As adults, we all can agree that we have different skills and passions. This is also true for children, who develop at different rates, have their own passions, and express themselves in various ways.
Some parents are more understanding and supportive of these interests than others, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor ThrowAwayeggsw was very supportive of his daughter’s interests in cooking, even if she was doing slightly more advanced tasks in the kitchen for her age group than most.
But when he was criticized by his ex-wife, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he was somehow wrong to include his daughter in the kitchen.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for having my daughter cook herself dinner?”
The OP had a shared custody agreement with his ex-wife for their daughter.
“I (34 Male) have a daughter with my ex-wife (36 Female) named Sara (7 Female).”
“To say it in the nicest way, my ex and I had a very bad divorce and she tried to get 100 percent custody.”
“I had a good lawyer and our custody agreement is she gets Sara for the weekdays and I get her for the Friday, Saturday, and she goes back on Sunday.”
The OP supported Sara’s interest in cooking.
“Well, Sara is really curious and loves to be involved with everything, this includes cooking. When she was five, she started to help out in the kitchen.”
“For example, if I was making cookies, she would measure the ingredients and put them in the bowl. She loves it and has been taking on more and more tasks, like breaking the eggs and forming patties.”
“It got to the point where I decided it would be a good time to teach her how to use the burners. Well, the stove is still too big for her, so I got her an electric burner for her to use and it’s safer than an open flame.”
“This was when she turned 7 and I went through the whole safety aspect, and she handles it pretty well.”
“So far she only knows how to make easy things like scrambled eggs and grilled cheese. She really enjoys it.”
Sara’s skills recently came in handy at dinner.
“So last night we were out all day and got takeout. It was Chinese food and Sara has never had it before.”
“She didn’t like it so I wasn’t going to make her eat it. Sara wanted to have some eggs instead, so I told her why doesn’t she make some.”
“So we go to her area with the electric burner and she starts to cook. She gets her eggs from the fridge, scrambles them, puts some bread in the toaster.”
“Everything is fine and she made herself eggs for dinner.”
But the OP’s ex-wife did not agree with Sara’s cooking.
“Well, I dropped her off at my ex’s today and later I got an angry phone call about how dare I make her cook her own dinner.”
“That I am a parent and should be doing the cooking and that I’m a jerk. We argued about it.”
“I told my sister this and she also called me a jerk.”
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 didn’t see anything but positives in this situation.
“NTA, your daughter knew to cook what she knows and you didn’t force her to cook some four-course meal or act like you were punishing her for not liking Chinese food.”
“It’s great she can cook simple stuff for herself with your guidance and she doesn’t go to bed hungry.”
“It would be different if your daughter was complaining about it but that isn’t what this sounds like at all. Your Ex needs to chill.” – blueyduck
“NTA – As long as you are watching her and making sure she is safe, I don’t see a problem. She’s doing something she loves and is being safe about it.” – Lani_567
“NTA. It sounds like you’re handling meals and cooking really well.”
“You’re encouraging her skills in a life skill in which she’s interested, and you’re establishing a routine where she can make her own choices about what she eats without imposing on you to cook multiple meals. Well done!” – palacesofparagraphs
“NTA – everyone else is talking about the independence that you gave her, which is totally true, but I can tell you that an additional thing is that she will always think of you when she cooks.”
“My Dad was an amateur chef and I grew up with him in the kitchen. He passed away 3 years ago and I still use some of his special cooking tools that he gave me and think of him each time. Savor these moments because one day she will.”
“p.s. There is a TV show called ‘Jr Chef,’ so it’s not unheard of for children to know how to cook or bake in the kitchen.” – theunpolitical
“Forcing her to cook is not what is happening here. She enjoys it, and honestly learning to cook from a young age is a great thing.”
“You are setting her up to be a very successful adult especially since you are adapting the cooking to her age and height and safety requirements.” – IBeatHimAtChess
Others agreed and said the OP came up with a constructive solution.
“NTA. My parents had a rule about dinner— if you didn’t like it, you could make toast with a slice of American cheese for yourself instead.”
“I don’t think there was anything wrong with that? Your version is much nicer really cause you helped her.”
“I really do think it was the best option. Saying ‘Eat Chinese anyway’ isn’t great; kids at 7 should be allowed to make some decisions. Saying, ‘Ok I’ll go make you exactly what you want’ is borderline spoiling her if you do it a lot.”
“Instead, she came up with a good solution that wouldn’t put work on anyone else and you allowed it. I think it’s good parenting!” – questionsfromaduck
“NTA. You had Sara try the dinner you provided, she didn’t like it, you didn’t make her eat it, and she was able to do something she enjoyed and eat something she preferred without putting everyone else out.”
“This is literally the ideal outcome? And you’re doing a good job teaching Sara to take care of herself. I wish my parents had done this!” – RubyJuneRocket
“NTA. You didn’t punish her by having to cook dinner. It’s something she likes and to me, it seemed like she saw it as a reward.”
“By your post, I got the feeling that cooking is something that brings you two together and it’s a fun activity for her. She was very proud that she cooked dinner by herself.”
“And, what’s important, it was done under your supervision, since at that age using the stove by herself is really not recommended.” – Glitter_Pink5452
“NTA. As long as you are ensuring she is using dangerous items like the oven and knives safely and under supervision, then it’s great that you are teaching your daughter to cook.”
“She seems to be enjoying it and the independence is good for her.”
“Plus, ‘If you don’t like your dinner, you can make your own,’ is a great lesson for her that she is not forced to eat what is served but that you are not a short-order cook either.” – Obiterdicta
Some pointed out the OP was also teaching his daughter an important life skill.
“You’re teaching your daughter a necessary life skill, and supervising her while doing so. It’s not like you made her cook dinner for the whole family, or cater an event.” – EngineeringOwn2299
“NTA – You’re helping her learn valuable life skills and teaching her that she has options when she doesn’t like the food in front of her.” – GothPenguin
“NTA. By the time my daughter was 7, she could cook eggs, oatmeal, and a baked potato. I taught her quite a few recipes as she grew older. By age 12, she could make spaghetti and garlic bread.”
“Of course, there’s a difference between preparing them for adulthood and turning them into slaves, but it sounds like you’re on the right track.” – Intelligent_Stop5564
“NTA at all, and good for you to teach her how to cook. Any little kid interested in learning to cook should be given the right to (supervised, of course).”
“Everyone should know the basics of cooking, and it’s great that you encouraged her interest enough to get her to being able to cook eggs for herself.”
“Your ex sounds like the a**hole who wants to over-baby her kid.” – Traditional_Ad2070
“NTA. You are teaching her life skills. Both in terms of ‘if you don’t like it, make your own’ (I have a thriving career on that principle), and cooking.”
“Maybe she’s a future chef – that can be a very lucrative career.” – Johnny-Fakehnameh
While the subReddit stressed the importance of continuing to use safety precautions, since 7 years old is still fairly young to be cooking over heat, they were otherwise supportive of the OP allowing his daughter to be in the kitchen with him.
Not only is cooking an important life skill, but for a child who is developmentally ready and passionate about it, what parent wouldn’t want to include their children while scrambling eggs or baking cookies?