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Parent Irate After Overhearing Their Son Asked A Classmate Out On A Date As A ‘Harmless’ Prank

Teen boy flirting with a teen girl
Image Source/Getty Images

Content Warning: Bullying, Mental Health

By default, most of us have a positive opinion about others, though we generally hold our loved ones in higher regard.

It’s heartbreaking and even disorienting when we find out we were wrong about them, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

After overhearing his son’s plan to bully one of his classmates, Redditor advicedadneeds39 discussed his concerns with his wife.

But when he learned how his wife felt about it, the Original Poster (OP) found himself looking at his wife and son a little differently.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for punishing my son for a ‘harmless’ prank he’s pulling?”

The OP was proud of his family.

“I have three kids. My oldest is at university, so it’s just me, my wife, and two of them (16 Male and 11 Female).”

“All my kids are children who have been raised well and they’ve grown to be people I’m proud to call my own.”

But he was shocked when he overheard what his son was doing.

“My son recently had some friends over and things were going fine.”

“But then I went upstairs at one point to bring them the pizza they had ordered, and I overheard my son talking about how his friends owed him something for asking a girl in their class out as a prank.”

“From what I gathered, the girl was someone his friends didn’t deem attractive enough and a load of other bulls**t.”

The OP attempted to discuss the situation with his son.

“I decided to talk to my son about it after his friends left to save him from embarrassment.”

“I did raise my voice a little, but that was due to how maddening the whole situation was.”

“The same thing had happened to my cousin when we were younger and I saw how the whole thing affected her as she took on new relationships.”

“My son argued back that it was just a prank that wouldn’t hurt anyone and that I was going against him by listening to his friends’ private conversations.”

“He said that while he felt sorry for my cousin, he was ‘mature enough’ to understand to not pull the prank any further.”

“I didn’t listen to any other excuse he gave and decided to ground him for two weeks.”

“He said that I shouldn’t have any say in this when the whole thing had nothing to do with me.”

The wife’s perspective on the situation surprised the OP.

“My wife claims that ‘boys will be boys’ and that it’s something harmless.”

“When I asked her how she’d feel if this was played on our daughter, she simply said, ‘That won’t happen because she has good genes.'”

“My MIL and FIL (Mother-in-Law and Father-in-Law) are blowing up the family group chat about how I’m hurting their baby for normal teenage boy behavior.”

“So AITA?”

“If I am being too nosy about an act that has nothing to do with me, I will take back my son’s grounding.”

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 were grateful that the OP had stood up for his son’s classmate.

“NTA, I am so pleased to see a man standing up for a girl he doesn’t know against his own family. We absolutely need more of this. People need to learn that this behavior is extremely hurtful for any person.”

“The wife sounds like a total nightmare and the reason toxic expressions like ‘boys will be boys’ still exists.”

“Does she honestly think because her daughter has ‘good genes’ that no guy will ever do hurtful things to her? I guess when they do, she can just shrug it off and say, ‘Oh well, boys will boys.’ Maybe she will even follow it up with, ‘Maybe if you lost some weight, guys would like you more.'”

“Your son is absolutely a bully like this for a reason, man, and I don’t think it’s you.” – greenwitch1306

“As someone who was asked out as a prank and still has scars from it more than 20 years later, NTA. OP, this is not a harmless joke. I guarantee the girl that he was talking about won’t find it funny. Please, please don’t back down.” – Bookdragon345

“I was asked out by a fellow classmate when I was 12. At the time, I was bullied, so I sensed something in this situation was wrong.”

“I wanted it to be true, but I was so paranoid that it could be a prank I declined. The boy who asked me kept trying to convince me together with the other people who bullied me. They did not take no for an answer.”

“‘The date’ was supposed to happen in a school disco. So in the end, I had to make a sad decision not to go there because they wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer, and I was terrified of possibly being publicly humiliated if I went.”

“Turns out I was right: they planned to take my arrival at the disco as a ‘yes’ for the date (even though I planned to go with my friends and still say ‘no’ to the boy who asked) and planned to humiliate me and make fun of me. They were disappointed I didn’t come, and the talk about ‘going out’ with the boy stopped.”

“My point is: I kinda KNEW and SENSED they were just bullying me and wanting to humiliate me. Even though they didn’t succeed in humiliating me at the disco, this was STILL a humiliating experience and made me feel so worthless and insecure. I hope they wouldn’t have done it.”

“But how must that poor girl have felt when your son asked her out, and she said yes? She must have thought it was a legit question and must have been absolutely THRILLED your son asked.”

“Just think how her heart must have dropped when your son and his friends were like ‘looool, lmao, I was just pranking ya!’ Think how humiliated and insecure she must have felt.”

“NTA, OP. Your son is a cruel idiot for doing this, especially just a couple of years before becoming a legal adult. And his mother? Her attitude sucks. I can’t help wondering if she has something to do with the way your son is treating girls.” – Momoyachin

“OP, I used to work at a facility for severely emotionally dysregulated and traumatized adolescents. One of the common sequelae of childhood trauma is poor cognitive function. A lot of those kids could barely read, had trouble anticipating logical consequences, etc.”

“During that time, I overheard a kid describing plans to pull a similar prank. He was laughing. I asked him what was funny about the prank? What did he expect to get out of this? And how he thought he might feel if someone were to do that to him?”

“He became upset. Threw his homework on the ground, went into his room, and slammed the door. He came out 30 minutes later, crying and apologizing. This kid had an IQ just above 70. I know it’s not a good indicator of functional intelligence, but he was not bright. But he figured it out.”

“The days of boys will be boys are over. Suicide rates in kids his age are spiking. For a potentially predisposed kid, whose life we know nothing about, this could be devastating for her self-concept. He and his adult enablers need to be checked. NTA.” – nolothx

Others agreed and were concerned about the mother’s attitude.

“The wife is enabling misogynistic, sexist, rape culture. As well as some troubling eugenics-like thinking, “she has good genes.” Really?”

“NTA, but your wife and son sure are.” – ladynox25

“Your wife is lying for your son because she KNOWS the girl will be hurt. But, her golden child and ‘pretty’ daughter are special, so hurting others is his right.”

“NTA. You’re the only one taking this seriously, and if your son is claiming a right to privacy that he doesn’t have. I would be monitoring all of his devices because you accidentally caught him this time.” – babcock27

“NTA. ‘She has good genes’?! That’s why your wife believes this won’t happen to your daughter? What the f**k?!”

“And ‘boys will be boys’ is a toxic attitude that is at the core of rape culture, so your in-laws are pieces of work, as well.”

“I’m sorry it’s taken this long for you to find out the horrid attitudes your wife and in-laws carry.” – B3GayDoCrimes

“I can’t get over what a huge a**hole the wife is. No wonder the son is like that.” – SomeKindOfOnionMummy

“NTA. ‘Not your business’? ‘Boys will be boys’? I apologize, but OP’s wife is a really bad excuse for a woman and a human being.”

“So it’s not your business if your boy is treating others like second grade? Well, if you also by accident overhear him selling drugs, you should stay out of the way, it’s none of your business, and it has nothing to do with you… Right…”

“Well, I was overweight all my life. Still am. The severe hormonal problem at 11 and thyroid shutting down at 17 (nothing beats one severe hormonal problem than two severe hormonal problems). While I wasn’t extremely overweight, I was chubby.”

“No one ever danced with me (or dated me, of course, through school), and only at one party did a boy ask me, and we danced for less than one minute. He was behaving strangely like he was defusing a bomb. I thought he was shy and just felt sorry for me always standing alone, so he went against the norm.”

“I was feeling happy for him, even if out of pity he gave me this experience. Later, I found out that it was a bet, and he was acting like that not because he was even for a few seconds a nice guy, but because he was embarrassed and hated the whole thing.”

“I was just a dare, a joke, not a human being with feelings. I never forgot that.” – Yiabmfa

“Not gonna lie, that response from the wife would change the way I forever looked at her.”

“I don’t know that I wouldn’t be utterly disgusted every time I thought about her and that she thinks it’s fine for her son to bully girls because they don’t have good genes.”

“So much ick in that one statement. It would be enough to make me question my relationship and if the moral differences there are too great to salvage a relationship.” – babygirlrvt75

The subReddit was left shaking their heads from the attitude that the OP’s son, wife, and extended family carried. Though he was only one voice, the subReddit encouraged him to continue to speak up about the bullying in the hopes that his message would eventually be the one that would stick.

If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.

To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at

If the article focuses on LGBTQ+ youth:

LGBTQ+ Youth can get help through:

  • TrevorLifeline — phone service available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386
  • TrevorText — Text “START” to 678678. Available 24/7/365.

Trevor Support Center — LGBTQ youth & allies can find answers to FAQs and explore resources at

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.