To tell or not

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Nomad, May 31, 2016.

  1. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    what would you do and briefly explain why. Keep in mind I might ask for this thread to be deleted. Somewhat sensitive material.

    I have a friend who is renting her difficult child an apartment, got it furnished etc, She has been counseling me re doing something similar for my difficult child. Fortunately, in a way, my daughter and hers don't get a long. But, we (the moms do!) Our two daughters don't speak.

    Her (This mom) and I differ regarding certain things re parenting techniques. She helps her difficult child a LOT and also supervises her a LOT. Since both of these "kids" are over 21...well, I feel a little differently. No biggee. Her daughter has been doing much better.

    One rule she has implemented is that her difficult child is not to have people staying overnight at the apartment.

    Through a very weird, indirect way, I found out via my difficult child that this rule is being broken fairly regularly. Seems they have a mutual friend and my daughter found out some info. that seems to be reliable.

    The mom (a wonderful gal) is very proud of many things, one of which is that her daughter has not broken that rule.

    My daughter asked me not to tell the mother. And I agreed. So, I think I must honor that.

    If you were the parent here, would you want to know? Oddly, I think I would want to know. But, I also think I absolutely must honor my daughter's secret and have chosen to keep my mouth shut. Sigh.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would stay out of it if it were me. Your daughter asked you not to, and her daughter is over 21. I am the type who doesn't involve myself in what happens with others kids unless it were extremely dangerous.

    I'd be more apt to talk to the kid before the parent. I suspect there will be varying opinions on this. This is just what I'd probably do.
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  3. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I agree with SWOT. It was told to you in confidence. I would keep that confidence.

    To be completely honest, if I were the parent I'm not 100% sure I would even WANT to know, assuming adult daughter knows about and practices safe sex.

    Hmmm...some of this letting go stuff must be sinking ino_O
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  4. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    I would stay out of it and honor your daughter's request. I think it will come out in time on it's own. How many times has this happened to us where Difficult Child messes up and we find out. And truth be told, the Mom might already know but is not telling you about it. There are things I don't always reveal to my family or friends. Sometimes when son messes up, I do not share with husband because I just don't want to add to the list of things he has done when he is trying to do better. I use my own judgement when to mention and when not to mention.
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  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    THIS is the key statement. You don't have a choice in whether you tell or not. You won't.

    But. I wouldn't anyway. WHY would you be telling? It creates all sorts of awkward problems - whether you are right or wrong in the assessment, whether your source was correct or not. Also, you do not have the information first hand. You have not SEEN or HEARD the rule being broken. You have been told by a source you consider reliable. If the source wants to tell, that's fine - direct evidence.

    If the parent ASKED me whether I thought their child was breaking a rule or not... that would be harder. But to be the one bringing it up, if the whole picture is as stated? No.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Which person, your daughter or this mother, would you most hate to lose the trust of, and the very presence of? Your allegiance is owed to that person, at least in this situation. If the children were minors, or someone was seriously harming or going to be harmed, then it would be different. As it is, you don't have a dog in this fight, so LET IT GO.

    This is very much one of those times the Serenity Prayer was written for!

    Though if flat out asked, I would not lie to the other parent. I might not answer the question at all, but I would not lie about it.
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  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I too think nothing should be said, Nomad. As IC pointed out, you have not witnessed the friend's child's situation firsthand. I understand your concern about whether to tell the mother or not. There is so much more involved here than whether someone spends the night. It's a question of which other rules are being broken, and whether the friend's daughter is safe. One of the points you made is that the mother is very much hands on. She will know if and when the daughter's safety becomes an issue. So, you can say nothing, and can (and should, I think) honor your daughter's confidence with a clear conscience.

    I would have wondered too, whether to tell the other mom.

    As the others of us have said, your first loyalty, once you know the friend's child is not in imminent danger, is to your daughter, and to the trust between you.

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  8. Roxona

    Roxona Active Member

    I would stay out of it. It does not affect you directly and really none of your or your daughter's business.
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with the others Nomad, keep the confidence you agreed to.
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  10. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    My sister told me once that we must look very very deeply into our own motives when it comes to asking or telling other people about their difficult children. Are we IN ANY WAY seeking a little titillation, a feeling of "being in the know" or maybe being better? She said unless you are certain beyond any shadow of a doubt that there is NONE Of that in you...then be quiet.

    I am much much more quiet these days.

    Don't tell. Mom doesn't want to know. Your daughter won't forgive you.

    Its nice to have a universally agreed upon opinion on your question, isn't it?
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  11. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Thank you ALL. Yes, universally agreed upon validation. So often, I'm unsure about difficult child "stuff," but this was somehow different. You touched on something super interesting for me.
    Some friends promised our Difficult Child not to tell us something.
    But, they told us recently for no apparent (on the surface anyway) reason.
    Over the years, we've had people tell us very unpleasant things about our Difficult Child. However, in each case, they did not promise her they wouldn't tell us AND there was a good reason they almost needed to tell us. In two cases in particular, it was absolutely devastating for me, truly awful, BUT, I immediately dealt with it...felt it was for the best and absolutely understood why they told me.
    This situation was so very peculiar. It was soooo different. It is something that happened a long time ago, this person promised our daughter NOT to tell us, there was no reason (on the surface, anyway) to bring it up now.
    I can guess at a possible motivation. But, guesses are sometimes wrong. So, who knows for sure.
    I can tell you it feels strange/uncomfortable...etc.
    I can tell you this broken promise, this weird timing...the entire thing is troubling me.
  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    It is deeply troubling on so many levels. Each of us will have gone through this too, Nomad. Here too, we must hold ourselves and one another with compassion. Whatever the woman's reasons for behaving boorishly, she does not define you or your child. As for her. The Kennedy family also had a Difficult Child. Horrible things happened, in their initial responses. But, like we are doing too, the Kennedy family learned another way of seeing. They learned another way of understanding what matters, about a life. And because of what happened between them and their child, all of us have Special Olympics, and a changed measure for the value of a life, today.

    This is the motto of the Special Olympics: Let me win. If I cannot win, let me be brave.

  13. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    Nomad, my daughter is often privy to information about friends. Usually, I am also friends with the mothers. There was only one time that I considered breaking a confidence, but it was when a child was talking about suicide. I took the bull by the horns, and called the girl myself to determine the severity of the situation. After discussing the problem with the girl, she was jilted terribly by a callous boyfriend, I decided not to call her mother. But, I left her with a promise that she understood that she could call me day or night if she felt suicidal. I know she is seeing a good therapist, too. I did not have to break my daughter's confidence, but I would have in an instant if I believed this girl was going to act rashly.
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  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am coming late to the party but I agree with everybody else.

    Because you heard second hand. However truthful is your daughter you did not witness anything first hand. You have no obligation morally and no responsibility. Your responsibility is to your daughter. Finally, I do not believe the mother wants to know. If you told her you might lose the friendship.
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    You are all correct.
    And tying in to what Pigless said, nearly 100% of the time, one as a rule does not betray a confidence. There are very very few exceptions and one might consider it if it was for the greater good...particularly if it were a matter of life or death (suicide) etc. (You handled that complicated situation very well, Pigless!)

    I'm amazed how this post has triggered me. My OWN post about something else!

    Why in the world would my friends do what they did? This just happened only a few days ago (telling me this story about my child). Did they not realize that I'm not impressed that they betrayed my daughter's confidence for no good reason? It happened a fairly long time ago. Things are better now. They promised her they would not tell me. Why betray a confidence for no clear reason? We can only guess at an ulterior motive and it saddens me. No good motive is on the table.

    SOC, is right, in the end, I must be brave.
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  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    You know, Nomad, I missed this post of yours until now.

    A month or so ago when we were trying to figure out where my son should stay (again), the idea came to send him back to the house which we are repairing to make into my office. My son had already been there for a few weeks, some months before.

    So I mentioned my son's possible return to the next door neighbor, a lady close to my age. She was less than happy and went out of her way to mention that my son had been associating with two known drug dealers...and had gotten into a fight with one, who was chasing him down the block. She just happened to mention that my son acted like he was using hard drugs and that no way his behavior could be related to marijuana or to mental illness. I have used a whole lot of marijuana and I never acted like that, she said.

    I felt bad for a few minutes to say the least and went immediately to tell M, and then, to tell my son *I have no control. M said, no she is wrong. And quickly added, why listen to people, for what good reason would she say something like that? And my son explained the incident to which she referred.

    I quickly forgot the whole exchange. (I have enough to worry about to worry about something which is gossip, nothing more.)

    Fast forward to last weekend. My son and I went to that lady's house where M was helping her out doing some plumbing. At first my son was reticent to go because he felt she did not like him. I told him: What do you care what anybody thinks? You know who you are. You know the truth. So, we went and knocked on the door. Immediately seeing my son, the lady said to me, I should not have said what I said. I responded, almost not even remembering it, don't worry about it.

    Subsequently I found out that the majority of the family are alcoholics. I am not judging but sometimes people look for problems in other houses, because they know too well their own.

    And you know what?
    I really could not have cared less what the lady said. I hugged her and told her not to worry. I have grown so much due to this site that little that people say to me has much of an effect.

    My son behaved so beautifully, so graciously. I was so proud of him. I can see the changes he is making. With my own eyes.

    More and more I am seeing that everything comes down to our own self-acceptance.
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    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Nomad. You have not shared just what their comments were, and it does not matter.

    I do not believe that necessarily the desire was to hurt you or to hurt your daughter. I think people can really be clueless about their motivations, and just lack self-control.

    Today I told M two things about his family that really, I could very well have kept to myself, but could not contain myself. No good came from telling him--but I just could not keep my big mouth shut. It was not malicious to tell him. It was just because apparently I cannot keep a secret from him.
  18. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member


    try not to think too much about the intent behind your friends' comments. They probably just have poor impulse control, and like so many of us, cannot resist being the deliverer of new information. It hurt you. Now you know. You can choose to not do the same thing to cannot change what other people choose to do or say. That is why I am quiet now....but I have to say it certainly does not stop people from telling me things about my kids that I would rather not know!!!

    On a different but related note...I have also been learning to keep my mouth shut about negative thoughts, fears, or bad news that is not mine to deliver. For example "you got a letter from a creditor today." Well, gee, they are going to find that out soon enough, why do I need to stick my face in that frame? They will forever associate me with that bad moment which is not of my making and not mine to resolve...and why do I have to be Ms busibody know it all?
    A different example "well, we know she never follows through on promises, so don't count on it this time." I we know that? maybe she will follow through this time! My information on this is no better than anyone elses. We all have the same info. I am not a player in this game. I don't have to put my negative, baseless, two cents in.

    I would say these changes have made me calmer and happier, and more, have significantly improved the quality of time I have with those I love, without in any way adding falseness or artificiality to our relationships.

    Don't spread bad :censored2: for no good purpose. Don't spread bad :censored2: that is some one else's to spread. Mottos for the day!

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  19. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Loved your comment Echo. Soooo accurate.

    I did leave out something somewhat significant. They hinted at the need for a favor in the not too distant future. This came either right before or right after this out of context mention of something that happened with our Difficult Child awhile back. Our daughter had done something inappropriate and they came and helped her out. I can only speculate (and I hate doing this) that this could be part of the motivation for betraying our daughter's secret for no apparent reason. The reason might be that they were trying to show that they have done something on our behalf in the past and wanted "credit" for it. I just don't know. I can tell you it was told out of the blue and there was no reason for it on the surface. It almost seemed inappropriate...truly out of left field.

    I would hope friends would feel comfortable asking a favor when in need. Period. I'm not big on games.

    But, concerning myself about their intent is counterproductive and totally speculative...big time waste of time. I can say it felt awkward though. Can't help that.

    And with reference to my original post...yep...being the bearer of bad news almost always serves no purpose. And I never would break someone's trust...unless there was something VERY extreme in the balance like life or death.

    When I had those two difficult experiences with friends (different ones) in the past telling me things about my difficult child, it was done out of necessity and empathy. Didn't feel any awkwardness...just sadness that Difficult Child had done something weird yet again. In in the end, I felt fine that they chose to tell me in those instances and agree that I needed to know. I didn't feel anything weird or awkward and am proud to call those people my friends. And for those that chose not to tell me because they know in their hearts it probably isn't vital that I know...I'm grateful to them as well!!!! :)
  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    In the house where my son has been staying off and on, the neighbors routinely tell M what is going on. Many of the neighbors are latinos, speak Spanish (as do both my son and I too) but feel comfortable telling M anything, and not so much at all, me.

    That said, M keeps every single secret from me--and only during periods that hang in the balance, does he give me an idea of what has been said--a general idea.

    The thing is, I want to know. But M is right. When I do find out anything negative I blow up, begin to spew invective, or get very afraid about things over which I have no control--and what in the world good is accomplished? Not much.

    I believe that we know more or less what we need to know. In fact, we cannot escape it. Thus this site.

    So, even though I would want to know, I think it is the better idea not to.