My Kid Tells Me Her Friend is in Trouble

Depressed girl with a sad expression

If this scenario hasn’t happened yet, it may soon. Your child will come home and tell you something about which “Sally” has confided in her, and Sally is seemingly in a scenario that could be life altering. Sally could be “Steve,” but the same questions remain. What is your child’s responsibility? What is your responsibility as a fellow parent to Sally’s parents?

Think about a few scenarios Sally may be facing all alone…suicidal thoughts, an abusive relationship with a boy, an eating disorder, experimentation with drugs or alcohol, she’s sexually active or maybe even pregnant.

Unfortunately, too often parents default to minding their own business and counsel their children to do the same. However, our kids rarely excel at minding their own business and often shoulder burdens for their friends that they are not meant to carry (despite the direction of their parents). As a result, they become entangled by Sally’s scenario (and usually not in positive ways).

Let’s first look at the counsel for our kids in dealing with Sally and her scenario. Sally has got to be convinced that she needs help from an adult she can trust. Ideally, this person is a parent. But if Sally cannot or will not go to her parents, a trusted teacher, church staff member, or family friend will suffice. The role of our kid is to make sure Sally is held accountable to sharing her potentially life-altering problem with an adult that can get her the help that she needs. If necessary, (and we believe it to be OK) it may be necessary for our child to go with her.

Now, let’s consider our role as fellow parents by putting ourselves in the Sally’s parents’ shoes. What if our child was in a scenario that could have life altering consequences, AND WE DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT IT? What would you give for that information? Herein lies the responsibility for us as parents. We have got to care enough to pick up the phone, meet with, or otherwise let Sally’s parents know what is going on with her. It’s not easy—I won’t say that it is. But if we are truly in this parenting thing together, we have got to watch out for one another, love all kids, and be willing to take a stand for our kids as well as those that may be in trouble.

Now, once again, what if that was our baby in trouble, and we had no idea?!

We truly must all be in this together as Christian parents if we are going to love others as Christ has commanded.

Until next time…


About Jeffrey D. Potts, Ed.D.

Raised on a ranch in the Texas Hill Country, Jeff Potts, Ed.D., grew up learning the importance of hard work and family values. A graduate of Baylor University, he has master’s degrees from two universities and earned his Ed.D. in teaching and learning from a fourth institution. Potts launched his pedagogical career in the 1990s, working full-time with students and parents. READ MORE→