There’s nothing like family, right? I’m sure most of us agree that few things in life can compare to a group of people who are so committed to loving one another that they share every single aspect of their lives together. But do they really? Are there ever times when certain aspects of one’s life are, for better or for worse, so private that they are not even shared within the safe and loving confines of a family unit?
As the following stories illustrate, the answer to that is a resounding “yes.” Whether it’s a deep, dark past, or just an embarrassing little tidbit of information, it turns out that some family members have plenty to hide from their next of kin. Here are the stories of secrets that parents have hidden from their children.
1. The Two Mouseketeers
My parental secret is that I don’t actually enjoy watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. My 2-year-old would be devastated if she ever found out, because that’s our show.
2. Happy Hour
The big secret that I keep from my kids is that we don’t go to bed at the same time as they do. 6:45 is just when the party is getting started!
3. The More You Know
When my husband and I went away for a weekend and left our then-teenage son home alone for the first time, I came home to find a partially smoked joint in the living room and an adult videotape in the VCR. I quietly disposed of both and never said anything to him about it. I often wonder if he frantically looked for the tape afterwards, as it was a rental. I’ll never let on that I discovered it.
4. Love and Marriage
Our kids don’t know that we’re divorced. Years before they came along, the two of us had decided that our marriage wasn’t working out, so we got divorced. Years later, things still weren’t working out fantastically for either of us, so we got back together. We never did get around to getting officially remarried though…
5. Darned If You Do, Darned If You Don’t
My parental secret is that my adopted daughter was conceived as the result of an assault. Experts say that you are supposed to give your adopted children all of their history when they are old enough to understand it, but honestly, if it were me, I would rather just not know. We are considering not ever telling her. It weighs heavy on our hearts.
6. Getting His Priorities in Order
I don’t plan on ever telling my son that, when he was very young, his dad briefly left us for another woman. He came back a few months later, and has been good ever since.
7. Job Security
My young daughter doesn’t know that we weren’t actually visiting daddy at “his work.” It was a secure psychiatric ward where he has been living since she was 3 months old.
8. Adopting a New Worldview
My parents recently told me that my sister is adopted. They didn’t tell her. She’s 34 years old. Not sure what to do with this information…
9. No Relation
My secret is that my wife is not the biological mother of our twins. Their biological mother was an egg donor from a country in South America. My wife carried them and gave birth to them, but has no biological connection to them. We’ll tell them some day when they’re older.
10. You Are Not The Grandfather
My secret is that Grandpa is not actually my kids’ grandfather. I didn’t find out until I was 30 that my dad had adopted me, and that my mom had been married to someone else when I was born.
11. Be Prepared
My son doesn’t know that the reason we don’t see his older half sister anymore is because she molested him when he was an infant. We are waiting until we can find a good psychiatrist for support before we break the news to him.
12. She Has to Find out Sooner or Later
A colleague of mine has a friend who hid from her 8-year-old daughter that she would die within a few years because of a terminal illness.
13. A Change of Heart
I don’t want my son to ever know that he was an unwanted accident. Even during my pregnancy, I didn’t want a child. I was still so young and had my whole career ahead of me. I wanted to travel the world, finish school, and advance myself in life to the fullest. After he was born, I had some trouble adjusting, and it took me a long time to fall in love with motherhood.
I didn’t feel a connection to my son initially, and I felt like the worst mother in the world. Now, I can’t stop looking at him, hugging him, or crying over him every single day. I’m finishing school and just got promoted at my job. I can have my life and still be a mother too. The only thing in the world that I regret today is ever having had the feeling of not wanting my son, because he means so much to me and there are no words to describe the deep love that I feel for him.
14. Getting Down and Dirty
Our children will never know about the sheer volume of extreme “toys” that their father and I have hidden in our bedroom—and what they don’t know can’t hurt them.
15. Full Circle
My parents are divorced, and they have a big secret that they don’t realize I know. They are both cheating on their current spouses. With each other.
16. Pillow Talk
My kids don’t know that I know they hide their vegetables under the cushions of our living room couch.
17. Protecting Her Innocence
My sister’s oldest child doesn’t know that her younger sister, whom she loved with all her heart, was kidnapped, assaulted, and then killed. She believes that her sister died in a car accident.
18. Trick and Treats
Every year, I eat the majority of my kids’ Halloween candy while they are at school the next day. They will never find out where it truly disappears to!
19. Let Me Get This Straight
This is the other way around: it’s a secret that my siblings and I keep from our parents. We once accidentally left the hair straightener on and plugged in for 2 whole days while we took a family trip to Canada. It doesn’t have an automatic off. We could have easily burned the house down. We have never spoken a word about this to anyone, and never will.
20. Her Darkest Hour
Before I found out that I was pregnant with my first child, I took a massive amount of pills and attempted to commit suicide. I think it’s the closest I’ve ever come to death. I had always struggled with anxiety and depression. I feel like the extra hormones of that point in my life put me over the edge. I found out about my pregnancy about a week later.
I was terrified throughout the entire pregnancy that something would be wrong with him as a result of what I had done. Luckily, he was born completely healthy and is an incredibly smart child. I’ve never told anyone about this. I feel so guilty.
21. Which Family Comes First?
My daughter doesn’t know that the reason she can never have a relationship with her grandfather is because he’s a pedophile, and I will never trust him. The rest of my family maintains a relationship with him, and they lean on me hard to open up communication because “family comes first.” They are absolutely right, my family does come first, which is why my daughter won’t ever be having a relationship with him.
22. Till Death Do Us Part
My dad had a deep, dark secret for a long time, but I managed to find out about it on my own. The woman who he is now married to is the woman with whom he was having an affair when my mom was dying of cancer.
23. Postcards From Heaven
My girlfriend’s aunt died years ago in a car accident, but she isn’t supposed to know that. Her parents still haven’t told a soul, and they definitely did not want their young (at the time) daughter to find out about it. Despite the fact that it has been so long since it happened, my girlfriend’s mom still makes fake holiday cards every year claiming to be from her dead sister.
She always mails them to my girlfriend, fully not realizing that my girlfriend has known about what happened from the aunt’s children for years. It’s a super crazy situation. Any time my girlfriend mentions the aunt’s name, her mom just tries to change the subject immediately. I don’t know who they think they are helping here.
24. Abuse in Every Way
I’m the child. My mom has kept this fact a secret from me, but I found out anyway. My grandma was so mad at my mom for dating young and getting pregnant that she got her brothers to beat her until she miscarried and lost her pregnancies. This happened twice before I was finally conceived. It hurts my heart and I can’t look at my family the same.
25. Unsung Hero
I found this out from my dad’s old college roommate, as my dad has never wanted to talk about this with me. Pops was working in the financial district during 9/11, and was in charge of the emergency evacuation for his floor. He saw the towers fall and had to herd everyone off of his floor and out of the building.
Apparently, someone had a heart attack and collapsed behind their desk. He was unable to find this person during the evacuation, and they ended up dying there in the office. I think that my dad might blame himself for this at least partially—which, on top of the trauma of witnessing the towers fall firsthand, has lead him to locking that part of himself away from the world.
One day, I want to tell him that I know about this, and that it wasn’t his fault. I know he did the best he could.
26. Who Nose What’s True Anymore!
The secret that I keep from my son is that I never actually took his nose, it stayed on his face the whole time. In fact, it has never once left his face, even though I have told him that I took it countless times. I even showed him the tip of my thumb as “evidence” of the theft. Sorry you had to read that, but it feels really good to come clean once and for all.
27. Beggars Can Be Choosers
My kids think that I’m awful with money because I’m super broke, despite having a good job. The truth is that I’m secretly socking away every spare penny to help put my niece through college and to take care of my parents when they can’t work anymore.
28. Home Sweet Home
For a long time, my dad had kept an enormous secret from me. On my 18th birthday, he walked into my room with a bag of substances and a bunch of rolling papers and proceeded to show me an entire hidden portion of our house. It was accessed through a hidden door, and he had apparently been using it to grow stuff since long before I was even born.
I had gotten grounded for smoking several times by that point in my life, so I had mixed feelings about this discovery. I have no idea how he was able to do this without my knowledge for so many years.
29. All in the Family
I’m an adoptive parent of three kids, two of which are both biological siblings and cousins. I found out a year after the adoption that the biological parents were half siblings who shared the same dad. The bio parents found out after they had the first child, and still proceeded to have another. The kids are now 16 and 13 respectively, and have zero clue that they are a product of incest.
Unfortunately, their biological grandpa just passed away, so there could very well be a big reveal coming in the near future.
30. Having Second Thoughts
Although my son was planned, there was a time when I considered giving him up for adoption. I had just separated from his father when he was only 8 months old, and I basically had nowhere to go and no way to take care of him. I fantasized many times about the possibility of dropping him off at the hospital and just skipping town.
I never did, and I will never let him know that I ever had those thoughts. He is now eight years old and we are very happy together.
31. Generational Gap
My daughter knows that her grandparents are getting a divorce. She doesn’t know that it’s because her 72-year-old grandpa decided to knock up a 23-year-old. We will talk about it once she’s older, but I don’t want to normalize that relationship for a preadolescent.
32. No Say in the Matter
My son does not know that he was a product of assault. He just thinks that I had really low standards in men at one point.
33. Digital Fairy Tales
My infant daughter has no idea that I get all her bedtime stories from Reddit. I just wish Reddit had more pictures!
34. Against All Odds
My secret is that my 3-year-old is an absolute miracle. Her birth mom (my wife’s sister) didn’t want her and basically tried for an intentional miscarriage via massive drinking and substance use. Born 11 weeks premature and with 5 different substances in her system, she shouldn’t even be alive by most medical estimations—yet here she is.
She has had slight developmental setbacks, but she is solidly inside the bell curve nevertheless. Her socialization is on point, and she should start school on time. She will know about none of this until she is in her teens, most likely. I am so grateful for this impossible little person being in my life. She’s a joy to me every single day.
35. It’s All in the Game
I forbid my kids from playing violent video games. My secret is that I have a copy of Grand Theft Auto hidden behind some books on a shelf in my room. I love that game!
36. A Horrible Detail to Leave out
I’m not the parent, but the child. My family kept it a secret that my brother was a child molester, and that my grandpa had assaulted my mother and once threatened to kill us grandkids. I found out because I told my sister that my brother had molested me, and she told me about the rest. We were raised having a relationship with them like they were just normal human beings. It’s absolutely disgusting in retrospect.
37. Fly Me to the Moon
My daughter was conceived at work, on airport property, in the back of a Ford Focus, while we were waiting for a medflight to land. She knows nothing about this, but tells me she wants to be a pilot when she grows up.
38. Two of a Kind
My wife and I each have a child from a previous marriage. Both of our ex-spouses were abusive cheaters. Both children still adore and idolize their other parents, and have no idea that they ever did anything wrong. We just keep smiling and nodding. This is a secret that we will probably maintain for years to come, if not longer.
39. Keeping Her Good Name Alive
My mom kept it a secret that the woman I was named after (her mom, my grandma) was stabbed to death by my uncle when my mom was just 18 years old. I always suspected that my grandma had a tragic death because of how my mom would always avoid talking about it, but I had no idea that it was that tragic. It was really difficult to find out.
40. He Lived to Not Tell the Tale
My father is hiding the fact that someone tried to kill him when he was in his teens from me. He has scars on his head from where he was beat with a hammer. He doesn’t know that I know this, and I only know because I once overheard a conversation between my grandmother and her brothers about the incident. It’s really chilling.
41. Stronger Than Any Lullaby
I‘m the child in this case. My dad waited till I was grown up to tell me that my mom had routinely given me a ton of sleeping pills when I was a little child so that she could leave me at home alone to maintain an affair with her lover while my dad was off working in another country. That cleared up many, many things up for me…
42. The Old Switcharoo
I secretly bought my son from a human trafficker after my wife had lost our biological child during the birth process. This is quite easy to do in my country, considering that there are a lot of very poor parents willing to give their children away. My wife regained consciousness after 4 days. Neither she nor my son know about this.