Flora asked me something yesterday.
And I said I’d like to talk to Dan about it.
And she asked me not to. She got pretty upset.
(And, no, Internet, I’m not going to tell you what it was either.)
It’s not a big deep dark secret, it’s nothing that’s going to put her in physical danger. She wants to do something, and would like my assistance. It’s the kind of thing I could see being a “girl” thing or something special between a mother and a daughter.
I’m clearly uncomfortable with it. Not the thing itself — I’m fine with what she asked. I’m uncomfortable not telling Dan.
Here are my options as I see them:
1. Don’t tell him, and just keep it between me and Flora.
2. Do tell him, but ask him to not say anything to Flora because she asked me not to tell him.
3. He reads this blog post (not a sure thing, but not out of the realm of possibility), and demands to be told anyway. I tell him, and ask him not to tell Flora I told.
She asked me not to tell her father because she’s afraid of a) being teased, b) being embarrassed and/or c) being in “trouble”. It’s not something she would get in real trouble for — her daddy may find it upsetting because it’s a sign she’s growing up and becoming more independent.
Flora doesn’t like upsetting her Dad.
Either way, I’m betraying a trust. Dan trusts me to communicate about what’s going on with the kids. Flora is trusting me with a secret.
I’m torn. My instinct is to tell Dan and ask him not to talk to Flora about it. Tell him that I will be there for her in this instance.
And then I waver. If I do that because I want to establish trust between me and Flora, want to establish a bond that will help her come to me *no matter what*, aren’t I basing that bond on a lie?
Here is where I understand the desire to keep children small, something I generally don’t wish for. I like watching my children grow, enjoy watching them hit milestones, develop new skills, learn new things, and be excited about new skills and learning.
We were at a restaurant last night with my parents, and first Kate acted up, and then Michael threw a tantrum — I walked outside with him to calm him down and not bother other patrons (even though it was Eat ‘n’ Park). On the way out, I noticed a little baby, probably about 5-6 months old, contentedly hanging out in his carseat. And for a split second, I wished my kids were that little and that easy again.
But they aren’t.
What think you, readers?
Edited to add: And then there’s the issue of telling Dan and putting the burden on him to keep it a secret that I told him Flora’s secret. That doesn’t seem very fair either. Darn it all.
10 thoughts on “Quandary, II”
Personally, I would tell my husband and then ask him not to speak to the kiddo about it.
Scot is my parenting partner. I don’t want to face stuff like this without him and for all I know he may have insights on whatever situation I’m facing that I wouldn’t ordinarily think of.
Also, I think it’s a good thing for parents to face their children growing up. It means we’re doing our job properly.
I don’t know – I get telling him (I tell Ed stuff like that sometimes), but the thing is – if it’s NOT something that is a problem, or something she would be in trouble for, etc – then why not keep it to yourself? I mean – there are going to be so many more “secrets” that you will have no choice but to discuss with him – why not see this as an opportunity to keep a harmless secret for your girl.
If you tell Dan, and he slips, you have lost her trust. I say keep it a secret. Let Dan know you are keeping a secret but that it’s harmless. Let Flora know that you will keep it secret, but in your opinion Daddy should know too.
Something tells me whatever it is he will find out anyway, either bc she slips or because after a while she will learn to trust her dad with it too. Keeping secrets and trust issues are a life lesson, and this is the age to teach it.
My gut says no secrets from husband, and she needs to know that. She also needs to be able to trust that he won’t tease her or get upset, that SHE can trust him just as much as she trusts you. I guess that means everyone being honest with everyone? Man, this stuff is hard. Good thing I only have to deal with poop and puke for a little while.
If it’s truly not a huge issue, I’d say give her the benefit of being able to trust you wholly. Not that Dan would tell or anything, but you never know. Sometimes, secrets are best kept between mother and daughter.
But that said, I was raised by a single mother.
I think you tell Dan. You two are the original team. Sure, he can keep it to himself, but even if not, the kids should know that you two are a united front, and neither of you will make fun of her.
So sayeth Another Childless Douche.
Not to minimize any deep thinking done on the subject by you or anyone else, but I think it’s a no-brainer. Keep the secret. You have to honor her trust of you. And co-parents have to trust each other to make judgement calls. You can always tell him that you are keeping a secret together, but not tell him what it is. Sounds like it’s something she may decide to share with him later on anyway, so you’re really just DEFERRING the secret.
Dan is one of the most emotionally intelligent guys I have ever known. To me it seems enough to tell him that there is a secret, and it’s harmless. As the father of girls, he probably expects something like this sooner or later. I’m sure he trusts you enough to not feel hurt or worried by it.
Goodness, between here and Twitter the votes are perfectly split between tell and don’t tell (5 each). And you all make compelling arguments.
Guess I’m the tie breaker. Still thinking!
[…] week, Flora asked me to keep a secret from her daddy. And I did. She has since told her father the secret — about liking a boy in […]