Parents Mad About A “Breach of Confidentiality”
Do you have any suggestions on handling a student leader who has admitted to a cycle of porn use? He has removed himself from leadership for a “while.” His parents are upset that I spoke with my senior pastor regarding the issue and feel that their son is being “punished” for coming clean. I have spoken at length with the young man and his parents regarding leadership lifestyle and accountability as well as giving him time for God to really minister to him and provide victory over this area. However, the parents are concerned about a breach of confidentiality because I informed the senior pastor of the issue. I was informed by my senior pastor that documentation must be on church file regarding the entire issue (and all such issues of this nature). The young man understands the issue and just wants help staying free. The parents however are upset – not just about their son, but more so about the fact that the incident was discussed with the senior pastor (even though I had told the student when he spoke with me that I would need to discuss with the pastor). What is the best way to deal with issues of this nature?
Thanks for the email.
That's a tough one–and I can understand the parents' frustration. It would be embarrassing to have people know something like that about your son. I'm not saying you shouldn't have told your pastor. You should have. It was a policy and it's as simple as that. But that doesn't make it any less embarrassing or frustrating.
I'm sure you've had the situation where a student tells you about abuse or molestation. It's hard, but that's one of those things you have to report. And sometimes people get mad at that, but that doesn't stop us from reporting it.
It sounds like you handled the situation fine. The only thing you can do is continue to express your understanding to the parents. Remind them of the policy and let them know that they can address the pastor if they don't like the policy. (Your pastor will love that!)
Keep up the good work.
The Source for Youth Ministry
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.