Wednesday, February 21, 2007
A Consensus of Opinion
Boy, the next time I want to buy a car, or decide where to live, or whatever - I'll ask you guys! I asked for opinions, and that I got. Heart-felt ones. Many were like a great phone conversation, with me saying, "uh-huh, uh-huh, oh, I wouldn't have thought of that. Good point." So thank you for that. And thank you Haloscan and Blogger for not being like most answering machines and cutting off after two minutes.

Here's what you guys had to say. Of the 36 comments I got, two did not give an opinion but said they'd be praying for this family. Thank you for that. Three held at neutral, not sure. Understandable. That sums up about 98% of raising teenagers - sometimes you just don't know what the heck to do, since running away isn't an option. Five said a resounding - "don't tell." They made good points for why they felt that way. Eighteen said - "Tell", sometimes putting it in eloquent words, sometimes just saying, "tell", and sometimes a more emphatic "tell, tell, tell".

Some of you recommended books - I will make note, order some of them into the store and give them to her. Especially the one Mombo mentioned on raising teenagers. I know Mombo personally, and she's very qualified to advise. If she says they should read it, they should. Actually, I told Mombo I just wish she could meet my friend for breakfast instead of me. I'd gladly pay. Actually it's too bad they can't just send the kids to Mombo, let her raise them, then give them back when it's time to pay for college.

Some of you made a valid point that in telling, the girl could be subject to abuse. I do not believe that is the situation, rather apathy is more what she faces. Our town caters to our kids, mostly wants them to be happy, beautiful, popular, good grades so they can go to the right colleges, etc. I suspect we're like most towns. But it was still a valid point. Unleashing the wrath of a parent could be dangerous. I loved the suggestion of having the prom get-together at their house. You made the point, when suggesting they talk to the parent, that they go with the one the girl lives with. That's the mother. And face to face. I'd also want that. Somewhere I'd be allowed to cry just a little, regroup and then talk. Dads would likely just want to punch either other, and that wouldn't accomplish much.

A suggestion was made that the boys parents sit down with both kids. Great idea. I don't think they did that. I think they believe the girl is somewhat out of the picture, when likely she's not. That would show respect and care for her as a person. A male mentor for the boy is good too. I did suggest that. One of the two counselors who responded made the valid point that if these parents don't talk to the girl's parents, and something were to happen later, there could be legal ramifications. Liabilities. That had not occurred to me.

So, here's what I advised, and why. I told her to tell the mother. To phone and ask to meet with her. They've never spoken, nor met in person. I told her if the mother pushes on the phone to know the purpose of the meeting, she should go ahead and tell her. Then see if the mom wants to meet. That at least gets her informed, and allows her to not meet, if she doesn't really care. The only thing worse than not really caring, is having to sit and look someone in the eye, with them knowing you don't really care. It also allows her to absorb the information, gather her wits, then meet if she cares to do so. I told her to tell the boy they were phoning the girl's mother. I do love the idea Holly had - give the kids one week to tell themselves, then if they don't, you do. I just am not clear on how you'd know they followed through. But that does show respect for the kids. Gives them responsibility for their actions.

I advised her to tell for several reasons. As a mother, I'd want to know. Eighteen is not grown. She still lives at home. She's still in high school. Regardless of her age, the level of responsibility she's living at prevents her from being an adult; making adult decisions. Once these two kids become sexually active with each other, they will likely move on to other relationships and that will set the tone for all future ones. It will be easier to stray next time. If by chance this was a first experience, or even a first relationship that strayed this far, if the parent is told, she can discuss with her daughter how to proceed from here. She can let her know she is worth more than that. She can let her know some protections prevent pregnancy, but not disease, and not heartache, shame, guilt, regret. She can let her know she can always start over, no matter where she's at right now.

If the girl feels like it won't matter to her mother, which is what she expressed, then telling the mother may open some lines of communication that will be critical when she leaves to go to college, more on her own.

If the girl intends to continue in this path, and she sure wouldn't be alone here!, and her mother honestly has no problem with it, or at least accepts it, then they can decide to at least protect her from pregnancy while she's too young to parent.

I also believe these parents telling the girl's mother speaks loudly to the son that actions do have consequences, and they won't just be swept under the carpet because they're typical to our society today. I believe these parents' witness is up for grabs. They are Christians, and as such, should do the right thing, regardless of whether the other parents want to know, care. We are to act different, live different, appear different, and this is an opportunity to do so. Who know what relationships could be made possible through this situation. With the girl, with her mother, with the son, between the parents. I believe God can work all things together for good, and this is an opportunity to do so. Starting with telling these two kids they matter enough to make a messy situation a bit more difficult for awhile; because they're worth it. They won't always be dumb teenagers, living by their hormones, and hopefully looking back, they'll see the witness of parents who made the tough choices, because they loved them.

We also told our kids, when they were the dating age, that they were dating someone else's husband or wife, and to treat them that way. If that didn't motivate them, to remember someone else was out with their future husband or wife, and to behave like they hoped they were! Behave like you hope the boy out with your future wife is behaving! These kids will likely not marry, they belong to someone else. That needs to be honored. Nothing feels as bad as guilt and regret.

That's why I told her to tell. Fell free to comment here and tell me you completely disagree with me. I'll leave anonymous on for a bit and hope the creepy comments don't come knocking.

  posted at 8:09 AM

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