https://www.stepmomcoach.comSpying has so many different connotations, summoning all kinds of feelings and memories. I’m the first to admit that I “spied” on our kids when they lived at home. That’s how it felt to our them. I personally saw my actions more like monitoring, checking up on what they did, even snooping in their room (YES! I’m a snoop) more than spying.

This was one area where my husband strongly disapproved of my actions. He felt I invaded on our kids’ privacy where as I saw this as making sure they stayed safe. I’m not alone when it comes to seeking ways to keep our kids safe. Especially with today’s technology.

Recently, I asked my Facebook followers if they spied on their kids and the responses went from “Absolutely” to “Never” and everything in between.

Now if I reframed the word spying to monitoring, then the response was different. Our perspective changes. We now see what we’re doing as being responsible parents. Even my husband was more on board with the thought of monitoring our kids and seeing this as being responsible parents.

The Difference Between Spying and Monitoring

Spying suggests that you’re constantly watching your child’s every move, that you have little faith in them. At least that’s how your step/children would feel if they felt you were checking up on them every minute of every day. This can be exhausting, to you the adult,  not to mention, spying leave very little room for trust building between you and your kids. The other thing spying does is it doesn’t allow for your kids to learn ways in becoming responsible and accountable for their behavior.

Monitoring implies that you will observe and check up on your step/children, letting them know that you’re watching their activities without being overbearing. This is done  When you’re monitoring what your children are doing, you are respecting their privacy to conversations and space, such as in their room and between friends UNLESS your intuition is telling you that something’s amidst.

I recently talked with Lisa Honold, an Online Safety Advocate,  about the best tools to use to help us monitor our children without being invasive. She shared an app called BARK which is a great tool in helping you not only to monitor what your kids are doing online but also lets you know if they’re opening accounts under false names.  Lisa also talked about secret vaults where your child can hide apps they don’t want their parents to see.

As stepmoms, there’s a fine line as to how much you can monitor your stepkids and whether it’s appropriate or not. Many stepmom experts suggest that we let the biological parent step up in this area.

In the case of my husband, he felt he could trust our kids until they proved us otherwise. I wasn’t willing to take that chance. My personal experiences as well as hearing other parents of teenagers share their stories, I wasn’t ready to be sorry for waiting to see. I followed my

If you’re going to monitor your step/child, you need to let them know they’re being monitored and why. Set some healthy boundaries around what’s appropriate and what’s not.intuition. Or maybe it was my overly protective instinct of wanting to keep our kids safe. I’m not saying that my instincts were always accurate. I would sometimes let my insecurities take over my logic as to why I needed to snoop in our kids rooms.

So how do you monitor your child without being invasive or overstepping the boundaries of trust? Give BARK a try. You’ll feel more at ease knowing you’re able to monitor your step/children without being in their face.

Want to learn more about BARK?  Lisa has provided us with a code with a 20% discount for the monthly subscription.  Get started here today:

I’d love to hear your thoughts about spying or monitoring your kids, about online safety and if you personally use an app to check up on your step/kids online activities.

To hear our entire conversation, click on the video below.



Claudette Chenevert The Stepmom Coach

Claudette Chenevert  works with stepmoms struggling to create a cohesive family. As a Master Stepfamily coach, she provides education, support and tools enabling families to achieve their goals within a specific time frame,  often surpassing expectations. She helps you find what works best in your situation so that you will be able to create the kind of family you truly want. For more information about her programs and services, go to


  1. Andrea

    Fortunately, when the kids were coming up, there were not as many tech options as there are now. “All” we had to deal with were sex and drugs and auto accidents and… You get the picture: there are risks to our kids and they keep changing so it’s hard to be specific about how to respond. I do, however, fell that an attitude of “trust but verify” works well.

    • StepmomCoach

      I like your attitude of “trust but verify.” Blind trust can lead to major disappointment and dangerous consequences. I believe kids thrive when surrounded by healthy boundaries with clear consequences. That means if you have nothing to hide, you won’t mind my checking up on you. There is room for privacy when kids act and behave in ways that merit that trust.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Lisa Hutchison

    It is a different world today then it was when I was growing up. I know I had relatives spy on me, although it was because of their need to know , not to keep me safe or protect me. It is important to monitor children without being invasive. I especially agree to let them know you are doing it and why. Thanks for your blog Claudette, an important topic for today’s world.

    • StepmomCoach

      Thanks Lisa for sharing your thoughts. Times have absolutely changes and although it’s important to keep an eye on our kids, it’s also important that we give them some space.
      It’s hard to know where to draw that line as to when to spy or monitor on our kids and when to trust them to make the right decisions.
      Every family is different and has unique requirements. It’s important that the parents and stepparents find a way to be on the same page when it comes to their kids’ safety.

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