A friend of mine from many years ago was in serious adolescent turmoil. Somewhere in high school this smart, creative young woman just got lost. As part of loosing her direction, she lost her functional relationship with her parents.

She had her first boyfriend. He was a jerk. They started drinking together. He figured out when her period was, and then when she would be ovulating. He premeditated having drunk, unprotected sex with her when she was most fertile, so she would get pregnant and stay with him. She got pregnant. Because she didn’t have a relationship with her parents, she was sure they would disown her if they found out about her accidental pregnancy.

She had an abortion.

At least partially because abortion was so counter to her deeply held spiritual beliefs, she spiraled out of control even more. It took her many years to find her path again.

I wonder if her parents ever found out. I wonder if her parents would have reacted as strongly, as judgmentally, as she feared they would. I wonder if she had been able to tell her parents, and if they had embraced her in her pain, and supported her path, if she would have been in as much pain, wandering, for so long.

As a parent, here is the question you have to ask yourself:
Is it more important to me that I tell my teenager how strongly I disapprove of her or his actions irrespective of the strain it puts on our relationship, or is it more important to me to maintain a strong relationship, so that she or he will come to me in times of great turmoil?