Teenagers need their space — but where should that line be drawn? A dad recently took to Reddit’s AITA to ask whether or not he was in the wrong for not wanting to put a keyed lock on his 15-year-old daughter’s bedroom door, despite her repeated insistence.
“My daughter is 15 and she came to me and said she wants a lock on her bedroom door for privacy. I know sometimes her younger brothers (11 and 9) open her door without knocking,” explained the OP.
“So I said OK and a couple days later I bought a lock similar to what you find on bathroom doors which can be opened with a coin or flathead from the outside.”
Okay, seems like a smart move: it gives the daughter a lock, but also makes it easy enough to get into the room in case of emergency. But the daughter was not having it.
“She wanted a lock where only she had a key. Not me or my wife or anyone else.”
The OP was against this, saying, “I'm not going to have any doors in my house that I can't open in case of an emergency or other necessity. She was not happy because people can still open her door. I told her that she needed to understand that locked bedroom doors are really about accidentally preventing someone from opening them, not about real security.”
The conflicted father also noted that he had talked to his sons about boundaries and “respecting a door that's locked,” and further explained that “from what my daughter's told me they aren't trying to snoop in her room, they are just careless sometimes with asking for permission before entering.”
Right now the father and daughter are at a deadlock (sorry). The OP’s wife “thinks I should give her a keyed lock and make secret copies for us,” but the dad doesn’t “want this to be a secret between us and our daughter.”
After asking if he was the asshole, most posters agreed that he wasn’t, and they offered their own advice for the teenage bedroom door lock-or-not situation.
Some thought that the wife’s idea might be a good one, except that maybe the spare key shouldn’t be a secret. “they should just give her a lock and let her know that they will have a spare key to her room in case there was an emergency,” wrote one.
“If you get a keyed lock, I don’t think you should lie to your daughter about not having one,” another wrote. “You should say that she can have one, but only if you get a copy — otherwise, no dice. If not, then the lock that you have should be sufficient. If the door is locked, then her brothers will have to ask for permission either way, so I’m not entirely sure why she’d be upset.”
Still, others pointed out that in emergency situations, even having a spare key might not be enough. Many recalled instances from their own childhood when a door had to be busted down or a window had to be broken when a door was locked.
More suggested that getting to the bottom of what exactly was bugging their daughter would help shape boundaries that make everyone safe and happy.
“If the issue is stuff like her parents coming in when she isn't home, then she and her parents should set stricter parameters of what she is and isn't comfortable with. Her parents are adults, capable or respecting boundaries I assume. They don't need a lock to prevent them from making their child uncomfortable.”
“It’s probably in OP's interest to talk to her about why she wants a specific lock some more and then explain his decision on the final lock,” explained one user.
Others noted that if it is certain items, like a journal, that the daughter doesn’t want her little brothers to get their hands on, then maybe a lockbox or safe could be a good compromise.
Would you allow your teenager to have a keyed lock?