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What do you do when you know your mate’s 14 year old daughter is lying to her about her sex life?

Updated: Oct 10, 2020

I spend a lot of time talking about how important it is to be authentic, real and transparent with your kids. Now Iet’s see how that translates over to our friends and fellow parents.

I have a mate who genuinely believes that she has a really open, honest and transparent relationship with her daughter. She tells me that her daughter talks to her about everything, how much she drinks, where she’s going in the evenings, the fact that she’s tried smoking but nothing else and that she’s never had sex.

Now, here’s the thing.

I know for a fact, that that’s not all entirely true. I know her daughter has had sex and not just with one boy, but many. I also know she’s experimented with drugs.

So what’s my moral obligation here?

I did a survey of three of my closest friends and here were the results:

  1. Absolutely have to tell her, if it was me, I’d definitely want to know

  2. Yeah, I dunno, I don’t think it’s your place to tell her. Ignorance is bliss

  3. Oh I don’t think I could say anything, but If you don’t tell her and then something terrible happens, you’re going to feel terrible.

Now are those responses a direct reflection of each one of my friends’ own personalities or is it perhaps their own fears and insecurities speaking? Who do I listen to? How do their reactions make me feel?

Then I took it a step further and asked each of them what advice they’d give their own kids if they were in that particular situation and the responses were really interesting:

  1. I’d tell them to tell their friend the truth

  2. I’d tell them to tell their friend the truth

  3. I’d tell them to tell their friend the truth

Apart from friend 1, who was consistent in her response for herself as well as the advice she’d give her own kids, my other two friends were very clear and strong about making sure their kids told the truth - regardless it seems of any regard for consequences.

So does that mean they’re better parents than they are friends or does it mean that because it’s not THEM having to deliver the uncomfortable or sensitive news that it’s easier for them to see ‘what’s right?’

Either way, it made me really reflect on the ‘why’ and think about what would be gained from saying something versus saying nothing. What information is mine to tell, what right do I have to potentially shatter an illusion of my friend’s which could end up destroying their relationship altogether? Then I remembered the advice of a very good counsellor of mine, who always used to say in our sessions ‘what are the facts, Tasha? Keep the emotion out of this’.

Bingo! You can’t argue with the facts! So, what are the facts in this scenario?

  1. My friend’s daughter is hiding the truth from her mother

  2. My friend’s daughter’s reputation is being talked about lowly amongst her peers

  3. My friend’s daughter is continually putting herself at risk by denying her own reality

  4. My friend’s daughter’s behaviour is getting looser, not better

  5. The law is being broken

  6. My friend is being lied to

Then I have to ask myself another set of questions:

  1. Does my friend really even want to know the truth?

  2. Would I want to know the truth?

  3. Is anyone in danger?

  4. Am I prepared to deal with the consequences of telling her the truth?

  5. Is there another way of approaching this?

After quick dissemination of the above and a touch of navel-gazing, I settled on what I felt to be the best outcome for everyone. What would you do in this situation?

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