DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m a 30-year-old woman who has a great relationship with both of my parents. I recently confided in my mother about something that I wasn’t ready to tell my dad. Earlier this week, I found out that my mother spilled my secret to not only my father, but also to a few of her close friends whom I don’t speak to very often. I’m furious with my mother. How should I handle this? -- Big-Mouth Mother
DEAR BIG-MOUTH MOTHER: Sadly, you have just experienced that sometimes even parents cannot keep secrets. Yes, you need to speak to your mother at once. Calm down first, though. Your message will be received better if you speak in a clear and measured tone. If possible, be face-to-face or on video when you speak to your mother. Tell her that you need to talk to her about something important. Reveal that you know she shared what you told her in confidence to your father and other people. Express how devastating and hurtful it was for her to betray your confidence. Ask her why she did it. Did she not remember that you asked her to keep it to herself?
Ultimately, since she let the information out already, you can’t take it back. You can speak to your father and let him know that you had planned to tell him -- when you were ready. You may want to rethink what you confide in your mother. As much as she loves you, you may not be able to trust her to keep information to herself.