Every family has its share of secrets and some things that they may hold off on telling the kids for some time. What is the right way to handle secrets, and when is it time to tell all?
Secrets, we love them, we hate them, we keep them, and we may live in fear of them getting out. Whatever your relationship is with this part of life, you need to know how to handle secrets and prevent them from becoming detrimental, both to your health and to people around you.
The trouble with keeping secrets is that they usually come right out in the end. By artificially maintaining a belief or status quo, they can create a false sense of how things really are. Usually this is unsustainable, and when kids grow up and start asking tricky questions, the need to deal with them is fast-tracked. Family secrets can be quite shocking for a child, and they may feel they are at fault in some way. Bearing this in mind, if and when it’s time to tell, whatever it might be, this is something that needs to be handled properly.
Timing and place are vital, depending on the earth shattering nature of the secrets in question, it could be worthwhile getting some professional help on board.
The age of a child matters too. They can’t understand the depth of a lot of adult issues at a young age so waiting until they are old enough to deal with it can help. If something unknown impacts on a child’s family or personal situation, they should know about it by the time they are an adult. There could be a shock, but this will be much less than finding out.
Showing kids that they are respected enough to be told the truth can prevent a lot of anger too. It’s not easy for us to admit secrets to ourselves, let alone those we cherish. Truth is a difficult path, but probably a better one than a lie in the end.