Secrets have the power to destroy. It destroys relationships. It destroys marriages. It destroys businesses. It destroys lives. Why? Because it takes control of your life. You can’t live without “IT” or without that “SOMEONE” you are cheating your spouse with, but you can’t tell anyone. It literally starts to control your thoughts, emotions and whole life. You fear the day someone finds out and the only enjoyment you receive from it is short-lived. Whether it is eating in secret or cheating or stealing or addiction to pornography or whatever – don’t get caught in the trap of keeping “dirty LITTLE secrets”.
We often talk to adults about these things (mostly when it’s too late), but parents you must talk about this with your children as well. You’ll be surprised at how secrets can control little ones when hiding their mischief so that they don’t get into trouble. You might think it’s funny or cute if your child tries to hide something he broke, but it might mean that he is too scared to talk to you. And too soon this could turn into a habit of hiding things, cheating & keeping secrets. Make sure they know that they can come to you with anything – ESPECIALLY when they’ve done wrong. And the younger your children are when they learn how to trust you, the better the future.
How do you make sure they trust you? Make it safe for your children to tell you ANYTHING! That means that you don’t get upset or angry if they come and admit something to you. They know that you will listen to their side of the story and try to understand before you explode or lash out at them. I’m not talking about not disciplining your children for wrongdoings, so let me explain more.
I play a game with my children at bedtime where we each pull a few questions from a container and we have to answer the questions. Two rules apply to the game:
#1 – always speak the truth; and
#2 – mommy is not allowed to get upset
Through this game I have created a safe environment for my children to engage in conversation with me about anything they face throughout the day. One of the questions for instance is: “Did you have a bad attitude at all today?” It’s amazing to see them think… They know they have to tell the truth and they know I will not get upset. So if my son should admit that he pulled his sister’s hair for whatever reason, we talk about it – he should admit he was wrong; he should think of ways he could have done better in that specific situation and then he has to apologize and his sister needs to forgive him there and then.
I believe that teens and adults that keep secrets are enslaved to a miserable situation. I don’t want that ever to happen to my children. And when we think about what happens in schools today, I definitely want my children to run to me first when they need help or advise.
Don’t let your children keep secrets. They are MOST FREE when they don’t have anything to hide. It’s not about invading their “right to privacy”. In fact, I believe that this “right” hurts so many teens and young children, because they don’t know how to handle all the things that happen to them! It’s about building a relationship with them so that they never have to struggle with anything on their own.
I’m mommy and I will be there for them. No secret will destroy their lives, because they are too scared to tell me.
Make sure you are creating a safe transparent environment for your children. Take your responsibility as a parent more serious than ever before. Don’t keep secrets from your spouse or children.
Live with integrity.
‘Till next time – get busy RAISING LEADERS!
(This letter is a small part of my program “The Extraordinary Family: Raising Leaders”. For more information about my seminars or seminars in your area, don’t hesitate to contact me.)
Debbie De Jager