Navigating parenting once your child ages into teen years can be a rollercoaster of an experience due to their desire for independence, unpredictable mood swings, and exposure to more information and experiences outside of your family unit than ever before. One Reddit dad is trying his best to protect his teen daughter while growing with her, and he’s taken to the platform’s “Am I The A—hole” forum to ask for opinions on a recent argument they had regarding his daughter’s dating life.
The man explains, “I’m a single dad and have been for about 9 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 pizza on that Saturday. We don’t really do anything for Thanksgiving so, logistically it worked out. She agreed to it.”
“When she told me about this, I said that I wanted to meet this guy,” he continues. “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 ‘dad interrogates boyfriend and acts all scary’ schtick. I told her to tell him I wanted to meet him and just say ‘Hi.’ She tells me she’s told him.”
This all seems very reasonable so far — of course he wants to be able to put a face to the name of someone his daughter will be alone with, especially a boy she’s romantically interested in. Any parent with strong protective instincts would do the same for the sake of their child’s safety.
He continues, “Saturday comes and I see her heading towards the door. I tell her to hold up and ask where her date is. She says he’s outside and that they’re going to bike ride to the pizza place. I ask why he’s not coming to the door. She first tells me he’s nervous and doesn’t know what he’d say to me. I told her that, ‘Nice to meet you’ is a good start. Her story changes and she tells me he just ‘doesn’t see why’ I have to meet him. I reiterate my ‘why’ to her and ask her to go get him.”
“She breaks down and tells me that she lied to me,” he reveals. “She never told him I wanted to meet him because she thought it was ‘stupid’ that I wanted to meet him. 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.”
Reddit dad continues, “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.” He asks Reddit if he was indeed wrong in the decision he made, and an overwhelming majority of users assured him that he did the right thing by making his daughter cancel her date after lying to him.
One user wrote, “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,” and many Redditors agreed with their message. Another user wrote, “NTA. 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.”
In agreement with the fellow parent’s comment, another user chimed in, “Seriously. All she has to do is pull the ‘ugh, my daaaad is sooooo old-fashioned and wants to meet you, just shake his hand and say it’s nice to meet him and answer some dorky questions and we’ll go’ move and any (decent) teenager would absolutely understand.”
One user pointed out the breach of trust and respect by OP’s daughter, writing, “NTA. What is happening in the world? I’m only 30 and when I was growing up, I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere with someone my parents hadn’t met. How are you supposed to protect your kids if you don’t know who they’re spending time with? You told your daughter the condition of her going on this date and she refused that condition. Therefore she forfeited the privilege of being allowed to go on the date.”
Other users brought up a dark, albeit very valid, concern about why exactly his daughter was refusing to introduce him to her friend, with a Redditor commenting, “When I was 13 I was being groomed by some older guys (18/19) and absolutely would not have brought them to the door. I’m not saying that’s what’s happening by any means, but I think you’re being a great dad by being cautious because it does happen. NTA.” Another user agreed, writing, “I really thought this was going to end with dad opening the door to see a 25-year-old man!”
Another Redditor agreed and offered a smart suggestion, commenting, “This right here…. a good parent ensures their 13 yo is actually meeting someone their own age and not some random she met online. Op was 100% in the right. The only suggestion I might make is to also include meeting her new female friends so it doesn’t seem like it’s just a dating request… 13 is a tough age just learning independence and how to navigate new emotions… hang on tight Dad it’s going to be a rollercoaster!”
Another user pointed out the implications of OP’s daughter not being mature enough to properly handle situations like these, writing, “NTA because any girl who is too worried about a guy’s opinion to ask him to say hi to her dad is too worried about his opinion to say no to something she’s not comfortable with later in the date. Until she’s confident enough to communicate honestly with a guy she likes, please don’t let her be alone with him.”
In the same vein, another Redditor commented, “There’s an implied respect thing when a guy comes to the door to respectfully take you out on a date vs the 13-year-old version of honking from the driveway. Setting standards for how you want to be treated cannot start too early for young girls.”
One Redditor agreed with OP, but posed a question: “NTA, your request was reasonable. but could you not have just headed outside to meet him instead of canceling the date? that way you can see him, and your daughter can also see that it isn’t a big deal. all you’ve done now is just asserted your power and possibly made your daughter feel like she has to lie harder next time.”
While the point about his daughter embracing lying more in the future is definitely a valid concern, one user responded, “He did tell her his expectations, that he wanted to meet the boy, and she lied. It’s not about just walking out and meeting the boy now.”
Another fellow parent agreed with OP’s choice and suggested another method for the next time his daughter wants to go on a date: “Customs vary across the country (we are in the South) and in different communities, but I don’t think you were being unreasonable. However, maybe next time you can work out a way to meet the guy that won’t require her to say those embarrassing words, ‘My father wants to meet you.’ For instance, if the guy is waiting outside for her, you could walk out and meet him, chat a little, and get to know him more ‘informally.'”
They continued, “We sometimes drove our daughter to where she was meeting the boy, and chatted with him there. Sometimes we met her and the boy at the Starbucks near her school (sometimes with another friend of theirs) and bought everyone coffee, said some friendly words, etc. Keep it low-key and let her decide how the introduction will be less awkward for her, but don’t feel bad.”
Thirteen is indeed a complicated, emotional age, but the harsh reality is that we live in a time when kids can meet and be deceived by anyone online, or even in their local communities. While this scenario may have simply been about two 13-year-old kids thinking the parent was being lame, it could also have been much more nefarious, and OP was only acting out of love and protectiveness over his daughter. Our final verdict is NTA — leave us a comment with your thoughts.
Before you go, check out these unbelievable stories about Reddit’s worst dads.