Anonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.
I am the father of a 14-year-old daughter. Let’s call her Dee. She’s gorgeous. I know that every father’s daughter is gorgeous, but in this case, it’s objectively true. She’s very developed for her age and very pretty; she turns a lot of heads.
She transitioned from a private middle school to a public high school and is now nearing the end of her freshman year. She had a bit of rough time in middle school. She was bullied and just didn’t have a good experience. However, upon changing schools, she blossomed and has become quite popular, well-liked, and very happy.
At the beginning of the year, she briefly dated, and quickly dumped, several of the entitled douchebags in her class. There was one I liked, but she was wiser than I, and just wasn’t going to let herself get played. After trying out several of these popular boys, she ended up “settling down” with a boy from continuation school. Let’s call him Daniel. Obviously, at first, I was not happy. You want a conventionally successful boy for your daughter, right? But she’s been with Daniel for five months now, and I have grown to like him very much.
The key element from my perspective is that Dee’s in charge of things. This boy really loves her, at least to the extent that 14-year-olds can love one another. For example, she’ll occasionally post some stupid, wrong-headed thing on Facebook, and someone will call her out on it. Daniel will jump in and defend her, no matter how wrong she is. He meets her at school every afternoon and walks her home. If she says, Daniel, come over and get me Starbucks on the way, he’s at our door, with coffee, within half an hour.
My wife, Dee’s stepmother, is very firm on certain rules: no going in the house together when an adult is not here, no closing the door to her room when we are here, etc. Essentially, my wife’s determined to prevent them from having sex.
Now, I am convinced that Dee is still a virgin. We’re pretty honest with each other, and she knows that I wouldn’t be upset with her if she did have intercourse, as long as she was the one calling the shots. If someone were to take advantage of her, I might be a very dangerous man. I’ve read the news articles about Steubenville and Tarpon Springs, Audrie Pott and Rehtaeh Parsons. If anything like that were to happen to my daughter… Well, the point is, for me, it’s all about who’s driving the bus, you know? And in this case, Dee’s clearly in charge. I don’t mean to indicate that she pushes him around. I’m just saying that, as the father of the girl in question, I see this as a very healthy relationship. So, bottom line: pregnancy prevention.
I’m inclined to just put her on birth control at this point and stop trying to prevent her from having sex. I’m not encouraging it. I just believe that if – when – it happens, it will be because she wants it to, and I’m OK with that. I consider myself a feminist, and I believe in my daughter’s ability to make her own choices regarding her body. I’m sold on her relationship, and sex is going to happen at some point, so why not just rescind the various preventative protocols and let nature take its course?
The most important thing to me is that we prevent pregnancy, and getting her on birth control should accomplish that. (Having said that, there is one rule I’m firm on. I don’t want to hear it. We have a small house, so if it’s going to happen, it needs to happen when I’m not home.)
My wife sees things very differently. I said to her recently: but you were that age when you first started having sex, and her reply gave me significant pause. She said, yes. I and many of my friends started having sex at that age, but I’ve never met a girl who had sex that young and didn’t regret it.
That sounded pretty convincing to me, but still, I don’t know. My daughter is an awfully strong young woman, and she’s not going to let herself get played by anyone. So, am I bad father? Am I giving her too much credit? She’s very poised and seems to know what she wants, but she’s just 14, and how much does any 14 year old really know?
I genuinely don’t know exactly how to proceed here. At the moment, I’m just deferring to my wife on these matters, because it’s easier than battling with her about it. But deep down I think we should just let Dee do what she wants.
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