Q. I walked in on two students kissing in a classroom all by themselves. This is sixth grade, and I think I might be overreacting, but it seemed so wrong. I mean kissing, kissing. My son is in the sixth grade, but it wasn’t him because he thinks girls are still full of cooties. Would you tell the principal if you were me? Will they be suspended? If the kids could get in trouble, I don’t want to do it because they are friends of my son’s and I don’t want to embarrass him.

A. I am not sure you and I are coming to this from the same place. As a teacher, I don’t worry about stepping in when I think a child might need help. Whether it is the cool thing to do or if my child might be teased for having a strict mom, I would still speak up.

I think the children might get in some trouble, more for sneaking into a room than from kissing, but this should not stop you from reporting this to the principal. You do not decide the punishment, but you should speak up as an adult who walked in on something that made you uncomfortable. You need to act as the responsible grown-up.

It is awfully young for them to be sneaking like that, and I would worry at the speed the kids might be moving at a young age. Your description of what they were doing is also troubling at this age. The principal will likely talk with them and their parents, and that is not a bad thing. Letting the kids’ parents know might help the children slow down and prevent more trouble before they are ready.




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The kids should not have been in a room by themselves and the teachers will be more aware, too. I do not think the kids will blame your son for you walking in, but you never can tell. As an adult, I would report it just in case.

Q. My son used to be friends with a big group of children when he was younger, and the families have all become close, but several of the kids are now in the fourth grade and having trouble with one another. We all celebrate the holidays with several family parties, and my son is asking me not to throw my pre-Thanksgiving gathering because the kids are really hurting his feelings.

Of course, I will do that for him, but I feel like I should talk with the families first. He says he doesn’t want me to say anything because things will get worse, and it makes me feel like bullying is occurring and he is the victim. It is such a shame because our families were taking vacations together and really becoming like family. I feel guilty for some reason. Do you see this happen in schools?

A. Fourth grade is a time for kids to start changing and moving into friendships on their own more so than when they were younger. Kids will try things, sometimes being mean, and if your son is uncomfortable with a group, he should learn to move on and not accept bad treatment.

I do not move right to fear of bullying. Rather, I would stay alert and there for your child as he navigates friendships from his perspective. My grandmother gave me the advice never to decide whom my children were friends with, and I see her advice as more and more valuable as my own children grow older. You should make your own friends and stay close to people you enjoy hanging out with, but don’t insist your child be friends with your friends’ kids unless it is natural.


You can keep your friendships with these parents, but you need to allow your son to speak up if he is not comfortable with the kids for a time. It can change. He may find his way back to these friends, or he may find new ones he is more comfortable with and that needs to be OK. Pull in your family parties a little to respond to your son and celebrate together without the bigger group. Go out with your friends if you miss them, too. Just like your son, you get to pick your friends.

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It doesn’t need to be a package deal.