Conduct

Why children find it so difficult to keep secrets that we tell them


Secrets are something that is not told, that we hide inside ourselves and that if they are shared, we will only do it with a small number of people who are highly trusted. Therefore, knowing that children have a hard time keeping secrets, we parents stop sharing certain confidences with our children. But why is it so difficult for them to be discreet?

Keeping a secret implies responsibility and discretion. To be able to do so, the existence of emotional and cognitive maturity is necessary. In this way Asking a child to keep a secret can be compromising and create internal tension. The little one will feel uncomfortable, since it is possible that, depending on his age and the evolutionary stage in which he is, he lacks the development of the capacities that allow him to 'hide' information. This can cause you great emotional conflict.

However, as children grow they will learn the rules of sociability and communication necessary to acquire skills to be able to distinguish between what can and cannot be counted.

Therefore, it is important that parents don't teach children to keep secrets when they are not ready. In this way, what they must do is offer them the appropriate information for their age from an adapted language that gives them confidence and security. This type of information should guide children to understand the difference between privacy and keeping secrets.

Keeping secrets brings great controversy. For many teaching children to keep secrets can have negative consequences. For others, on the other hand, keeping secrets from family or friends to 'defend' their privacy is a value that children must acquire and that must be encouraged from the time they are very young.

In any case, to shed some light on the subject, it is necessary to know how to distinguish between the different types of secrets that exist. And parents must teach children to differentiate between safe and unsafe secrets.

- Those that are like surprises
These types of secrets are fun and even generate complicity between parents and children. They are those secrets that have to do with surprise parties, gifts, etc.

- The harmful
These tend to have good intentions but are harmful in the long run. For example, 'tell mom you went to bed on time' when the son went to bed very late. These types of secrets teach that if the truth is told there will be bad consequences and to avoid them it is better to lie.

- Those who pose a threat
These are the ones used by those who abuse children in some way: bullying at school, sexual abuse, etc. Children who have not been properly educated about the kinds of secrets that exist can be very scared and not tell.

As we said before, parents should guide children to understand the difference between secrets and privacy. Therefore, parents should talk to their children about it and teach them to respect the privacy of others while not keeping harmful or threatening secrets.

In other words, teaching children to maintain and respect family privacy, but within the family nucleus there can be no secrets among its members. To do this, these are some of the keys that we cannot forget.

1. Use the example. The best thing for the child to learn to respect the privacy of others is to use modeling. For example, knock on the door before entering their room, respect their space, do not spy on their cell phones, etc.

2. That the child differentiates between people near and far. Children must distinguish the space shared with family and close friends from the space they share with those who are not.

3. Teach how to react to strangers. Without a stranger invading their living space, the child must be confident enough to seek help from an adult in their family or circle of trust.

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