Before we move forward to discuss what secrets your teenager may be keeping from you, let’s admit that having a teenager is just great, isn’t it? No matter what you do, you may feel like you’re doing the wrong thing. Or saying the wrong thing or embarrassing them simply by doing nothing. It’s a challenge; it really is!
Your child is no longer cute, hanging onto your every word…or clinging to your leg. Now that they’re teenagers, they’re always trying to spread their wings, become an individual, and feel more independent.
It’s tough to witness and a hard transition to make for both of you, but you need to respect their privacy and give them room to grow.
What you may have found is that now that your child is growing into a young adult, they’re starting to keep secrets from you, which can be challenging. So, let’s take a look at 10 secrets your teenager may be keeping from you and what you can do about it.
10 Secrets Your Teenager May Be Keeping From You
We understand that, as parents, it’s tricky to handle adolescent behavior as they transition into young adults. They want to explore a whole new world to discover their passion, interest, and sexuality. These youngsters also seek privacy and start to keep secrets from you.
As a result, parent-child communication becomes less and less frequent, and you will feel frustrated in understanding what they’re up to. If your kids start to shut their mouths and don’t want to deal with you again, you may look at the reasons below about what secrets your teenager may be keeping from you:
1. They’ve gotten a bad grade
A bad grade can show the academic struggle experienced by your teen. They will feel embarrassed and fail to get a perfect score. This feeling usually arises when parents put high academic expectations on their children.
2. They have a partner or are in a relationship
It’s normal for teenagers who are in puberty to have an interest in having a romantic relationship. But sometimes, parents are too possessive. So, they have to go through the relationship secretly.
3. They’re being bullied
Bullying is one of the leading problems of mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, many teenagers who experience bullying can’t say it out loud since their parents don’t take it seriously.
They think that it’s only a joke. Well, that’s sad! If you notice a shift in mood, behavior, eating, and sleep habit in your teens, or even bruises in their bodies, you must be cautious as there must be something wrong with them.
It will be better to contact a professional as soon as possible to get diagnosed and obtain better treatment. You can reach out on Stop Bullying website and book an appointment with the nearest counselor.
4. They’re struggling with sexuality
Teenagers usually enter the puberty phase around age 9 to 14. During this time, they’ll have a major change in their bodies which they’ve never experienced before. So, it’s understandable that they may be confused about their sexuality. Thus, some may find it hard to share this issue with their parents.
5. They’re confused about sex
This is why sex education is crucial. Unfortunately, it is still considered taboo in some cultures and countries. It’s no wonder that many teens feel embarrassed to express their sexual confusion to their parents as they anticipate their responses will be judgmental.
6. They’re smoking or drinking
Whether due to peer pressure or self-will, risk-taking behavior is one of the characteristics of a child entering puberty. You’ll find your kids trying to explore something new, like drinking and smoking. Of course, they’ll keep this secret from you because, deep down, they know they’ll get into trouble.
7. They’ve used your credit card
The lifestyle of their peers may trigger them to take another risk-taking behavior, stealing and using their parents’ credit cards. Sometimes, this behavior only attracts the parents’ attention, who may not always be there for them. Well, you may not find out until you check the monthly bill.
8. They skipped school
If the parents constantly pressure them about academic excellence, teens may rebel and eventually get bored with school. And skipping school is the only gateway they know to escape this stress.
9. Lied about something
It’s actually a common thing that your kids are lying to you. Instead of yelling at them, you better find the root. For example, they lied about staying at their bestie’s house when, in fact, they have a date. It may also be that you restrict them from having a partner even though they have asked your permission carefully.
Or, they have technology addiction without you knowing about it at all because you’re too busy prohibit them access the internet at home. Meanwhile, they seek for the connection outside.
10. They’ve done something they shouldn’t have
The more you forbid teenagers from doing something, the more challenged they will be to do it. And, of course, they’ll hide it from you. Instead of blindly restricting them from doing something, educate them on why that thing is inappropriate. For instance, watching porn.
Why are my teenagers keeping secrets from me?
A study confirmed that a few of the reasons why your teenagers don’t want to tell you their secrets are because of parental rules and individual characteristics, such as being an introvert.
If you are too possessive and dominate the decisions in their life, they will tend to perceive you as a nuisance. As a result, trust in you as a parent will decrease because you break the boundaries. Remember that youngsters need privacy.
Imagine that you have parents who constantly monitor your movements and don’t give you space and trust to be able to handle everything yourself. It will be frustrating, isn’t it?
Moreover, family conflicts may also be the trigger. Those who experience abuse verbally, physically, and/or sexually will tend to withdraw themselves from society. They, perhaps, also have personal insecurities as their self-esteem is downgraded by the bullies in their families.
What To Do When Your Teen Is Keeping Secrets
Teenagers and secrecy can make you feel uncomfortable. They’re your kid, and you want to know what’s going on in their lives constantly.
However, as your teen grows up, they want to feel a sense of self and come up with their own problems and solutions to feel more like an adult and be treated as their own person.
Teens often keep secrets because they want to develop a sense of self-identity, and withholding certain information allows them to deal with their own issues by themselves, without their parent’s advice, input, or help.
On the other hand, teens may withhold information because they are fearful of what you may say or how you may react. They may be worried about judgment, which is why it is so important that you allow an open, non-consequential space for them to share.
Now, you may not react badly, but this could be a real fear for them as they don’t know how you’re going to react to the secret reveal.
Tips for dealing with teenagers that keep secrets from you!
Wanting privacy is normal and should be encouraged. It is not something to force out of them, as this can only cause a divide between you. You both need healthy boundaries and withholding information is vital in this.
Secrets are not a taboo subject. There should be things that your teenager doesn’t know about you. And, perhaps, some things that they do not want you to know. It is important that any individual is able to share their deepest secrets when they are ready.
It is not okay to go through their phones or look through their rooms, diaries, or personal belongings, as this is a major invasion of privacy. You wouldn’t want the same done to you.
Instead, if you are concerned about something, let them know. Ask calmly and in a collected manner.
You could say, ‘I’m concerned about…if you want to talk about it, you can come with no judgment’. And ask them to think about it and consider if they are ready to share this with you. Don’t be forceful.
Teenagers need to make mistakes. They may share too little information with you or share too much with friends and on social media. But this process helps them learn and mature into adults. It also teaches them how to form healthy relationships with others.
In addition, while they are now experiencing identity exploration, all you need to do is give them space. Give advice only when they ask about it and once you notice something is off.
Tips For Communicating With Your Teenager
If your teenager is keeping secrets from you, it can be frustrating and worrying. You may fear the worst or become angry that you’re being shut out of their lives. However, this is a phase…it’s not the end of your relationship.
They will need you again, we promise. They’ll always need you, but they also need their space and boundaries to ensure they do not feel suffocated and they have room to become their own person.
Instead of trying so hard to reveal secrets your teenager may be keeping from you, you better build a good communication with them. To help you communicate with your teenager, we have some tips:
- Don’t talk until you’re both calm. Discuss things when you feel relaxed and you have created an open, judgment-free space
- Ask honest questions. They’ll know if you only become curious or give sincere questions to know what they feel
- Try to understand them, even when you don’t agree with or comprehend them. Letting them know that you’re there for them no matter what can make it easier for them to open up to you more in the future.
- Let them make mistakes. Don’t berate them. The likelihood is that they didn’t want to tell you because they feel ashamed or don’t want to disappoint you. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. As long as they learn from them, it’s okay for them to happen.
- Don’t get too emotional. This is so important. Don’t yell or cry or shout out of anger and frustration, as they will shut right back down again. This is not about you, so don’t take things personally. If they’ve made a poor choice, guide them to make better choices in the future, and teach them problem-solving skills.
Adolescence is hard on the teenager, and you, the parent. However, it is one of the most difficult parts of a child’s life because the most important developmental tasks require you to give them privacy, and they need to take risks.
We know…you want to protect them from harm, and you don’t want them to take risks at a young age, but this is vital in forming an identity separate from their parents, friends, and family. So, we strongly recommend not to get involved in trying to know what secrets your teenager may be keeping from you.
Keeping secrets is an essential way that teenagers learn to make their own mistakes and come to their own conclusions and decisions in order to grow and thrive.
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