Social Question

jca2's avatar

What would you do about this adult man/teenage girl situation?

Asked by jca2 (14978points) 1 month ago

I was out shopping last night with my teenager and her two friends (sisters, one 15 and one 12). After shopping, they wanted to go to a Mexican chain restaurant nearby where we live. It was around 9 pm so the restaurant had only a few stragglers picking up takeout and we were the only ones eating there.

The three guys who were putting the food together were acting silly and horsing around a little bit. They were talking in a friendly fashion with my daughter’s friends.

When we were sitting down eating, the 12 year old (who looks mature for her age) went over to get something from the counter and one of the guys was talking to her. When she came back to the table, they were laughing about what he said. I asked what he said and she said she’d tell me in the car.

When we got in the car, I asked her what he said and she said he asked her for her “snap” (snapchat contact). She said he gave her his snap and she was saying she would just tell him she’s 12. He’s 18.

Should I tell her parents? The downside is if they confront her, she’ll never trust me with any stuff again. Should I go back to the restaurant and tell the guy that she’s 12 and he needs to back off? Or should I do nothing, because in reality, I don’t know if he is bothering her. If he bothers he, she can block him.

Her father is a cop and I don’t know if he would take too kindly to hearing that an 18 year old is bugging his 12 year old daughter, so I really don’t want to cause drama for anybody, if I can avoid it. If I told the mother, who is a friend of mine, she would no doubt tell the husband (the cop).

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18 Answers

raum's avatar

I would weigh a few things. Do you trust her to tell the guy her age? Do you think she is able to establish healthy boundaries if he does bother her? Do you think he would back off once he knows her age? Is your daughter close enough with that friend to know if she’s in trouble? Are you close enough to your daughter that she would tell you?

Ultimately you have to weigh if breaking her trust now would do more good or harm. What helps her more? Having her parent have this on their radar now? Or keeping that line of communication open (between you and her and between her and her parents) further down the line.

janbb's avatar

I’d be inclined to go back to the restaurant and tell that guy that she is 12 and he should not contact her. Then I might talk to the girl privately about not giving out her info to random older guys. You might encourage her to share with her parents. It’s a tough call whether to inform the parents or not.

Acrylic's avatar

I’d tell the parents. The actions of the guy behind the counter isn’t your place to say anything. If the 12 year old doesn’t trust you again, so what? Her safety, or at least parent’s watch over her, is more important. If her parent’s are OK with that situation that’s their business, not yours.

SnipSnip's avatar

I would tell the parents how pleasant the shopping trip went and just say that an 18 year old flirted with their 12 year old and they might want to ask her about it. I would say this in front of everyone.

Zaku's avatar

I’d go talk to the 18 year old with the manner of a serious adult who he ought to listen to, and tell him not only is she not even a teenager (not saying her actual age), but that her father IS a police officer – no . . . really. And look to see what his affect is. If he looks like a sleaze who might not be sufficiently affected by the warning, I’d tell the cop dad.

I would never let an imagination that “she’ll never trust me with any stuff again” stop me from doing something to protect a child IF I thought there might a real concern for the child’s well-being.

I’d also assess my impression of the 12-year-old to see if I thought she was at risk of getting into trouble, and let the parents know about that, if so.

RayaHope's avatar

Why didn’t she just tell him that she was 12 right there and then? And NOT take his snap at all. End of story. Why start a big deal when this could have been nipped in the bud at the beginning?!

janbb's avatar

Yes, thinking about it, I agree with @RayaHope. The one who is arguably “in the wrong” here is the 12 year old and she is the one who needs to learn something. If she looks older, the counter guy should not be in trouble for flirting. She has some lessons to learn about protecting herself and perhaps a quiet chat with you is the best way to address it. This will come up again.

kruger_d's avatar

Tell the parents. Breaking trust with the girl should not be a consideration if you feel she may be risk in this situation or in the way she shares her information.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Gosh. I would definitely go talk to the guy. And tell.him her dad is a cop.
Watch him run, sleazeball.
Next you need to learn if he’s acting on it. If he is talk to mom.

I’m a firm believer in spying on my teenagers.

gorillapaws's avatar

I’m in camp “tell the parents,” because this isn’t about protecting her from this one particular dude (who I agree would get spooked when you told him that she’s 12 and her dad is a cop), but about the concern that she needs to do a better job protecting herself from creeps. I would tell her that you’re going to tell her parents and explain why her parents need to know about this guy who could be a predator for her own safety. If she’s upset about it, tell her the story of Abigail Williams and Liberty German and make sure your daughter is with you too, because every daughter with access to the internet needs to hear that story.

Acrylic's avatar

Girls do need to be protected.

Dutchess_III's avatar


You had a small window to legitimately get in the middle of it.
That window closed. It ALL needs to go back on her parents.

JLoon's avatar

Personally, I would do nothing.

Just being a grownup doesn’t mean your instincts are always right, or that you should always get involved.

Kropotkin's avatar

This sounds like a mountain being made out of a mole-hill.

zenvelo's avatar

I would talk to the girl to say“I am glad you trusted me to tell me. This might be more dangerous than you realize, so let’s talk to your parents together so they can trust me too”.

That way, the girl knows you are not going to keep dangerous secrets from her parents.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@JLoon…we’re not just grown ups. We’ve dealt with sexual harassment, and sexual attacks, from young ages. We know red flags when we see them. The kids don’t.

JLoon's avatar

@Dutchess_III – Yes. But no.

As @jca2 points out, in this particular situation butting in carries the risk of doing more harm than good.

The girl involved is not direct family, and she’s said that she will tell the older boy she’s only 12. Let her do the right thing.

Right now there’s still no indication of any age-inappropriate contact. If anything, I would check with the girls themselves to see if there’s any cause for concern. But I’d be reluctant to do more than that if it meant breaking trust & creating suspicion.

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