Do you tell the parents when you’re house cleaning and you stumble on candy wrappers or beer cans in the kid’s rooms? Do you tell the parents if it’s needles, drugs or pornography? The dilemma is where do you draw the line?
And are you a tattletale or a narc if you find stolen goods in a kid’s room and you tell the parents?
And if the kid is in trouble do you tell the parents or call the cops?
Listen: Do You Tell the Parents?
Watch: Do You Tell the Parents?
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
Do You Tell the Parents or Respect Their Privacy?
Let’s say a family hires you as a house cleaner. And the family that’s hired you expects that you are going to respect their privacy.
They expect that you’re going to keep everything that happens inside their house confidential. Where do you draw that line?
Do you keep everything in that house to yourself? Or do you tell the parents if you find something unusual in one of the kid’s rooms?
Concerns with Telling the Parents
As a house cleaner, there are concerns with telling the parents everything unusual that happens. We are human, and we have respect for other humans.
Most times, you won’t find anything out of the ordinary in kid’s rooms. It will just look like normal, happy teenagers live there.
If somebody’s in danger or doing something they shouldn’t be doing, do we tell the parents? That’s kind of a sticky question and it comes down to what is it that you found.
Do You Tell the Parents About a Secret Sugar Stash?
For example, there was a client who says, “I found candy wrappers from Halloween under my kids’ beds. My kids are not allowed to eat sugar. The house cleaner should have brought that up.”
Maybe kids sneaking in some candy is not such a bad thing. If it’s Halloween and it’s that time of year when people are passing out candy, then the kids are just being kids. Kids like sugar.
Yeah, I get the fact that your family doesn’t eat sugar, and that’s not a bad thing. To tattle on them is not the housekeeper’s job.
Do You Tell the Parents About Hidden Alcohol or Drugs
Let’s say you found beer cans in a 13-year-old’s closet. That might be something you want to tell the parents just let them know.
“Hey, heads up. I saw some open beer cans inside the kid’s closet, and I know the kid is underage. I just wanted to give you a heads up.”
Maybe you want to just alert them to the fact that there may be a problem. If you find drugs and needles. Again, you may want to let the parents know.
“Hey, I found some drug paraphernalia in your child’s bedroom. I just wanted to let you know, just a heads up.”
Just so that there are no surprises so that the parents do know.
It’s a Judgment Call When You Do Tell the Parents
There are a lot of parents that are super busy. They’re working around the clock to try to make ends meet and to put food on the kids’ table.
If the kid is in trouble, or the kid is doing something that could harm them, you may want to let the parents know.
If you are a parent, you can talk to other parents if their teens are showing risky behavior.
Do You Tell the Parents About Hidden Pornography?
If you find some pornographic magazines, I wouldn’t tell the parents. It’s none of your business. It’s kind of a thing that lots of kids go through.
I’m not saying it’s right. I’m not saying it’s wrong. But I’m saying I would not tattle on the kid.
They’re in the privacy of their own home, and they’re not causing any harm. I would let the parents deal with that when they discover that on their own.
Red Flags to Tell the Parents
There are other red flags that you might take into consideration.
We have found all different kinds of things that are of a different concern. In one home, in a teenager’s room, we found 16 cell phones. That might suggest theft or trading drugs for phones even. I don’t know any teenager would have 16 cell phones.
And so, that kind of raises a red flag of a different sort. Inside that particular child’s room, there were also 11 regular cameras. Also, in the same child’s bedroom, there were three fobs. These fobs were to two different cars that did not belong to the family.
This child may have a problem with stealing, and this is something that you might want to give the parents a heads up about.
Give a Heads up to the Parents
In that particular scenario, we did bring it to the parent’s attention.
We said, “Hey, we just wanted to give you a heads up. It’s none of our business. But we did find all these extra things that look like a mini Pawn Shop happening in your child’s bedroom.”
The parents were mortified, and come to find out it was in fact, theft.
Reporting vs. Tattling
There are some things you may want to bring to the parent’s attention, but it’s your own decision. There is a difference between reporting something and tattling on the kid.
If you’re just telling the parents to get the kid in trouble, that’s kind of a sticky situation.
The parents have to live with the kids, and the parents have hired you. You want to keep coming back. And if the kid hates you because you’ve destroyed their trust by tattling on them, you might get fired from your job.
Weigh Your Options Before You Tell the Parents
So, you have to weigh your options and measure every situation.
Across the board, usually, it’s none of your business. So, it’s easy to say, “I’m not going to get involved.”
But the thing is that you have to think about it, is the child under age?
Is there some harm going on? Or is there something of a greater magnitude like the theft thing? Because if we just let the parents know, parents can make their own decision.
Telling the Parents is a Fine Line
We did not call the police. We did not get the authorities involved. That’s not any of our business. But this we did tell the parents because we wanted the parents to know.
So, it’s a fine line. And as a mature business owner, you have to make that decision.
So, do you tell the parents? Weigh it on an individual case by case basis.
Because there are times when, yes, you need to bring it to the parent’s attention. And there are times when it’s none of your business.
Do You Tell About Cheating Spouses?
Here’s another example. You walk in and you see one of the spouses cheating on the other spouse.
This is a tough and heartbreaking situation sometimes. But guess what? It’s none of your business. And so, in that particular situation, I wouldn’t tell anyone.
It’s not in your best interest or your company’s to go messing with your clients’ marriages.
Don’t Tell Anyone about an Adult Situation
You don’t want to get involved in someone else’s marriage. These are mature adults. They have a choice of telling their spouse and they can work it out amongst themselves.
That is not something you want to get involved in, because that has nothing to do with you. Although it may emotionally harm the other person, that is a situation I wouldn’t get involved in.
If kids are involved, protect the kids, protect the family, protect the parents. If it’s an adult situation like cheating on a spouse, let them work that out amongst themselves.
*** Resources From This Episode ***
Emotional Judo: Communication Skills to Handle Difficult Conversations and Boost Emotional Intelligence – https://amzn.to/2tncmIf
Principles: Life and Work – https://amzn.to/2M884Lw
Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact – https://amzn.to/2MFVjsR
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