Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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My son said sorry; it is the first and last time to get drunk. I listened to him quietly and I told him that we have to thank God for keeping him safe, and that he could have lost his life totally with such behavior. I tried to assure him that this is not going to affect our relationship, but at the same time, we have to discuss it to see what is going on. I told him as I told his friends that we should talk with each other but I gave them some time to rest before we meet again. I can’t tell his father; I can’t tell his father of confession either. I told him and his friends that we should talk but I don’t know really what I should say. How I can convince them to stop these behaviors; how I can protect my son and affirm my authority as a parent even in his age where he thinks that he has to be totally free like his friends? Their parents didn’t restrict them with any limits like I do with him. I think it might be a good opportunity to serve all of them for the sake of my son and for their sake too. My feeling towards them is the feeling of a mother who wants them not to harm themselves.

This is without a doubt a very difficult situation. Other than the reckless behavior of drinking alcohol, I am pleased with how everyone reacted, reached a safe conclusion, and owned up to their responsibility in the problem. The boys with your son had courage to finally tell you honestly what happened. Under the circumstances, they knew that your knowledge about this careless evening could have been completely disastrous. Returning home with you and helping their friend to his home, again, was the right thing to do. I am also pleased with how you handled this situation, even in apologizing to the boys about your emotional reaction. This was a bad situation which resulted as a potential great lesson for everyone. To keep this information away from his father is a difficult decision which only you and your son can make. Maybe one day you may both find the time and the words to share this experience with his father. In the meantime, perhaps, you can gently encourage him to have a heart to heart talk with his confession father alone. One of the ways of dealing with these harmful experiences is to confide in someone with whom you trust and who can help to lead you out of whatever may have led you into that mess. Even if he feels shame in front of his own father, let him know that he should not be ashamed before his confession father. Give him the security of knowing that both fathers care deeply for him and their awareness of that rough evening will not change that.
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