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ERIC Number: EJ1020505
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0145-9635
Why Secrets Matter to Children
Mogel, Wendy
Independent School, v72 n3 Spr 2013
In this article, Wendy Mogel describes a time in a child's life that many parents need to be reminded of--"joyful secrecy." It is an essential part of growing up, just like the carefree days described in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (Mark Twain). Healthy children's development still requires it even if we are living in a nervous world. Joyful secrecy does not hurt anyone. Like surprise parties, or the hidden methods of a magic trick, it leads to happy outcomes. As children move out into the wider world, temporary tribes with secret dares and oaths help them feel both bold and protected. Children who banter with each other, who negotiate an ever-changing set of rules for made-up games are exploring the pivotal stage of child development that Harry Stack Sullivan (American Neo-Freudian psychiatrist and psychoanalyst 1892-1949), calls "chumship." Secret languages and codes, private jokes, wild bravado, and silliness are an exercise in creativity and imagination. They provide a breather from the formal structure of the classroom, the after-school enrichment activity, or the sports team. Thus, Mogel points out, in order for kids to have an opportunity for joyful secrecy, adults need to recognize its value, turn off scare-mongering newscasts, and give kids the opportunity to connect with each other without vigilant surveillance. This can happen in school, at the park, at a sleepover, at camp, on a family vacation, or by spending the whole night in a tent in the backyard. It is important for parents to stay closely involved in their children's lives and to share experiences with them. The author concludes we want our children to know that they can turn to us or to trusted teachers about the kind of secrets that cause pain, but we also need to give our children a certain amount of space--"their space."
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A