Raising kids is full of the unexpected. It doesn’t matter if Mom sits down when she’s pregnant and reads a thousand parenting books, or if she’s had five kids beforehand – after this baby is born, there will always be something unforeseen.
And these things will just keep coming. As a baby grows into a toddler and a toddler into a child, they’re going to keep saying things that Mom and Dad just don’t expect; that makes them look at each other and say, “well, they didn’t learn that from me!”
Kids are intuitive – more so than they’re often given credit for. What people assume will go over a kid’s head, they’ll remember for days to come and often interpret it in a way that might be assumed far too clever for their age. Keeping a secret from a child is difficult and as much as parents might want to shelter them from the world, it’s a near impossible task.
Here are twenty things that kids almost certainly know that their mom just might not expect – either because they’ve picked up on it on their own or someone else out with their parents has taught them. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!
20 They Know How To Navigate The Internet
It’s completely normal and understandable to want to keep your kid off the internet for as long as humanly possible. The internet is access to everything in the world, unfiltered – they can type in whatever they like and immediately have access to it (which is why it’s always better to have parental controls installed, but that’s another story!).
But when they start going to friends' houses, or being around babysitters, you might find that they learn how to navigate the internet just from observing others.
Make sure you teach them internet safety in case this happens! You never know all the skills they can pick up from people who aren’t you.
19 They Know How To Be Responsible For Their Younger Siblings Or Pets
Some of this might be learned from Mom or Dad.
Your child might see you taking care of a pet or a younger sibling and copy you – but a natural, caring instinct will eventually kick in and they’ll be able to work out how to do it on their own.
They might even see their friends and friends’ parents, or their other relatives, taking care of people and pick up skills that you didn’t even know they were observing!
One thing’s for sure – you’ll be proud the first time you see your kid (gently) ordering around their younger sibling or brushing out the cat’s fur.
18 They Might Know How To Use Mom's Credit Card
Never underestimate your child – and never underestimate the power of in-app purchases!
It might seem easy to give your child your phone to play the games on it, but make sure you haven’t stored any payment information. You might think you’re safe to let them play around because you’ve never shown them how to buy anything, but kids are intuitive and apps are made to make money, so it’s very easy to make purchases. Even free games have in-app purchases that your child can probably navigate their way to!
Be very careful with this one. Just because you didn’t teach your child something doesn’t mean they can’t work it out.
17 They Know About Those Family Secrets
You know the family secrets that you think your child doesn’t need to know – because they’re pretty dark, or adult, or serious? As they get older, chances are, your child already knows about these things.
Family secrets always end up passed down; they’re often accidentally overheard by the kids.
Maybe your child got out of bed for a drink of water and heard people talking in the living room, or saw a text message come through when you let them play on your phone that they never told you about. Secrets that you seriously don’t want your kids to find out about, you should be very careful.
Generally, they know more than you think!
16 They Know About The Things That Happen In The World
It goes back to wanting to shield kids. It’s understandable to think that they shouldn’t be exposed to the darker things in the world at a young age – there are things, such as natural disasters, that are pretty hard to comprehend and upsetting them at a really young age is pointless and possibly traumatizing! But as they get older, it’s completely fine to explain these things to your child.
As they begin to become exposed to the bad stuff, and you can’t shield them any more.
Better to explain it to them than just let them find out from a source which might be a little harsher.
15 They Know If Anything About Them Isn't "Normal" Or Conventional
Everyone in the world is different. Some of those differences stand out more than others. If there’s something about your child that makes them different, it might be tempting to pretend it doesn’t exist, and that they’re just like everyone else – but it may not work. For example, EpilesyU showed in a study that children with epilepsy tend to feel ostracized.
Kids are blunt. If they notice something different about another kid, they’ll point it out. Therefore, it’s always better to be upfront about the differences and maybe even celebrate uniqueness rather than try to hide it! Make your child self-aware in the best way, before it’s done by someone else in a way that might affect their self-esteem.
14 They Know Curse Words
It’s not nice to curse in front of children – everyone pretty much agrees on that, and tries to avoid it. But sometimes, parents can go overboard. They try and hide any cursing on television from their children, or blow up at people who say something slightly inappropriate within earshot. While kids should be taught never to repeat this language, and should not be exposed to it too much in case it becomes a habit, don’t panic if they happen to overhear a curse word. They’ve probably heard it more than you think, and your job is just to make sure they know it isn’t appropriate language for them.
13 They Know What They Want To Be When They Grow Up
A lot of times, children will cycle through what they want to be when they grow up, often unrealistically – picking something like a celebrity, or something else with a low chance of success.
But that doesn’t mean everything should be dismissed as a childish fantasy.
Sometimes, children will say something about what they want to do when they grow up because they actually have a good idea.
Like a child who loves animals and knows they want to dedicate their life to them when they're older. Or a child who dances and knows it’s their genuine passion in life. Sometimes, they do genuinely know.
12 They Know About Consent
Consent is an important issue and should be taught from a young age. Even if you haven’t sat your child down and specifically explained consent though, chances are, they have an idea of what it means just from their every day interactions.
Why? Because they’ve probably experienced their own consent being breached – a hug when they didn’t want it, or something similar. They’re small occurrences, but it means that children begin to understand the concept from a very young age. That means when you sit them down to hesitantly explain how important consent is, they probably already know – it’s just about enforcing it and answering any questions they might have.
11 They Know About Social Stereotypes, And Might Even Believe Them
Although you might want to shield your children from damaging social stereotypes (such as it’s okay for boys to be bossy but not girls, or boys shouldn’t cry because it’s “weak”) – they’ve probably already heard them. Some parents, sadly, might still believe these things and teach them to their children, who then pass it on to their peers – your kid included.
The best thing to do is to be upfront about the fact these stereotypes exist but ensure your kid knows how misguided they are.
Don’t try and hide the wrong things that exist in the world – be a source of information, guidance, and reassurance!
10 They Know What Someone Passing Away Really Means
Another instance where it might be all too tempting to shield your child from the real world is when someone passes away.
Sometimes, when a pet passes, it’s easy to say they went to a farm to run around for the rest of… well, forever.
Or when a relative dies, it’s easy to say they moved somewhere, or use a euphemism for what actually happened. However, according to Psychology Today, it’s much better to be upfront about people or animals passing away – especially as your child might have learned elsewhere what that actually means and then might perceive you as lying when you are trying to protect them. Honesty is always the best policy!
9 They Know If There Are Problems In The Family
It’s all too easy to assume that any problems in the family are flying over the kids’ heads.
Whether there’s financial tension in the family that’s causing stress, or something that’s causing tension between the parents – the kid is going to pick up on it.
A child can tell when the smiles plastered on and false, or when Mom and Dad immediately force a high-pitched, falsely happy tone when they enter the room, even if you think they can’t. It’s always better to solve problems as quickly as possible rather than sweep them under the rug and underestimate a child’s ability to pick up on things.
8 They Might Know That Santa Isn't Real
Sometimes, you don’t want to tell your kid that Santa isn’t real – and we get it, really, we do. In a world where unpleasant things are plastered across the news every day, it’s pretty understandable that sometimes, we just want to hold onto that one glimmer of hope and let children believe in something pure and happy.
But to be honest, they find out sooner than we tend to think. Whether they see something on television they shouldn’t have or an adult slips up and they hear it, kids tend to know Santa isn’t real long before their parents sit them down for that talk.
7 They Might Know That The Tooth Fairy Didn't Leave That Money, Either
Much like the Santa thing, they might be aware that the tooth fairy doesn’t exist. Sadly.
When I was younger, I knew my parents were the ones leaving money under my pillow but they seemed to enjoy the story of the tooth fairy so much that I didn’t tell them I knew she wasn’t real for not wanting to disappoint them. It might well be the same for other children – sometimes, they realize, and they just let the charade continue.
And that’s fine, but don’t be too upset they know! Their friends might have told them or they could have overheard it somewhere. The magic had to end sometime.
6 They Know If A Parent Is Stressed
It doesn’t matter why Mom or Dad is stressed – if it’s affecting them, chances are, the child has picked up on it. Sure, they might not be old enough to have a complex understanding of the world yet.
They might not even have the faintest idea of why Mom or Dad is feeling pretty negative. But they’ll pick up on it, because they’re around all the time.
That’s why, in the same way as if there’s tension in the family, it’s best to take care of yourself and any stress so that your child doesn’t feel the secondhand burden of it. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your child!
5 They Know How To Get Their Way
As your child gets older they will probably, at least once, feign sickness to get out of going somewhere like school.
It’s normal, and it happens. This doesn’t mean that you should never believe them any time they say they’re sick – only that you should be aware it’s possible they’re not telling the truth, and not think of your child as an angel who would never lie to you. Kids tend to be selfish until they’ve grown up and are no longer completely dependent on their parents, and it doesn’t mean anything negative about their character.
The manipulating does happen though! The good news is they’re usually bad at it.
4 They Know How To Look After Themselves In A Social Setting
It’s every parent’s concern – sending their kid off to school for the first time and leaving them. It can be really difficult, especially if the child isn’t taking it very well. Every parent might jump to the worst case scenario – that their child will be lost without them, or won’t be able to cope.
But the truth is, once they’ve settled in, your child will do better than you might expect. Even if they haven’t had much social time with other children, chances are, they’re going to work it out just fine on their own and figure out exactly how to take care of themselves around their peers.
3 They Know How To Lie
If you’ve always taught your children that lying is wrong, you might be surprised to hear that your kid still tells white lies.
The reason is simple – children have poor impulse control.
They don’t learn that until they’re a little older so if a lie might benefit them, they’re probably going to tell it.
For example, if they ate the last cookie and don’t want to get in trouble, so they deny it. Kids might need a while to learn that honesty is the best policy! Don’t feel guilty – it’s natural up to a certain age. Just remind them that lying is wrong and set a good example!
2 They Know How To Stand Up For Themselves
Another worry about dropping your child off alone at school without you might be that they can’t stand up for themselves if they were to be bullied. It’s not like you’ve ever bullied them, so how would they learn that skill?
Don’t worry, though – you’ll probably find that you child will learn how to stand up for themselves if there’s ever any confrontation.
Think about all those times they fought with you over something trivial like when they were going to bed or what they wanted to eat!
It’s a skill they learn on their own, and you don’t have to feel guilty for not teaching them
1 They Also Know How To Entertain Themselves When Their Parents Are Busy
This is a skill that’s particularly common in only children – knowing how to entertain themselves.
Your child's imagination is wonderful and you'll wonder where they got it from. The truth is, their imagination will just develop on their own, and they didn’t get it from you because having such an imagination and suspension of disbelief just isn’t possible as a grown-up. It’s sad, but true!
Kids know a number of pretend games to amuse themselves, and it seems as if their imagination is just endless. They’ll probably be able to delight you for years with the things they dream up!