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Wife laughs at husband for being overprotective of 12yo daughter in all-boys club. AITA?

Wife laughs at husband for being overprotective of 12yo daughter in all-boys club. AITA?

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"AITA for laughing at my husband and calling him silly for being overprotective of his daughter?"

throaway20001003

My (38F) stepdaughter is 12, and she lives full time with my husband (40M) and I. She is really into LEGO and has started a YouTube channel with our permission to share some videos of her builds. It’s just a small, amateur channel with a few hundred followers but she’s very passionate about it.

Because of this hobby she made some friends online, and those in the group that live close by decided to meet for the first time. The meet was in a city an hour away and I was the one to drive her there.

They are also young teens ranging from 11 to 14 (I think the oldest was 15), and most of them have their own LEGO-based channels. It was a lovely meet, just young people bonding over a shared interest.

But one thing that surprised me was that my stepdaughter was the only girl in the group. All of them are teenage boys. They also didn’t know she was a girl because her YouTube channel doesn’t have her name or any personal information, and her videos are mostly of their builds and she doesn’t show her face (at mine and her father’s insistence).

So there was this cute moment of shock in their faces when they were trying to figure out who she could be. They quickly got over it. The thing is my husband didn’t take it so well when I told him about this after we came home.

He thinks it’s an “all-boys” group and it’s not appropriate for his daughter to be in future meets (because they are already planning the next one to build a project together).

I thought his concern was so ludicrous that my immediate reaction was to laugh. I guess there was a part of me that thought it was amusing to see his “protective father” instincts kick in.

He got really upset with me for laughing, saying I don’t understand what’s like for hormonal boys being this age. I doubled down by telling him he was just being silly - I was there the entire time, and so did other parents, and the same would happen in any future events.

There was nothing inappropriate about this. It took me a while to realize he was SO serious about this subject. Fortunately, he realized eventually it would be grossly unfair to deprive his daughter of these new friendships, but he's still mad at me for laughing and calling him silly. He felt I was dismissive and sort of an AH.

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:

Jocelyn-1973

So on the one hand, of course, 'not all men!' And on the other hand... 'you don't understand what's like for hormonal boys being this age.' I don't know, let's raise our boys to behave, instead of raising our girls to stay inside and wear a burka. Boys need to be exposed to women existing and girls need to exist. NTA.

CakeEatingRabbit

NTA. Of course laughing wasn't the best reaction because he was very serious about it. But if he was serious, what did he think would happen? In all seriousness, what did he think would these boys, who did nothing so far, do on a public meet up? Yes, one should be save. But these boys did nothing so far and stepdaughter was brought by an adult op.

sfrancisch5842

NTA. Your intention wasn’t to be mean. You genuinely didn’t think your hubby was serious at first. Hubby should actually thank you - i suspect you saved his relationship with his daughter. And he needs to lighten up.

katbelleinthedark

NTA. She needs to be allowed to exist with other people and the boys need to learn and practice being friends with and respecting girls. Neither of those will happen if people like your husband keep their daughters sequestered away.

Odd_Anything_6670

It sounds like your husband is overreacting. If it's a supervised event there's clearly nothing to worry about. I think a better way for him to channel his concerns would be to maybe have a conversation with your daughter about how to assert boundaries and recognize inappropriate behavior.

It might seem very young for that conversation, but I say this as the product of a sexual relationship between a 13 year old girl and a 15 year old boy. But that was in the 80s. I think kids today (both boys and girls) are raised in a much better environment overall. Still, it can't hurt to talk about it.

halibutcrustacean

It's worse than "silly." Your husband is projecting to his kid that she should not participate in society with men and boys. That it's somehow not appropriate to have male-dominated interests or male friendships. And that it is her burden to miss out because someone else might not act right. It's garbage.

When people ask why there aren't more women in blank job, this kind of early gender enforcement is one of many many reasons. NTA, and IMO you didn't go far enough.

puzzledlove_10

NAH. It sounds like you both responded with your immediate reactions before each having a chance to fully process the situation. His initial instinct was to protect his daughter (and to be fair to him, he has a different perspective that I will never fully understand as I am a woman and therefore have never been a "hormonal boy" of "this age").

Your immediate response was to laugh because, as a woman, his initial response felt sexist and absolutely ridiculous (and understandably). However, it never feels good to be laughed at, even if it wasn't done maliciously, let alone intentionally.

So once he had time to fully process the situation (that they're all young, just looking for friends, and most importantly, that there would always be adult supervision), he could see that his initial response was an overreaction and sexist.

Realizing his mistake was probably making him cringe inside from embarrassment, and your laughing was like salt in the wound (even though you didn't mean it like). The two of you just need to have a convo to clear the air.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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