Raising children requires a strong, but careful touch. Do too little and they may find themselves in trouble they can’t handle.
Do too much, and you’re smothering them with control.
There’s also the question of how some parents treat boys versus how they treat girls. Sexist double standards can begin at any age, though if it continues into adulthood, you have a pretty big issue.
That’s what one Redditor endured when her father treated her different from her brother. But she worried she reacted harshly and took her question to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.
The original poster (OP) asks:
“AITA for asking my dad to leave me and my boyfriend alone?”
Her story goes:
“I (19F[emale]) had my boyfriend over to study and do homework last night. We were working in my mom’s study with the door closed because our house can be loud.”
“My dad came in five or six times to look for a book, just to move papers around, grab ‘something’ off the printers. My mom wasn’t home yet and I don’t think he would’ve done that if she were home.”
“I went downstairs to ask him to stop. He and my brother (17M) were playing video games, my older sister (21F[emale]) was in the kitchen and I asked my dad if I could talk to him.”
“I told him it wasn’t fair that he was hovering, especially because he never does that to Jason (17M[ale]) when his girlfriend is here and they are hanging out in the basement. He said he knows they’re just watching movies and hanging out.”
“I said well we are just studying and my dad said he wasn’t wrong for wanting to keep an eye on my boyfriend around his ‘baby girl.’”
“I told him I’m not a little girl anymore and he looked hurt. My older sister made me laugh when she pretended to stick a mic in my dad’s face and said ‘inquiring minds want to know how it feels to be called out on an obviously sexist double standard.’”
“He told my sister to get away from him lol and said that he’d feel better about us studying up there when mom gets home. Two more instances of him coming in randomly and we just decided to head back to school early.”
“He seemed disappointed that we were leaving and asked us to stay, but we really needed a better space.”
“AITA for asking my dad for privacy and then leaving when he couldn’t give that?”
On the AITA board, people are judged on their stories.
This is done with the following acronyms:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
This was a pretty clear case where commenters decided OP was NTA.
Her father is holding her, a grown adult woman, to a sexist double standard with her brother.
The commenters sided with OP.
“NTA. Seriously, the double standard remark was spot on. Regardless of how potentially predatory your father thinks all teenage boys are, he doesn’t extend that to his own son (who is even younger.)”
“Whether this is just being overprotective or him not respecting you, you need to be clear about boundaries and equality. And as long as you aren’t jumping your boyfriends bones when you are meant to be studying (trust goes both ways), he needs to give you the space, pure and simple.” – Xenavire
“NTA- this double standard is so common. When I was in high school (I’m a girl) my dad was so so so strict on me with boys.”
“Like I’m talking having to tell him everywhere I was going and not even being allowed to be alone in the same room with my boyfriend. However, when it came to my stepbrother he could do whatever he wanted pretty much.” – prismofthemind
“Yep. Before my husband and I were married I was constantly lectured about how we weren’t allowed to live together because girls who did that were “just asking for trouble” (we did it anyway).”
“Fast forward about 4-5 years and my brother decides to take his girlfriend on a cruise to propose to her. When my mom told me this, I wanted to call out the obvious hypocrisy when she wasn’t expressing any outrage at the very real likelihood that the two of them were going to be sharing a room.”
“Mind you, at these points in our respective relationships, both my brother and I were well into our 20s, had decent paying jobs, places of our own, and supported ourselves.”
“It wasn’t for our parents to forbid or permit pretty much anything either of us did, but I’d be willing to bet good money that there would have been a great deal of yelling if my husband had tried to take me on an overnight trip of any sort before we were married.” – clutzycook
However, while many understood OP and felt it was wrong, some also sympathized with the dad. They agree that he needs to give OP some space, but don’t think he’s a jerk for just checking in on her.
There’s an understanding for OP’s dad there.
“NAH. While dad is definitely perpetrating a sexist double standard, he probably doesn’t know any better or his emotions are driving the bus.”
“Hopefully you and your sister will take the time to educate him and help him grow. However, I feel like his behavior comes from love and wanting to protect you.”
“His heart is in the right place but his brain isn’t working full time.” – fiveAtefive4life
“Reading posts like this and all the responses make me realize what an absolutely unhealthy childhood I had.”
“I wasn’t allowed to have boys at the house ever and if I had EVER told my dad to leave me alone I would have felt the physical pain for weeks. All this to say, obviously your dad cares about you and probably doesn’t realize he’s making this double standard so blatantly obvious.”
“He probably doesn’t even think about it. I’m probably biased into saying that your dad is probably a good dad simply based off the fact you can do the bare minimum and talk to him without getting choked or spit at.”
“Honestly I would sit down with your dad and have a meaningful convo with him. I would have your sister there, and try to explain to him why it upset you not to have any privacy.”
“I understand him wanting to keep you safe, but he has to understand your in your own house, and he raised a smart girl not to bring over creeps. I’m not saying it will work, but it sounds like you’ve got a good dad and it sounds like your a good person too.”
“I don’t think anyone’s the a**hole here. Just an opportunity for communication to help your dad better understand why he can’t invade your privacy, even if he is worried.” – okayese
Whether or not you believe OP’s dad was TA here, there’s a consensus he needs to communicate better with his children. He needs to give OP the same space and trust he gives his son, especially since she’s an adult who can make her own choices.
Otherwise, his relationship with his daughter is only going to get rockier.