Discretion: An Important Value to Teach Children

In a world dominated by social networks, it's become common for people to publish everything they do. However, in this article, we’ll talk about discretion as an important value to teach children.
Discretion: An Important Value to Teach Children
María Matilde

Written and verified by the pedagogue and trainer María Matilde.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Discretion seems to be a value that has become almost obsolete and outdated. However, it’s a very important value that we should instill in our children from a young age, especially in today’s world. Here’s why.

Exposing yourself and everything you do is all the rage nowadays. It doesn’t matter what it is. For example, what you cook, where you travel, what clothes you wear and where you shop, what you do when you’re bored, and even what your dog does.

The goal is to share and expose your private life so that your closest circle can see it. But also, and this is the final goal of many, so that the greatest number of people can see it.

What’s discretion?

Discretion refers to caution or reserve so you don’t tell what you know or keep secrets when there’s no need for others to know them. It’s related to prudence, both to establish judgment and to speak or act.

Thus, a discreet person is reserved, moderate, restrained, and doesn’t try to attract attention, either with their actions nor with their appearance or statements. A discreet person doesn’t have the need to talk about themselves or others nor to share everything they do.

For this reason, people who are discreet are often described as people who don’t stand out or excel. This is very relative and debatable.

A mother teaching her daughter the value of discretion.

Discretion, a rising value or an outdated value

A value is a quality a person is appreciated or well-regarded for. And, as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, discretion isn’t fully considered a value.

On social networks, especially adolescents and young adults don’t have the habit of being discreet and leaving their private life private. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The way of being of our current society is to show yourself, talk a lot about yourself and others, meddle in other people’s lives, and allow them to meddle in yours.

However, discretion is valued depending on the areas and environments in question and the people we relate to. In other words, in some jobs or in certain social contexts, discretion is an important value, and interpersonal relationships are established trying to respect some areas of personal privacy, generally related to the sphere of private life.

In addition, closely linked to the context or the scope of the relationship, discretion is also well-regarded in relation to the way of speaking, how to speak, in what tone, and at what moment. Furthermore, discretion is appreciated in relation to actions and ways of moving, even ways of dressing. Opulence or extravagance aren’t well-accepted depending on the context.

“There can be no grace where there is no discretion.”

– Miguel de Cervantes –

Discretion, an important value to teach children

Regarding this value, you can show your children that:

  • Discreet people manage to make good friends. Explain to them that the foundation of discretion is trust, and when people know how to keep secrets or don’t share what someone else tells them, they’re trustworthy.
  • Explain to them that sharing their life through social media doesn’t make them unique or different, since almost everyone does the same thing.
A father listening to his son.
  • Highlight the importance of discretion in relation to their own safety. The more discreet they can be about where they live, who they’re with, or the places they frequent, the more protected they’ll be. This way, they can avoid bad experiences or situations with malicious people.
  • Teach them that it’s okay to share their likes and hobbies online and with their friends. In addition, that it’s also okay to safeguard important thoughts and feelings. They can share them only with family or close friends, as only they’ll be able to sincerely understand them and respect them.
  • Highlight that discreet people are usually smart. They’re people who don’t talk about everything because they think they know everything. On the contrary, they’re people who know how to listen, observe and reflect before giving their opinion, and try not to judge if they don’t know the lives of others or their circumstances.

Discreetly raised children…

Precisely because we live in a society that’s all about being open to the world and speaking lightly of everything and everyone, you must instill the value of discretion in your children.

Precisely due to the times we’re living in, of constant exposure and extroversion, you must teach your children to be discreet. Try to make them understand that certain parts of their lives must remain private, for their future and safety.

Even if your child’s personality is more outgoing, you should teach them to be discreet. This is because, as sociable and extroverted as your child may be, they must know how to behave discreetly in some area or context as they grow and develop. Or, in any case, they’ll appreciate finding discreet people at some point in their life.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.