People have very strong opinions not only about what they eat but what other people put into their bodies, especially if they’re following a particular diet, like Keto.
But young adults can be especially skeptical about food preferences, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Sweaty_Bit8025 was furious with their son when he bullied his younger sister over her choice to go vegan.
But when he went so far as to hide her food, the Original Poster (OP) decided to take action.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for making my son eat vegan for a month as punishment?”
The OP supported their daughter’s decision to go vegan.
“I have 2 kids (16 Male and 14 Female). Last year, my daughter decided to go vegan. I didn’t have any problem with this one bit.”
“I give her the money that I would spend on food for her anyway, and she buys her own food and cooks it herself if what her mom is making isn’t vegan.”
“It has been the tiniest change we have ever had to go through.”
But their son was bullying her over it.
“For some reason though, my son has taken this change as an opportunity to bully his sister.”
“I’ve made it clear to him that this is not ok at all, and have punished him several times for his bullying, but it has never gotten through to him.”
The bullying led to a panic in their home.
“Last week, this all came to a head when my son took all of the food my daughter had bought for the week and hid it.”
“He said he threw it away on garbage day.”
“I got a call in the middle of the day at work from my daughter, crying and saying that he had thrown all her food away.”
“I had to rush home only to discover it was just a prank.”
The parents gave their son a diet-specific punishment.
“I was livid. I was ready to make him eat nothing but rice for the rest of his time under my roof, but my wife calmed me down and came up with a better plan.”
“For the next 30 days, we are going to eat nothing but vegan food. We will make nothing but vegan food and buy nothing but vegan products.”
“I told my son this, and added that if he wants anything else, he will be paying for it.”
“He lost his mind, but for the past 5 days, we have been a vegan family.”
The OP was accused of abusing their son.
“Well, my son called my parents and they rang me up, furious, and telling me that I was abusing him.”
“I ended up hanging up on them.”
“The rest of my family followed suit, and some friends have now joined in, saying that this is a**holish of me.”
“My son is miserable, but I really don’t care. He brought this upon himself.”
“He still has food to eat and can spend what little pocket money he has to buy meat for the next 25 days if he wants.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some thought the son deserved it and hoped he would learn something.
“This is honestly more of a learning opportunity than a punishment. And it’s definitely not abusive.”
“He’s only being limited to vegan-only foods that you buy for home. He can buy/cook his own food for home and eat what he wants anywhere else.”
“Maybe now he’ll learn to stop being a s**t to his sister.” – Artic_Puppet
“Vegans are often much better cooks than meat-eaters, in my experience. You have to properly season and cook your food when you can’t coast on it being salty and rich.”
“Yeah, this doesn’t seem like a restrictive food punishment that’s a recipe for disordered eating. He can eat what’s served or he can buy something else, like any other kid.”
“A month of vegan family meals is more budget-friendly, everyone will learn something, and your son will experience a consequence. Win-win-win.” – yet_another_sock
“Well done on helping him learn that bullying people who are different from himself has consequences.”
“Being vegan for a month will certainly not harm him in any way. It can actually be a very healthy option for many people.”
“It might be time to have a conversation with him and/or his teachers about his behavior toward others. Is it just your daughter he bullies or is it a life habit that needs wider attention?”
“Good luck, I commend your efforts to provide learning consequences and it is obvious that you are doing your best to parent effectively and with his long-term happiness in mind.” – DaisySam3130
“I went to school with someone like this s**t boy.”
“She bullied people for not wearing (or caring about) designer clothes. She picked on me for having Vans skate shoes… which are not cheap. If it wasn’t her fave brand, then you were unworthy of her respect.”
“Her parents decided to stop wearing brand names for a year and it worked with her. They put all the brand-named stuff in storage, had her wear things without branding logos, and it fixed the problem.”
“They also told her if she wanted brand name stuff, she would have to buy it herself with an after-school job.”
“She chilled out pretty quickly. We were 16 at the time, she had cute clothes to wear, just nothing Gucci or expensive.” – melodyharper
“I think it’s less about teaching the son and more about teaching the daughter that they have her back and will protect and defend her.”
“Their son is a teenage a**hole and he still might grow up to be a decent human, but they’re letting their daughter know to not allow men to be a**holes to her, which is really important.” – WhichWitchyWay
Others were worried this punishment would have a negative impact, however.
“This is certainly a learning opportunity, but it will be a negative one.”
“I can hardly see future clemency in his attitude towards vegans in general or sister in particular.”
“It’s a good idea in principle, however, I suspect the time period is too long so it will result in resentment, not change.” – Y_ddraig_gwyn
“He already cried to his grandparents and other family members about how he’s getting abused and it has only been 5 days, I don’t think the time frame is the issue here.”
“The son is apparently an entitled little s**t, and I don’t see them changing that soon.” – Verdigrian
“He clearly hasn’t learned anything, and I doubt he will. It’s just such a stupid thing to bully someone over; oh, his sister doesn’t eat animal products, that’s sooo crazy.”
“Unfortunately, while I think OP’s punishment is a good idea in theory, in practice I don’t see it changing his mindset.”
“What they should be doing is finding out where his anti-vegan mindset has come from. Because based on his age, I’d bet he’s watched some YouTube comedians that b***h about vegans, and he is just emulating their attitude.”
“If he is still surrounding himself with whatever or whoever made him so anti-vegan, and then is also getting family members who are backing him up, he will never grow from this at all.” – imamage_fightme
“I would love if he saw this as a learning opportunity, but if he’s a little s**t, he’ll use it as a reason to be one of those, ‘Look, I’m eating a DEAD COW, does that upset you?’ talking-with-his-mouth-full a**holes.” – bullet_proof_smile
“Hi OP. NTA. The idea is fresh and fair, in principle.”
“A month on an unusual diet, forcefully deprived of the food he likes at 16, who is presumably eating the family out of the house and home already, may backfire.”
“He’d build resentment to his sister, you both as parents, and to the idea of eating vegan/vegetarian.”
“I honestly wouldn’t actually know what to do about him being a little s**t (LS). Had he always been? Is it just towards his sister? Could he have felt ‘demoted’ in importance to the parents all these years?”
“I’d consider family therapy. He needs to feel more secure, I think, which actually is being made worse with the family prioritizing the sis (yet again?).”
“I’d also think of ways to positively reinforce his constructive behaviors, however small. Introduce a notion of ‘cheat meals’ or ‘cheat days.’ Say he hasn’t snapped at anyone for half a day? Acknowledge that, and so forth. Especially if he does something nice for his sister.”
“Acknowledge that you recognize the effort on his part to adhere to the family’s change in diet. It is a big deal. Food is not just nutrition for most of us. And vegan, as opposed to vegetarian, is a massive overhaul. He probably has hardly any food he’s used to anymore.”
“Hug your son, praise whatever positive things about him you can think of. Actually, make a list of things you like about him and add to it daily. I fear he may feel overcriticized. Apologies for making an unfair assumption if it’s wrong.”
“OP, again, kudos for thinking of an out-of-the-box strategy! Hope everyone ends much healthier and happier, including your 16-year-old!” – JellyfishPositive969
The subReddit was appalled by the son’s behavior toward his sister and grateful that the OP was actively doing something about it.
They were torn about the effectiveness of the OP’s month-long, vegan punishment, but the message was the most important thing.