something I’d not done before.

That Friday, she and I headed to the gym, still talking about relationships and boys.
Having had enough, I began to refuse answering directly.
Her questions then became more hostile and accusatory about who I’d been seeing (no one), etc.
, until she snapped and said she knew I’d had sex and she demanded to meet the boy.
I was flabbergasted; what was she talking about? How could she accuse me for no good reason? I didn’t do anything! We screamed at each other, back and forth, until she admitted she’d read my diary.
She told me that was her proof and to stop lying.

Furious, I stormed home, with her hot on my heels and just as worked up.
I ran into the bathroom and locked the door while she pounded on the door.
I emerged with the book.
She snatched it and flipped to the entry on abortion and pointed out the phrase, “tasted like pennies.

At this point, while I’m sure things are fairly obvious, I want to point out that English is not my mother’s first language.

After pointing at the phrase, she told me to explain myself and I screamed, “P-E-N-N-I-E-S.
That spells PENNIES, as in coins! My mouth ‘tasting like pennies’ means I wanted to throw up!”
She became silent, and let out a quiet oh.
She had thought I wrote that I’d been giving some guy a blowjob.

I locked myself in my room that night and cried myself to sleep.

The fact that I can recall this memory so well shows how much it impacted me.
After that experience, I couldn’t keep a diary anymore, try as I might – the words didn’t flow right and I couldn’t keep the habit up, until I gave up trying.
I didn’t know, before then, that she read my entries.
I felt vulnerable, like my thoughts, once written down or spoken aloud, were there to be judged, misconstrued, and misinterpreted.

My diary was a way for me to reflect on things I had learnt or experienced, how I acted, and most importantly, writing helped me ask questions about myself that many teenagers would relate to.
These questions were innocent, and things a teenager ponders about as they enter adulthood – musings without any definitive action.

Most parents want to, understandably, protect their children from the dangers of the real world, but by reading your child’s diary, you threaten a natural learning process and you lose your child’s trust in you.

If your child trusts you, they will ask you questions and have discussions with you on their own accord, without you needing to intervene.
It is normal for a growing individual to want to seek guidance from a trustworthy guardian.
Trying to forcefully expedite the process or intrusive helicopter-parenting will only push them away.

If you value your relationship with your child and hope to continue having one in the future, then for crying out loud, don’t read your child’s diary!


I guess I'm going to receive alot of backlash for this.

I have read most of he answers here , they all say no , give your teen some privacy, it's a way of teaching respect and so on.

Pls read this first :
These two girls haven't returned to their homes,
I once read about a woman in a local paper whose 13 yr old son ran away with a woman, not to be found, they only found plans and love notes and poems written in his dairy about few days after he went missing, that was 2013 he still hasn’t been found .

When I newly joined Quora, I read about a woman that lost her daughter to an online predator , the girl was 16 then, she reconnected with her daughter 3 years later and she was already a mother to his baby , and quite miserable and hates her mother (Brainwashed) , some comments suggested she accepts her fate and the girl is an adult and can choose her destiny …blah blah.

And a whole lot more
Now look at this
This is the hierarchy of needs (human needs not animal …lol)
Now please judge , is privacy needs higher than saftey and security needs .
NO.

Diary, cell phones , computers , internet , neighborhood, whatever poses any danger , I owe my kids to protect them and keep them safe ( even from themselves atimes ) at almost all costs, and I will do that to the best of my ability.

So yes I will read it (sneakily) and if I see a major red flag I will take necessary measures, otherwise I will keep a low profile (yes I am a spyparent).

That being said , I encourage all parents to keep an open minded and cordial relationship with their kids , let them be able to come to you with any and every form of troubles on their mind (crushes, being bullied , depression, classes, what they feel about your mum , about your boyfriends and girlfriends, their siblings),and try to tackle the issue without being overtly judgemental ( even if every nerve of you is cringing).

Remember it's you and your kid VS the problem , not you against the child .

If your kids feel they have secrets so dark they cannot tell you, the problem is with you the parent.

Footnotes:
Teen girl who ran away with a man she’d never met
Our 15-year-old daughter ran away to be with a man she met on the internet.
.
.
I didn’t think it happened to clever girls

Now bring the rain.


I believe that everyone should have a basic right to privacy.

Now, I never had any privacy, and I still don’t.
I was never allowed to be in my bedroom during the day, never allowed to close my door, never allowed to be on the computer without a parent supervising, never allowed to use any electronics without supervision, for that matter.

Then, one day, I started a journal.
I wrote about everything in it.
How I felt about my parents, sexual things, all of my feelings, what happened in school, everything.
I wrote in that thing like crazy.
I trusted it more than anything else.
I didn’t expect my parents to one day up and read it.

I got in a ton of trouble, for all of my feelings against my parents that I thought were private.
I expected to have at least one place where I could truly be myself, but they did not think that.
All of my trust in them was gone, just like that.

Now, a couple years later, I still do not trust either of them at all, with anything.
I recently started a new journal, and I am terrified that one of them will read it.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t have even started a new one because they read the last one, and history is the best predictor of future behavior and all that, but I was bursting with emotions and no one to talk to that I could trust.
So I have one now.

The other day, my mom was talking to me and crying about how I never told her anything.
I couldn’t tell her that that was because I no longer trust her with any information, because that would hurt her feelings.
She then told me that she was going to read my journal.

I stared at her like she had grown another head.
I was stunned.
I thought that she finally respected my privacy, and maybe even had adopted some morals about it.
Apparently that was not the case.

After we had a short, concise conversation about privacy, she concluded that she would read it if I left it out in the open.

I am now terrified to leave it anywhere, anytime.
If I’m writing in it on the kitchen table, and I get up to go to the bathroom, I worry about her reading it.
If I leave it downstairs in my backpack at night, I worry about her reading it.
I am always worrying about that.
I do not trust my mother anymore with any of my personal information, because of this one little incident.

Sure, go ahead and read your child’s journal.
Go ahead and violate their trust and privacy.
They will eventually know that you have no respect for them at all, and will never trust them to not do bad things.
You will lose your child’s trust for a very long time, but if you’re okay with that, that’s fine.


God no!
When I was younger I had a special padlock diary.
My aunt got it for me on my 7th birthday, I didn’t use the thing until I was 12.

(something similar to this….
Image from google)
That’s when things went downhill.

I would write my everything in the diary, what I felt, who I hated, secrets, and my family…
I went for a shower but left my key on the desk, It would usually be wrapped around my neck like a necklace but I felt really tired after the shower and went to bed.

The next morning I felt awful but I shook it off and went to school,
When I felt around my neck at 3rd period I noticed that my key wasn’t there…
Panic
When school finally ended I rushed home in under 15 minuetes, I looked on my desk and found….
that the key was still there.
.
.
A sigh of relief escaped my chest.

Now keep in mind that I’ve written in that diary for 3 years so a lot of stuff was in that thing.

When I headed downstairs for afternoon tea I saw my mum sitting on the couch, she looked mad.
I felt a bit of dread at the pit of my stomach but tried to shake it off, before I could run back upstairs with my sandwich I heard my mum call me…
She told me to sit down, the feeling of dread intensified,
“What were those horrible things you wrote about me in that stupid book of yours”
My fears were confirmed.

When I write about my life, I tend to get a bit descriptive, when something bad happens I feel the need to write it down to get my head sorted out, the “bad” things I’d written were just complaints I can’t say to her face and they weren’t just limited to my mother either.

My whole family was written in that book and everything I experiance is written in that book,
“Mum I can explain, the book means nothi-”
“Is this how you feel! Do you know how disrespectful it is to me that you’ve written such horrible words”
My mum’s asian so respect is something she takes very seriously.

“But that my private book, I didn’t think you’d look through it”
“I am your mother, you shouldn’t have to hide such things, how dare you belittle my efforts into bringing you into this country! You know when I was small I didn’t have these stupid DSP’s or WiiWii crap or station games! It’s this rubbish that makes y-”
This rant went on for a while, My mum eventually just left me off but I destroyed that book and made sure that she would never see any of my secrets, I learned to bottle everything inside.

After that incident I could never look at her in the same as before nor talk with her like old times.

There is a barrier of trust that gets breached and you can’t fix a relationship afterwards.
My mum looked through a period of my life that I would rather keep hidden but she broke my trust and lectured me after about how keeping secrets was wrong.

Funny enough that incident made me a better liar and because of it let me sneak off and do what I want.

Moral of the story, trust your kid and keep to her privacy.


To start off, it is an invasion of privacy.
Yes you may be their parent and yes you may feel entitled to be able to read it, but in reality you are not.
The thoughts that are written in that diary/journal are all feelings and thoughts that they decided to keep to themselves.

If they were comfortable to talk to you about it they will, but in the meantime they may be coping with self issues and problems and just writing about it helps them feel better and you should be understanding of that.
They may also not want to share some things due to the fear of being judged.
Writing helps both emotionally and with mental health.

In this case I speak for myself.
I am not a teen anymore but when I was about 12 years old in the seventh grade I began my first poetry journal/book.
All pieces on what I would feel on that exact day.
To this day I still do not let anyone read a single poem that is written on those pages.
Because they are all things about myself that no one could ever understand.
It became my sanctuary, the only time I was able to release my emotions and thoughts on how I truly felt.
I kept mostly every emotion and problem that I had bottled up inside.
Rhyming words and jotting random things down was just my way of coping.
I wrote down everything I would feel, but never actually had the strength to come forward and say or talk about.

If you are concerned that the teen may be going through something serious then ask them about it, instead of giving into the temptation of wanting to read from what is theirs.
Once you read it without permission, trust will be broken.
And now they really won’t be able to communicate with you at all.

JUST DO NOT DO IT


No you dont, unless you want them to be scarred for life
I use to write diary until my mom found it and read it.
It was the most personal thing I ever had.
I was having some issue at school and even wrote a list of people I hate and wrote below it
“ the day I become successful I will find them and tell them look how irritating me turned out.

It has been 10yrs since still my mom ask me how those people got on the list.
She was your best friend.
How is she on the list.
My brother still make fun of me about my list.
It has become a family joke.

I stopped writing diaries after that incident.
But when I used to write it down I used to feel healed.
After that incident I felt violated and felt I have no space or privacy.
I had no way to let go of my worries without the paranoia of been under watch.
Diary was my go to place.
Now it doesn't exist.

Now when I feel too sad/depressed/worried, I write it down and then burn those paper after that or cut it into small pieces and throw them in different places, so no one could put them together.
That's how paranoiad I have become.

Do you want your child to feel the same way, violated?! Give them their space.
Let them figure out their life.
Did you go to your parents for help for every tiny thing that happened to you when you were a teenager?
Make your relation with your child so strong that instead of you prying on them, they will come to you when they cannot handle their issues.
Tell them that you are there for them and will help them even in any kind of situation.

Be their friend not a detective.
Help them,not investigate on them


Let me ask you this: does your teenager have the right to read your personal diary? The one you so lovingly write in and take great pains to hide from their prying eyes?! No? Then buzz off! If you don’t want them reading what you write in YOUR personal diary/journal, then don’t read theirs.

My step dad ransacked my room looking for the little diary that I had bought at the dollar store with my allowance without his permission and he was desperate to find out what was written in it.

Once he did find it and read it, he realized the journal he was reading was my story journal as homes didn’t have computers or internet—only the Military had computers and internet access.

I bought two journals one that didn’t have a lock and one that had a lock whose key I kept on a piece of string around my neck at all times.

If you don’t want your teenager reading YOUR personal diary, then what makes you think that you have the ‘right’ to read theirs? It’s none of your business what’s written in that diary.

It’s a safe haven for them to write down their true feelings without fear of reprimandation from adults.
The life of a teenager in 2017 is more stressful than it was when you were a teenager in the preceeding decades.

Just butt out and leave their personal property alone!


No.

When I was younger I kept two fake journals to keep my mom from reading my real one.
Finally she figured this out so I bought a lock for it.
Once my mom found the key she read my journal and our relationship was never the same.
Keep in mind that I wrote down all of my thoughts and feelings in this journal.
I wrote about the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Apparently all that stuck out to my mom was the ugly.
My brother was home visiting us over summer break from MIT.
After reading my journal she became intent on reading my brothers to see if her “perfect” son was as “emotionaly damaged” and “mean” as I was.
After reading his PRIVATE journal she forced us both into therapy.
(He was 20 and I was 12 at the time) Once we get to therapy the therapist expects us to be these deeply troubled kids from what my mom had been saying about us.
After our first therapy session the therapist was totally perplexed.
She tells us our mom read our journals and was worried, but that she didn’t see what was wrong.
After telling both me and my brother this she spoke to my mom.
That night at dinner she was furious.
She said we were only sabotaging ourselves and she was done trying to help us.

So NO! I don’t think anyone including a parent has a right to read their child’s journal.
I know if my mother hadn’t read mine my life and relationship with her after that would have been so much better.


About 2 years ago, my best friend was acting incredibly down.
She wasn't eating, sleeping or doing well in school.
She's one of those teens who would have never slacked at school so i knew something was wrong.

She was also typically very bubbly and positive but for the past few weeks she had become into a completely different person.
Obviously something was wrong.

She was refusing to talk about herself no matter how hard it tried.

One day, i went over to her house a little early.
She was with her dad for another 20 minutes (her parents are divorced)so i went to her room to wait for her.

Her diary was lying open on the bed and i know i probably shouldn't have but i looked.

She was in a very dark place.
She was dealing with self hate and bullying.
Her dad was abusing her.
Just looking at the words, i could tell she was depressed.
.
I heard the garage door and knew she was home.
I put the diary back.

When she came into the room i could now see the bruises she so desperately tried to hide.

I barely slept that night.
I was going back and forth in if i should tell someone.
The next day, i met with my vice principal and told him.
For the past two years she's been seeing a counselor and less of her dad.
Of course there's a lot of things going on between court and her dad but i respect that privacy.

She's been much happier since and is doing great.

So to answer your question, it depends.
Now i know she's my best friend and not my child.
But i think you should respect the privacy of your teen.
Unless you see the warning signs of something much bigger.
Think about it.
If i hadn't looked at her diary, she probably wouldn't be here today.
In her diary, she talked about some really dark things that nobody should ever deal with.

So make your own call.
They might hate you for it at first but know that it's for their own good .

If you are ever dealing with anything like this, TALK TO SOMEONE.
Stay safe and remember you are loved♥️


I keep seeing answers about people being beaten by their parents because of what their journal says.
But I don’t think you’ll beat your child, so I’ll talk about my experiences.

I’ve been keeping a diary/journal/sketchbook for the past year and a half.
It’s really detailed, and explains what I’m going through mentally and whatever.

I know my mum is reading my diary.
I’m not sure how long, but I only recently realized.
I haven’t confronted her about it, and she hasn’t asked me about it.
But I now keep it in a different hiding spot, and take it to school with me.

I don’t trust my mom anymore.
At all.
I always thought we were close, but when I found out about her snooping, all of my trust disappeared.
I’m now 10000x more cautious and secretive about what I do, and it’s harder to talk to her because of what she did.

I have a close friend, I’ll call him Conner, but his parent’s always go through his stuff.
He doesn’t have a journal, more of a series of loose paper that he writes on whenever he gets upset.

His parents read that, and also go through his phone and browser history.

He hates his parents.
I regularly text/hear him talk about how upset this makes him, how he wants to cut them off when he moves out because they don’t respect them.
His parents aren’t that bad of people, they just treat their kids more like pets/belongings than actual people.

DO NOT EVER READ YOUR CHILDS DIARY OR GO THROUGH THEIR PERSONAL BELONGINGS.

If you think they’re depressed, talk to them.

If you think they are hiding something, talk to them
You should NEVER violate their privacy just because you’re curious.

Kids don’t share everything with you, they keep a lot private.
If they choose not to tell you, it’s their business, and you need to back off.


Look at the many many MANY stories posted here.
Lots of stuff about how the person has a horrible relationship with their parent(s), lack of trust, scarring memories and abandonment of their writing hobby.

Now there’s me.
How’s my relationship with my mom? Awesome, actually.
We’re very close.
We get together to hang out as often as we can and we can talk to each other about anything honestly.

What’s the difference between me and the other answers here?
My mom didn’t snoop through my journals.

“But Kay, how do you know your mom didn’t sneak peeks in your diary without you knowing?”
I went through a period where I was secretive about anything I wrote (thanks to a particular middle school moment but I digress).
So I carried my journals, short story collections and sketchpads with me at all times and if I ever needed to leave them, I had ways to detect if they were touched.
It was nerve-wrecking at school but I relaxed at home because there was never any indication the books were looked at.

From the start, my mom and I have been open.
I could ask my mother anything without getting into trouble or anyone getting upset (unless it was deathly serious which was still rare).
She was completely honest with me; gave me the answer or would tell me she wasn’t comfortable talking about it until I was older.

My mom took an interest in my life.
She supported my hobbies while introducing me to new activities and would ask about my day almost every day.
If I didn’t feel comfortable sharing on the rare occasion, mom would back off after giving me a hug and telling me she was there for me whenever I did need to talk.
No suspicion or jumps to conclusions.

“So do you think you have a right to read your teen’s diary or not?!”
Privacy is a rare thing nowadays what with social media, security cameras everywhere and everyone trying to find out what you’re doing every second of the day.
Sometimes the only privacy you get is your own thoughts.
And writing is a very helpful way to understand your thought processes.

By looking at someone’s journal, you’re invading their “safe place”.
Taking away someone’s “safe place” can have devastating consequences on the person’s mental condition.

Again, look at the other answers here.
So many relationships crumbled to dust, so many damaged individuals.
All because a parent was nosy and felt entitled to read their kid’s journal.

If you want to know what your child is up to, JUST ASK.
Build a proper relationship with your teen! Talk to them about their day, what’s going on, hobbies, take an interest in your teen’s life.
If they don’t want to talk about something, you back off.
Let them know they can talk to you whenever they need to.
And don’t yell or punish them right after they do talk to you; discuss everything thoroughly and calmly.

Remember that honesty and trust are important components of a relationship as well.
You be open about what your teen asks you (if you don’t feel comfortable sharing, let them know that and say you’ll discuss it when you feel ready).
And have faith too.
Trust your child is making good decisions.
After all, you raised them so their actions are a reflection of your parenting.
If you don’t trust them to do the right thing, what does that say about you?
One more thing.

There are times where it might be hard to figure out something is wrong.
Your kid won’t talk to you about anything, their personality becomes depressed, grades suddenly go from perfect to failing, etc.

If you have a CLEAR reason to suspect something is wrong with your child (not just paranoid delusions), ONLY THEN you can peek at the journal.
And you do it to make sure your child isn’t involved in anything dangerous or suffering from mental illness.
If they are, you help them.


Absolutely not.
A diary is a private journal where a person should feel comfortable to write their most private thoughts, feelings and experiences.
If a parent violates that trust, they violate all trust and any future confidence and confidance that could occur.
Even when students write journals in English class in school the teacher does not read them.
Generally at the end of the term the students select a small number of entries to submit for grading, and the rest remain private.

If you open that door, how can you expect your child to learn to respect your privacy? Parents have many things they usually wish to be kept away from the eyes of their young: tax returns, investments, special drawers beside the bed, another couple they may hang out with an awful lot, a bag of something green/white/pills they don't want their kids to see, a saucy latex number, a stack of XXX classics, a juvie record, an oopsie with the accountant last Xmas party and so on.
And so on.

Teens need their privacy, and they are absolutely entitled to it.
It's far more preferable to cultivate a better and more fruitful conversational relationship with your teen than to ruin your relationship forever by crossing that line.
And in crossing it you'll find that they'll never forget it: anyone who has had this trust violated holds that grudge steadfastly to them like a crucifix in a scary Romanian forest (insert wolves howling).
The best place to talk to your kid is at the dinner table.
Teens today know a lot about what is going on in the world, and many are frustrated and disturbed by current events.
You could start there.
My ex’s parents would participate in their all their sons’ education by reading the same English and History books.
In doing so they were not only better equipped to help with homework, but it made for great dinner conversation and they were much better parents.
They were certainly much more involved and elicited much more talk from their kids than my parents ever bothered to do, and today they are all very close as adults.


Its a personal diary.
Yes some parents can reason themselves into reading it.
.
but most of the time its a really REALLY bad idea.
A diary is a place to vent, to write thing they’d never say in real life, someone to confide in, things written in anger, frustration and more (and instantly forgotten after) and so on.
Ultimately it would be a massive breach of trust and unless there are extremely good reasons behind it (and its done in the right way – preferably with willing permission) .
.
any kind of trust could easily be utterly ruined.
The teen may also have a far harder time confiding in others (including writing things down in a diary+) which in turn may turn him/her inwards and cause mental damage (higher risk at least).
So overall.
.
No, you don’t have a right to read the diary of your children/teen.

On the other hand.
.
I did read a post (for a somewhat similar question) where someone gave an example of the right kind of reasoning behind reading their diary (and the right way).
To sum up this is what I remember;
The mother had become increasingly concerned and worried for her daughter, and regardless of how hard she tried to get her teen to confide in her, her daughter reacted with hostility (which just made her even more worried).
Ultimately she reached a point where where she decided that her daughter’s privacy vs her concern regarding her teen’s escalating behaviour fell second.
And so she read her diary.
Afterwards she quickly got her daughter into therapy (there were no mention of discussing what she’d read with her daughter – the mother just reacted to what she learned in the best way she knew how) and also found a new school for her (thereby solving the biggest problems the girl had (massive bullying problem to the point the girl was wondering if she wanted to live).
Because of the mother’s interference her daughter grew up to be a strong and healthy woman (whereas otherwise she might not have grown up at all).
So.
.

Parents don’t have a right as such but at times their teen’s privacy vs true parental concern will mean they may choose to take that path and it would be the right thing to do.
But in most causes it won’t be and a parent would be far better off trying to create and foster a good relationship with their teen (wikihow has several good articles on the topic) and that way earn their trust and confidence.


No.

My parents don't seem to trust me very much- as a matter of fact, they openly accuse me of being “too secretive”.
One day when I was 8 or 9, we got into an argument over… something, I forgot, but it ended with my mom going under my bed, as my older brother and sister watched, and pulling out my personal folder on sketches and my journal.

Let me just say, I love sketching, but I HATE showing other people my sketches and innermost thoughts for a reason that belongs in a Quora answer of its own.
Knowing this, my mother went through everything, leaving the sketches in plain view of my siblings, and reading all my personal entries aloud.
Now despite the fact that I was going through a bit of crap at that time, I never wrote down my absolute BIGGEST secrets, and after this, I think I never will.

I'm 17 now, and I still don't like telling any personal issues to my parents.
I just don't trust them to handle it responsibly.
The worst things I tell them are superficial things, like “I'm really nervous I won't get into this college.
” They still think they should go through my phone and belongings to keep me safe, but it really does more harm than good.


No.
Absolutely, a hundred percent, no.

Between the two covers of a diary, lies a safe haven- a sanctuary which, under no circumstance should ever be broken.

As of today, I’ve kept a diary for over three years.

Within those colored, hello-kitty patterned pages lie dozens of painful, happy, sorrowful but genuine memories.
Personal memories which were written for my eyes only.

Two years ago, I had a school project that involved one of my friends coming over.
Since my library and study are conveniently conjoined, we decided that it was the best place to do our project.

I left my diary in one of the desk’s many compartments.
Thinking I could trust her not to snoop around, I exited the room unburdened to fetch more art supplies.

When I returned, my diary was no longer in the compartment, but sitting atop the desk.
I thought nothing of it and resumed the project- which we finished in the short span of an hour.

The next day, I was greeted by the cruel laughter of my schoolmates.
As you most probably already concluded, I had absolutely no idea what was going on.
Suddenly, a friend wordlessly thrust me her phone.
It was an Instagram page.
The contents of my diary flashed before my eyes.

I don’t remember what happened afterwards, just the unbelievable pain I felt.
The betrayal, the hurt.

So unless you want your child to feel the same thing, DO NOT READ THEIR DIARY.


Please don’t.

I was 8 when I started journaling.
Initially, it would be stupid stuff like – “We had science quiz today”, “mom made pulao for dinner”, etc.

I kept writing a daily basis, would choose the best journals, and use color pencils, sometimes stick photos, and try to make it more of a memory book.

I went off to boarding school, in Grade 8.
Your teachers and matron, reserve the right to go through your stuff, so my hobby was halted for a wee-bit.

I became real good friends with one of the guys in my class, and for the lack of better atmosphere to talk, he sent me a letter one day.
This was pure friendship, no crush, no flirting, or any romantic angle.
I wrote back to him.
We would exchange them during class.
It would bring a smile to my face.
What would we talk?
Ideology, beliefs, aspirations, what we expect from life and math homework.
It would often contain gossip about our fellow classmates too in good humor.

I returned home for my Grade 11, and started living with my mom.
It is not easy for a teenage girl having lived her life on her terms for 3 years, to come back under the rules of your mom.
Mom and I would have huge fights, heated arguments and loads of tears.
To cope with this, I started journaling again.

5–6 months later, I return home to find my mom in tears, sitting with all my journals open.
She had read all of them, every single of them, including my kiddish journals from aged 9–12.

She was hurt by what I had written for the recent few months, genuinely hurt.
I was on the defensive, and hated her for invading my privacy.
We did not fight that day.
We went to bed, hungry.

We had an awkward silence for a very long time, she would not get in my way and I would live by all her rules.
We both slowly forgot what I had written, and I threw away all my journals.

Though it is not one of my bad memory, I have not touched a journal ever since.

The only thing I have written down for memory is my first kiss with my husband.

I wish I could write again, but I don’t want to hurt anyone around me.

I wish I could do it without the fear of my journal being read by someone.

It is very good therapy, lack of which you lose some of your self-confidence, and you try to find attention in a fellow human being, making you vulnerable.

So please do not read your teen’s diary.
They deserve that privacy.


I say it is both a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answer.
And because I want to take the unpopular route and say that a parent does have some right to see a child’s diary/journal under very specific situations.
(And if they own a diary.
)
Since there are too many ‘no’ answers and you the viewer had possibly read all of those before coming to this answer.
I feel that at some point that a parent has a responsibility to intervene for their safety and for others.

If you set curfews, and the child goes over, gets hurt and doesn’t talk about it.
Well, expect mother bear go into your phone records.

And maybe some will have to call the police in some.

YES:
If you have a clear and reasonable-sound suspicious that your child is;
Such as the case of Alyssa Bustamante who was 15 around the time where she repeatedly stabbed Elizabeth Olten to death before calmly writing about the "pretty enjoyable" murder in her journal.

"I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they're dead," the entry read.

"I don't know how to feel atm [at the moment].
It was ahmazing.
As soon as you get over the 'ohmygawd I can't do this' feeling, it's pretty enjoyable.

"I'm kinda nervous and shaky though right now.
Kay, I gotta go to church now.
.
.
lol [laugh out loud].
"[2]
Like Graham Young, the Tea-Cup Poisoner where he recorded dosage and reactions.
[3] To be honest, he was begging to have his privacy invaded when he was reading Mein Kampf out in the open during the 1960s.

This is also seen in the Columbine High School Massacre, through the journals left behind by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
Through them, investigators discovered that the teens had been planning for a year to bomb the school in an attack similar to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings.

There is more stuff that ring serious alarm bells for a parent or anyone for that matter if they came across his entries.

November 1998: Eric writes in detail about how he wants to have violent sex with a woman, quoting a line from Nine Inch Nails' song Closer (a song about having rough, animalistic sex).
This heated entry dissolves into a gory description of how he would like to taste human flesh.
The cannibalistic rant eventually wraps around to school where Eric shifts his attention from a woman to a freshman, going on in vivid detail about the twisted, violent things he'd like to do.
[4]
And then there is this.
Journals, Diaries and School Papers .
Where it said, “Class of 98.
Top of the ‘Should had died list’.

And when your kid is not talking anything about it and hearing all of the stories of how children were driven to suicide because of bullying, that journal he or she keeps under their bed is going to be tempting.
Or I will say safety values over privacy in this on.

This happened to a friend of mine who was bullied and he didn’t say anything about it.
His parents only found out when they peeked over his social media and immediately moved schools, his bullies were sending messages of how he should kill himself.

He is now college captain.

Not really reading into a personal diary but, kind of similar?
Now this is all in assumptions that you have some alarm bells ringing about your child.
Like past history, if they hurt someone, if they have a violet tendency, criminal history and all that stuff.

(And much would had been better in hindsight if the parents check in Harris’ room for his weapons and his diaries about his disturbed mind.
)
EDIT: And I just want to mention to add a little more salt into the mix, all the examples I read where from teens around the time of their deeds.

EDIT:EDIT: As I was discussing with another user about this question.
I think it added more depth concerning about trust.
Of how we should trust teens to eventually tell them of how they feel to their parents.

If I know kids and I know kids because I am a kid is that we hid anything from our parents.
It can be small or it can be big.
, even if it hurts us or even kills us in the end.

Why? Reasons can be because we don’t want our parents to worry.
For other extreme situation, it is to ensure that they don’t call the police as I have listed above.

Lets used Columbine as an example again;
After the duo was arrested for stealing a television set 15 months earlier.
Eric wrote an essay for his angry class management saying that he was reformed.

But his private journal tells a different story.

“Isn’t America supposed to be the land of the free? How come if I’m free that I can’t deprived of some fucking dumb shit of his possessions.
If he leaves in the front seat of his fucking van, in plain sight, in the middle of fucking nowhere, on a fucking Friday night.
Natural Selection.
Fucker should had been shot.

I think a parent should had monitored their child after they came out from reform, be a bit more glued to ensure they stay on the right path.
Trust was already severed the moment he or she committed a crime.


Do you have a right to read your teen’s personal diary?


I don't agree with the assumption that rights are the most relevant issue here, but I'll go along with that.
The two main rights I see in this situation are property and privacy.
The first one relates to you and the teen, the second relates only to the teen.

These questions are too far removed from the actual situation.
The first one is nitpicky and doesn’t match the gravity of a situation.
“Yes, it's mine, so I can read it” or “No, it's mine, so I can't read it” are both superficial answers to a deeper question.
The second also seems silly.
Teenagers crave privacy.
It helps them as they develop an identity independent of their parents, a crucial step to adulthood.
Respecting their privacy helps them mature and learn how to respect others.

The only relevant issue that arises from these questions is that “what if.
” It seems to suggest that the potential, not even definite or known consequences would justify you (maybe) violating your child's rights to privacy.
Granted, parents have uncanny instincts as to whether or not their child is up to something dangerous, but you could still be wrong.
And if you're wrong, then it means your initial justification isn't valid, and you just violated your child's privacy for nothing.

So looking at this problem as a question of rights doesn't fit.
This question is about the relationship between parent and child and the values that promote a healthy one like honesty, respect, and communication.
Are you being honest if you read their diary? Respectful? It's not honest to go behind your child's back and read their diary, but sometimes we can violate the principle of honesty if it's really important.
So is it really important? Is there really no other way you can find out what you need to know about your child’s safety?
If you've fostered an environment of open communication and continually emphasized to your child that they can tell you anything, that you will put their safety and happiness before any judgement and reprimanding, then there likely isn't anything in that diary that you need to know.

If you haven't, start right now.

Either way, you will either break the existing trust between you and your child or ruin your chance at building it by opening that diary.


I am almost 16 years old.
I have a job, I get straight A’s.
I don’t do drugs, an I’ve never once come home wasted.
I would say that, yes, I am a good girl, despite any speculations that may go on in my head.

And yet three days ago my mother read my personal diary.

She was looking for information about a party I was planning to attend, and what I was planning to do there.
She was also looking for information about a boy I have been involved with recently.

And she found that information.
Yes, there was going to be a party.
Yes, I was going to drink, and yes, I was planning on hooking up with a specific guy.

Unbeknownst to her, whilst I had planned all this in my diary, I had also last minute pulled out of those plans.

My mum found what she was looking for, but she would also have found many other things.

She would have seen the angry rants when I was at my bratty worst, the tear stained pages about friends who are dropping acid and boys who are terrifying.
The cartoons.
The page about how once I self-harmed, which is right before the page where talk about my favourite Kardashian sister, and after the part where I contemplate my sexuality.

Reading my diary gave my mum the shock of her life, knowing how much I actually know about the world.

I am firmly of the belief that telling your child “just don’t have sex” and “just don’t drink”, really doesn’t fucking work.
Of course teenagers are going to try things, and its completely natural for them to want to do so.
As a parent, you should of course, make your child aware of the potential consequences of their actions, but if it comes to it, its better to have a 16 year old who has safe sex, and drinks safely, than a girl who is dead because the boundaries set for her were completely unrealistic, and she snuck out one night, and it all went wrong.

Actions speak louder than words.
I did not go to that party that night, regardless of what I planned, or said I would do.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t go to a party some other time, be that next week, or when I leave school and leave home.

What I do at that party now is up to you, mum.
Will you let me be safe? Or will you lock me up and wait for me to go crazy the moment I leave home?
I don’t think anyone has the ‘right’ to breach someones personal privacy, and I hold the belief that reading someones personal diary is wrong.
But also, parents have the right to monitor their childs safety if they fear something really really bad is happening.
I still wish that my mother had not read my diary, but I do not blame her for doing so, because I sincerely believe she did it out of love.

That being said, she could have just, you know, talked to me, in a calm manner, and listened to what I had to say, instead of completely breaking the small amount of trust I had in her before.

So, if you genuinely fear something bad is happening, like life-threatening, and think that reading your teens diary is the only thing to do to protect them, then by all means you should do that.
They are your child, and you love and want to protect them.
But only as a last resort.

If you do decide to read it, keep one thing in mind:
A diary is often a reflection of someones most illogical, senseless, emotion-fuelled thoughts.
As a teen, you don’t write in a diary when you are having a balanced and calm day.
You write when you are confused, and upset, and scared, and angry.

What someone writes when they are at their emotional lowest does not define who they are as a person.

Mum, I’m sorry that the things I said hurt and disappointed you.
But at the same time, I’m not sorry for being confused, and I’m not sorry for being curious, and I’m not sorry for having the emotions I expressed in my diary.

Which at the end of the day, no one was supposed to see.


I’m going anonymous because people I know personally follow my account, and I’d rather not have them associate this with me.

Absolutely not.

Back in secondary school, I kept a diary, in which I’d pen my thoughts of the day – the writings of a confused, pubescent teen.
I’d keep my diary wedged between my mattresses or tucked into the folds of my clothes, and back then, I was an avid writer.

One fateful day, my class had a sex education lesson and we were told a very vivid description of the whole abortion process.
Having an overactive imagination, I tried to place myself in the abortee’s shoes and felt nauseous.
Later that day, I went home to pen down my thoughts on the class, and mentioned that my mouth “tasted like pennies” when I thought about aborting a fetus.
After writing, I hid my diary, as per usual.

For the next few days, my mother behaved strangely around me – purposefully cornering me to have discussions about relationships and boys, and being hostile and tense.
Being suspicious, I decided to hide my diary in the bathroom cupboard – something I’d not done before.

That Friday, she and I headed to the gym, still talking about relationships and boys.
Having had enough, I began to refuse answering directly.
Her questions then became more hostile and accusatory about who I’d been seeing (no one), etc.
, until she snapped and said she knew I’d had sex and she demanded to meet the boy.
I was flabbergasted; what was she talking about? How could she accuse me for no good reason? I didn’t do anything! We screamed at each other, back and forth, until she admitted she’d read my diary.
She told me that was her proof and to stop lying.

Furious, I stormed home, with her hot on my heels and just as worked up.
I ran into the bathroom and locked the door while she pounded on the door.
I emerged with the book.
She snatched it and flipped to the entry on abortion and pointed out the phrase, “tasted like pennies.

At this point, while I’m sure things are fairly obvious, I want to point out that English is not my mother’s first language.

After pointing at the phrase, she told me to explain myself and I screamed, “P-E-N-N-I-E-S.
That spells PENNIES, as in coins! My mouth ‘tasting like pennies’ means I wanted to throw up!”
She became silent, and let out a quiet oh.
She had thought I wrote that I’d been giving some guy a blowjob.

I locked myself in my room that night and cried myself to sleep.

The fact that I can recall this memory so well shows how much it impacted me.
After that experience, I couldn’t keep a diary anymore, try as I might – the words didn’t flow right and I couldn’t keep the habit up, until I gave up trying.
I didn’t know, before then, that she read my entries.
I felt vulnerable, like my thoughts, once written down or spoken aloud, were there to be judged, misconstrued, and misinterpreted.

My diary was a way for me to reflect on things I had learnt or experienced, how I acted, and most importantly, writing helped me ask questions about myself that many teenagers would relate to.
These questions were innocent, and things a teenager ponders about as they enter adulthood – musings without any definitive action.

Most parents want to, understandably, protect their children from the dangers of the real world, but by reading your child’s diary, you threaten a natural learning process and you lose your child’s trust in you.

If your child trusts you, they will ask you questions and have discussions with you on their own accord, without you needing to intervene.
It is normal for a growing individual to want to seek guidance from a trustworthy guardian.
Trying to forcefully expedite the process or intrusive helicopter-parenting will only push them away.

If you value your relationship with your child and hope to continue having one in the future, then for crying out loud, don’t read your child’s diary!


I guess I'm going to receive alot of backlash for this.

I have read most of he answers here , they all say no , give your teen some privacy, it's a way of teaching respect and so on.

Pls read this first :
These two girls haven't returned to their homes,
I once read about a woman in a local paper whose 13 yr old son ran away with a woman, not to be found, they only found plans and love notes and poems written in his dairy about few days after he went missing, that was 2013 he still hasn’t been found .

When I newly joined Quora, I read about a woman that lost her daughter to an online predator , the girl was 16 then, she reconnected with her daughter 3 years later and she was already a mother to his baby , and quite miserable and hates her mother (Brainwashed) , some comments suggested she accepts her fate and the girl is an adult and can choose her destiny …blah blah.

And a whole lot more
Now look at this
This is the hierarchy of needs (human needs not animal …lol)
Now please judge , is privacy needs higher than saftey and security needs .
NO.

Diary, cell phones , computers , internet , neighborhood, whatever poses any danger , I owe my kids to protect them and keep them safe ( even from themselves atimes ) at almost all costs, and I will do that to the best of my ability.

So yes I will read it (sneakily) and if I see a major red flag I will take necessary measures, otherwise I will keep a low profile (yes I am a spyparent).

That being said , I encourage all parents to keep an open minded and cordial relationship with their kids , let them be able to come to you with any and every form of troubles on their mind (crushes, being bullied , depression, classes, what they feel about your mum , about your boyfriends and girlfriends, their siblings),and try to tackle the issue without being overtly judgemental ( even if every nerve of you is cringing).

Remember it's you and your kid VS the problem , not you against the child .

If your kids feel they have secrets so dark they cannot tell you, the problem is with you the parent.

Footnotes:
Teen girl who ran away with a man she’d never met
Our 15-year-old daughter ran away to be with a man she met on the internet.
.
.
I didn’t think it happened to clever girls

Now bring the rain.


I believe that everyone should have a basic right to privacy.

Now, I never had any privacy, and I still don’t.
I was never allowed to be in my bedroom during the day, never allowed to close my door, never allowed to be on the computer without a parent supervising, never allowed to use any electronics without supervision, for that matter.

Then, one day, I started a journal.
I wrote about everything in it.
How I felt about my parents, sexual things, all of my feelings, what happened in school, everything.
I wrote in that thing like crazy.
I trusted it more than anything else.
I didn’t expect my parents to one day up and read it.

I got in a ton of trouble, for all of my feelings against my parents that I thought were private.
I expected to have at least one place where I could truly be myself, but they did not think that.
All of my trust in them was gone, just like that.

Now, a couple years later, I still do not trust either of them at all, with anything.
I recently started a new journal, and I am terrified that one of them will read it.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t have even started a new one because they read the last one, and history is the best predictor of future behavior and all that, but I was bursting with emotions and no one to talk to that I could trust.
So I have one now.

The other day, my mom was talking to me and crying about how I never told her anything.
I couldn’t tell her that that was because I no longer trust her with any information, because that would hurt her feelings.
She then told me that she was going to read my journal.

I stared at her like she had grown another head.
I was stunned.
I thought that she finally respected my privacy, and maybe even had adopted some morals about it.
Apparently that was not the case.

After we had a short, concise conversation about privacy, she concluded that she would read it if I left it out in the open.

I am now terrified to leave it anywhere, anytime.
If I’m writing in it on the kitchen table, and I get up to go to the bathroom, I worry about her reading it.
If I leave it downstairs in my backpack at night, I worry about her reading it.
I am always worrying about that.
I do not trust my mother anymore with any of my personal information, because of this one little incident.

Sure, go ahead and read your child’s journal.
Go ahead and violate their trust and privacy.
They will eventually know that you have no respect for them at all, and will never trust them to not do bad things.
You will lose your child’s trust for a very long time, but if you’re okay with that, that’s fine.


God no!
When I was younger I had a special padlock diary.
My aunt got it for me on my 7th birthday, I didn’t use the thing until I was 12.

(something similar to this….
Image from google)
That’s when things went downhill.

I would write my everything in the diary, what I felt, who I hated, secrets, and my family…
I went for a shower but left my key on the desk, It would usually be wrapped around my neck like a necklace but I felt really tired after the shower and went to bed.

The next morning I felt awful but I shook it off and went to school,
When I felt around my neck at 3rd period I noticed that my key wasn’t there…
Panic
When school finally ended I rushed home in under 15 minuetes, I looked on my desk and found….
that the key was still there.
.
.
A sigh of relief escaped my chest.

Now keep in mind that I’ve written in that diary for 3 years so a lot of stuff was in that thing.

When I headed downstairs for afternoon tea I saw my mum sitting on the couch, she looked mad.
I felt a bit of dread at the pit of my stomach but tried to shake it off, before I could run back upstairs with my sandwich I heard my mum call me…
She told me to sit down, the feeling of dread intensified,
“What were those horrible things you wrote about me in that stupid book of yours”
My fears were confirmed.

When I write about my life, I tend to get a bit descriptive, when something bad happens I feel the need to write it down to get my head sorted out, the “bad” things I’d written were just complaints I can’t say to her face and they weren’t just limited to my mother either.

My whole family was written in that book and everything I experiance is written in that book,
“Mum I can explain, the book means nothi-”
“Is this how you feel! Do you know how disrespectful it is to me that you’ve written such horrible words”
My mum’s asian so respect is something she takes very seriously.

“But that my private book, I didn’t think you’d look through it”
“I am your mother, you shouldn’t have to hide such things, how dare you belittle my efforts into bringing you into this country! You know when I was small I didn’t have these stupid DSP’s or WiiWii crap or station games! It’s this rubbish that makes y-”
This rant went on for a while, My mum eventually just left me off but I destroyed that book and made sure that she would never see any of my secrets, I learned to bottle everything inside.

After that incident I could never look at her in the same as before nor talk with her like old times.

There is a barrier of trust that gets breached and you can’t fix a relationship afterwards.
My mum looked through a period of my life that I would rather keep hidden but she broke my trust and lectured me after about how keeping secrets was wrong.

Funny enough that incident made me a better liar and because of it let me sneak off and do what I want.

Moral of the story, trust your kid and keep to her privacy.


To start off, it is an invasion of privacy.
Yes you may be their parent and yes you may feel entitled to be able to read it, but in reality you are not.
The thoughts that are written in that diary/journal are all feelings and thoughts that they decided to keep to themselves.

If they were comfortable to talk to you about it they will, but in the meantime they may be coping with self issues and problems and just writing about it helps them feel better and you should be understanding of that.
They may also not want to share some things due to the fear of being judged.
Writing helps both emotionally and with mental health.

In this case I speak for myself.
I am not a teen anymore but when I was about 12 years old in the seventh grade I began my first poetry journal/book.
All pieces on what I would feel on that exact day.
To this day I still do not let anyone read a single poem that is written on those pages.
Because they are all things about myself that no one could ever understand.
It became my sanctuary, the only time I was able to release my emotions and thoughts on how I truly felt.
I kept mostly every emotion and problem that I had bottled up inside.
Rhyming words and jotting random things down was just my way of coping.
I wrote down everything I would feel, but never actually had the strength to come forward and say or talk about.

If you are concerned that the teen may be going through something serious then ask them about it, instead of giving into the temptation of wanting to read from what is theirs.
Once you read it without permission, trust will be broken.
And now they really won’t be able to communicate with you at all.

JUST DO NOT DO IT


No you dont, unless you want them to be scarred for life
I use to write diary until my mom found it and read it.
It was the most personal thing I ever had.
I was having some issue at school and even wrote a list of people I hate and wrote below it
“ the day I become successful I will find them and tell them look how irritating me turned out.

It has been 10yrs since still my mom ask me how those people got on the list.
She was your best friend.
How is she on the list.
My brother still make fun of me about my list.
It has become a family joke.

I stopped writing diaries after that incident.
But when I used to write it down I used to feel healed.
After that incident I felt violated and felt I have no space or privacy.
I had no way to let go of my worries without the paranoia of been under watch.
Diary was my go to place.
Now it doesn't exist.

Now when I feel too sad/depressed/worried, I write it down and then burn those paper after that or cut it into small pieces and throw them in different places, so no one could put them together.
That's how paranoiad I have become.

Do you want your child to feel the same way, violated?! Give them their space.
Let them figure out their life.
Did you go to your parents for help for every tiny thing that happened to you when you were a teenager?
Make your relation with your child so strong that instead of you prying on them, they will come to you when they cannot handle their issues.
Tell them that you are there for them and will help them even in any kind of situation.

Be their friend not a detective.
Help them,not investigate on them


Let me ask you this: does your teenager have the right to read your personal diary? The one you so lovingly write in and take great pains to hide from their prying eyes?! No? Then buzz off! If you don’t want them reading what you write in YOUR personal diary/journal, then don’t read theirs.

My step dad ransacked my room looking for the little diary that I had bought at the dollar store with my allowance without his permission and he was desperate to find out what was written in it.

Once he did find it and read it, he realized the journal he was reading was my story journal as homes didn’t have computers or internet—only the Military had computers and internet access.

I bought two journals one that didn’t have a lock and one that had a lock whose key I kept on a piece of string around my neck at all times.

If you don’t want your teenager reading YOUR personal diary, then what makes you think that you have the ‘right’ to read theirs? It’s none of your business what’s written in that diary.

It’s a safe haven for them to write down their true feelings without fear of reprimandation from adults.
The life of a teenager in 2017 is more stressful than it was when you were a teenager in the preceeding decades.

Just butt out and leave their personal property alone!


No.

When I was younger I kept two fake journals to keep my mom from reading my real one.
Finally she figured this out so I bought a lock for it.
Once my mom found the key she read my journal and our relationship was never the same.
Keep in mind that I wrote down all of my thoughts and feelings in this journal.
I wrote about the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Apparently all that stuck out to my mom was the ugly.
My brother was home visiting us over summer break from MIT.
After reading my journal she became intent on reading my brothers to see if her “perfect” son was as “emotionaly damaged” and “mean” as I was.
After reading his PRIVATE journal she forced us both into therapy.
(He was 20 and I was 12 at the time) Once we get to therapy the therapist expects us to be these deeply troubled kids from what my mom had been saying about us.
After our first therapy session the therapist was totally perplexed.
She tells us our mom read our journals and was worried, but that she didn’t see what was wrong.
After telling both me and my brother this she spoke to my mom.
That night at dinner she was furious.
She said we were only sabotaging ourselves and she was done trying to help us.

So NO! I don’t think anyone including a parent has a right to read their child’s journal.
I know if my mother hadn’t read mine my life and relationship with her after that would have been so much better.


About 2 years ago, my best friend was acting incredibly down.
She wasn't eating, sleeping or doing well in school.
She's one of those teens who would have never slacked at school so i knew something was wrong.

She was also typically very bubbly and positive but for the past few weeks she had become into a completely different person.
Obviously something was wrong.

She was refusing to talk about herself no matter how hard it tried.

One day, i went over to her house a little early.
She was with her dad for another 20 minutes (her parents are divorced)so i went to her room to wait for her.

Her diary was lying open on the bed and i know i probably shouldn't have but i looked.

She was in a very dark place.
She was dealing with self hate and bullying.
Her dad was abusing her.
Just looking at the words, i could tell she was depressed.
.
I heard the garage door and knew she was home.
I put the diary back.

When she came into the room i could now see the bruises she so desperately tried to hide.

I barely slept that night.
I was going back and forth in if i should tell someone.
The next day, i met with my vice principal and told him.
For the past two years she's been seeing a counselor and less of her dad.
Of course there's a lot of things going on between court and her dad but i respect that privacy.

She's been much happier since and is doing great.

So to answer your question, it depends.
Now i know she's my best friend and not my child.
But i think you should respect the privacy of your teen.
Unless you see the warning signs of something much bigger.
Think about it.
If i hadn't looked at her diary, she probably wouldn't be here today.
In her diary, she talked about some really dark things that nobody should ever deal with.

So make your own call.
They might hate you for it at first but know that it's for their own good .

If you are ever dealing with anything like this, TALK TO SOMEONE.
Stay safe and remember you are loved♥️


I keep seeing answers about people being beaten by their parents because of what their journal says.
But I don’t think you’ll beat your child, so I’ll talk about my experiences.

I’ve been keeping a diary/journal/sketchbook for the past year and a half.
It’s really detailed, and explains what I’m going through mentally and whatever.

I know my mum is reading my diary.
I’m not sure how long, but I only recently realized.
I haven’t confronted her about it, and she hasn’t asked me about it.
But I now keep it in a different hiding spot, and take it to school with me.

I don’t trust my mom anymore.
At all.
I always thought we were close, but when I found out about her snooping, all of my trust disappeared.
I’m now 10000x more cautious and secretive about what I do, and it’s harder to talk to her because of what she did.

I have a close friend, I’ll call him Conner, but his parent’s always go through his stuff.
He doesn’t have a journal, more of a series of loose paper that he writes on whenever he gets upset.

His parents read that, and also go through his phone and browser history.

He hates his parents.
I regularly text/hear him talk about how upset this makes him, how he wants to cut them off when he moves out because they don’t respect them.
His parents aren’t that bad of people, they just treat their kids more like pets/belongings than actual people.

DO NOT EVER READ YOUR CHILDS DIARY OR GO THROUGH THEIR PERSONAL BELONGINGS.

If you think they’re depressed, talk to them.

If you think they are hiding something, talk to them
You should NEVER violate their privacy just because you’re curious.

Kids don’t share everything with you, they keep a lot private.
If they choose not to tell you, it’s their business, and you need to back off.


Look at the many many MANY stories posted here.
Lots of stuff about how the person has a horrible relationship with their parent(s), lack of trust, scarring memories and abandonment of their writing hobby.

Now there’s me.
How’s my relationship with my mom? Awesome, actually.
We’re very close.
We get together to hang out as often as we can and we can talk to each other about anything honestly.

What’s the difference between me and the other answers here?
My mom didn’t snoop through my journals.

“But Kay, how do you know your mom didn’t sneak peeks in your diary without you knowing?”
I went through a period where I was secretive about anything I wrote (thanks to a particular middle school moment but I digress).
So I carried my journals, short story collections and sketchpads with me at all times and if I ever needed to leave them, I had ways to detect if they were touched.
It was nerve-wrecking at school but I relaxed at home because there was never any indication the books were looked at.

From the start, my mom and I have been open.
I could ask my mother anything without getting into trouble or anyone getting upset (unless it was deathly serious which was still rare).
She was completely honest with me; gave me the answer or would tell me she wasn’t comfortable talking about it until I was older.

My mom took an interest in my life.
She supported my hobbies while introducing me to new activities and would ask about my day almost every day.
If I didn’t feel comfortable sharing on the rare occasion, mom would back off after giving me a hug and telling me she was there for me whenever I did need to talk.
No suspicion or jumps to conclusions.

“So do you think you have a right to read your teen’s diary or not?!”
Privacy is a rare thing nowadays what with social media, security cameras everywhere and everyone trying to find out what you’re doing every second of the day.
Sometimes the only privacy you get is your own thoughts.
And writing is a very helpful way to understand your thought processes.

By looking at someone’s journal, you’re invading their “safe place”.
Taking away someone’s “safe place” can have devastating consequences on the person’s mental condition.

Again, look at the other answers here.
So many relationships crumbled to dust, so many damaged individuals.
All because a parent was nosy and felt entitled to read their kid’s journal.

If you want to know what your child is up to, JUST ASK.
Build a proper relationship with your teen! Talk to them about their day, what’s going on, hobbies, take an interest in your teen’s life.
If they don’t want to talk about something, you back off.
Let them know they can talk to you whenever they need to.
And don’t yell or punish them right after they do talk to you; discuss everything thoroughly and calmly.

Remember that honesty and trust are important components of a relationship as well.
You be open about what your teen asks you (if you don’t feel comfortable sharing, let them know that and say you’ll discuss it when you feel ready).
And have faith too.
Trust your child is making good decisions.
After all, you raised them so their actions are a reflection of your parenting.
If you don’t trust them to do the right thing, what does that say about you?
One more thing.

There are times where it might be hard to figure out something is wrong.
Your kid won’t talk to you about anything, their personality becomes depressed, grades suddenly go from perfect to failing, etc.

If you have a CLEAR reason to suspect something is wrong with your child (not just paranoid delusions), ONLY THEN you can peek at the journal.
And you do it to make sure your child isn’t involved in anything dangerous or suffering from mental illness.
If they are, you help them.


Absolutely not.
A diary is a private journal where a person should feel comfortable to write their most private thoughts, feelings and experiences.
If a parent violates that trust, they violate all trust and any future confidence and confidance that could occur.
Even when students write journals in English class in school the teacher does not read them.
Generally at the end of the term the students select a small number of entries to submit for grading, and the rest remain private.

If you open that door, how can you expect your child to learn to respect your privacy? Parents have many things they usually wish to be kept away from the eyes of their young: tax returns, investments, special drawers beside the bed, another couple they may hang out with an awful lot, a bag of something green/white/pills they don't want their kids to see, a saucy latex number, a stack of XXX classics, a juvie record, an oopsie with the accountant last Xmas party and so on.
And so on.

Teens need their privacy, and they are absolutely entitled to it.
It's far more preferable to cultivate a better and more fruitful conversational relationship with your teen than to ruin your relationship forever by crossing that line.
And in crossing it you'll find that they'll never forget it: anyone who has had this trust violated holds that grudge steadfastly to them like a crucifix in a scary Romanian forest (insert wolves howling).
The best place to talk to your kid is at the dinner table.
Teens today know a lot about what is going on in the world, and many are frustrated and disturbed by current events.
You could start there.
My ex’s parents would participate in their all their sons’ education by reading the same English and History books.
In doing so they were not only better equipped to help with homework, but it made for great dinner conversation and they were much better parents.
They were certainly much more involved and elicited much more talk from their kids than my parents ever bothered to do, and today they are all very close as adults.


Its a personal diary.
Yes some parents can reason themselves into reading it.
.
but most of the time its a really REALLY bad idea.
A diary is a place to vent, to write thing they’d never say in real life, someone to confide in, things written in anger, frustration and more (and instantly forgotten after) and so on.
Ultimately it would be a massive breach of trust and unless there are extremely good reasons behind it (and its done in the right way – preferably with willing permission) .
.
any kind of trust could easily be utterly ruined.
The teen may also have a far harder time confiding in others (including writing things down in a diary+) which in turn may turn him/her inwards and cause mental damage (higher risk at least).
So overall.
.
No, you don’t have a right to read the diary of your children/teen.

On the other hand.
.
I did read a post (for a somewhat similar question) where someone gave an example of the right kind of reasoning behind reading their diary (and the right way).
To sum up this is what I remember;
The mother had become increasingly concerned and worried for her daughter, and regardless of how hard she tried to get her teen to confide in her, her daughter reacted with hostility (which just made her even more worried).
Ultimately she reached a point where where she decided that her daughter’s privacy vs her concern regarding her teen’s escalating behaviour fell second.
And so she read her diary.
Afterwards she quickly got her daughter into therapy (there were no mention of discussing what she’d read with her daughter – the mother just reacted to what she learned in the best way she knew how) and also found a new school for her (thereby solving the biggest problems the girl had (massive bullying problem to the point the girl was wondering if she wanted to live).
Because of the mother’s interference her daughter grew up to be a strong and healthy woman (whereas otherwise she might not have grown up at all).
So.
.

Parents don’t have a right as such but at times their teen’s privacy vs true parental concern will mean they may choose to take that path and it would be the right thing to do.
But in most causes it won’t be and a parent would be far better off trying to create and foster a good relationship with their teen (wikihow has several good articles on the topic) and that way earn their trust and confidence.


No.

My parents don't seem to trust me very much- as a matter of fact, they openly accuse me of being “too secretive”.
One day when I was 8 or 9, we got into an argument over… something, I forgot, but it ended with my mom going under my bed, as my older brother and sister watched, and pulling out my personal folder on sketches and my journal.

Let me just say, I love sketching, but I HATE showing other people my sketches and innermost thoughts for a reason that belongs in a Quora answer of its own.
Knowing this, my mother went through everything, leaving the sketches in plain view of my siblings, and reading all my personal entries aloud.
Now despite the fact that I was going through a bit of crap at that time, I never wrote down my absolute BIGGEST secrets, and after this, I think I never will.

I'm 17 now, and I still don't like telling any personal issues to my parents.
I just don't trust them to handle it responsibly.
The worst things I tell them are superficial things, like “I'm really nervous I won't get into this college.
” They still think they should go through my phone and belongings to keep me safe, but it really does more harm than good.


No.
Absolutely, a hundred percent, no.

Between the two covers of a diary, lies a safe haven- a sanctuary which, under no circumstance should ever be broken.

As of today, I’ve kept a diary for over three years.

Within those colored, hello-kitty patterned pages lie dozens of painful, happy, sorrowful but genuine memories.
Personal memories which were written for my eyes only.

Two years ago, I had a school project that involved one of my friends coming over.
Since my library and study are conveniently conjoined, we decided that it was the best place to do our project.

I left my diary in one of the desk’s many compartments.
Thinking I could trust her not to snoop around, I exited the room unburdened to fetch more art supplies.

When I returned, my diary was no longer in the compartment, but sitting atop the desk.
I thought nothing of it and resumed the project- which we finished in the short span of an hour.

The next day, I was greeted by the cruel laughter of my schoolmates.
As you most probably already concluded, I had absolutely no idea what was going on.
Suddenly, a friend wordlessly thrust me her phone.
It was an Instagram page.
The contents of my diary flashed before my eyes.

I don’t remember what happened afterwards, just the unbelievable pain I felt.
The betrayal, the hurt.

So unless you want your child to feel the same thing, DO NOT READ THEIR DIARY.


Please don’t.

I was 8 when I started journaling.
Initially, it would be stupid stuff like – “We had science quiz today”, “mom made pulao for dinner”, etc.

I kept writing a daily basis, would choose the best journals, and use color pencils, sometimes stick photos, and try to make it more of a memory book.

I went off to boarding school, in Grade 8.
Your teachers and matron, reserve the right to go through your stuff, so my hobby was halted for a wee-bit.

I became real good friends with one of the guys in my class, and for the lack of better atmosphere to talk, he sent me a letter one day.
This was pure friendship, no crush, no flirting, or any romantic angle.
I wrote back to him.
We would exchange them during class.
It would bring a smile to my face.
What would we talk?
Ideology, beliefs, aspirations, what we expect from life and math homework.
It would often contain gossip about our fellow classmates too in good humor.

I returned home for my Grade 11, and started living with my mom.
It is not easy for a teenage girl having lived her life on her terms for 3 years, to come back under the rules of your mom.
Mom and I would have huge fights, heated arguments and loads of tears.
To cope with this, I started journaling again.

5–6 months later, I return home to find my mom in tears, sitting with all my journals open.
She had read all of them, every single of them, including my kiddish journals from aged 9–12.

She was hurt by what I had written for the recent few months, genuinely hurt.
I was on the defensive, and hated her for invading my privacy.
We did not fight that day.
We went to bed, hungry.

We had an awkward silence for a very long time, she would not get in my way and I would live by all her rules.
We both slowly forgot what I had written, and I threw away all my journals.

Though it is not one of my bad memory, I have not touched a journal ever since.

The only thing I have written down for memory is my first kiss with my husband.

I wish I could write again, but I don’t want to hurt anyone around me.

I wish I could do it without the fear of my journal being read by someone.

It is very good therapy, lack of which you lose some of your self-confidence, and you try to find attention in a fellow human being, making you vulnerable.

So please do not read your teen’s diary.
They deserve that privacy.


I say it is both a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answer.
And because I want to take the unpopular route and say that a parent does have some right to see a child’s diary/journal under very specific situations.
(And if they own a diary.
)
Since there are too many ‘no’ answers and you the viewer had possibly read all of those before coming to this answer.
I feel that at some point that a parent has a responsibility to intervene for their safety and for others.

If you set curfews, and the child goes over, gets hurt and doesn’t talk about it.
Well, expect mother bear go into your phone records.

And maybe some will have to call the police in some.

YES:
If you have a clear and reasonable-sound suspicious that your child is;
Such as the case of Alyssa Bustamante who was 15 around the time where she repeatedly stabbed Elizabeth Olten to death before calmly writing about the "pretty enjoyable" murder in her journal.

"I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they're dead," the entry read.

"I don't know how to feel atm [at the moment].
It was ahmazing.
As soon as you get over the 'ohmygawd I can't do this' feeling, it's pretty enjoyable.

"I'm kinda nervous and shaky though right now.
Kay, I gotta go to church now.
.
.
lol [laugh out loud].
"[2]
Like Graham Young, the Tea-Cup Poisoner where he recorded dosage and reactions.
[3] To be honest, he was begging to have his privacy invaded when he was reading Mein Kampf out in the open during the 1960s.

This is also seen in the Columbine High School Massacre, through the journals left behind by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
Through them, investigators discovered that the teens had been planning for a year to bomb the school in an attack similar to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings.

There is more stuff that ring serious alarm bells for a parent or anyone for that matter if they came across his entries.

November 1998: Eric writes in detail about how he wants to have violent sex with a woman, quoting a line from Nine Inch Nails' song Closer (a song about having rough, animalistic sex).
This heated entry dissolves into a gory description of how he would like to taste human flesh.
The cannibalistic rant eventually wraps around to school where Eric shifts his attention from a woman to a freshman, going on in vivid detail about the twisted, violent things he'd like to do.
[4]
And then there is this.
Journals, Diaries and School Papers .
Where it said, “Class of 98.
Top of the ‘Should had died list’.

And when your kid is not talking anything about it and hearing all of the stories of how children were driven to suicide because of bullying, that journal he or she keeps under their bed is going to be tempting.
Or I will say safety values over privacy in this on.

This happened to a friend of mine who was bullied and he didn’t say anything about it.
His parents only found out when they peeked over his social media and immediately moved schools, his bullies were sending messages of how he should kill himself.

He is now college captain.

Not really reading into a personal diary but, kind of similar?
Now this is all in assumptions that you have some alarm bells ringing about your child.
Like past history, if they hurt someone, if they have a violet tendency, criminal history and all that stuff.

(And much would had been better in hindsight if the parents check in Harris’ room for his weapons and his diaries about his disturbed mind.
)
EDIT: And I just want to mention to add a little more salt into the mix, all the examples I read where from teens around the time of their deeds.

EDIT:EDIT: As I was discussing with another user about this question.
I think it added more depth concerning about trust.
Of how we should trust teens to eventually tell them of how they feel to their parents.

If I know kids and I know kids because I am a kid is that we hid anything from our parents.
It can be small or it can be big.
, even if it hurts us or even kills us in the end.

Why? Reasons can be because we don’t want our parents to worry.
For other extreme situation, it is to ensure that they don’t call the police as I have listed above.

Lets used Columbine as an example again;
After the duo was arrested for stealing a television set 15 months earlier.
Eric wrote an essay for his angry class management saying that he was reformed.

But his private journal tells a different story.

“Isn’t America supposed to be the land of the free? How come if I’m free that I can’t deprived of some fucking dumb shit of his possessions.
If he leaves in the front seat of his fucking van, in plain sight, in the middle of fucking nowhere, on a fucking Friday night.
Natural Selection.
Fucker should had been shot.

I think a parent should had monitored their child after they came out from reform, be a bit more glued to ensure they stay on the right path.
Trust was already severed the moment he or she committed a crime.

Updated: 16.06.2019 — 7:17 pm

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