I'm moving to a new town (a big city in Florida) where I don't know anyone for work. I'm over 23. My father wants me to give him the number and e-mail for my primary work boss because sometimes I don't respond for a few days and he worries and he would like a back up contact.

My problem is that I don't feel comfortable doing that at all. How would I get around this? We are currently in an argument because of this.

One of my suggestions was to let him have temporary access to my GPS information in which case, if I didn't respond, he could contact local authorities.

He's not much of a technical person so he didn't like that. I don't really know what else to do besides just letting this pass and after meeting some people in the new town, give him a contact name then.

  • 10
    "because sometimes I don't respond for a few days" have you considered responding in less than a few days?
    – Alexander
    Mar 2, 2018 at 5:10
  • 2
    "primary work boss", yikes. Almost anyone else would be a better person for them to call. If he were to call I'd bet that boss would be confused and annoyed. Mar 2, 2018 at 15:23

5 Answers 5


Welcome to adulthood, the wonderful magical age when it becomes completely appropriate to tell your parents:


This seems like one of those occasions where simply saying "no" is completely reasonable. Giving out your boss's contact information so that your parent can check up on you is not only odd, it's plainly unprofessional and I'm sure that your boss would agree.

Setting appropriate boundaries with your parents is a healthy normal thing to do at your age. You're an adult now and it's time that they started treating you like one. Daily check ups may have been appropriate when you lived at home, but that's no longer the case.

If you feel like being generous, call home on a regular basis and put the old man's mind at ease. It's a "nice" thing to do, but don't let it become a chore or an obligation. It's something you do to maintain the relationship with your family, not something you do because you "must."


Your father feels anxious. This is hard on you.

Is there anything you can do to help your father control his anxiety? For example, when a call or email comes in, can you send a quick text message or email message along these lines:

Busy working, will call in a couple of days.

It would be reasonable to tell your father that you want to try out a new idea for a week, how to be more responsive.

You can also level the playing field quite a bit by taking the initiative from time to time to contact him before he's had a chance to contact you.

In other words, change the pattern.


It can be scary for a parent to have his/her child go off to a new city, new job, new residence, where that child doesn't know anyone or have any contacts. Besides your phone, your work is the only other thing he has. However, his request is out of bounds. The problem seems to be related to his wanting to make sure you are ok, and getting a response in less than "a few days". So come up with a compromise solution of some sort. Perhaps agree to respond in the same day, or even with a four or six hour period, as long as he doesn't pester you with too many calls. Or agree to chat each day, every other day, whatever, at a certain time for a few minutes, just to check in and allay his concerns. Or perhaps give him some limited access to your social media, so he can see how recently you have posted (so he knows you are alive) if in fact you do post regularly. I have a feeling that once he sees you are ok, that you have found friends and established yourself, that he will back off and give you more space.


First of all, having someone (mom, dad, partner, whoever else) who cares for you is a reason to be happy.

Enjoy the situation!

Now perhaps you already feel better (basically). Nevertheless you are right, giving your boss' contact out for the given reason is not a good idea.

  • Tell your dad your boss may not like the idea of having his contact information spread around.
    Think about how often your boss could be asked if you are still alive - stay with "no Dad, sorry".
  • I'm even uncomfy telling others my work number. Private contacts can and have to wait until I can look at my mobile phone. There is no need to call me and maybe occupy colleagues when I'm not available.
  • The GPS thing sounds funny. Until you are asked why you are at [place] at [time]. You don't want that. Better don't mention that your phone being somewhere doesn't imply you are ok or you are even there too.
  • Your GPS idea doesn't take away the need to explain yourself. If not to your dad then to the authorities. It may sound more exciting but I suggest to spend your money elsewhere and directly talk to your dad.
  • The last thing a son or daughter wants to hear on the phone is "oh you call me so rarely". Ironically exactly this could be a reason for sons and daughters to call not so often.
    Explain to your dad that the situation need to stay acceptable for both of you.
  • On the other hand it's your dad so why not respond from time to time? If only it's an email or sms, you don't have to compose your whole vita again and again.
  • Make your dad aware that he shouldn't query your condition every hour. As apaul said, this must not be obligatory for you. Maybe your Dad just needs some time to get used to the situation, then he will become more relaxed with it?
  • Is it a good idea to give friends' contact to your dad? Guess what happens when you don't respond to him. I think this is not a good start with new friends to be asked to look after you. You will tell your dad you are fine and he should stop bothering your friends. Then better only tell him you are fine.
    Isn't it better to give them your dad's contact and tell him there are people in your life that take care of you and he will be informed if something has happened?

You could try to get him to text. I know a 78 year old that can text on his flip phone! If the issue is safety, Dad can text "OK?" and you can text "Yes"

Set that boundary, if Dad doesn't have a texting phone or can't text he has to learn it, and I've seen pay as you go deals pretty cheap for people that almost never use their phone, some come with a cheap phone.

If his problem is really separation anxiety and missing you, or if the problem is he wants to retain more control of you and your life ("helping you"), you will find that out when he rejects this simple solution, or when he starts texting like mad all the time or demanding more frequent and extensive communications. Just keep responding only to "OK?" with "Yes", or "Yes but in the middle of something," and so on.

Then he can't claim he is worried about whether you are alive and safe. As for the boss, I'd explain as gently as possible,

Those are my relationships to deal with, I don't want you speaking to my boss or coworkers. I don't want them to ever see me as a child with a daddy.

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