When my kids were small and they had playdates with little friends there were times when things went sideways. When the other child’s parent came to pick them up I had a choice to make. Do I tell Little Johnny’s mom that he pinched/hit/spit/grabbed/yelled or do I smile and wave and thank heavens that the playdate is over? Most of the time I left it alone but there were times when I didn’t because a) it was out of control b) I was afraid the kid might say something so I wanted to chat with the parent first or c) this type of thing had happened before and I knew it would be best to tell the other parent.
Sometimes they (the confident parents anyway) were grateful. Maybe a little embarrassed but, overall, happy to know what went wrong. These parents understood that it takes two to tango. They saw this as a great opportunity to help their child and often we would chat with both children together.
However, there were times when the parents did not react well. They would get defensive or angry and things might even get cool on the playdate front for a while.
Now I long for those simple times. My kids are older and times have sure change. Now I don’t plan their social life. In fact, I am lucky if I am even exposed to it. But sometimes I am. And sometimes I hear or see things. Teenage things. For the most part these things are worth an eye roll or an uncomfortable feeling but there are times when it is more than that. Sometimes these things I hear or see make me worry and think to myself, “If that were my kid I would want to know.”
This is where it gets tough. These kids are finding their way. We all did stupid things at 13 and, most of us anyway, turned out OK. But it is the few who didn’t that I can’t help thinking about at these times and I remember that it all started around this age.
So, I guess I need your advice. And for those of you who don’t have tweens or teens, try to remember yourself at this age. SO much changes. It is a crazy balancing act between independence and involvement. It is a real fine line.
So, what do I do when I hear or see these things? Do I have a responsibility to tell a parent what their child is up to that maybe going to far? If I hear about smoking or drinking or pot or stealing, do I rat the kid out risking my relationship and trust with my own child or do I keep my mouth shut and hope to god that this is just par for the course?
What would you do?