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10 year old and privacy
Posted on: 05/02/2007
my daughter is 10 years old, she wears a size A36 bra but she has almost no pubic hair. She is waiting for her period to come, and she has been doing something on her computer and is keeping it private from me. Can you please help.
Hi, This is always a challenge for parents--how to allow privacy and individual development of their child, a trusting relationship and continue demonstrating that trust, and still provide knowledge, judgment and safety for their child. In the case of a 10 year old daughter wanting privacy while on the computer, it might be as innocent as keeping her diary entry to herself, or instant-messaging a friend with some gossip from school; it can raise anxiety for a parent in this day of regular news alerts of internet predators, and not knowing exactly what your daughter is up to or hooked into. Some basic parameters and suggestions for internet use are that it be accessed from open family rooms, not bedrooms (for instance, kids use word processing or computer games in bedrooms, but internet use restricted)--this allows homework help while in central rooms, and individual recreational use, but parents still able to walk through the room (and discretely catch peripheral reassurance that all's well and as agreed to). If this is a change from what has been set up so far, but a desired change, you might first coordinate with spouse/coparent and then together bring up with your daughter "a household change" (one that everyone will follow, not personal or because of any one person). Share with her your trust of her, but also your discomfort of internet use without limits because of known safety concerns, then review internet expectations. For help in how to structure appropriate expectations you might check out the resource CommonSense Media (www.commonsensemedia.org), a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, CA, that discusses internet use and children and teens; it also rates and reviews games, movies, TV, etc., and runs workshops for schools, parents, community. Additionally you might look through the text of both our preteen and teen websites. And of course, keep developing open communication with your daughter, validating all the good stuff and approaching question areas sensitively, and just enjoying her. Good luck!