General Question

Clair's avatar

How much privacy did your parents demand when you were younger?

Asked by Clair (3832points) June 12th, 2009

All of these family oriented questions made me think about when I was little and I knew where everything was in my mom’s room and I could sit on her bed and chat for hours. When she got remarried (now divorced), her new husband wouldn’t allow any of the kids to sit on the bed or even be in the room. I understand a couples privacy but he often demanded outrageous things that hurt us as a family. That was a major shock to me because I had never heard of anything that ridiculous. We were so family oriented before. I could never do that to my children.
What was, and is, your family like in this aspect?

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15 Answers

DominicX's avatar

My mom would let my sister and I go through her clothes and try them on…lol

Only if we asked first. Otherwise, I could go in my parents’ room if I wanted to. My mom would sometimes take out some of her jewelry and let us look at it because we always thought it was cool when we were little.

I don’t have much reason to go in my parents’ bedroom nowadays; there’s nothing for me there. But my parents have a really nice huge fancy-ass bathroom, so sometimes I like to use it…lol. And I can go in there if I want to. Every room in the house is fair game. There are just some I don’t have much desire to go in.

But really, there wasn’t much restriction when I was younger mostly because we never really found much reason to go in my parents’ room and they didn’t find much reason to bar us from going in there. I can’t remember too much, I’m sure if we were in there when they didn’t want us in there, they would’ve told us to leave and I’m sure if we messed anything up they wouldn’t have been happy. I don’t remember ever feeling like I wasn’t allowed to go in there, though. Same with my dad’s office. I could always go in there as long as I didn’t start messing stuff up. If my dad was working, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to go in there and I’m sure he would’ve said “I’m busy” or something like that.

Aethelwine's avatar

Our children are always allowed in our bedroom as long as the door is open. If the door is shut they know that they must knock first. It was the same way when I was a child. Parents do need their privacy but our children are always welcome to come in and chat with us.

casheroo's avatar

He wouldn’t allow you and your siblings in the room? that’s weird

I don’t remember any boundaries really. I’d watch tv in their room, go through my mother’s make up drawer (she’s always had a make up table) and I’d use her stuff. On hot summer nights, my brother and I would sleep on their floor because they had the air conditioner.
If the door was shut, we knocked. Simple as that. If they said “don’t come in” then we didn’t go in.

We’ll do things like my parents. I strongly believe in the family bed, and cosleep for the first year, and if a child wants to come cuddle in bed with us, I will have no problem with that.

cookieman's avatar

• My parents bedroom door was often locked whether they were in it or not.

• My mother refused to speak about finances with me even after I was an adult. What’s more, she claimed for years that we were poor when were not.

• My father’s bottom dresser was “off-limits”. It was mostly filled with drugs or porn.

• I was not allowed to repeat “anything” I heard them say in the house to “anyone”. My mother’s favorite phrase (often through gritted teeth) was: “THIS STAYS HERE!”.

• My mother always lied when explaining to family/friends why we couldn’t attend some gathering. “It’s none of their goddamn business!” she would say.

• If I were to ever slip and forget any of these “rules”, the wooden spoons would come out (which was never good news).

So yeah, they demanded a pretty high level of privacy*.

* read: paranoia

Conversely, my daughter is allowed anywhere in the house she wants. If we would like some privacy, we ask her for some privacy and she goes off to her room and plays. She has questions about anything, I answer them honestly (although adjusted for a six-year-old’s level of understanding).

Clair's avatar

@cprevite wow.

this was such a huge change. before the marriage, when it was just us girls, we hung around each other like a bunch of teenagers. we slept in the same bed and followed each other to the bathroom, not missing a beat of the conversation. i’m so sorry you didn’t have that @cprevite, nothing in the world could compare to that.
that cookie is making me drool right now by the way.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

A bedroom was seen as a private place where you didn’t go into unless invited or sent and a knocking at the door frame was a courtesy we observed whether or not the door was open . As far as my own bedroom, it was understood my grandparents and parents could go in while I wasn’t there but not to “snoop” for anything not obviously in place. I didn’t have any problem with extending my family privacy in their bedrooms since I knew a lot of what went on there: nakedness, revealing/relax clothes, sex, angry time-out-with-self moments, private grief, private conversation, etc.

ru2bz46's avatar

Apparently, they didn’t demand enough. I walked in on them after they said they were going off to “take a nap” in the middle of the day. How they made it through my many older siblings and up until I was in high school without being disturbed or puting a lock on the door, I don’t understand. They never gave any indication (of which I was aware) that they even did that anymore.

Darwin's avatar

We had to knock on any closed door and wait to be invited in. My parents did the same. We also were required to respect my parents’ personal belongings, just as they respected ours, and not go through their drawers or closets without express permission.

It wasn’t so much an issue of privacy as it was an issue of respect.

YARNLADY's avatar

I can’t remember that it was ever an issue with my parents. As far as I was concerned their bedroom was the boringest room in the house. The only time I went in there was to help with the cleaning or laundry.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

this might be a slightly different situation, as my dad is m.i.a., and i don’t have a step father (though my mother is in a serious relationship, he lives in a different state for the time being, but does come here for at least a month at a time), but my mom isn’t a super private person. i usually knock on her door out of respect for her privacy, and because i expect the same respect. if i know she’s just on the phone with my grandma or watching tv, sometimes i’ll just walk in, but that’s how it’s always been.
when her boyfriend is here, i rarely go in her room, and if i need to, i absolutely knock first.

cak's avatar

Generally, it was only when their bedroom door was shut and locked, I was never scarred for life! ;~)

For us, it’s about the same. We don’t discuss exact finances with the children, but we do have a family budget meeting, where they are told (and shown) how much is allotted for entertainment and vacations. I don’t want finances to be a complete mystery for them; however, they don’t need to know our bottom line.

DominicX's avatar

@cak reminded me of something.

It’s interesting to note that my parents never really talked about how much money they had as I was growing up. It was never mentioned. It was obvious that they were wealthy by the things that we had and did and that not everyone got to have and do those things, but it was never stated. It was only until later and after hearing it from people at school that the words “rich parents” came to be something I associated with them. And it definitely wasn’t until middle school that I realized how wealthy we are. It’s kind of a weird feeling, actually. It’s why I always feel awkward and embarrassed when people ask about it. I can see why my parents never said anything about it and I think that was a perfectly good decision on their part.

dannyc's avatar

None, I have 9 brothers and sisters.

cyn's avatar

When it’s unlocked and open, we go in. When it’s locked and shut, we have to knock or respect privacy by not knocking at all. When I was younger I was always in my mother’s bedrooom wearing her clothes, bra, shirts, underwear, etc. etc. or putting on make-up (especially eyeshadows and the red lipstick). She caught me once playing with my friend in her room. I didn’t really got into trouble…haha

Darwin's avatar

@dannyc – Surely your parents got at least 10 moments of privacy.

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