To tell or not to tell....

Avatar for katiect
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
To tell or not to tell....
7
Sat, 06-14-2003 - 3:07pm
Am in disagreement with my husband over an issue that came up this a.m. regarding our 15-year old son. His best friend's father was arrested in a peeping tom incident involving dressing rooms and young women. Apparently it wasn't the first time he'd done it, but probably the first arrest, and he did admit to it according to the newspaper.

I would rather not say anything to my son, in the hopes that he wouldn't hear about it. His friend is pretty private about personal issues, and most likely won't say anything. However, we live in a town of about 15,000 and there's probably a 50/50 chance that he'll hear it elsewhere. My dh thinks our son will be upset with us if he thinks that we didn't tell him something that will obviously affect his friend. I would think it's going to make our son uncomfortable if he knows, and he spends a lot of time at his friend's house. I'm also going under the assumption that my son isn't in a compromised position in his friend's home

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Katie

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 06-14-2003 - 4:04pm
Well, I can't imagine a situation that involved best friends where something like this could happen and the friend NOT find out. I don't care if it's a huge city or a village. Your son is going to know, without a doubt, that *something* has happened as this is definitely also going to affect his friend and he'd sense this. Not to mention that oh yes, something like this is DEFINITELY going to be discussed whether it's in a newspaper or just three people know. SOMEONE will talk. And it will spread.

I definitely think that you should tell your son. For one thing, it gives you the power of *how* to tell him - to give your own 'morality' slant, of perhaps helping your son to see his friend in a light that requires careful stepping in order to respect his friend's desire for privacy if he doesn't want to talk about it and to just listen without judgement if he does. And yes, I guarantee you that I can't think of a single person who wouldn't be upset if someone they trusted knew something important like this and didn't forewarn them and let them learn about it in a safe and private place, like their own home.

Just my thoughts.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Sat, 06-14-2003 - 8:38pm
I have to agree with kkiana - I think you should tell your ds. That way you'll be there to answer any questions he might have about it and he can get over the inital shock in the privacy of his own home. There's no way he WON'T find out, especially if it's in the newspapers. And personally I'd discourage him spending too much time over at the friend's home. If the friend's dad is trying to look at naked young girls in dressing rooms it makes you wonder what type of magazines/pics/etc. he may have around the house. But that's just a personal moral opinion - maybe some people don't think it's a big deal but I would want to limit my child's exposure to someone like that.

Pam



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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-14-2003
Sun, 06-15-2003 - 8:24am
I think it's a good idea to impart that information as long as he understands that the information is for his benefit only and not to be shared otherwise. It also, is a lesson on behavior that is or is not acceptable in society and how to be a supportive friend during a very embarrassing time in his life.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-20-2003
Sun, 06-15-2003 - 9:25am
I can't imagine NOT talking to him about it!! You say he spends a lot of time at his friends house, I would talk to him about it TODAY because I would want to make sure that this creep hasn't tried anything around my son!
Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Sun, 06-15-2003 - 8:03pm
If it was in the newspaper then word will get around, and your son will hear about it somewhere--IF he hasn't already heard about it. I think that you should tell him. Also he may have concerns about what to say or how to act around his friend or friend's family.
Avatar for katiect
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 06-15-2003 - 9:48pm
Thanks so much for everyone's advice. It wasn't so much that I disagreed with my dh, as I wrote, rather that I had major concerns. But everyone was right, he needed to know. Before we could say anything, his friend came over and expressed that he was very upset, it had something to do with his dad, and he didn't want to talk about it. My son just asked him if his dad was sick and the answer was no, so ds dropped it.

When his friend left, we told him, and he asked to read the article. We talked about being a compassionate friend, being a good listener when and if his friend decided he needed to unload, and about keeping confidences.

I did ask him if he'd noticed anything odd, or improper, and he hadn't. This family is about the last you'd ever expect something like this. Picture a strong, Christian family, active in the community and church. They're strict and demanding parents who expect a lot from their kids. Been married for at least 25 years. You just never know. Can't even begin to imagine the betrayal the kids and his wife are feeling. Dad has always been the strong moral compass, and I have to admit that I'm afraid that this will have devasting consequences.

Katie

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-16-2003 - 1:11am
Unfortunately I think you're totally right. This will have devastating effects on this person's family without doubt.

And unfortunately, 'good strong Christian' families are not immune to these kinds of tragedies. Sometimes they are most vulnerable if they have too strong an ideal to live up to and can't seek help or acknowledge their own human fallibility. Look how many evangelists have 'fallen' through a sexual immorality. I for sure would discuss this with your son, too, emphasizing the need to express grace and explaining HOW important it is that no matter who you are or what you stand for, you are never 'perfect' and to never fall into the trap of believing that what you have to stand up for takes precedence over truth - especially self-honesty - and accountability.

I really feel for that poor family.