Matt Archbold graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in 1995. He is a former journalist who left the newspaper business to raise his five children. He writes for the Creative Minority Report.
My 14 year old daughter was asked out by a boy.
This is a first for me. Yes, it's a big deal. I've had five kids. Now I have four kids and a teenager...who gets asked out by boys!!! Well "boy" in the singular but "Boys!!!!" sounds more dramatic so...
Don't worry. My daughter said no. Wait. She didn't actually say "no." She said "My Dad would kill me and probably you too." And I'm ok with that. I'm ok with being the bad guy. She didn't tell the guy that she didn't want anything to do with him, she just said that my father is a lunatic and its probably best if we don't do anything to provoke him. And once again, I'm ok with that. It's a way of letting them down easy with an implied threat of dismemberment.
If there were hatches I'd batten them now. I don't understand parents who feel like a child is raised at fourteen and ready to make their own decisions. Have they met any fourteen year olds? Have they seen Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus? Laissez faire parenting isn't parenting, it's a front row seat for a tragedy. As far as I'm concerned, the first fourteen years of parenting is getting them ready for combat. You don't abandon them when combat starts. You take point.
I also look at everything my daughter gets on her school IPad. This is the biggest favor you can do for your child because anytime someone's thinking of sending something inappropriate to my daughter she has actually written, "Don't send it to me because my Dad looks at everything." And they've learned not to send my daughter anything because they know I'll go right to the principal, their parents, the FBI, a team of ninjas, and possibly Mossad with it.
I'm willing to be the bad guy. Being the bad guy is the best favor your can do for your child. I don't need to be friends with my daughter's friends. I don't need 14 year old friends. I know one fourteen year old. And it's my job to protect her. And being the "cool Dad" doesn't help me with that. I'm ok with being the bad guy.
One day I'll allow her to start dating. Not yet. And one day I assume I'll walk her down the aisle. Me and Mossad agent will give her away.