Can/Will Your Kids Keep Family Secrets?

Currently in the news is a situation where a daughter’s post on Facebook resulted in the father losing an $80,000 age discrimination settlement because the settlement had a confidentiality clause:

So I am curious about the rest of you: would your kids keep such a secret? What other types of secrets would they keep or wouldn’t keep? To what extent do you share with them vs keeping things secret?

I don’t have any kids myself. However I remember myself as being trustworthy when I was a kid.

Don’t currently have kids or secrets, so take this with a grain of salt;

I’ve always held to the archaic belief that if ANYONE knows my ‘secret’ it isn’t a secret any longer.

So that would naturally include family members. Now, if it was a secret involving the whole family, that’s different, but still, the fewer people who know, the better chance it remains secret.

Besides that, people don’t finish growing their brains until they’re like 25, and the parts that grow in last are things like impulse control and judgement, which tend to be important in deciding things like facebook posts and what to say in heated moments.

So even then, telling kids secrets really isn’t a good option.

No, when my kids were younger they blabbed every family secret they knew. With facebook nowadays I bet the stuff would get out a lot faster. Damn kids.

You cannot expect (honestly, though people still do) a child/spouse/friend to resist retelling a secret. After all, you couldn’t resist keeping it to yourself and told them. Why should you hold them to a higher standard than you hold yourself?

“If you tell the wind your secrets, you cannot blame it for revealing them to the trees.” Kahlil Gibran.

“Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.” Benjamin Franklin

This is correct. In the linked case the guy was allowed to talk about the settlement with his wife, but no one else. That is at least one person too many.

I am very happily married, but if I had a secret that must be kept, I would tell no one at all, especially not my wife. She is one of those happy, bubbly women who can talk faster than her brain can possibly work. Don’t get me wrong, she is very smart, but damn, she can out babble an auctioneer.

With a true secret that must be kept, you should even forget it yourself, least you betray it through careless talk, or inattention to whom you are speaking.

I wouldn’t have told my son any secrets when he was a child. Telling a kid a secret and telling them not to tell? Cheaper and more efficient than hiring a sky writer to announce it for you.

Now that he is 18, I still wouldn’t tell him. He’s pretty closed mouthed and I trust him but it wouldn’t be fair to put that burden on him.

It’s the burden bit that I’d be concerned about. My children are smart - well the older one (7) is, the younger is 2 so it’s too early to say - but they’re kid-smart, not adult smart. I don’t share with them adult concerns and stresses, secret or no. In actual fact, the older is so very rules-observant (seriously, the way to get her not to do something is to say “don’t do it” - I sometimes fear for the day she does do something she’s not supposed to, I’m not sure her psyche will cope) that I suspect she wouldn’t tell a soul. However, it’s not her job to worry about that sort of thing, so I would never concern her with it.