Teenage Infraction

28 Apr

Dear LetterBalm: I just learned that my 13-year-old niece recently invited two boys from her class to her house when her dad and mom weren’t home. She told me this privately. She said nothing happened, that they all hung out having popcorn and playing video games, and I believe her. But having boys over unsupervised is very much against the family’s house rules, and I feel her parents should know what she did. But I don’t want to break my niece’s confidence. What can I say to her to make her tell her parents? I don’t want her to think she can just do this without taking responsibility.

–Trusted Aunt

Believe it or not, unless she’s a little sociopath, your niece is walking around with a lead weight on her shoulders. She doesn’t like keeping her big infraction hidden from her parents. Ms. L.B. suggests you and your niece have a conversation where you won’t be overheard. You need to be firm and say that you’ll tell her folks if she won’t, and this is not to be construed as snitching because house rules are in place for a reason:

Cecily, we have to talk about your having boys in the house without supervision. I understand that this will be difficult for you, but you must own up to what you did. You seriously broke a house rule, and you have to take responsibility. It doesn’t matter if you just had popcorn and played video games; those rules are in place for a reason, and your parents need to know. You need to tell them alone, or I’ll come with you. It’s your choice. If you don’t do it soon – by this weekend – I’ll have to tell them myself. I don’t want to do it because you’re a good person, and you know it’s the right thing to do. Now, how can I help you?

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