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Like Just Me above pointed out, I think it's important to help your children to understand that there are some things that it is reasonable to expect you to keep in confidence (like she has a crush on X or she started wearing a bra) and some things that it is not. As her parent Marko deserves to be aware of what is going on with Kate at school, even if she is ashamed of her actions. Two thoughts come to mind about this: first, the fact that she doesn't want him to know points out that she knows she has done something wrong (minor though it may be). If you agree to keep this a secret then you are giving her the implicit message that she doesn't need to try harder to correct this behaviour because you will protect her from the consequences - in this case, her father's anger or disappointment. Knowing how our actions affect other people is a part of how we learn how to behave and interact with the world. In this situation, this applies to both Kate and Marko. She no doubt wants to make her father proud of her, and he probably wants her to be able to have the same feeling of trust that you strive for. Being the mediator and explaining to Kate why it is inappropriate to hide things from Marko and also talking to him first to make him aware that she worries about his reaction will give him a chance to prepare for the conversation and approach it in a way that will help to underline to her that while neither of you want her to be getting in trouble, at the same time you can be incredibly proud of her in doing the hard thing and admitting that she did something wrong. Building this trust and understanding with your children is going to be much easier to achieve when the stakes are lower, like it is now with Kate's relatively innocuous 'crime'. And second: even if you didn't tell Marko, that doesn't mean he wouldn't find out. I imagine lots of kids at her school would be aware of her having recieved this punishment. Adam might know and not realise it was something to not tell Marko. Or he might know she doesn't want Marko to know and tell anyway to get back at Kate for a sibling disagreement. Kids could mention it to their parents, they could mention it to Marko. The teacher could mention it when you have teacher/parent interviews. You should make sure that she understands that he's going to be a lot more angry and disappointed that she tried to hide it if he finds out some other way than if she owns up to it now, of her own accord. I think this situation offers you a wonderful opportunity for each of you to learn and grow and really build on that unconditional trusting relationship that we all hope to be able to have with our children. Good luck!
Commented May 2, 2012 on
I desperately want to have the type of relationship with my children where they feel they can talk to me about anything, without fear of judgement, admonishment or embarrassment. I don't want to be best friends with my children, I don't want to hang out with them, dress like them, be their peer ...
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