Psychologists say parents who decide to turn in their kids often blame themselves, suffer from ongoing guilt, and sometimes public shaming.

I don’t have children but I think coming to the conclusion that your child is capable of causing fatal injury to others must be something just short of the agony of burying your child.

“Family is supposed to be our safe haven,” that’s what inspirational speaker Iylana Vanzant says. But, she adds, “Very often it’s the place where we find the deepest heartache.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this while considering the pain of the families of two Boston sons. One lost to street violence and the other lost to homegrown terrorism. Two sons with strikingly different lives but whose crimes led their parents to take the same action.

Just last month Genneane Gennis turned in her 16-year-old son to Boston police. Dushawn Taylor–Gennis was one of two teens arrested in the killing of another 16-year-old Jonathan Dos Santos of Dorchester. Dushawn’s mother told the Boston Herald “it was the right thing to do.” But she made it clear that it was difficult, because as she described both 16 year olds—her son and his victim—were “babies.”

I am in awe of her strength, understanding how much that decision had to cost her. Many of us asked, “How could a mother turn her in her own son?” I didn’t know if observers would be any less judgmental about a father doing the same thing. Because that is exactly what Captain Robert Ciccolo did. He informed the authorities that his 23-year-old son was an Isis sympathizer, planning to bomb and shoot random victims at a university. In a brief statement the Ciccolo family said they were “saddened and disappointed to learn of our son’s intentions.” Ciccolo is a 27-year veteran of the Boston Police who has been estranged from his son. I don’t imagine that made his choice any less painful.

I was curious to know how many other parents had turned in their kids to the authorities. I discovered several recent cases, which involved situations where the young wrongdoers committed less serious crimes, mostly property damage, like spraying graffiti on public walls and robbing a video store. Police arrested the video robbers –two North Carolina teens— after the parents identified their sons from surveillance video broadcast on the news.

I’ve heard it said that sometimes opening your eyes is the most painful thing you may have to do. Who would think that ‘see something say something’ could apply to your own family? Dusahawn’s mother and Andrew’s father sacrificed the one—their one— for the good of the many. We who are the beneficiaries of their heartbreaking benevolence should not take it lightly.