Marion from WI left a vm. Marion was told by a trusted friend that another friend’s kid is involved in high risk behaviors. What should she do? If you want to listen to my podcast, click to the left of this screen and play.
1) Ask yourself what is your goal? Once you define your goal, it shapes your course of action.
2) If your goal is to intervene on the kid’s behalf – you will probably disclose to the parent.
3) Before you tell the parents you should ask parent, “If I know something about one of your kids/family members that’s potentially dangerous to them, would you want to know?” Most parents say “yes.”
4) Pick a time that the parent will have time to process information, e.g., they’re not on the way to work, or other commitment.
5) Remind the parent that you trust your source – and your goal is to intervene so the kid stops whatever high risk behavior/s they are doing.
6) You have to realize not all parents will be receptive to your information. Your disclosure may cost you the friendship – is that OK?
7) After you disclose to the parent ask how you can help, for example, if it’s substance abuse you can easily get a 10-panel UDS (urine drug screen) that tests for 10 major drug categories. Your family physician may have them, or you can order on-line. They’re inexpensive, easy to use and accurate.
Lastly, sometimes doing the right thing is difficult. I applaud you, Marion, for caring enough to think this through thoroughly. Good Luck!