Mishmeres HaSholom: Ask the Rav

Q: A few of my children of similar ages sleep in one bedroom, and it sometimes happens that because of the noise one of them is making the others aren’t falling asleep. Is it permissible for me to ask who is disturbing the others, which may cause them to say lashon hara or lie, so that I can get them to settle down?

A: Generally, it is preferable to ignore the misbehavior and encourage children to go to sleep for their own benefit. If it is necessary, it would be best to get the culprit to admit on his own that he was disturbing his siblings because cross-examining children can cause them to speak lashon hara. If the above suggestions won’t do, there is no other choice, and there is definite toeles in knowing who is bothering the others, you may ask the children. You should however preface your question by explaining that in this particular case there is a heter of lashon hara l’toeles.