Mom Life, View from the chair

Surprises not secrets…

Are you sending your child a mixed message in regards to keeping them safe? We tell our kids not to keep secrets from adults in an effort to keep them safe from predators.

You know the speech…

” If so and so asks you to keep a secret remember you need to tell mom or dad…”

“We don’t keep secrets involving our bodies…”

“Secrets don’t make friends…”

“Secrets can be harmful…”

But yet fast forward to a time when you are shopping for someone with the kiddos!  You turn and say to them…

“Now, remember we need to keep this a secret from Dad…”

“Be sure not to tell Grandma what we got her…it’s a secret…”

“This will be the best secret ever…they will be so surprised…”


I have a simple solution that works in our house that I want to share with you.  Replace the work SECRET with SURPRISE.  In our house, we don’t keep secrets but we do keep surprises.  It is as simple as retraining your brain to use the word surprise.  In a child’s mind, a surprise is a good thing.  It is ok to keep a surprise from “Dad” until his birthday.  It is ok to surprise “Grandma” on her birthday.  A surprise is only kept for a short period of time and it involves joy and happiness.   Whereas a secret is something that can be as simple as knowing a friend still wets the bed and she does not want her friends to find out or it could be a bigger thing where a neighbor will ask to put hands where they do not belong.  A simple change in vocabulary can go a long way in keeping children safe from predators.

If you are lost as to how to start a conversation about good touches and bad touches below is a link to some great information.

Feel free to pass this information along!


  1. That’s a great idea – it’s just a matter of semantics. Keeping a surprise means we will share this at a special time. That’s all positive. #keepingitreal

    1. beachchairtracy

      Exactly. Not to scare them but to keep them aware. Acts as a springboard for when they are older and can handle more information.

  2. What a great idea! So simple but really effective #TriumphantTales

    1. beachchairtracy

      It is sad that we have come to this but it is important.

    2. Just popping back over from #ThatFridayLinky 🙂

  3. Spot on! This was drawn to our attention a few years ago how if you engender secrets into your dealings with your kids htis can cause real problems! We always go with surprises 🙂

    1. beachchairtracy

      I am glad to hear that. A simple change in words is all it takes.

  4. That’s such a good idea. We don’t do secrets or surprises in our house, but it’s always good to let children know when they shouldn’t keep secrets.

  5. I’ve never thought about it this way. It makes a lot of sense. #triumphanttales

    1. beachchairtracy

      I agree. Something so simple!

  6. What a great idea! I’ve never thought about how certain phrases taken literally could be confusing for a little one!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

    1. beachchairtracy

      You sure will!

  7. What a simple swap that could save confusion! #TwinklyTuesday

  8. Fantastic idea, thanks for sharing X #pocolo

  9. Hi Tracy, I like that. Just one simple word switch and the risk of confusing a child is removed. The word ‘surprise’ sounds exciting and fun and is an easy word for a child to relate to.

    Than you for stopping by and linking up with #keepingitreal.


  10. I try to do this with my two but I do find others use the word secret without thinking. Its such a simple by important point, thanks for sharing and linking up #twinklytuesday

  11. I agree – we as adults don’t think about how many mixed messages we send out kids on a daily basis. You’re right – surprise is a much better word and doesn’t confuse them x #MixItUp

  12. Great idea !! Such a simple change in language but makes all the difference #blogcrush

  13. Marko

    Never thought about that : Adults take a lot for granted never thinking that little ones don’t understand

  14. Pero

    No wonder that kids get confused

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