You witness the teenager next door sneaking out……what next? Mind your own business? Knock on the door? Send an anonymous tip? That’s where I recently found myself. Torn between desperately wanting to stay out of it and feeling morally obligated to speak up.
Occasionally my husband has to be on the road by 5AM, and on those mornings he is up having coffee by 4AM. That was how he came to notice early morning activity in our neighbor’s yard and their teen sneaking out (or rather, back in).
“Kids will be kids!”
“It’s none of my business.”
“Maybe her parents know?!”
I tried to brush it off, forget about it, but part of me wondered what I would want if the situation were reversed.
Would I want my neighbor to tell me if they saw one of my teenagers sneaking out? YES! Still, I wasn’t sure it was my place to get involved. But after the third occurrence, my husband was seriously asking what I planned to do.
I turned to friends and family for advice, hoping for resolution.
“How well do you know them?”
“How will they react?”
“Is there a safety concern?”
“I would want to know.”
Everyone agreed they would want to know if it were their child. The biggest concern was if it would be damaging to our relationship as neighbors. I was trying to be a good neighbor! But would they see this as an overstep, or as being too nosy? Was it worth it to take that chance? Could I just leave a note in their mailbox? (To that I received a resounding “No!”)
Ultimately, it weighed too heavily on my heart.
I couldn’t keep this information from another mother. As mothers, as women, as neighbors, there is an unspoken promise to look out for each other, and to look out for our children. What if it was a safety concern, or something were to happen? Perhaps her parents already knew, maybe they didn’t care, but in telling them I would have peace of mind.
Our conversation went well. I explained I came from a place of wanting to be a good neighbor. I reserved no judgement, a former teenager myself. We agreed part of being a teenager is making mistakes, being held accountable, and growing. And we agreed being a parent to teenagers is not for the faint of heart.
What would you do if you witnessed your neighbor’s teen sneaking out? Do we owe it to each other, do we need each other to survive this thing called parenting?
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