Exploring the Risks of Children Keeping Secrets: The Harmless Secret Myth

“Do not tell anyone, else you will die, or I will kill you.” These words are mostly what abusers of children use to get a hold of them. Child predators rely on children to keep their secrets. Perpetrators often say, “This is our secret, and you can’t tell anyone.” They may use threats to keep children silent.

As innocent and trusting as children can be, they often fall for deceptive tactics, risking their safety.

Kids who haven’t been taught about the dangers of keeping secrets are particularly vulnerable to manipulation by abusers.

Telling a child to keep a secret may prevent them from seeking help if they are in a difficult or unsafe situation.

Deborah Dzifah Tamakloe

Harmless secrets like a relative telling a child “eat this toffee and never let mama know”

or a mom who is divorced saying to her child ‘take this money and do not let daddy know I gave this to you” should be discouraged.

It’s never too late to tell children that they should not keep secrets, whether harmless or not.

Here are some simple ways to help children understand the importance of secrets

Dzifah Tamakloe
  • -Talk to children about secrets, explaining the difference between harmless surprises and harmful secrets. Encourage them to share their own experiences and feelings about secrets.
  • -Use role-playing scenarios to show children examples of both positive and negative secrets. This can help them understand what kinds of secrets are okay and which ones could be harmful.
  • Introduce children to books and stories that discuss secrets and the value of honest communication. Engaging stories can help children grasp the risks of keeping harmful secrets.
  • Create a supportive environment where children feel safe sharing their thoughts and concerns. Stress the importance of open communication and let them know it’s okay to talk about things that worry or confuse them.
  • Teach children about setting boundaries, especially in online interactions. Help them recognize potential risks and emphasize the importance of seeking help if they encounter uncomfortable or secretive situations.

Together, we have the power to shift the conversation, promote a culture of openness and confidence among children and stop the cycle of child abuse.

It’s crucial to educate children about the potential risks they may face and empower them to speak up when something doesn’t feel right.

By creating an environment where openness is valued, and trust is encouraged, we can help children stay safe and secure.

Featured image: Aboya Micheal

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