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Reading Your Child’s Diary: How Not to Get Away With It

February 9th, 2011  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  5 Comments

First of all, despite what this dippy, faux-sentimental post at Babble (“I Read My Daughter’s Diary: How could I? How could I not?”) has to say about it, there’s no agonizing over reading your daughter’s diary: either you do it or you don’t. If you do it, you don’t feel bad about it—you did it, it’s not such a big deal, and is nothing like the bank robberies you committed in junior college; and if you don’t, you don’t feel superior, because feeling pride over basic ethical comportment is ugly. There. That simple.

A smattering of fake consideration from the article:

Breathing deeply, I open the diary quickly … almost as if it is beyond my control. CRUSHES I HAVE. She lists Alex first. I met him in preschool. He has blue eyes and blonde hair. Her next crush: Jill, Alex’s mother, who has been a big sister/aunt figure to Amy. I met Jill at school. Blonde hair and blue eyes. FIRST KISS? Whenever I see her.

How delectably innocent and naive. I smile. And with a twinge of guilt, I read on.

And how about this:

It’s both exciting and sad to watch your daughter grow up and away from you. Friends with older children tell me their kids leave and come back many times before they’re truly independent. I will have to cherish the times when Amy returns and learn to live with the moments when she is away.

In the meantime, I will try to get her to straighten her room, use soap, and put that diary of hers away in a safer place: as far from my line of sight as possible.

Whatever—fodder for the voluminous DadWagon blah-blah-blah files. My main gripe? If you’re gonna read your daughter’s diary, then why out yourself? Did the writer know she was going to write about invading her daughter’s privacy before she invaded her privacy? Was this a premeditated act of oversharing and self-criticism?

Or is it just a crappy blog post? You decide.


  1. Jean says:

    February 9th, 2011at 10:57 am(#)

    My mom always read my mail before she handed them to me. I absolutely hated it. I hope I won’t do the same to Sasha. But then again, now that one can “unread” messages on the email……

  2. Matt says:

    February 9th, 2011at 11:41 am(#)

    Yikes! I will teach Sasha how to encrypt her computer as soon as she’s able to type.

  3. beta dad says:

    February 10th, 2011at 1:52 am(#)

    My wife’s dad read her mail for as long as it was addressed to their house. When she went home for the summers after we started dating in college, I had to write letters as if they were from a girlfriend. It was actually pretty fun, from my end. Probably not so much from hers.

  4. Wrangler says:

    June 11th, 2011at 11:09 pm(#)

    I hated it when my mom read my diary when I was a teen. I never got over the invasion of privacy and 11 years later, I still resent her for it. It was my private personal thoughts.

  5. BoggyWoggy says:

    August 10th, 2011at 4:05 am(#)

    When my daughter was in high school, she had a horrendous eating disorder and engaged in extreme and often dangerous activities. She left her journal out on many, many occasions. Yes; I read it whenever the opportunity presented itself, and I became a master of acting oblivious. However, the knowledge I gained from those readings helped me be a better parent. Would she be upset if she found out? ABSOLUTELY! Do I care? ABOLUTELY! However, I believe that many people (me included) write in journals and diaries with an “audience” in-mind…we write as though our writing will be read.
    And I guess I have to wonder if there were times her journal were left in an open location in the house on purpose!?

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