I’m questioning your decision to write this and post it on the internet, but then, I’m also questioning my decision to respond, so let’s assume we both have the best of intentions.

First, I don’t understand why as it was unfolding, you didn’t draw the line right then and there. I get it; you were stunned. That’s parenting. We’re always stunned. Still, we’ve got to be present, relatively composed, and handle any given moment.

Your son’s friends might have interpreted that you endorsed his position by your silence, and you don’t want that.

At the moment, I would have barged in the kitchen and said, Boys, have a seat; it sounds like it’s time for an adult conversation. Then, I would have said, This is serious. There are lifelong consequences for these behaviors. We’ve got to talk through this to make sure we are on the same page about what is legal, ethical, moral, and compassionate. It’s not the time for bravado. It’s a chance to ask questions, hear the truth, and evaluate your beliefs and actions. You are accountable to each other, your families, and the females in your lives.

Then, I would have let the conversation unfold in real-time, correcting their misinformation, challenging their immaturity, confronting their misogyny, praising the ones who got it right, and given them real-world examples and other ways to think about it.

Then, I would have texted every parent who had a son present, and reiterated what happened, and suggested they follow up according to their family values.

Then, I would have grounded my son for a month from friends, girls, and his phone, given him an assignment to read a book about rape, and invited his mother to join the conversation.

Going forward, if you think your son is a psychopath, and I don’t say that lightly, you absolutely must involve experts and authorities.

If you think he’s being disrespectful and misguided, that’s on you, as the parent. You’ve got to set the tone and take some responsibility for him being so far off track. What is or isn’t being said in your home? What behaviors are or aren’t being modeled? Who else is influencing him?

You don’t get the luxury of being at a loss.

Written by

Life coach for women. Writer for 29 publications. Happiness, success, productivity, balance, leadership, inspiration. Follow me on Instagram @coachformoms.

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