Could I be wrong? - is this a teenager thing?

@arkaf61 (10881)
Canada
March 17, 2007 11:19pm CST
I am the first defender of privacy, but I am just puzzled today. As many of you know my(almost) 17 year old daughter is staying with grandma back home since September. She is taking a few courses there but also continuing her studies from here thanks to a program that allows students that will be out of the country for no more than 2 years to continue their courses from here. She has the choice to send her work through the internet or mail. We payed for her courses and the school has our address as well my mom's back home. Recently my daughter sent her unit from math through the mail and we have been waiting for them to send it back marked. We weren't sure if they were going to send it here or there. It arrived here on friday. It came on an envelope from school - like many other have come since she's there, with only course options or new courses added. I got it and had to open to see what it was . If it was just information about courses we didn't need to send it to her, but if it was her math we needed to forward it to her. Inside was the math book and also her work, her mark and the comments from the teacher. I opened it and took a look. I was proud of her. She often has a bit of trouble with math, but this time she really applied herself and was able to get an average mark of 83%. Of course I also read her comments and the ones the teacher wrote back to her. It was all there in the same place. It was too late to talk to her on msn and I knew she wouldn't be on the net much during the weekend because she is at my sister's place for a birthday. So I sent her an email to tell her that her work was here and that I was going to forward it to her on monday and also to congratulate her on her effort and such good mark. To my surprise she wrote me back this morning, in a very rude way because I had opened her mail and read it. I still have trouble understanding her point. I had to open the envelope in order to know if it was something i needed to send her or not. Having her work there and her marks why wouldn't I read it? I am paying for the courses in the first place. Is it possible that I am wrong? That I shouldn't have open the book and see her marks or the comments? I know my teen years are really far away, but I don't think I did anything wrong. What do you guys think? What would you have done?
10 people like this
27 responses
• United States
18 Mar 07
well i dont really think u did anything wrong, however being that she is 17 i can also see why she was not very happy about it. when i was a teen i didnt want my parents knowing anything i did. also adding the fact that she is so close to being 18 she may be developing that sense of adulthood and independence which may be another reason she reacted the way she did.. id just try talking to her and letting her know that u didnt mean to invade her privacy, and that u want to respect her privacy however she needs to let u know how u should handle future mail from the school from now on. i think this will give her more of a sense of control and independence and will make her feel better.
3 people like this
@arkaf61 (10881)
• Canada
18 Mar 07
Thank you for your insight. I know you are right, specially now that we allowed her to be so far away for a year, she is probably feeling pretty much in charge. The funny thing is that she hasn't been hiding her marks at all, she's actually very happy with the marks in every subject and always writes to us to go and check them on the school e-journal that's why I wasn't expecting this reaction. I will certainly have to talk to her about this. Thanks for your ideas I know I will be using them :)
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Mar 07
your very welcome :) im sure everything will work out just fine in the end
1 person likes this
@mpshiva6 (65)
• India
18 Mar 07
Certainly there is nothing wrong in what you have done. In fact it is a must that you should know what her school comments about her. If it was a personal letter addressed to her, then you shouldnt have opened without her permission. But in this incident there is nothing for her to be angry about. I am a father of a 15 year old daughter also. I can understand your feelings very weill. I think you should talk to her and make her understand that she is still a child and with regard to education you should know everything. She should also understand that you as her parent will only have good intentions for her. I dont know which country you are from. But thankfully in our country, India, our children live with us mostly till their marriage and till now most of them feel that a little interference from the parents are regular matter. I hope you will be able to talk to your daughter about this and make her undrstand. All the best to you.
@arkaf61 (10881)
• Canada
18 Mar 07
Thank you for your answer. I am in Canada and she is in Portugal right now with her grandmother. She will be coming back in July.
• United States
18 Mar 07
Nope, Mom is right! :) LOL You can open the mail, she is currently in school and you are paying for it. It is your right to open it. Now with her being so upset that you had opened it, I would ask her if there is a reason why she doesn't want you to open it. Is she afraid of you seeing something that she doesn't want you to see? Or is this just the teenager in her. I think things will blow over and she will see that there is no reason on why you can't open the mail from school. She will get over this. She will understand, and let her know that she would do the same thing that you have done. Don't worry Mom, your right!
@tictac714 (975)
• United States
18 Mar 07
When I was 17, my parents did not see all my grades, just the final ones on report cards. And even those ones, I saw first. I would have been rather upset if my mom was looking at my grades and reading my comments from my teacher before I even got to see them. And I don't think that's unreasonable. I think that at 17 you at least have the right to see your own grades before your parents do. That said, you guys have a unique situation since your daughter is away. I guess you could have opened it, saw what it was, and not continued to read it, and just sent it to her and waited for her to tell you about it. Or at least asked her if she wanted you to look at the grades maybe. I'm NOT saying that you don't have a right to look at her grades, but she IS 17 and I still think she should be able to see them first, or at least tell you it's ok with her if you look at them first.
2 people like this
@arkaf61 (10881)
• Canada
18 Mar 07
Thanks for your input, as I said, my teen years were too long ago :) Actually she was the first looking at her marks because both marks and comments go on her e-journal from school as they are given and I only received the envelope on friday. They were there since thursday. And more she would have told me if we had been in touch on msn, but since she was traveling to my sister's city we didn't talk on those days. She knew her mark. All of her other subjects are sent through the internet, it was only math that she send through the mail because it was easier for her. But she gave me the password to check her marks on her e-journal as well, that's why I didn't think there would be a problem. But I do have to remember: TEENAGER :)
2 people like this
• United States
18 Mar 07
Oh...yeah, then it doesn't really seem like you did anything wrong. You're right though, her age sort of...defies reason.
1 person likes this
@glenry86 (211)
• Australia
18 Mar 07
i can understand your point that you needed to open the mail and make sure it was worth sending to your daughter, any normal person how opens someone mail will have a look at it, however i also see your daughters point and wanting her privacy respected, she is 17 and getting close to being an adult so she probably feel thats its her work and they its her business if she wants to tell you her mark or not (which im sure she would of if it was 83% on average) maybe trying sending all the mail you reeive from the school directly to her without opening it, that way she will be happy her privacy hasnt been breached and she can tell you her mark herself, i would worry to much about it. :)
2 people like this
@arkaf61 (10881)
• Canada
18 Mar 07
Yes, I can see what you mean. I just didn't really think of it as invasion of privacy. She had actually told me I might receive it here and all I needed was to see if it was it. Sending all mail we receive here to her will be very expensive. THe school alone sends information on new courses and classes almost every week and most of the envelopes are heavy with course booklets.
1 person likes this
@glenry86 (211)
• Australia
18 Mar 07
i wouldnt worry to much about it
2 people like this
• United States
18 Mar 07
Since it was her schoolwork, I'd say you did nothing wrong by opening it. You are still her mom, even if she is not living with you right now. If she was living with you, you'd be asking to see her schoolwork and grades, right?
1 person likes this
@sunsham68 (1376)
• India
18 Mar 07
don't overthink!This is a non-personal document and your intentions were not to snoop. Maybe she wanted to break the news to you her way and this way you just found out, flat. Anyway, don't overthink. Its small and insignificant, focus on making her feel good about her efforts and direct her to communicate better and address the real issue behind the rudeness/ misunderstanding.
@deebomb (15304)
• United States
18 Mar 07
I don't think you are wrong at all. She is still a minor and you are paying for her schooling. When she is working and not depending on you then she has a right to say something but not until then. Even then she does not have to be rude and disrespectiful Don't try to understand her point. She's a teenager and these days they are more prone to you owe me and I don't have to be nice either. No matter how you teach tem they go their own way.
1 person likes this
@sharon613 (2321)
• United States
18 Mar 07
You did right. Like you said after all your the one who is paying for the course and if she don't like you opening up her mail then let her pay for the course.
1 person likes this
@ESKARENA1 (18261)
18 Mar 07
i think it is a teen thing. It is part of establishing yourself as an individual. She will be upset because to her it suggests you are not respecting her as an individual adult. I know that is not your intention, but in her mind it is how it looks blessed be
1 person likes this
• Canada
18 Mar 07
Well, if it was me, I'd prefer to have my parent call and ask me if they want them to have something opened when they receive mail for me. My sister's mail comes to my house all the time since she's away for the year at school, but since it's her mail, I always ask her if she wants me to open it and let her no what's inside. She's always said yes, and I've opened it up for her... but I think that being given the chance to say no I'd rather you not open that one, even if they never would say that is showing that you feel that you can trust the person which can go a lot with a person, especially at an age like 17. Seeing as it was a math course, I would think that perhaps she was angry because if she usually struggles, then she figures 'well, what if she always just checks it and next time I do really bad?' or perhaps she has other things on her mind that maybe making her upset and she's just transferring that on to you. I understand that you paid for the course, and want to see that she's doing well... but I know when I was at 17, I wanted to be more left to make my own decisions and not always have my parents into everything that I did. At that age you are always told things like you have to act like a grown up, but then we have our parents doing things that might seem like an invasion of privacy, which in my opinion is something that would be okay at a younger age. What if it was a different course that she was taking, and she had to write personal reflections about something? Thinking back, I've even had to do that in math before, and things like that, were 'personal' as the name suggests and I didn't want to share them with the teacher, much less my parents. So, it's hard to really understand the whole reasoning behind why she's angry, but I can think of some where it might make me frustrated to have someone 'checking up' on you - which I don't think was your intention, but it could be misinterpreted. Plus, I don't think that just because you are paying for the courses that it gives you the write to go and read through the things that she is doing. Now that she knows it's a possibility, it might just get her more worried about handing things in knowing that she won't be able to defend her work before you see the final marks from it. I guess I'm a bit closer in age to the whole school thing, as I just got out of college last year, so I can understand some of what she might be feeling. But I can also tell you this. Lots of times at that age, you get upset over trivial little things that don't really matter. It's not always what you did that matters, because peoples moods can be all over the place, so one small thing can get blown way out of proportion in a teenagers mind, but it is just as easily pushed to the back burner later because some other emotion is bound to take over. Just bare with your daughter, I can only imagine how hard I must have made things for my mother as I was struggling to finish my schooling in the non-traditional ways (because I dropped out in high school after having some things happen there I couldn't deal with anymore), but my one salvation was how my mother was always on my side and guiding me through things while letting me make my own decisions. It's the same way still between us, and now that I'm a few years older, I can fully appreciate just how great she really was to me. Now that you know your daughter might get upset if you open her mail... next time you may want to just ask her something like 'oh, you got some mail from 'such and such'. Did you want me to open it and see what it is?' If she says no, then she says no... if she says yes, then find out what's in the envelope and let her know. At least that way she can feel she has a little more control over the situation, and will feel that you trust her enough to give her some privacy since that's what she seems to be after. But you are her mother, so in the end it's up to you. All I can do is give you my thoughts. I wish the both of you the best of luck :)
@paulsy (1263)
• Philippines
18 Mar 07
If I were in your place, I would have done the same thing. Being her parent, you were right, and you know that. If you were somebody else not related and not concerned with her in anyway at all, then doing such a thing would be an absolute no-no. But then it's a growing up thing to have that feeling of having the right to privacy. My daughter is like that too, sometimes. That's why I keep my hands off her cellphone even when I see it lying around in the house...even when I am terribly worried about what she and her friends are up to sometimes. She'll get over that someday. In the meantime, always remember, PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE. Being a mother requires a lot of patience, and UNDERSTANDING. It's difficult... but when the time comes and it's her turn to be a mom, she will realize that Mommmy always meant well for her daughter.
• United States
18 Mar 07
YOu sure didn't do anything wrong. Just explain to your daughter that why you opened the mail. You don't open any other mail of hers do you? Just let her know when it's pertaining to school work this is something you need to know and you have every right to know whats going on in that part of her life. Yeah it's a teenage thing. Just talk to her and let her know your reasoning behind it talk to her like she is an adult I think she would appreciate this as well...I think it will all work out...communication is the key!
• India
18 Mar 07
children must b given their own privacy.....but i don't think it's the right thing u did by opening her mail...
1 person likes this
@zuri25 (2125)
• United States
18 Mar 07
I don't think you did anything wrong. It was something from school not a personal letter or anything like that. You are paying for her to be in school and you do have a right to know how well or bad she is doing in her classes. Her reaction would make more sense if she had gotten a bad grade. But she didn't; it was a decent grade. She has to understand that this is not a typical situation and things are going to be handled on a touch and go basis. I think this is really just a teenager thing. At her age, kids are big into having personal space and privacy. She'll get over it.
@mari61960 (4893)
• United States
18 Mar 07
Sounds like a teenage thing to me. Of course you would have to open it so you could know whether or not to forward it to her. I'm sure she knows this but her thought was probably so focused on "my parents read my mail" that she just flew of the handle without even thinking about what she was saying. I supose you should have asked to look at the work, comments etc. But it's not like you opened a letter and read it or something...lol
@rsa101 (37969)
• Philippines
18 Mar 07
I guess you as a parent would have all the rights to know what is happening to their children's activity. I guess I would do the same since I really have to know how my child is doing in school. I think its just a misunderstanding and you'll have to explain to her that the mail is not really a private matter between you and the school. If it was a private mail from her friends it would have been a different matter but it is your interest and hers that you know what is happening. Hope that your daughter will realized that soon.
1 person likes this
@urbandekay (18278)
18 Mar 07
At 17 you should respect her privacy and mailed the package to her if it was addressed to her. If you expect her to behave like an adult you must treat her like one. I do not think you are completely honest about your motivation, I think you were curious. I could of course be wrong but that is how I see it all the best urban
1 person likes this
@urbandekay (18278)
18 Mar 07
You are sending her a big message that you don't trust her all the best urban
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@urbandekay (18278)
19 Mar 07
You r argument is rational but privacy is an rational value and teenagers are notoriously sensitive. all the best urban
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@arkaf61 (10881)
• Canada
18 Mar 07
Urban dekay, i read the exact same thing on her school e-journal with her permission. That's where all her work, marks and comments both from her and teachers is posted and she gave me the password to use. There was nothing to be curious about because all that was in the envelope is also posted in the school e-journal, except for her actual calculations which she send through email - and believe me, I have no special curiosity to look at numbers and graphs :) I can't however send everything that comes from the school to her because it will be very expensive. The school send booklets with new courses, newsletters etc. to our address every week. Most of those things are not needed and we agreed to only send what is important.That's why I needed to open the envelope to see what it was - and even she recognizes that... what she objects to was that I read through it, which doesn't make sense to me since it's exactly the same thing that is in the school e-journal. I would not open a private letter. Actually I save them until I have a big bunch and then ask her what she wants to do with them. Some she wants me to send, some she wants me to open, some she tells me to just leave there until she comes back in july.
• Canada
18 Mar 07
As her mom you had every right to open her book and read her marks and the comments her teacher wrote. On the other hand, I think you spoiled the thing for her because she wasn't able to look at her mark herself Aside from that, all teenagers hate their parents going through their mail, and maybe she trusted you to just open the package and send it on to her. Yes, you DID pay for those courses, but she's the one putting the hard work in. Maybe she wanted to be able to tell you what her mark was, and feel that sense of achievement for a job well done.
1 person likes this
@arkaf61 (10881)
• Canada
18 Mar 07
Well she already knew her mark. It was on the school e-journal, we just didn't have time to talk about it because she was traveling to my sister's place and was going to be away from the internet for the weekend. ANd yes, you are right, she wanted me to just open the package check it was the math work and send it to her without opening, which doesn't really make sense because as I said, it is there in the school e-journal. But I'm even more sure that you are right with the idea that maybe she wanted to be the one tell me her mark. That makes a bit more sense. THanks for the answer:)
• United States
19 Mar 07
I would think it'd be fine. It wasn't a bad mark or anything. I did much worse in math. Hah. But being that I was 17 not all that long ago (I'm 19 now) I can kinda understand. It's not right of her to get rude, really, but I was definately pretty moody at times at that age. I really had no reason to be, but I was. Just typical teenage stuff I guess. For me I probably would have been mad because I probably would have been hiding my grade as it would have been a bad one for math class. So I can't tell you why she cared, but for some reason or another she did. Maybe she wanted to tell you over the phone or through email the good grade that she got. I think what you did is fine though. Parents do have the right to know about their childs grade especially when they're just trying to help them out.
1 person likes this