You Can’t Tell Anybody! Hearing and Telling Secrets

What should you do when your child says they can only tell you something if you promise to keep it a secret?

“Secrets are the coin of the realm in teen and tween friendships. Our children may share these with us believing that, by extension, we’re bound by their promises. Shattering that faith is heart-rending, complicated, and sometimes necessary. What do you do when your child confides in you and tells you a secret that involves harm or risky behavior? There are no hard and fast rules, but experts agree on the basics.”  from Great Schools by Kathryn Baron. 

“Better Mad than Dead”: Keeping a Friend’s Suicidal Thoughts Secret 

“Teenagers who think of suicide often  tell only their friends, and they make the friends promise to keep their suicidal thoughts secret. This puts the friends of a suicidal teen in a bind. Should they break their promise and tell an adult?” Written by Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW

I recommend every adult, teen, and tween read the above articles for guidance on how to handle the difficult situation of being asked to keep a secret when professional help is need. 


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