Posted by: laughs4dads | October 18, 2010

Spies Like Us

Did you know that we’re supposed to spy on our kids?

That’s right. Many experts recommend going through their drawers on a regular basis, and periodically checking their browsing histories, and giving them breathalyzer tests when they come home from an evening out.

In this manner, we are supposed to be able to head them off when they start moving in a wrong direction, prevent them from making horrible mistakes, and, I suppose, stop them from passing military secrets to our enemies.

This advice presupposes a condition that does not exist: that parents are smart enough to escape detection.

We are not.

The same kid who knows enough to add water to the scotch to keep it at the line you thought you secretly marked on the bottle is likely to detect even the slightest movement of items in her underwear drawer. And there is nothing–NOTHING–that you can do on a computer that they can’t do better and more sneakily, including covering their tracks and setting traps that, for all we know, might include an arm that comes out of the screen and hits you if you snoop around.

And when your cover is blown, you will be in big trouble. You will be at their mercy. You have betrayed their trust, so now they will hide everything more securely. Plus they have something to hold over your head.

We almost never lied to our daughter. We didn’t spy on her. We trusted her to do the right thing, most of the time. We also trusted that if she did do something wrong, she would be stupid enough about it so that we’d find out even if we didn’t snoop.

For instance, once, when she had just started driving, I thought I’d play an April Fool’s joke on her. So I came into the house and asked her how she got the dent on the passenger side door. I hadn’t even looked at the car, and even if I had, there were so many dents already on it I doubt I would have noticed a new one unless it was created by a charging bull. But I figured she’d go running out to see what I was talking about, and I could say, “April Fools. Made you look!” (Yes, I have a very sophisticated sense of humor.)

Instead, she looked up at me and started whimpering. “It wasn’t my fault. It was a Coke truck, and he banged the door while I was parked. I was going to tell you.”

See? No snooping necessary.

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