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What should you not tell your parents?

As children grow into teenagers and young adults, it’s natural for them to want more privacy and independence from their parents. While an open and honest relationship is ideal, there are some things that teens and young adults may want to keep private from their parents, at least for a time.

Your Location

Teens often want to socialize with friends without parental supervision. Letting your parents know your exact location at all times can feel intrusive. It’s okay to give your parents a general idea of where you’ll be, without providing every detail.

Details About Your Romantic Relationships

Your parents may want to know if you’re dating someone, but it’s reasonable to keep intimate details private, especially in the early stages of a relationship. Share information at your own pace based on your comfort level.

Your Internet History

Your browsing history feels personal, so you may not want your parents looking at which sites you visit. Setting healthy boundaries around internet use and privacy is appropriate as you get older.

Errors in Judgment

You don’t need to disclose every poor decision you make to your parents if you learn from it and move forward. Small mistakes are part of growing up.

Struggles in Friendships

Venting to your parents about friends can feel like a betrayal of trust. Try to work out issues directly with friends first before getting parents involved.

Body Image Concerns

Insecurities about your body are common during puberty and the teen years. If you don’t feel comfortable opening up to your parents, consider talking to a school counselor.

Questioning of Faith or Values

As you develop your identity, you may go through periods of questioning your family’s faith, political views or values. Keeping some questioning private allows you to figure things out for yourself.

Exploration of Identity

How you identify yourself in terms of gender, sexuality, interests and talents is a very personal journey. Share information at your own pace when you feel ready.

Financial Information

Once you start working, you don’t have to disclose your income, spending habits or financial struggles if you don’t want to. Manage your money independently.

Social Media Posts

The content you post on social media is meant for your friends, not parents. Keep your profiles private to maintain boundaries.

Plans to Move Out

Your plans to move out after high school or college should be shared proactively when concrete, not prematurely. Try not to spring this on parents last minute.

Tattoos or Piercings

If you get a discreet tattoo or piercing as a teen or young adult, you don’t need to share immediately. Give yourself time to see if you’re happy with it first.

Minor Traffic Violations

If you get a speeding ticket or other minor traffic offense, the details don’t need to become family knowledge. Pay the fine and be more careful moving forward.

Sleepovers with Romantic Partners

It’s natural not to want your parents to know if you occasionally spend the night with a boyfriend or girlfriend. Use discretion and make responsible choices.


As you mature, it’s healthy to keep some details private from your parents and set appropriate boundaries. This allows you to develop independence and an identity separate from your family. However, strive for open communication around major life changes and any issues causing you distress. Your parents are still there to provide unconditional love and support if you need it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I tell my parents everything?

No, it’s normal as a teenager or young adult to want privacy from your parents in certain areas of your life. Set boundaries around what information you want to keep private.

What if my parents demand to know everything?

Explain respectfully that you need some independence and privacy as you mature. Offer to openly discuss topics like friendships, school, and safety while keeping some details private.

Is it okay to keep secrets from parents?

Secrets around major issues like dangerous or illegal behavior should be avoided. But it’s normal to keep some parts of your dating life, finances, internet use, and social media private from your parents.

Should I talk to my parents about sex?

Your comfort level sharing details around dating and sexuality with parents can vary. Important sexual health topics like consent, protection, and STD prevention should be openly discussed.

What if my parents don’t respect my privacy?

Communicate clearly around what information you want to keep private for now. Consider involving a counselor or other mediator if your parents have trouble respecting reasonable boundaries.

Key Takeaways

  • Teenagers naturally crave more independence and privacy from parents as they mature.
  • Romantic details, internet history, minor errors, and questioning of values are things teens may want to keep private.
  • Major issues like dangerous behavior should always be openly discussed with parents.
  • Set clear boundaries and offer compromises to help parents understand your need for more privacy.
  • If parents have trouble respecting boundaries, seek help from a counselor or mediator.


As the examples above illustrate, most teenagers and young adults seek to keep certain aspects of their personal lives private from their parents as they mature. Romantic interests, financial information, mistakes in judgement, and questioning of values or identity are common topics young people may not feel comfortable fully disclosing. While open communication with parents is still important, especially around major issues like safety, it is reasonable and healthy for emerging adults to set some boundaries and maintain privacy. With mutual understanding and respect between parents and maturing young people, families can balance trust and honesty with the need for independence and discretion.