Don’t Tell Anyone

This originally appeared on February 26, 2013.

At the beginning of the month, my oldest daughter asked me to tell her the story of her adoption. When I got to the end, she said:

“Don’t tell anyone my adoption name. You can call me that at home but I don’t want anyone to know that name.”

I could try to infer why she’s focusing on her name, but all I need to do is honor her words. She would like her “adoption name” to be kept private. Her need to keep things private is not new to us; she is often telling us stories and then exhorting us to not tell anyone.

My daughter’s comment is a good reminder for me to honor her need for privacy  — even if she is only four. Tapestry posted three articles about privacy and over-sharing recently, so I guess the subject has been on my mind. If you didn’t get a chance to read them, I recommend you take some time and dig in: Before You Share, Make Sure It’s Yours to ShareProtecting What is SacredOh No, I’ve Said Too Much.

If you have already read the articles, I hope you are taking notes on the parts of your child’s story that need to be kept private, whether your child verbalizes that or not.  If you’ve made mistakes in this area, or if you’re just struggling to make sense of what to share, don’t worry — you’re not alone! Most of us are parents to children with circumstances and stories that are different from our own, so guarding their stories is a skill we have to develop intentionally as we go.

Thankfully, my daughter was very specific about one detail she wanted kept private, so I got one right this time.

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