Today things have been different, though. At first you think he's sick. He says he's not, and that he's okay, but he's behaving strangely enough that you insist on checking his temperature. No fever, but he just picks at his food, then goes to his room early instead of watching TV with you.
A bit later, you go up to check on him. You find him laying on his bed, languidly playing with some of his old action figures.
"About ready for bed?"
He nods, but then stops you as you start to leave.
It takes him a minute to get started, but he finally tells you what's wrong.
Today at school, in gym class, three boys got paddled because they were playing around in the locker room, and everyone had just been warned about that a couple of days ago.
You've given permission for Gabriel to be paddled at school, but you've also made sure he knows that if he thinks it's unfair - if he's sure it's unfair - that he can refuse to take them and call you, and you'll always have his back.
But this time, it's the opposite problem. He was also playing around, but he got away with it, simply because the lockers were positioned between him and the coach when the coach first spoke up, and he was able to back up and get away with it.
Now he's feeling guilty, but he's also torn. None of the boys who were paddled held it against him, since they would have preferred not to get caught themselves. On the other hand, he feels like he's being dishonest by not admitting it, but he's afraid if he admits it now, the coach might hold it against him for not being honest in the first place.
Can you give any advice or ease his conscience, or do you think he needs something else?