A Bit Of A Moral Dilemma

William is now in the first year of senior school (age 12), and I think that the adjustment from junior school has been quite a big one for him and his classmates.  There have been, within the class, a few teething problems.

These are slowly being ironed out, and generally the kids seem OK, but William did mention to me a few weeks ago that one of his close friends, let’s call him Sam, was ‘a bit angry and unhappy’.  When I asked him to elucidate on this, he was unspecific, but just generally felt that Sam was a bit out of sorts.

I didn’t think much more of it, until one of the mums at school, quite a close friend of mine, came and sat in my car for a chat while we were waiting for the kids to come out of school last week, and said ‘Have you heard about Sam’s Dad?  Isn’t it awful?”

Apparently Sam had told his friends that his Dad has lung cancer.  I was horrified, particularly as Sam’s Dad is only in his late 30s, and as soon as Will came out of school, I asked him about it.

Will confirmed that Sam had told him the same thing, but added that he wasn’t sure it was true, though he couldn’t put his finger on why he thought that.

The more I thought about, the more doubtful I was about the truthfulness of the story – I had spent quite a long time chatting to Sam’s Dad only the previous week at Parents’ Evening, and he didn’t appear ill in any way, in fact he and Sam’s mum were both in excellent spirits, laughing and joking.

A couple of days later, Sam told his friends that his Dad had been taken to hospital by ambulance at 2 a.m. the previous night.  Will told me that he thought this time that it definitely wasn’t true, and that Sam was making it up.

I turned it over and over in my mind, and couldn’t decide whether I ought to speak to Sam’s parents about the whole thing.

Will and Sam have been friends since they were 4, and we are good friends with the parents – they’ve been round here for dinner, and we’ve been to lots of social things together – but I just didn’t know how they would take this from me – would they think I was stirring up trouble or poking my nose into their business?

After a weekend of indecision, my mind was made up by the fact that if  it was William was making up stories about Ashley or me having cancer, I would want to know about it, to be able to find out the root cause – because surely there’s some underlying issue going on for a 12 year old to be saying that sort of thing to his friends?

So I phoned Sam’s Dad (Sam goes on the school bus, so I never bump into his parents at school) and told him what Sam had been saying, and why I felt I should tell him.   He assured me that he was in good health (thank goodness), and he was obviously very taken aback by the whole thing.  Luckily, however, he took my phone call in the spirit I made it, and didn’t seem offended by my intervention.  He said that he and Sam’s mum would chat to Sam to find out what was going on.

That was a couple of weeks ago, and there haven’t been any more ‘stories’ at school, so hopefully any issues have been sorted out.

But I still don’t really know if I did the right thing.  Would you have phoned and ‘told’, or would you have kept well out of it?






13 thoughts on “A Bit Of A Moral Dilemma

  1. You did completely the right thing. The boy must be going through some sort of trauma though to have made those stories up. I hope his teacher is aware too as something is going on. To me it is a cry for help. I don´t know what else you can do except perhaps just have him round with William and see if he comes out with anything. It is not spying it is just trying to help. I had terrible problems with my son and it started at a slightly later age. We never knew what was going on until we were approached by the Headmaster who had been told by another boy´s parent. Thank God all of that is a long way behind us but sometimes it is the people who are not so close who spot the signs.

  2. For what it’s worth I think in my opinion you did the right thing. I can understand your reticence about broaching the subject with his parents but ultimately you had to consider why he as doing this.
    Lisa x

  3. I think you did the right thing, at least the parents now know what is being said and they can do something about finding out the reason why , I think the boys actions are a sign of something that is going on, either a cry for help, in need of sympathy for some reason, maybe something is happening at home or at school and he feels the need to do this as a way of a release of some sort, I think the parents should see the boy’s teacher to discuss this matter. I would have told the parents for sure. i hope the boy gets some help.
    x Dawn

  4. It is always difficult with any situation as to wether to intervene or not. Would I want to know if it was my child? Yes I would, of course I wouldn’t be too happy about the story telling but it does make you wonder what an earth is going on that they feel they have to say some thing so awful. Being a teenager is hard, hormones running riot and not being sure what your body or mind is up to at any given stage. As parents all we can do is support, guide as best as we can and at times help pick up the pieces.

    I do hope that this young lad is ok.

    X x

  5. I think you had to do what you did. If kids get caught out lying as kids, hopefully they learn their lesson and don’t become awful dishonest adults. ( Thinking of a friends ex partner here!) You didn’t do it without careful consideration and I think you made the right choice.

  6. I too think you did exactly the right thing. Hopefully now the tall stories can be nipped in the bud and the parents can get to the root cause of it all.

  7. Yep its good you deliberated but i think I would have made that call too. As the others have said, it is a very strange way to act and is surely an indication there is a deeper issue. Such a cry for attention is worrying…..

    Poor kid.

    Good sixth sense of your lad though, to know something wasn’t *quite* right….

  8. I can’t speak as a parent but you can, and if you would have wanted to know if the situation was reversed you did the right thing. As adults sometimes you have to make decisions about children and this is something that was worrying your son too and if the situation had got further out of hand etc and you hadn’t said anything you would’ve felt awful.

    I think it’s great to know that there are people out there who are prepared to say something rather than just “not get involved”.

    Victoria xx

  9. I think you did the right thing. If it was me, I’d want to know if my child was saying things that weren’t true. It will also give the family the chance to find out why their son feels he needs to say these things.

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