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Parent Refuses To Teach Daughter To Drive Because She ‘Doesn’t Smile’ Enough At Church

Pouting teenage girl
JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty Images

Control can be difficult to let go of.

So, what happens when the control you’ve enjoyed for so long begins to slip away?

That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Direct-Cheesecake772 when they came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.

OP asked:

“AITA for not teaching my daughter to drive?”

OP began with a bit of background.

“I have a daughter (18) who currently has a drivers permit, and is intent on learning how to drive.”

“The way it works in our state is that after 18 you must take the written test, and have your permit for a minimum of 30 days or a maximum of 6 months.”

“She is currently on month 3.”

OP then explained the immediate history of the current concern.

“However, recently she has had behavioral problems that I feel that needed to be addressed.”

“For instance, she does not validate our concerns, is emotional, and is indifferent to our feelings.”

“She does not have the best social skills, and sometimes doesn’t smile to those who greet her at church.”

“She also has expressed not wanting to be around us on Christmas Eve because she has to go into work.”

“She also is a bit prideful when we address her, and I feel like she needs to be more humble.”

“I expressed to her that if she does not change her behavior I will not continue to teach her to drive, even though her drivers permit will expire soon.”

“She has expressed to us that she rather have us take her phone because learning to drive is important to her, and her only chance at freedom.”

“I explained that respect is more important than learning to drive, and we are trying to work on her character?”

They were left to wonder,

“AITA for the way I am disciplining her?”

Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided: YTA

Some pointed out that this line of punishment may be self-defeating.


“If I weren’t an ex-evangelical, I probably wouldn’t think anyone would actually try to parent like this.”

“Trying to keep your kids under your thumb is only going to backfire.”

“You think depriving them of their freedom will teach them values, instead it will teach them to lie and manipulate to get what they need from you and others.”

“And it will basically ensure they never learn to actually value your feelings because you have positioned yourself as an adversary and an oppressor.”

“You must model compassion, respect, and humility to get it in return.” ~ the-benn-experience

“As it turns out, parents who lie and manipulate to maintain control will produce children who lie and manipulate to get control.”

“Who knew?” ~ DoctorNo6051

Of course, there were also personal stories.

“Her parents are also going to have to be willing to give her her documents (SS card, birth certificate, etc) to get that permit and license.”

“If OP is half as controlling as my mother was they’ll refuse to give that over until they basically allow her to get a license.” ~ ablondedude

“Exactly what my mom did.”

“Had to beg to get my learner’s permit by 18 and beg for license by 19.”

“Only reason I even got it was so I could start working and because she didn’t want to drive me to college every day (thank god).”

“After getting through college while working full time and paying her steadily rising rent on top of the 15+ hours a week of housework she made me do I was finally able to escape at 27.”

“The whole time she used me being stuck there as leverage to control everything I do, the money I spend, and who I spend time with.”

“The last 3 years I lived there I literally didn’t go anywhere, do anything, or hang out with any friends so she’d have nothing to spy on.”

“You want to demand complete access to my private life fine, enjoy being nosey about the absolute nothing I do.”

“Was able to rekindle most of those friendships once I was free though.” ~ ablondedude

“Yeah… OP is raising a future (if not already) atheist and ya can’t blame her for wanting nothing to do with religion as she grows up.”

“People always assume I had an ultra strict upbringing with a pastor for a father, but nope.”

“He let us be individuals, even if that meant exploring anti-christian materials and media because free thought is the only way to truly experience spirituality.”

“You have to choose God by your own free will.”

“Religion SHOULD be questioned because that’s exactly what Jesus did – he rebelled against and questioned the religious leaders of his time.”

“Back when I had my abortion, my dad believed abortion was murder (though he was still pro-choice) so I was kinda nervous to tell him.”

“His first reaction was to hug me, tell me he loved me, and say he was there to talk if I needed comfort.”

“Little things like that are far more effective at keeping someone in the faith rather than pushing them away and shaming them.” ~ CrazyCat-DogLady

Several people felt there might be underlying problems here.


“You are a failure as a parent.”

“Instead of preparing your child to be an independent adult you are controlling every aspect of her life right down to her effing facial expressions.”

“With the ability to drive comes a certain amount of freedom, which means you lose some control.”

“So you manufactured a reason to deny her those freedoms specifically to maintain complete control.” ~ FatTony394

“I’m so glad someone else picked up on this.”

“OP honestly sounds like your daughter is realising she is an adult with autonomy and not a child.”

“You sound to hate that you she’s becoming independent in her life and opinions, and isn’t blindly following your wants anymore. Also YTA.” ~ MrsActionParsnip

“Wish I could upvote this more than once.”

“OP, YTA.”

“You crave authority that is not yours to wield.”

“Your daughter is her own person, not some plaything that you can control so you can get your jollies.”

“You want a smile? Go to Chic-fil-a or buy a f*cking Barbie doll.”

“She doesn’t care about your feelings? Nobody else does either buttercup.”

“She lacks social skills? She’s a teenager, not a Disney character.”

“She doesn’t want to go to church? Sadly, church people are the biggest obstacle to church growth and outreach.”

“I can’t say I blame her.”

“You want her to show humility? Is she following by your example?”

“Don’t be surprised if down the road your relationship with your daughter is ruined to the point of being irreparable because you forgot that she’s a human being with vices and virtues just like everybody else.” ~ Classic-Music4Evr788

Commenters wanted to see OP’s daughter be free.


“Sometimes doesn’t smile at those who greet her ugh I CANNOT with that garbage.”

“I hope her daughter knows someone else that can teach her to drive so that she can peace out ASAP”


“Holy upvotes! This is the most I’ve ever gotten! Way to make me feel good for the holidays all you reddit peeps!”

“Edit #2:”

“Also! Thank you to everyone understands how degrading and condescending it is to tell women to smile.”

“I can rant about this for dayyyyysssss but this post as a whole is just….to keep it short outdated and why when women take one step forward we got knocked two steps back.”

“Thank you everyone again for the upvotes!” ~ Healthy-Thanks8474

Some called out the lack of respect.

“YTA, she’s 18.”

“What were you doing for the past 18 years?”

“The more you discipline the more she will find other ways, maybe a half crack bf or someone else who would help her learn to drive and she will be off.”

“Stop treating her like she’s 6 and try negotiating with her than threatening or trying to discipline her.” ~ SPolowiski

“YTA, doesn’t sound like you’re treating her with much respect either.”

“I mean really, not smiling at church? Is that really something worth punishing for?”

“You get as much as you put it, it ain’t a one way street.”


“OP is a hypocrite, they say they want to teach their daughter to be humble or in their own definition, ‘able to accept sound wisdom without feeling personally attacked.”’

“Yet you gotta hundreds of people giving you sound advice OP and you refuse to listen to any of them and double down.”

“Which if I remember correctly is a surefire sign of insecurity, right OP?” ~ BIG_MONEY_CASH

OP did return to try and supply some clarity.


“I didn’t realize that treating other people kindly and respecting your parents was not a popular opinion on Reddit.”

“Whenever we talk to our daughter she immediately gets defensive and emotional.”

“I told her that’s insecurity at it’s finest.”

“Even you disagree with your parents you have to remain respectful.”

“Being rude and indifferent is NOT a personality trait, being withdrawn is selfish.”

“Because you’re only thinking about how you feel.

“Indifference/coldness will not be tolerated in my house.”

“You must consider other people’s feelings.”

“She needs to learn to listen to criticism before she gets out into the world.”

“She told me that she is nice to her friends, but again, selective kindness is not kind. If she wants to be rude, she needs to move out to do so.”

“Edit #2”

“When I reference humility it simply means being able to accept sound wisdom without feeling personally attacked. Which is a sure fire sign of insecurity.”

Control can be difficult to let go of.

Difficult, however, does not mean impossible.

Be kind where possible, and remember that the way we treat people can – and should – grow as they do.

Written by Frank Geier

Frank Geier (pronouns he/him) is a nerd and father of three who recently moved to Alabama. He is an avid roleplayer and storyteller occasionally masquerading as a rational human.