1. Consider the age of the child.
A 6-year-old probably won’t be able to comprehend the temptations of physical intimacy or substance abuse. He will, however, understand the desire to lie or to take something that doesn’t belong to him. A teenager, on the other hand, will be able to relate to additional struggles.
Regardless of your child’s age, you should never ask them to keep what you tell him or her a secret. In an article for the New York Times, author Lawrence Kutner writes, “There’s an irony to asking children to maintain a shameful family secret. The request itself perpetuates the shame and encourages the children to feel ashamed of something that is out of their control and, consequently, to feel ashamed of themselves.”
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