Content Warning: Dating, grooming, possible assault
Though this isn’t something most parents want to think about or admit, there will come a day when their children are old enough, mature enough, and interested enough to date.
It’s their job to make sure their children are safe and take all necessary precautions, while also having fun, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
When his daughter was preparing to go on her first date, Redditor Downtown_Ant_1320 had one simple request for her.
When she was unwilling to fulfill it, the Original Poster (OP) decided to teach her an important lesson.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for making my daughter cancel her date?”
The OP’s daughter recently wanted to go on her first date.
“I’m a single dad and have been for about nine years now. My daughter is 13 and is the single greatest thing to ever happen to me.”
“About a week ago, she said that this boy in her class wanted to know if she would be up to grab a pizza on that Saturday.”
“We don’t really do anything for Thanksgiving, so logistically, it worked out. She agreed to it.”
The OP had one condition for the date.
“When she told me about this, I said that I wanted to meet this guy.”
“She immediately got annoyed and asked why.”
“I said that if a guy is asking my daughter out, I just want to be able to put a face to a name.”
“I promised her it was not going to be some goofy ‘the dad interrogates the boyfriend and acts all scary’ schtick.”
“I told her to tell him I wanted to meet him and just say, ‘Hi.'”
“She told me she had told him.”
But the date didn’t go according to plan.
“But Saturday came around, and I saw her heading towards the door.”
“I tell her to hold up and asked where her date was.”
“She said he was outside and that they were going to bike ride to the pizza place.”
“I asked why he wasn’t coming to the door.”
“She first told me he was nervous and didn’t know what he’d say to me.”
“I told her that, ‘Nice to meet you’ is a good start.”
“Her story changed, and she told me he just ‘didn’t see why’ I have to meet him.”
“I reiterated my ‘why’ to her and asked her to go get him.”
“She broke down and told me that she lied to me. She never told him I wanted to meet him because she thought it was ‘stupid’ that I wanted to meet him.”
The OP stuck to his condition.
“I told her to text him that the date was off.”
“She said I wasn’t allowed to do that.”
“I asked her again to tell him.”
“She started getting teary-eyed, texted him, told me I was mean and that she hated me, and went to her room.”
“When I told my sister what’d happened, she thought I was in the wrong and said I should’ve let my daughter go on the date.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some thought the OP had done the right thing.
“After my freshman year of college, I was back at my parents for the summer, and a guy asked me on a date.”
“My dad said he wanted to meet him, and when I told the guy, he was SO EXCITED about it and made this whole plan for meeting them. It was super funny.”
“OP, you’re NTA. I wish your daughter could see where you’re coming from, but like other commenters are saying, communication is key.” – Aggressive-Tale-7737
“I have a 17-year-old. She has always had boundaries, her friends and dates have always had to meet me before she could go anywhere with them. I take the time to explain why I have the expectations that I do, I give her the opportunity to share her thoughts and I guess negotiate (not sure if there’s a better way to describe it) so her feelings on things are validated.”
“Sometimes we adjust and sometimes we don’t if it’s a hard boundary. Other than being late for curfew a few times she doesn’t violate those boundaries. She tells me everything (more than I actually want to know sometimes) and her friends all love me and are at my house all the time.”
“So yes, I do think that if her dad takes the time to explain why he has those rules in place in a way that she can understand and appreciate, then she won’t automatically resort to sneaking around and lying after this. NTA..” – magnolia0317
“As a parent, my kids don’t go anywhere with anyone I don’t know. Period. I don’t care if it’s a date, I don’t care if it’s for a school function, etc.”
“Why do I need to know? Your safety. Period. That’s my job as your parent.” – Intelligent-Ask-3264
“NTA. He wasn’t going to interrogate the kid, just shake his hand and say, ‘Nice to meet you. Enjoy your pizza.’ This is absolutely not too much to ask.” – BlackDogOrangeCat
“My first boyfriend was a senior while I was a freshman (so I had just turned 15 and he was almost 18), but I absolutely let my parents meet him officially before he took me to that first dance.”
“My mom had known him since he was in grade school because she did his speech therapy and his family was well-known in the community, but they still wanted to shake his hand and make sure that he was going to be respectful (he was).”
“Was it embarrassing at the time? Absolutely! But I was 15, so everything my parents did was embarrassing.”
“That was 20 years ago and I’m still glad they did that. He was absolutely harmless (until he left for college and fell for someone else, haha), but they could have easily saved me from some serious hurt if they hadn’t cared.” – KathrynTheGreat
“She’s 13! He’s already giving her more freedom than a lot of dads would give their daughters at that age. And he only had one requirement, which was an incredibly reasonable one.”
“Her lie says one of two things. Either she’s too unfair to date if she wouldn’t even give the guy a choice to meet this requirement, or she knows he’s someone that would not agree to that requirement, meaning he’s not a good person to date in the first place.”
“OP, as a former 13-year-old girl, I can tell you she’ll hate you for a little while (while still loving you with all her heart), but she’ll get over it.”
“Try sitting down and talking to her about your reasons for having this rule once things are calmer. Maybe even get her to listen to a few true crime podcasts!”
“And then tell her about the time I had lived out of home for more than 10 years, had a child, married, divorced, a 5-year relationship after that, and my mum STILL was furious I hadn’t told her I was going to stay the night at a new guy’s place without telling her because ‘he could be an axe murderer!’ (I was in my late 30s!).”
“Parents only put these rules in place because they love you and want to keep you safe, especially at 13.”
“OP, you’re a good dad. NTA.” – ifelife
Others agreed and theorized why the daughter had lied about her date.
“The daughter was being sneaky for a reason.”
“Hopefully, it’s something as innocent as ‘I just want privacy regarding my age-appropriate friends.'”
“But when I was seeing people who were age-appropriate, whether I met them online or in school, I was transparent with my parents. When I was sneaky, I was 16 talking to a 36-year-old.” – elvaholt
“My friend started seeing a 25-year-old man when we were 14 or 15 years old. She thought it was cool that he was interested in her.”
“We didn’t think much of it at the time. I am horrified to think back to it and am happy nothing happened between them more than a simple kiss. This man was a predator and had a baby with an 18-year-old less than a year later.”
“Please always meet every person that your daughter is going out with and impress upon her that it is not cool when an older man is interested in her (not that this date was definitely an old man but it does happen).” – himym101
“Peer pressure is tough, but it’s never been so bad that I didn’t want my parents to be seen in their own house or their own car by my friends.”
“I put my money on the boy being a lot older than she is letting on, and she wants to appear more mature or independent in an effort to impress him and also doesn’t want OP to know how old he is.” – htownaway
“NTA. If she can’t handle asking him to meet her parent, she isn’t mature enough to be alone with a person you don’t know.” – Excellent_Care1859
“The number of people who don’t realize this could have been some 30-year-old man she was going out with clearly are thinking like lazy parents.”
“You don’t just let your kids go where ever, with whomever. Especially when safety isn’t something they aren’t practiced in, like a 13-year-old on a first date ever. Double if they straight-up lied about stuff.”
“A kid who hasn’t ever been in a situation where they are in real danger won’t even consider their mortality or the possibility of what harm could come upon them.”
“It’s literally hardwired into all of us to encourage us to be explorative in our formative years. It’s only experience, preparation, and negative stimuli that rewire that part of our brains to be cautious.”
“Thousands of teenagers a year get preyed upon because they think they’ll be just fine and they can just ‘walk away’ if they don’t feel safe. That’s why YOU are responsible for their safety even if THEYRE the ones taking the risks.”
“That’s why it’s a parent’s responsibility to ensure they understand they aren’t invincible and should consider their safety, even when dating people who seem okay.”
“So yes, no s**t it’s probably just another kid. The point is you teach your kids safe habits so they don’t develop unsafe ones and make sure they’re on the right track to independence.”
“She’s allowed to be embarrassed by her dad insisting on meeting her date, but that doesn’t discount him from looking out for her well-being, and the lying was an absolutely terrible indicator she likely would hide anything that may be dissatisfactory to him if she thinks it’s fine.”
“Keyword, ‘thinks.’ Refer back to where I said kids literally don’t consider their mortality or safety. She had one requirement and she didn’t meet it, so she showed she isn’t ready to care for her own well-being.”
“The chance he’s a weirdo or much older kid is probably less than 1/1000, but again, rolling the dice is for bad and/or lazy parents.” – Grimwohl
While not all of the subReddit thought that there were ulterior motives at play, they were able to agree that the OP had made a small and reasonable enough request that his daughter should have been willing to uphold, so she could go enjoy her date.
But for those who were worried about darker explanations behind the daughter’s behavior, they hoped that the OP would have follow-up conversations with her that would teach her more about safety and precautions, especially in her newfound dating world.