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Q: Do you think it is an infringement of privacy to require that a 16-year-old have her bedroom door open only when she is not in the room?
Do you think that it is reasonable to expect a 16-year-old to continue to have family household responsiblities despite her busy school and social schedule?
A: I think that a 16-year-old should be able to keep her bedroom door closed at any time she wants. These arguments about room privacy are not about hiding things from parents (although that is certainly a behavior common to teenage years). They are about teens pulling away from the influence, control, and authority of their parents, which is what is supposed to happen as a teen matures. No matter how busy a child is with schoolwork or outside activities, she can be expected to share in family household chores and responsibilities. Some family time management can provide her with choices of chores/duties. Parents also have busy lives and need to find ways to balance work, family, social, and personal pursuits and responsibilities. I am sure you can brainstorm a duties schedule with her that would acknowledge her busy life and her need to help out her family. Be open-minded about negotiating her responsibilities. Don't use guilt or anger in your discussions. You may also wish to consider an allowance incentive for certain jobs. Ron Taffel's"Parenting By Heart" will offer you some insights and practical help in addressing these issues of privacy and household responsibilities.
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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.