That's okay!

Is Your Child Keeping Secrets?

We All Keep Secrets

Secret keeping is something that a child develops from a young age. Children learn what knowledge to share and what to keep to themselves depending on if it will benefit them or get them in trouble. As they get older, secret keeping allows a teen to create their own identity! By hiding things from their parents, they learn how to make decisions and deal with problems in their own way. "Coming of age" requires trying new things and taking risks which may require privacy.

There are many potential reasons teens would want to keep secrets

  • They are embarrassed or afraid
  • They want to protect someone
  • They want to protect their freedom - being a teen involves experimenting
  • Shame
  • They may be hiding things from their selves - trying to forget or ignore about a painful time

Family beliefs or dynamics may lead a teen to keeping certain things to themselves as they feel more comfortable that way. If you want your teen to open up to you, you should make them feel comfortable and let them know they can talk to you about anything they need to, but remember that this does not necessarily mean they will still want to share everything with you.

So When Is It Okay For Me To Ask?

As a parent, obviously worrying about your child is normal and very common BUT you must remember to respect your child's privacy as well! They are at a time in their life where they are finding themselves and learning new things, gaining new experiences and so on. This is not to say that if your child doesn't want to tell you something, you should stop asking. Parents should be able to differentiate between big secrets and lesser offences. There should be a link between the amount of consistency, responsibility and integrity and the amount of privacy they are given.

Still Concerned?

If your teen's secret keeping is becoming a problem, there are many resources to turn to. There is no shame in asking for help! Parenting doesn't come with a manual.