To keep your adult child's 'secrets' from SO/other parent or not?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SuZir, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Sorry for the bad title, but I couldn't come up with better one. I'm a bit in the jam on how to define boundaries of confidentiality when your kid grows up. When kids are small it is of course easy decision (or at least was for me) that you don't keep any big secrets from other parent, not at least in the intact family setting. Of course there are more insignificant things my sons have told me with confidence that I haven't told to husband and I'm sure he has confidential discussions with them too. But bigger things we have always shared. Have you changed that, when kids grow older? I mean, as an adult people do have more right to privacy and tend to have a right to decide with whom they share their personal matters. And parenting certainly changes.

    difficult child is not having the best relationship with his dad right now. husband has been very short and impatient with difficult child for some time now and they have had quite a few rows. And difficult child is being apprehensive with his dad. difficult child has had a change on his medical situation and is in process to start medication for his mental health issues. He has talked about it with me quite openly and wanted my input and advise and I have given that to him. husband hasn't been much home during the last week and has been busy and quite stressed when he has been home and I haven't told him about difficult child's doctor's appointment or medication suggestion. Mainly because I haven't wanted to irritate husband with one more difficult child crisis, but I have also been thinking if it's my business to tell at all. I mean, medical matters are certainly something anyone would consider private and difficult child is an adult now. Just because he tells something to me, is it my business to share it with husband too?

    It can well be, that difficult child assumes I will tell his dad and doesn't even bother to tell him by himself even if he wouldn't mind at all that husband would know. And he hasn't asked me not to tell. Of course I could (and probably should) ask him, if he does mind if I tell to his dad, but I'm hesitating to do that, because that would bind me to his decision about it. If I don't ask, I can decide to tell husband (when he is in the better mood) or not to tell, because difficult child didn't ask me not to tell and because in past I of course would had told husband about things like this.

    What is your stance in this matter? To tell or not to tell?
  2. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I would ask your difficult child. As an adult, in my opinion he has a right to ask you to keep confidential medical talk private. Even from his dad. I would think different if this was a legal matter or a dangerous issue. But if difficult child wants to speak private to you because he and his dad aren't seeing eye to eye right now, I don't see it as wrong for him to keep it between you and him.

    I know not everyone would agree with me. Ultimately it's a very personal decision. From my point of view, it's quite common to feel more comfortable having certain talks with one parent than another. And if he asks for privacy for a non life threatening or serious issue? I would honor that simply because he asked. Since he didn't say one way or another, next talk I would keep it nonchalant and say a breezy "so I haven't mentioned it to dad because I didn't know if you wanted this kept between us for now or not. Should I fill dad in?".
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    If its a true confidence between the two if, I see nothing wrong with and no reason to share it with husband.

    If you feel husband should know, ask your difficult child permission to share it. It could be that difficult child may assume you'll tell husband.

    I have kept secrets that my girls shared with me over the years. There are certain matters that a dad doesn't need to know or want to know. The only exception would be if they were in danger.
  4. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If there is no safety issue in the secret, keep it to yourself. Just MHO.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Cory assumes I will tell his dad everything but they have a relationship where they keep things from me and that irritates me. Also I can tell any of them something and it wont be a day, if that, before they are telling someone what I have said about whoever I said it about. Like one day I took Cory up to a psychiatrist appointment and we were just chatting away about Buck and his father and all that and sure enough the next day Cory repeated everything I said to his father! I was livid. I asked Cory why he did that and his answer was I never said it was private. I was like...what? Dont you think if I am talking to you about Buck and you are complaining back that it would be a private conversation between us? Gee. I didnt go home and tell Tony how Cory felt. Tony will do the same thing with Jamie. If I tell him something about Jamie he will go call him and tell him what I said. Or if I say something about Cory he will go tell him. And god knows, Billy is the biggest tattletale of all. Ugh.
  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I have always been pretty open with husband and I think my kids assume I will tell him everything and he me... I think there have been a few times when I have asked if I can tell dad... I think mostly with my daughter about girl things. She has always said yes she just wasnt comfortable talking to him about it... and in general she talks to me about stuff and figures I will fill in her dad.

    But given you are not sure how difficult child feels I would ask him if it is ok if you share it with his dad.... unless it is a big enough issue for you that you need to talk about it for support. In that case I would go ahead and tell your husband.

  7. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    You all make lot of sense. medical issues (that are not safety or life and death issues) are certainly something rather private. And difficult child has a right to decide to whom to tell.

    It is just new to me. Before we have always discussed about kids' medical issues together.Things we have kept kids secrets have been more about a girl they may like or having trouble with a girlfriend etc. Well, you know: things deadly important and private to the kid, not so to the parent. I'm also bit apprehensive how husband will take me not telling (when he does find out.) I'm afraid he could consider it as me coddling difficult child, taking his side (against whom, I don't know) or something like that.

    But yeah, I probably should ask difficult child if it is okay with him that I tell dad or does h4e want to keep this private.