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Do you keep a secret for your child?

20 April 2012, 15:21Terri Lailvaux

 I wonder how many other parents keep a secret for their child and hope no one finds out.

During the Easter holidays, I had 3 children staying in my house and I made some very interesting observations.

As parents we want to believe that our children are at least average or above average when it comes to physical, emotional and intellectual milestones.  We read articles, we talk to other parents & medical professionals, we plot charts and we compare our children to others of the same age.  But what if your child ticks all the boxes but one?  And what if that one box is something that embarrasses you or your child?

Avoiding embarrassment or protecting your child?

We are led to believe that by a certain age, our children should have stopped certain “baby” behaviours.  Having had 3 kids in my house ranging from 8 to 11 years, and having subsequently spoken to a paediatrician and a psychologist, I think it is fair to say that many kids have a little “secret”.

•    Perhaps your 8 year old still wets the bed every night?
•    Maybe your 11 year old still sleeps in your bed every night?
•    Are you hiding the fact that your 13 year old still sucks her thumb at night?

Some bigger children need to sleep with a night light on and some still wake up in the night for comfort from a parent.  There are those who still hang onto their bunny, blanky, dummy or other comforters well past the age of 6.

Good secrets vs. bad secrets

When is it time to “fix” the problem and when should it be left for nature to handle?  The answer lies in the emotional impact.  If it becomes a great source of embarrassment and secrecy for you and the child, it may be worth consulting a professional.  If however, you are relaxed and your child is happy, it is probably something that will eventually sort itself out.

As long as you are sure there is no physical problem, maybe you have to look around, realise that you are almost certainly not alone and just let it be.

Kids are funny things and no matter how much we try to make them text book cases, in the end, they develop and grow at their own comfortable pace and eventually, most of them break these “baby” habits without intervention.


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