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AIBU and over-thinking this?

(48 Posts)
vvviola Tue 24-Jun-14 06:23:39

DD1 (almost 7) had an event at school today - presentation/play type thing about saving money. All fine, very good. But when I asked her about it she said she couldn't tell me because it was a secret. It took me a good 10 minutes, and quite an upset DD to convince her that it wasn't a secret from Mums and Dads.

I will admit to being ultra conscious about children needing to know that they shouldn't keep certain secrets (due to personal history and indirect family history - details not really relevant here except that they may make me over-think certain things).

DH and I have had the "the only secret we keep from Mum and Dad is what Christmas or birthday present we got them" conversation with DD a few times already, but the simple mention of "it's a secret" from this character in a play seemed to undermine all of it.

Obviously I need to reinforce the message with DD again. But WIBU to mention it to her teacher to say I was a bit concerned about the "secret" stuff? Or am I over thinking it completely?

WaitMonkey Tue 24-Jun-14 06:26:04

Massively over thinking. Unless there is a back story.

cornishbaby Tue 24-Jun-14 06:26:26

I would yes. But then I also feel the same way for what I suspect are similar reasons so it's possible we are both unreasonable lol

StealthPolarBear Tue 24-Jun-14 06:27:10

I agree with you, prob wouldn't mention it though.
we talk about surprises and tell them that while wed rather they didnt tell we wouldnt be angry if they accidentally did. If they think the person would get angry - those are the secrets to tell.

Brabra Tue 24-Jun-14 06:31:20

Were you trying to get information about the performance before the event? Because that is a bit mean to ask a child about it. However, I agree that 'secret' is not really an acceptable word. Surely 'surprise' would be more appropriate. I think you probably did make too big a deal of it in front of your child, (grilling her for 10 minutes!!!) leave it a while and then reiterate that she can have surprises, but not secrets.

littledrummergirl Tue 24-Jun-14 06:34:30

We dont have secrets in our house. I would have felt the same as you.

Littlefish Tue 24-Jun-14 06:43:50

We don't have secrets in this house either - we have surprises.

I have spoken to dd's school about it before and in particular, to a visiting local authority IT adviser who was talking to parents about internet safety. The adviser had met with children earlier that day and had told them that they must keep their passwords secret from everyone, including their parents and that it was ok to have secrets. I disagreed with this on many levels!

wigglesrock Tue 24-Jun-14 06:50:30

Yes, you're overthinking it a bit, whilst I understand where you're coming from & I've kids the same age you can't stop her using a word. She will read the word, hear it a lot. You can't stop her using it within her peer group.

Minnieisthedevilmouse Tue 24-Jun-14 06:51:17

That IT adviser was a fool.

Yup no secrets here. Surprises. Dd is 3 and as I was explaining what a secret was I realised how stupid I was being. Stopped, back tracked etc. the nspcc campaign helped! I think older kids work it out quite simply, a surprise is a secret but I didn't think schools would use the word due to care issues.

wigglesrock Tue 24-Jun-14 06:56:13

Sorry my phones all over the place, I meant to add I know it's the idea of keeping something from you, but she'll be wanting to keep somethings to herself soon, my 9 year old has things she thinks I don't know. I think you've blown this one incident into a bigger thing than it needs to be. My dds have a school show today, they've a "surprise" dance at the end. One of my dds said "we've got a secret thing at the end of the show" .

vvviola Tue 24-Jun-14 06:59:32

Brabra no, I was trying to find out about the performance (done by someone from, I presume, the bank about saving money) after the event. I'd heard nothing about it beforehand, and she mentioned it when I picked her up. The 10 minutes wasn't grilling her, just asking her a few questions (what was it about, who was there, etc, general chat) but anything further than a one word answer was greeted by "I can't tell you, it's a secret!!"

I am willing to be told I'm overreacting - as I said, I have reasons why that sort of language makes me extra nervous, so I never know whether it's my personal paranoia speaking or a wider issue.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 24-Jun-14 07:08:46

I am a private person, even as a child,and I had secrets i.e lots of things I didn't share with others- and being 'grilled' for 10 minutes would just make me realise that I couldn't use the word secret, in future,in front of my mother.
I agree with your general message and where you are coming from, but there are more secrets than merely Christmas and Birthday presents. There was nothing bad or alarming in my 'secrets' but they were mine- I didn't share everything with my mother.
I can't see why you couldn't respect what she told you in the first place- why did you need to know?
I was a shy, sensitive child and being forced to divulge something to the point of getting upset would have made me very secretive where my mother was concerned. You need to keep the lines of communication open so that they know they can tell you anything if they want to- and to differentiate between the sort of secret you mean and a school play. Lumping the two together gives a very confused message to the child.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 24-Jun-14 07:13:22

I think you have a personal paranoia in there. Children, of any age, don't share everything with their mother. I don't now and I didn't at 6 yrs- even though we have an excellent relationship. Had I said at 6 yrs that something I had been to that was open e.g a school play-was a secret - I would have expected her to respect it if I had no intention of telling her anything about it.

odyssey2001 Tue 24-Jun-14 07:16:44

I think that now you have made an issue with it (and I think you were probably right to challenge it) I would speak to her teacher to find out what context was of the "it's a secret" bit. It sounds like she took it out of context and has got a little confused. It is unfortunate that she got upset but it sounds like a good opportunity to challenge the concept of keeping secrets versus surprises.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 24-Jun-14 07:21:30

As a secretive child I can tell you that having words with teachers would have made me much more secretive- but better at it!
This was hardly a bad secret - probably just a misunderstanding anyway.

SixImpossible Tue 24-Jun-14 07:34:11

Having a secret is not a problem. Keeping some things secret from your parents is not a problem. It is not the fact of a secret that is potentially dangerous, but the nature of the secret.

Our rule is that, if having the secret gives you a happy feeling, go ahead and keep it. But if having the secret bothers you, or if you're worried about what would happen if you reveal this secret, then share it with an adult.

So I think that, in this case, you need perhaps to revisit the nature of secrets, and when they are OK, and when they are dangerous. For eg my dc have known since they were tiny why I will not share with them the secret of my PIN, even though they have seen me enter it a million times when paying for groceries. They know that it is not about my trusting them, but about common sense.

MrsKCastle Tue 24-Jun-14 07:39:29

I think that children will always have 'secrets'- personal things that they don't want to share. But I think it's wrong for any adult to say to a child: 'This is a secret and you must not tell anyone.' Which is what the character in the play seems to have done. It sends the message that just the word 'secret' overrides the child's choice to talk or not to talk.

If your child had said 'Oh, the show was ok, nothing really exciting' then it's no big deal (and I would respect her right not to discuss it if I were you.) But your child being made to feel that she's not allowed to talk,she dies have the right to share and discuss the experience- to me, that's not ok. And I would mention it to the school so that they can perhaps include it in their pshe lessons.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 24-Jun-14 07:39:44

That is a really good explanation SixImpossible.
I agree with that and it isn't muddling for a child. Even at 6 yrs I had secrets that were not just Christmas and Birthday presents and telling me they were not allowed would have clouded the issue and unnecessarily have complicated it.

MrsKCastle Tue 24-Jun-14 07:41:33

*she doesn't have the right

Delphiniumsblue Tue 24-Jun-14 07:42:53

SixImpossible's explanation is much better. Characters in plays do say it. I went to see 'The Mousetrap' and it ends with the entire audience being asked to keep the ending a secret!
There is massive overthinking going on here. Enough to make any child very secretive in future!

vvviola Tue 24-Jun-14 07:52:17

I think MrsKCastle might have put a finger on the source of my discomfort (and I honestly wasn't sure why I was reacting so strongly), it was the fact that the reason it was a secret was that she had been told it was a secret. and I'll admit that feeds into my personal issues

I certainly don't insist she tell me everything, and I don't grill her about things. She's a very chatty little girl and clamming up about something is really unusual for her.

I'm taking on board the other comments about secrets/surprises and letting her have things she doesn't have to tell me, and I'll have another think about how to approach the secret issue.

I may chat to her best friend's Mum and see if her DD picked up the same message before I say anything to the teacher - she's also from here (NZ) and is usually pretty good at pointing out differences in approach between my home and here, which generally prevents me putting my foot in things completely.

vvviola Tue 24-Jun-14 07:55:04

But Delphiniumsblue the average 6yo doesn't generally go to see The Mousetrap. And honestly the idea of someone in authority (DD would consider these people at the same level as her teachers) imposing secrecy on young children makes me perhaps irrationally, I admit, considering the comments here uneasy.

DoJo Tue 24-Jun-14 08:03:28

Are you sure that the children were told to keep it a secret? Because I can't see why someone giving a talk about money would say that - perhaps she decided herself that it was a secret or got the wrong end of the stick?

Delphiniumsblue Tue 24-Jun-14 08:07:38

This is where I take issue- I can't imagine that school staff 'imposed' secrecy on 6 yr olds about a play! Probably similar to the Mousetrap. I'm sure the entire thing is a mountain out of a molehill and the message to the DD is never mention the word 'secret' but just give her edited highlights and miss out what she wants to miss out.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 24-Jun-14 08:09:26

SixImpossible has the perfect explanation to give to DCs.

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