This question was front and center in Reddit’s “Am I The A—hole?” forum this week, where a concerned stepmom was trying to decide what was best for her stepdaughter: Should she tell her that her dad installed a tracking device on her new car, or should she stay out of the drama?
But let’s back up first.
The original poster is a 36-year-old woman who has been married to her husband for three years. Her stepdaughter is almost 18 and her mom has passed away — and she considers her stepmom to be her “second mom.”
The OP’s husband and stepdaughter don’t get along well, and there’s not much trust there. But things are getting better and the dad threw her a party and bought her a car for her 18th birthday.
Here’s the catch:
“[Two] days ago, I overheard him speaking with a friend of his about installing a tracking device in the new car,” she wrote. “I was stunned. I brought up with him later at night and told him how wrong this was. He said it was non of my business but I told him that if and when Christine finds out then there's gonna be troubles. He got upset and went on about how he's just doing this out of concern and protecting her and said it was non of my business whatsoever since I didn't buy the car.”
When she said that she’d tell the stepdaughter if he didn’t, things escalated.
“I called him unreasonable and said that if he don't back off then I'll tell her at the party and when be hands her the key,” she continued. “He was shocked at this, he called me crazy and said that I shouldn't have been snooping and listening to his private talks in the first place. I said I'd tell her but he told me to stay out of it since it's his daughter not mine and that if I wanted to parent my way then I was free to have my own children. This stung because he knows I can't have kids due to infertility problems.”
The responding Redditors were pretty united in their response: this woman is not the a—hole in this situation, and in fact, she should be concerned about this guy’s general behavior.
First and foremost, they wanted the poster to check her own car for devices.
“CHECK YOUR CAR AND DEVICES FOR TRACKERS/SPYWARE,” said the response with the most up votes. “If he’s doing it to her on the sly he may have/ probably has done the same to you. It’s insanely creepy, violating and even more concerning is his ‘keep your mouth shut’ type reaction. Don’t walk. Run.”
Others commented, rightfully, on the guy’s hypocrisy.
“Piggy backing on this to point out the complete hypocrisy of him getting angry at her for snooping while he's doing the exact same thing to his daughter,” one wrote.
One of the best points? The daughter is officially 18 and no longer a child.
“Daughter or not, she's a LEGAL ADULT being stalked by her abusive father under the guise of ‘family.’”
Multiple people pointed out that a tracking device can be a great thing to have for your car — if the person who installs it tells you about it.
“If he really did do it out of concern then he would tell Christine and not hide it from her,” one commenter wrote. “If installed in good faith and transparency it's actually a great idea incase her or her car goes missing, but dad's motivation seems more nefarious.”
Seems like the answer is loud and clear: Tracking devices have their place, but only if they’re used in the right way, with the right people. Outside of those contexts, it’s creepy, abusive, and a huge red flag.