I care deeply about all children. Yesterday I mentioned that I’m not a parent or a teacher, but today I’d like to mention that as someone who cares deeply about children, I still have strong ideas about how to raise and teach them. That’s one of the reasons I want to be a children’s author. That’s also why I’d like to share these thoughts with people who have more experience with children than I do and see what their thoughts are. If you are a parent or a teacher, please tell me your thoughts. If you’re not a parent or teacher, please still tell me your thoughts, because I’d like to hear from everybody!
Yesterday I talked about one of the reasons secrets can be problematic for children, which is that children often treat secrets as a form of passing the torch. Another reason is that secrets can be scary. I think most children get scared when someone tells them not to repeat something to anyone else. This is true even when there is nothing scary about the secret itself. If somebody tells a child not to tell somebody something, whether it’s another child or an adult, chances are the child will get scared. A little bit of getting scared is okay for a child, as long as it’s the right kind. When I say the right kind, I’m talking about scary things in movies, books, TV shows, and of course on Halloween. Fear of keeping a secret is the wrong kind of getting scared for a child, one that should be avoided. That’s why adults should never tell children to keep secrets. It’s also why a very important part of stranger danger is teaching children not to keep secrets from their parents, especially if someone tells them to. I would even argue that this is why children should be discouraged from telling each other secrets. How parents and teachers can prevent this is difficult to suggest. My best advice is to tell a child that if another child tells him or her to keep a secret, he/she should be honest with the other child and say he/she can’t keep a secret. This would allow the child wanting to tell the secret to decide whether or not he/she wants to tell his/her friend something he/she may want to keep private.