I’ve Got a Secret!
Written by Wendy Francis
Illustrated by Joy Weatherall
Paperback, full colour.
Publication Date: February 2021
People keep secrets for all sorts of reasons. Planning a surprise trip, or a birthday party or a special gift can make life fun and interesting. Sadly, not all secrets bring joy. They can be destructive and life altering. It’s especially important for children to understand the difference between good and bad secrets. Good secrets bring happy surprises when they are told. Bad secrets try to cover up wrong and they should never be kept quiet. This book will start a conversation to help children know the difference.
I’ve Got A Secret is such an important resource for parents and their children. More than ever we need to be active in arming our children to navigate the life and dangers before them. In this beautiful book, Wendy writes so simply that any child will be able to understand the important lessons and put them into action. It takes a village to raise a child, thank you Wendy for using your gifts to help parents raise their children well.
-- Letitia Shelton, CEO of City Women
The tricky job of preparing children to recognise danger without diminishing their joy and innocence just got easier. Wendy Francis helps parents and grandparents explain the difference between good and bad secrets with this gem of a book that will both teach and delight readers of all ages.
-- Dr Elisabeth Taylor, Ph.D. (Cantab)
A note for parents.
One of a parent’s most important responsibilities is to teach their child the difference between what is good and what is bad. That can be made more difficult, and can be confusing for children, when something can be both good AND bad depending on the circumstances. This is the case with secrets. We’ve all known the joy of having a secret that we are holding onto until the right time to reveal it – birthday and Christmas presents, a special date, a surprise holiday or party. These are exciting secrets that make life fun and interesting.
Sadly, not all secrets are fun, or bring joy. They can be destructive and life altering. Silence is a tool used by abusers to bully children into keeping the abuse ‘their little secret’, encouraging them not to tell anyone about it, or even threatening that they will get in trouble if they tell. Far too often, these cruel tactics work.
It’s vitally important that we teach our children the difference between a good secret that leads to a happy surprise, and a bad secret that covers up wrong. Secrets that make a child feel uncomfortable, or worried, or sad – these should never be kept to themselves.
As you read this book with your child, my hope is that it will help you to start a bigger conversation. We want them to feel safe to tell us absolutely anything.
• Encourage your child never to keep a secret from you unless it is a fun surprise that is going to be revealed at the right time.
• Tell your child that you want to know about anything that hurts them, or makes them feel uncomfortable. If someone touches them, or looks at their private parts, that must never be a secret. They need to know that they should immediately tell you or a trusted adult.
• If a friend tells them a secret, they should also tell you or a trusted adult, so that you can take the appropriate action.
• Make sure your child knows that it is never their fault if someone does something bad to them, and that they will not be in trouble for telling you. You need to know. You want to know because you love them and will protect them.
Sometimes we assume that our children understand things when they really don’t! Secrets can be confusing for children. Knowing the difference between a good secret and a bad secret can save them from life-affecting trauma. I encourage you to not only read this book to them, but to keep the conversation going. Open and ongoing communication with our children is key.