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Dd's friend's mum told her to keep a secret from me...

(50 Posts)
MerryMarigold Mon 30-Jan-17 10:21:24

Dd (age 8) went to play at a friend's on Sat. I really like the child and the Mum. They are neighbours and our dds (same age) get on very well. On Sun morning dd said she had a secret which she wasn't allowed to tell me! She said friend's mum said I might be angry so she shouldn't tell me. It was obviously bugging her a bit that she even brought it up. I said she could tell me, and I wouldn't tell the friend's mum that I knew. So...

Turns out they have a pet snake (quite large) and its home (not sure what you call it for a snake!) was being cleaned out, so the snake came out and dd and friend were looking after it. Now, I actually don't mind this. I would assume the snake is safe if this lady lets her dd have it. In fact, this Mum has made a few comments about how 'laidback' (read: slightly neglectful) I am of my dd (eg. allowing her to roller skate around the house etc.). I genuinely don't mind her playing with the snake at all. However, we live approx 1 min walk away so she could have asked if she thought it might be a problem.

I know MN is likely to say it's only what my dd said. But she is very mature and she wouldn't make it up though could potentially have misunderstood.

I don't mind the snake, but I do mind dd being told to keep something from me. By another adult. AIBU to feel this? And WWYD.

SavoyCabbage Mon 30-Jan-17 10:25:23

I think a lot of adults just don't think. They don't associate it with how it can be teaching children it's ok to keep a secret that they don't want to keep. I've been in classrooms where teachers have told their class that they must keep their Christmas card or whatever a secret from their parents.

I would just go over it with your dd and remind her that she can always tell you anything.

yellowfrog Mon 30-Jan-17 10:26:10

Kids should not be told to keep things from their parents, so I would not be happy with this. I suggest just saying to the mum that it upset your daughter (rightly) and you'd appreciate her not doing that again. especially as you are find with her playing with the snake

yellowfrog Mon 30-Jan-17 10:26:41

Fine, not find!

ImperialBlether Mon 30-Jan-17 10:28:32

I think you really need to rethink your liberal attitude. You know nothing about this snake. You don't know how big it is; you're relying on your daughter's word for this. You know that the woman doesn't want you to know so I would assume this is potentially a problem snake.

Why are you so convinced that your daughter will come to no harm there?

LostMyDotBrain Mon 30-Jan-17 10:30:56

Sounds like the mum was probably making a misguided attempt to bond a bit with your DD rather than actually trying to get her to keep something from you that she thought you wouldn't like. I've had snakes and it would never occur to me to ask a parent if it was OK if their child held it if they were in my care. Put it out of your's a none issue. Just reassure your DD that you don't mind at all and you'll make her more likely to come to you in future if someone makes a genuine attempt to keep something from you.

FlyWaxSleepRepeat Mon 30-Jan-17 10:31:07

I think if this has been said, then it's been said in a non-thinking way for non-sinister reasons.

Just reiterate to your DD that it's ok to tell you anything, she shouldn't keep secrets from you, and if she's assertive enough or as she gets a bit older it's quite ok for her to to say to adults "I've promised my mummy that I won't ever keep secrets from her".

7SunshineSeven7 Mon 30-Jan-17 10:36:28

I have kept snakes, they were very laidback due to lots of handling from when they were very small. When you're saying its a big snake how big are we talking?

Is it a long corn snake? E.g 5 feet? Or a Large python? E.g 11 feet but very thick and therefore strong?.

Depending on the breed the snake will be skinny or wide and this will correlate to strength. You're saying you've no problem with your daughter being near the snake - would you be expecting permission if this was a dog being near your child, for example? Dogs are much, much more dangerous than snakes.

Snakes are expensive and quite delicate so I can't imagine the mother leaving the kids completely alone with it without keeping an eye out. Snakes are also very sensitive to temperature so it wouldn't have been out for long.

I think the problem here is that your DD was told to keep it a secret by the friend's mother and this is what you should be focusing on.

ferriswheel Mon 30-Jan-17 10:37:39

I too would trust that the mother didn't want my child gobbled up by the snake anymore than I did.

I see what you mean about being bothered by the 'secret'. I wouldn't have liked that either. I'd probably deal with it by joking about having found the secret out and asking for a look at the snake and being interested/horrified/impressed.

I would also use it as an example for discussing different kinds of secrets and what they mean with my child.

You sound really nice.

user1477282676 Mon 30-Jan-17 10:45:17

I had to teach my neighbour about this OP. She was a young, lone parent and it had never ocurred to her that you should never encourage kids to keep secrets from their parents.

She was open mouthed when she realised. I also had to teach her not to push her little DD to kiss or hug people when she didn't want to.

Just tell her the score.

PavlovianLunge Mon 30-Jan-17 10:45:27

Kids should not be told to keep things from their parents, so I would not be happy with this.

I think this is key. The 'secret' in this case might not be an issue for you, but it's not appropriate at all for anyone to encourage a child to keep something from their parents.

I'd be having a word with the mother just to let her know that your DD has always been told not to keep secrets from you, and that if in doubt about anything, she can always speak to you about any activity with her before doing it.

Screwinthetuna Mon 30-Jan-17 10:49:02

I would bet it was more of a, 'haha, don't tell your mum!' comment rather than, 'let's keep this a secret from your mum, don't tell her.'

Cagliostro Mon 30-Jan-17 10:54:52

I would assume the same as screw

shovetheholly Mon 30-Jan-17 10:55:04

I agree: I'm not saying your DD made any of this up, but she might well have mistaken the tone of 'Don't tell your mum!' I think you should take great comfort, though, from the fact that she was uncomfortable with having a secret and came straight out and told you. That's the really important thing!

HappyFlappy Mon 30-Jan-17 10:58:29

I think tuna is probably right - otherwise I agree that no child should be told to keep secrets from parents (unless it's "We've made this lovely picture frame out of macaroni and glitter for you Mummy's birthday, so don't tell her until the day and it will be a lovely surprise"

gingercoffee Mon 30-Jan-17 10:59:36

If the mum's a neighbour who you're friendly with, could you mention this to her in a friendly way? I like what PavlovianLunge said.

WorkAccount Mon 30-Jan-17 11:05:38

i tried to teach mine about good secrets eg birthday cards and bad secrets, ones that are not fun, ones that worry you.

and laid back dosen't mean neglectful it can just mean "wow that looks fun which i could let go and let mine do that"

I would call my friends laid back because they are not remotely house proud, their kids can do anything to that house, it looks great fun, but I can not do that.

JsOtherHalf Mon 30-Jan-17 11:19:19

I use the word 'surprise' for things you aren't telling the other parent YET. Eg a nice treat for a birthday.

I would never ask a child to keep a secret from a parent.

krustykittens Mon 30-Jan-17 11:22:07

We have an assortment of pets and I always told people about them if their primary age children were coming around and asked if it was OK. Lots of kids are scared of dogs, for instance, and people appreciate a heads up before sending their kids around for a play date. If we had a BIG snake, I would say something. And it should have stayed in its tank for the duration of your child's visit until the mum was sure you were OK about your child handling it. Some snakes I would count as totally harmless but I would worry about small kids around something very big and strong! No way should your child be told to keep secrets.

MerryMarigold Mon 30-Jan-17 11:29:50

Thanks all, she could have mistaken the tone, just the way she said the min did it might make me angry, didn't sound like a joke. As I said I'm fine with the snake - it's orange and yellow, about 1.5m and about 3cm thick (going off dds description) so don't think it's a python. I just felt a bit annoyed about the secret bit, but sounds like it was probably a way to bond. I won't speak to the mum. She is in her 40s and is a teacher so I think she knows about parenting. And yes, I was so glad dd told me and felt uncomfortable. It'll be a good chance for a chat with her about secrets, nice ones and not good ones. Thanks for perspectives. X

7SunshineSeven7 Mon 30-Jan-17 11:35:19

Sounds like a cornsnake OP, they are docile, starter snakes and only grow to about 5 and a half feet long at the most. Completely harmless. It can bite but it doesn't really hurt and causes no real damage.

gingercoffee Mon 30-Jan-17 11:37:05

I wouldn't necessarily correlate her being a teacher to being good at parenting, they are completely different skills as many a teacher friend has told me. smile And she kind of demonstrated this by asking your daughter to keep a secret from you. But it is good that your daughter told you about this and that your message to her about not keeping secrets obviously got through. It sounds like she can come to you when things like this worry her, which is great.

MuseumOfCurry Mon 30-Jan-17 12:10:20

I think it was probably said in humour, I'd give her the benefit of the doubt.

littleflamingo Mon 30-Jan-17 12:12:52

For me that would be two big deals.

Firstly, telling my daughter to keep a secret from me. This is wrong in so many ways and I would not be cool about that.

Secondly, I would never "assume" that a snake (or a dog) is safe or docile to be around my children unless they were mine or I've seen those animals (or at least acknowledge their existence).

MuseumOfCurry Mon 30-Jan-17 12:20:14

I'd be very unhappy about the snake. I feel slightly conflicted because if I were to allow my child to play at someone's house I wouldn't expect them to inform me of every single risk; on the other hand, I'd need to personally vet a snake situation before I could be comfortable with it.

I don't understand snakes as pets.

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