Should your child keep a “secret” diary? Modern Zulu Mom suggests a solution for moms and children to share secrets safely

I love receiving feedback and suggestions from Mommies! Thank you to mommy-of-two girls, Namhla, for suggesting today’s topic!


Namhla’s dilemma is as follows:
My 8-year old listed a diary as an item on her birthday wish list. She says it’s for her to write her ‘secrets’ and I’m not allowed to read it. I don’t like that. I think buying a diary will encourage her to have secrets and I would rather have no secrets between each other. On the other hand, I do want to encourage her creatively and harness her writing skills. My husband feels we are encouraging her to have secrets by giving her a diary, as opposed to making her feel she can come and talk to us about anything.


My response:

This is a challenging one! I remember having a secret diary when I was about 12 years old, all my friends had it and we would sometimes switch diaries and read each other’s, but I knew that I would be in a lot of trouble if my mom came across it – to Namhla’s husbands point! However, this was greatly contributed to the fact that my mom and I didn’t have the most open of relationships, I think this was cultural and influenced by how she grew up (topic for another day).

However, modern parents are fostering much closer relationships with their children, I’m one such parent. I’m always encouraging my son to talk about his embarrassments, crushes and best parts of his day. I listen without judgement and strategically squeeze in some guidance in my responses.

A Mommy-and-Me Diary seems like a cooperative and loving solution here.

The idea of a mommy-and-me diary is to write private letters and notes to each other and swap it back and forth. This diary works like a secret diary, only that it’s between mother and daughter. It’s a great way to share what you are both going through. Your daughter can open up to you about her fears, friends and boys; while you can share some of the things you’re going through at work or some life lessons. The mommy-and-me diary is a safe space for both of you to express yourselves emotionally and connect on a different level.

Create some excitement around it, decorate it with pretty bows and wrapping paper and custom-make your label, to whatever the two of you want to call it! You can leave the diary for each other under your pillows or have a secret place where each of you can access it whenever you need to. The frequency of the writing shouldn’t be an issue. It should be a natural thing, when each of you have something to share with each other; even if you’re the only one driving it for a while!


An example for Moms and Daughters. Image source: Etsy

The benefits are endless, not only will it strengthen your bond, but your child will have the opportunity to tap into their creativity and improve their spelling and writing skills.

Mothers of boys can try it too – maybe without the pretty bows – emotional development and communication skills are imperative for our young boys!


An example for Mom and Son. Image source Etsy


The downside, is that this idea won’t be cute forever – to them but you would have created some awesome memories and the culture of sharing and opening up. Independence and privacy are important to developing pre-teens and it shows them that you trust them. Knowing that you have laid the right foundation for your children will give you some piece of mind when the time comes. 

I hope this helps Namhla and all other parents that have been wondering about this!

Let me know what you think by commenting in the comment section or on social media:



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Modern Zulu Mom


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