Ethical Dilemmas: Your Neighbor's Kid Confides in You
By Mata H on July 30, 2010
BlogHer Original Post
Last week we talked about a friend having an affair. This week, wise women, is yet another ethical dilemma for you to resolve. Once again, there are no "right" answers.
Today's world presents us with an increasing amount of decisions that have to be made at a younger and younger age. And that is where today's story begins.
You and your neighbor are both happily married working mothers. Your daughter and hers are the same age, so you know each other both at home and through school events. Occasionally one of you will drive both children to some event or will trade off "school taxi" responsibilities. She and her husband are responsible people to have as neighbors. They are the first to offer help when help is needed, and have never caused any problems in the neighborhood.
However, your neighbor couple is much more religiously and politically conservative than you. They did try to get you to go to their church meetings with them, but stopped asking when you had to make it clear that you were happy doing what you were doing. Consequently, you do not socialize much with them, as they can be quite vocal about their beliefs. Further, they set very stern limits on their children, much more strict than anyone else you know. They also see you as much more liberal than they, so while the relationship is mutually cooperative, it is not close.
However, your daughters were very close, and spent a lot of time together in their growing up years. They are now 13. Your daughter, Alyssa, has complained to you over the past year that she doesn't see Sarah much lately because she is always so "busy". Sarah has also been to church camp this summer, and has also spent time out of state with her grandparents. So, sadly, the girls have grown apart.
Sarah has always been a welcome guest at your house, as has Alyssa been at your neighbor's. So it was not that unusual to answer the door one Saturday to see Sarah standing there. You explain that Alyssa isn't home. "Can I talk with you, Mrs Smith? Just us?"
You invite her in.
She is nervous. She began by saying that she had some questions she needed to get answered "for a friend". She has come to you because her parents "just wouldn't understand". Her hands are actually shaking.
Soon you understand what she did not want to tell her very strict parents.
She is asking about STDs. Although she still says she is asking "for a friend", it is becoming clear as you read between the lines of what she is telling you, that Sarah, age 13, has been sexually active.
What do you do? And why?
~~ Contributing Editor, Mata H. also blogs right along at Time's Fool