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DD snooping and eavesdropping


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#1 LadyGreyTea

Posted 16 December 2019 - 01:04 PM

My DD is a sweet and endearing child at heart but I've realised she's developed an annoying habit of snooping in my belongings. I've caught her about 4 times rummaging though my chest of drawers or handbag, and when confronted  she will either deny it or will say "I was just looking".
The thing is my drawers contain nothing of any interest except several pairs of socks, thermals some scarves, and my handbag is contains the bare minimum (wallet, lippie, tissues, wetwipes, work ID).
Aside from snooping through my very boring belongings she's also developed a habit of snooping through my DS's bedroom and my DHs study.
I've tried gently admonishing her and I've also resorted to yelling at her.
The thing is nothing has ever gone missing, she's just very nosy.
I've also caught her trying to open personal mail.
I've also had cases where I'll take her to visit relatives and she'll often eavesdrop on conversations that are none of her concern.
She will eavesdrop on her older cousins (teenage boys talking about minecraft or uni aged cousins talking about assessments) and then threaten to dob on them if they won't let her in on the conversation.

DD is 8 and I'm not sure if she's doing this out of boredom or loneliness.
She has plenty of toys and many play dates but she's also the youngest of the female cousins by many years so the older ones are too busy or have very little in common with her.

What do I Do?


#2 Ruf~Feral~es

Posted 16 December 2019 - 02:24 PM

I think I would just be firm.  "Gently admonishing' her obviously isn't working, and she is at an age of learning boundaries - privacy is a big one that she needs to learn to respect wherever she is - including her own home.

In our house, bedrooms are off limits unless invited in.  (except for parents, of course).  So DD and DS were not to enter each others bedrooms or ours, without permission.  This was a hard rule, with consequences.

They could play together in one or the others room, but were not to enter without the express permission of the room holder.  And listening outside doors etc was never OK.  

Get into the habit of keeping your handbag in your room, so she is breaking two rules if she goes through it, both entering the room and snooping through a bag, drawers etc.

As far as the eavesdropping, again, I would be saying "it is not OK and it is very rude.  People don't like it, and you wouldn't like it if it was done to you".

Have clear consequences for breaking 'the rules', which apply to the whole family.  

DD is 15 now, and still asks my permission before going to my ensuite to get hairspray or deodorant etc if she has run out.

#3 Islander

Posted 16 December 2019 - 03:58 PM

I only have an younger children so I might be way off, but I’m not sure I’d look at it as eavesdropping and snooping so much as childhood curiosity. I’d just keep reinforcing that you’re not allowed to look at anyone’s things without asking first, and letting her know if she’s listening to a conversation that’s private that she needs to go elsewhere. And then whatever you normally do if she breaks the rules, while teaching about the importance of privacy.

#4 #notallcats

Posted 16 December 2019 - 04:10 PM

Has she recently developed an interest in spy games, or been given anything spy related?  Mine all went through it (and one still likes to).  The spy kits are really all about snooping, one even has a earsdropping device in it.   Lots of kids books are about spies too, or mystery solving, perhaps she's picked up something from there.

Edited by #notallcats, 16 December 2019 - 04:18 PM.


#5 amdirel

Posted 16 December 2019 - 05:34 PM

I used to do this when I was little. I can't remember eavesdropping much but I did snoop. I was a very well behaved kid. IMO it's just curiosity. I certainly turned out ok anyway!

#6 Luci

Posted 16 December 2019 - 05:53 PM

I also used to do this when I was little and I was also a very well behaved kid. I don't recall really having the desire to "snoop" as such, I think it was more just out of curiosity and boredom.

#7 LadyGreyTea

Posted 16 December 2019 - 07:40 PM

Thanks everyone, I  suppose I'll must-have to wait till she outgrown her curiosity.
I just don't want her to carry on thus habit when she visits new places.
My younger cousin once removed came over years ago and used to snoop in me and my brothers rooms and my mum found it highly disrespectful.

#8 afterlaughter

Posted 16 December 2019 - 07:52 PM

How about a conversation starting off with I see your interested in my belongings and take it from there. Find out what is drawing her interest and see if it can be redirected. Go out of your way to include her in conversations.

#9 No Drama Please

Posted 17 December 2019 - 06:25 AM

View PostLadyGreyTea, on 16 December 2019 - 07:40 PM, said:

Thanks everyone, I  suppose I'll must-have to wait till she outgrown her curiosity.
I just don't want her to carry on thus habit when she visits new places.
My younger cousin once removed came over years ago and used to snoop in me and my brothers rooms and my mum found it highly disrespectful.
You can just tell her that when we go out we’re not allowed to look through other people’s things because it’s private. But yes at home I don’t see anything wrong with letting them look around, it’s their home, and they’re naturally curious and just exploring in a safe environment.

#10 SeaPrincess

Posted 17 December 2019 - 08:26 AM

View PostRuf~Feral~es, on 16 December 2019 - 02:24 PM, said:

I think I would just be firm.  "Gently admonishing' her obviously isn't working, and she is at an age of learning boundaries - privacy is a big one that she needs to learn to respect wherever she is - including her own home.

In our house, bedrooms are off limits unless invited in.  (except for parents, of course).  So DD and DS were not to enter each others bedrooms or ours, without permission.  This was a hard rule, with consequences.

They could play together in one or the others room, but were not to enter without the express permission of the room holder.  And listening outside doors etc was never OK.  

Get into the habit of keeping your handbag in your room, so she is breaking two rules if she goes through it, both entering the room and snooping through a bag, drawers etc.

As far as the eavesdropping, again, I would be saying "it is not OK and it is very rude.  People don't like it, and you wouldn't like it if it was done to you".

Have clear consequences for breaking 'the rules', which apply to the whole family.  

DD is 15 now, and still asks my permission before going to my ensuite to get hairspray or deodorant etc if she has run out.

All of this. One of the things that really annoys me is people (the children, usually) going through my stuff, and especially when they move it or use it and don’t return it. If I could have one unbreakable rule it would be “if it’s not yours, don’t touch it”.

When my children are listening in, I either direct them to something to do (e.g. go for a swim if it suits me to supervise) or make sure I’m having the most boring conversation ever. They don’t hide behind doors to do it though!

#11 Grassisgreen

Posted 17 December 2019 - 09:23 AM

I think this is a situation where you need to teach her what is socially acceptable. She may grow out of it, but she also may end up doing it and more covertly and be quite an undesirable trait as an adult. So I think you need to be firm with respecting people’s boundaries.

I think having a conversation with her about why she is doing it. Then maybe offering to show her things. And not just once but every few days or so, and offer for her to ask you if she wants to look somewhere.

I used to love to be shown by my grandmother what was in her special cupboards, the different jewellery, family heirlooms etc. I was very interested in what grown ups were doing and their world. I loved also feeling part of grown up conversations. So just sitting there while my aunts talked about what was happening in their lives. But they knew I was there.

#12 Luci

Posted 17 December 2019 - 11:01 AM

I agree OP that it is not something you want going on when your DD is in someone else's home.

I have reminded my kids a few times (not sure if it has sunk in but I hope so) that it is very important to respect other people's privacy when you are in their home.  I have also told them that if they don't, then they may well find themselves not invited back to that home again.

I have mentioned specific examples like don't stand in front of the fridge and read everything on it, don't read pieces of paper lying around. Don't open drawers or cupboards or go into the parent's bedroom ever.

#13 Ruf~Feral~es

Posted 17 December 2019 - 01:51 PM

I think there is a huge difference between curious eavesdropping or 'playing spy', and listening in to older children and threatening to dob on them if not included in the conversation.

I agree with Grassisgreen - it's about teaching what is socially acceptable, and what could become a worse issue that will cost her friendships in the future.

Kids are learning social cues and appropriate behaviour from the time they are born.  It is our job as parents.  So whilst this doesn't necessarily require strong boundaries and 'punishment', I also think it would be a mistake to enable it to go unchecked.

#14 Backtoschoolchef

Posted 17 December 2019 - 04:18 PM

I think we have the same child.

Curiousity is normal, but frustrating for the parents!  Supposedly one of the things that can help is showing them certain things, what they are, what you use it for etc.  Sometimes they just want to know.

This doesn't mean that snooping is OK but it means Im trying to treat DD a bit more like an independent person than a small kid. And also allowing them to have more control and more choices.  For example if they want to try my perfume on thats ok as long as they ask first. And things like choosing a movie, choosing what we are going to have for dinner and help shop for the ingredients and cook.

This strategy does seem to be working for DD.

(ETA my kids don't really do it at other peoples places but Ive had one of DDs friends look around my room).

Edited by MincePieMasterchef, 17 December 2019 - 04:20 PM.


#15 Ho Ho No

Posted 17 December 2019 - 04:32 PM

I have an adult friend who does this. She doesn't listen when you ask her not to so she gets a chippy-slap on the regular.

#16 JBH

Posted 17 December 2019 - 04:44 PM

I was that kid. I was curious and interested and loved learning about the adult world - snooping and eavesdropping also came with a love of reading adult novels. The thing that “cured” me was my much younger sibling going through my things, as it made me understand the feeling of having your privacy violated.

#17 Chaotic Pogo

Posted 17 December 2019 - 05:24 PM

Curiosity and knowing stuff is also a way of managing your anxiety,  so you don’t get caught by surprise and becomes a drive to always observe anything you can find out.

Just something to be aware of in case it is relevant.

#18 LadyGreyTea

Posted 18 December 2019 - 10:22 AM

Hi everyone I've taken suggestions on board.

I do discuss my personal belongings with DD, it's just that being the boring minimalist that I am I don't really  have any interesting stories about the knick knacks in my hand bag or my cupboards.

I do often remind DD to be respectful of other people's belongings and that not everyone likes having their things touched.


I tried asking her "how would you like it if so and so went through your belongings?"
which was counter productive because DD loves to share and prattle to others about her things!

I guess it'll just be an on going process

#19 katpaws

Posted 18 December 2019 - 11:08 AM

I was another who did this while a child.

Consequences??

My sister was conceived because I played with my mother's diaphragm (I didn't know what it was!!!).

#20 Mollyksy

Posted 18 December 2019 - 01:43 PM

OMG Katpaws!! That's the ultimate in consequences. Now, do you like your sister?!! Just joking!




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