The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Q: I asked my dad several weeks ago if I could use his smartphone to look something up. When I typed in a couple of letters for my search, some sites popped up that have me concerned.
Now I have a feeling my dad is cheating on my mom, or at the least, he is looking at things on the internet that he shouldn’t. I’m scared to say anything because I don’t want to be the cause of breaking up my family.
I’ve also noticed he spends a lot of time looking at things on his phone when he doesn’t know I am around. I don’t want to say anything to anyone at school, either. What do you think I should do?
— Name Withheld
A: The first thing we want to make sure you understand is that regardless of what happens, you are not the cause of anything. If your dad is truly doing something he shouldn’t, then the blame is all his.
As we see it, you have several options:
1. You could keep going on as you have, pretending like nothing is wrong. It will continue to bother you as it is now, and at some point, perhaps when you are older, you will have to deal with it. Remember, ignoring a situation never makes it go away.
2. It’s always smart to go to the source. You could ask your dad about it — explaining that when you borrowed his phone, this is what you saw. If you use this option, you don’t want to sound like you are accusing him — only report the facts and only ask questions for which you are prepared to hear the answer. You need to be ready for him to get angry or deny that anything is going on, or both.
3. You could tell your mom exactly what happened. Call it women’s intuition, gut feelings or whatever you like, but If something is actually going on, your mom may already have a pretty good idea about it. This really should be between the two of them.
None of these options are easy, and we understand that. Please know that your school counselor’s office is a safe place where whatever you discuss will remain confidential. No one will be called unless there is a danger of you harming yourself or someone else. Your counselor will not pick up the phone and call either parent with this information.
It might make you feel better to get another opinion or just have someone to talk to about it. Please know that our hearts break for you. No child, no matter what age, should have to be burdened with something of this nature.
Most of all, you have to know this is not your fault. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to help.
Please send questions to email@example.com. Sally and Jeannie are certified school counselors with more than 50 years combined educational experience. The responses presented don’t necessarily reflect the views of any certain school district.
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