Let's get one thing clear: Randye Hoder, a mom, is no narc. She is such a non-narc that she wrote an entire column in the New York Times' parenting blog about how she would never narc, no matter what her 14 year-old son Nathaniel (who has her husband's last name, Wartzman) tells her.

When Nathaniel is my source, however, I'm the mom who is mum. If he thought for one minute that I'd rat out his friends, turning him into a pariah in the process, he'd instantly shut me down. And, frankly, I'd deserve it.

Still, knowing things about other people's children can be awkward, especially when you are friendly with the parents and you're pretty certain that they're in the dark. For example, thanks to my son's candor, I am privy to which of his peers are experimenting with cigarettes, marijuana and alcohol. I am aware that some of them are lying to their parents about where they are going and when.

If your teenager is hanging out with Nathaniel Wartzman, you might want to ask him about his experimentation with cigarettes, marijuana and alcohol. Not that you heard that from Randye Hoder.

[Motherlode. Artist's rendering of Nathaniel Wartzman's friends: Shutterstock]