You’ve been playing detective since the day your baby was born. Did she eat enough? What’s he crying about? Why is her poop yellow? The impulse to solve your kid’s problems comes naturally, and continues right up to the first time she gives you the stink eye and slams the door.
It’s a strange, confusing and frustrating moment. Sure, you want to protect them, but that’s hard to do when you’re shut out. Yet it’s normal and healthy for kids to pull away and set boundaries. But let’s face it—you’re equal parts curious and worried. So, what to do? Take this quiz to find out how well you handle your teen’s need for privacy.
1) You’re at the mall shopping when you spot your kid and her crew hanging with a bunch of older boys you don’t know. What do you do?
A. Walk away before she sees you.
B. Casually mention you saw her and hope she volunteers some details.
C. Confirm that all’s well—from a distance—but ask her about her new friends the second she gets home.
D. Make like a private eye and take pictures—there’s so much to discuss and you don’t want to miss a single detail.
2) You’ve just landed a new job…at your son’s high school. How involved will you be in his day-to-day?
A. You’re working, so not at all.
B. You’re working, but there if he needs you.
C. You’re working, but may “accidentally” bump into him a few times a week.
D. You’re working…the teacher’s lounge hard for dirt on him and his friends.
3) You notice your kid’s phone is unlocked as you walk past the kitchen table. You…
A. keep walking. It’s none of your business.
B. consider looking, but stop yourself out of fear you’ll get caught.
C. take a quick peek to see if there's anything interesting.
D. barely notice—you know the password and scan his phone all the time anyway.
4) You find yourself alone with your child’s BFF. You use this opportunity to…
A. check your email.
B. politely inquire about school and her family.
C. try to genuinely connect with the kid—but maybe slip in a few questions about your daughter (like who’s that boy she keeps texting)?
D. start the interrogation, of course!
5) Your son and a bunch of his friends are hanging in the basement. It’s really quiet. Are you worried?
A. About what?
B. Nope. They’re great kids.
C. Um, yeah. You plan a few strategic snack breaks to keep them on their best behavior.
D. Of course! There’s a reason you held onto your nanny cam and baby monitor.
6) Your daughter got her license and drives herself to school. You…
A. make her drive her siblings, too.
B. worry a little, but trust she’ll call you if there’s a problem.
C. insist she texts you the minute she gets to school.
D. install a GPS tracker so you can watch her entire two-mile drive in real-time.
If You Answered…
Mostly As: Super-Chill Mom
After years of caretaking, you’re thrilled to loosen the reins. You're confident they’ll do the right thing (their friends think you’re the coolest, too). We applaud your trust in your kid, but we're not sure it’s time to kiss the days of having a watchful eye buh-bye. It’s natural for them to pull away—but it’s your job to pull them back in. It may feel like they don’t need you, but trust us—they do.
Mostly Bs: On the Fence Mom
Teens are like landmines, ready to explode with one misstep. So it’s only natural you’re afraid to push too hard lest they retreat further into self-imposed exile (aka locked in their rooms). You need to mom up—this is no time to show weakness. If you really want to know what’s going on, you’ve got to enter hostile territory—no risk, no reward.
Mostly Cs: Fine Line Mom
You’ve mastered the art of keeping tabs without overstepping. By respecting boundaries, your kids feel safe to have fun, explore and learn from mistakes—all of which will enable them to soar from the nest. You can, however, set reasonable rules: It’s okay to say no to locked bedroom doors—as long as you always knock first.
Mostly Ds: Special Agent Mom
The CIA could learn something from you! Your primo sleuthing skills are a boon when your kids are in real trouble. But you also tend to push them further away. Wanting and needing to know are two very different things, so limit your fact-finding to serious matters and give your kid the space she needs to grow.