Alas, I suspect the advice regarding “don’t keep secrets” is in vain. In my experience as a parent, kids default to “kid world” in which almost everything is held back as a matter of routine. “How was your day at school?” is met with a “OK” even if there was an unwelcome incident (bullying, a failed test, falling out with a friend, etc.). A lot of research has shown that children really don’t connect what they parrot back to adults (“never get into a car with a stranger”) with real-world behavior (“Hey, Suzy, want to see a cute animal? Here, just get into the car…” “Oh, OK!”). As they grow past around age 8 this improves somewhat but for the most part children are poor at self-preservation. This leaves parents in a dilemma that is not easy to resolve positively.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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