Not All Secrets Should Be Kept
There’s no doubt secrecy starts early in childhood. Take, for example, when two kindergartners whisper to each other the name of a cute classmate. Teenagers secretly talk about sex, drugs and disagreements with their parents. And (adult) whisperings give way to office gossip.
“It’s hard to keep stuff to ourselves, and we tend to want to share information, even intimate stuff,” said Dr. Vicki Panaccione, a licensed psychologist and adolescent specialist. “And also part of why we tell the secret is for acceptance.”
Among teens, the issue of whether to tell or not doesn’t necessarily depend on factors of danger or safety, Panaccione said.
“That’s because teens are at an age when image and friendship are crucial. So if not telling a dangerous secret will keep a friendship intact, that is what the student likely will do.”
“It is prevalent among teens, and I’m very concerned about it,” Panaccione said. “I see a lot of teen-age girls who confide in each other, but there are times when they need to get an adult involved.
“Telling secrets puts these teens under incredible pressure as to what to do,” Panaccione said. “They are afraid of what will happen if they tell the secret, but then they’re afraid of what will happen if they don’t tell.”
As published in Florida Today.
© MMVI Vicki Panaccione, Ph.D.