controversial question - FamilyEducation
controversial question
06/29/2007 at 12:15 PM

Most of us are pretty poorly educated about how to parent adolescents. Consider how much time you spent training for your career before your first day of actual work. Now compare that to how much time you spent preparing to raise an adolescent (or 2 or 3) before your first day.  ("Yea, I read a few books.") About once a month some event in my community shocks me and I have to call up my friend with this conversation: "Can you believe this parent???!!!"

I thought it would be interesting to pose some what if questions to see how differently we respond to the same situation. I would love to read what you think.

What if you were standing in the lobby of the movie theater waiting, like a herd of cattle, to be allowed into a movie. About 2 feet away you recognize a 16-year-old girl from your neighborhood, a sophmore in high school. She is one of those gorgeous, got everything going for her girls: wealthy family, great looks, athlete, good student. You only know her mom enough to say "hi" in the grocery store. You overhear this young lady tell her friend intensely: "My mother would be so incredibly mad with me if she found out I was sneaking out at night to meet this guy."

How many of you would: 

A. Call the parent up and say something like, "This is very awkward. You hardly know me but I overheard your daughter very clearly say....?" 

B. Figure it's not your business and stay out of it.

C. If it were your daughter, be incredibly thankful that that person called.

D. If it were your daughter, be incredibly angry that someone was butting into your business?

Yes, it happened to me (except it was not in a movie theater lobby) and I'll tell you what I did after you tell me what you would do. Maybe you have some other scenarios to share.

I think that my answer would be C.  I would really want to know that my daughter was doing this so that I could catch her in the act doing it!


Hey hownaive,


Welcome to the boards.  I have been in similar situations, not exactly that situation but something where I had to decide whether or not to call a parent.  I would call the parent and I would be glad if someone called me.


My friends and I have all promised that we will tell each other when we have information.  And so far we have.  I think the only time this situation can be sticky is if my daughter tells me something about someone and makes me promise not to tell.  I would tell if it was a life threatening situation but I would feel like I had to keep my daughter confidence if it was not a life threatening situation.




I too have made a pact with my boys' friend's parents to tell each other important things, and it has definitely helped once. But now I'll tell you what I did in the non-friend situation. Nothing. I did nothing. I feel bad and keep kicking myself. I should have, but I was too stressed out from work and was just protecting myself from more stress. The ole "I just don't want the hassle" response. Part of that response is because as teachers, about 25% of the time we bring up something unpleasant to parents, we become the whipping boy. They take it out on us instead of their child. So, that's part of why I didn't want the hassle. Guess I was feeling beaten down and jaded that week. Probably too much time (about 4 months) has passed now and it wouldn't be appropriate. I feel like that was very irresponsible of me and I hope the young lady has come to her senses. In the future, I will do what is responsible and call the parents. Then, just be ready in case the parent reacts by attacking me. You think you would get immune to that as a teacher, but you don't.

I'm so glad the responses so far are the responsible ones. There is hope!

Because of the relationship I have with my daughter. I would ask her what she thought. If she knew the girl or had a relationship with her, I would maybe ask to meet the girl or her parents. 

My daughter and her girlfriends are pretty open in thier conversations. And I feel free to say as a parent that I wouldn't approve and how would their mothers feel if they knew this piece of information. It usually scares the crap outta of them.

But I try not to judge and that is why I think they are so open with me. But I don't hesitate to tell them what I don't like and what I won't tolerate when they are in my presence. 

For instance yelling at people on the street when they are in my car. I tell them if it happens again the windows get locked and that there will be some consequence. But most times I just have to tell them.


This discussion is several years old, but I need your wisdom and experience now. I just posted. A parent called me yesterday about something her child said. The parent alerted me. I thanked her. Now I know that an occurrence I thought was a one-time fluke that we addressed with our son, maybe habitual. Please read my post about 16y boy sneaking out at night and share what you know.