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Teen ‘Salty’ After Mom Makes Her Change Birthday Dinner Due To Brother’s Shellfish Allergy

unhappy teen girl in restaurant
Oleksandra Kharkova/Getty Images

The birthday dinner in lieu of a party is something a lot of families choose to observe.

While the birthday person usually gets to choose the restaurant, should a parent be able to veto their choice for reasons other than financial?

A mother who vetoed her daughter’s restaurant choice is questioning her decision after friends and family members all called her out for it.

So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit to see if strangers online would back her up.

Lanky-Medium4473 asked:

“AITA for making my daughter choose a different restaurant for her birthday meal than the one she really wanted?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“My daughter very recently had her 17th birthday. My husband (42, male) and I (39, female) told her to pick out a restaurant that she’d like us to take her to for her birthday.”

“She chose a seafood restaurant that we’d never been to. In looking over the menu, I saw that the vast majority of the dishes contained shellfish.”

“There were a few fish entrees, as well as some surf and turf. But there were only a couple of non-seafood dishes.”

“Our son (15, male) is deathly allergic to shellfish. He also can’t stand fish.”

“There were only a couple of dishes there that he could actually eat. I didn’t want to take him there because I knew that he wouldn’t really enjoy his meal and I was worried about cross contamination.”

“I told my daughter that this restaurant wouldn’t work and that she would have to pick out a different one. My son said that he would be fine just staying home; that we could use the money that we would have spent on his meal to just order him a pizza instead.”

“My husband also insisted that since it was our daughter’s birthday that she should be able to choose the restaurant, and that our son would be fine home alone with pizza and videogames.”

“But here’s the thing; we can only afford to go out as a family every so often. When we splurge on a restaurant meal, I want BOTH of our children there.”

“I insisted and my daughter chose a different place and we had a nice meal AS A FAMILY. But she is still a little salty that she didn’t get to have her first choice of restaurants.”

“Most people I’ve asked say I’m wrong. But, again, we can only afford to go out every so often.”

“Is it so wrong that I wanted to do it as a family? My daughter still had a nice birthday meal.”

The OP summed up their situation.

“It was my daughter’s birthday. Maybe I should have just concerned myself with her.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors unanimously declared the OP was a complete a**hole (YTA).

“YTA. Your daughter didn’t get what she wanted for her birthday. Your husband had no problem with it. Your son had no problem with it.”

“Essentially, you decided what you wanted was more important than anyone else, and would you look at that! You got what you wanted.”

“Because your word is law. F*ck the birthday girl’s choice, right?”

“You were upset about the location choice on behalf of your son, who wasn’t upset about it at all.”

“You made your daughter’s birthday about your wants. Why even pretend she had a choice in where to go?”

“You dangled the illusion of choice in front of her, then overruled her in favour of what you wanted anyways.” ~ BulbasaurRanch

“But your daughter didn’t have a nice birthday meal. YOU had a nice family dinner catered to exactly what you wanted.”

“Why can both your son and husband put your daughter first, but all you can think about is what would make you happy?”

“You’re selfish, self-centered and oblivious. How many people in and out of your family need to tell you that before it sinks in?” ~ LakotaGrl

“YTA. It’s not even about prioritizing the son over the daughter because the son was fine with staying home. It was prioritising OP’s OWN wants over what anybody else in the family wanted.” ~ dowjess534

Many Redditors pointed out Mom’s excuse that her decision being about her son was disingenuous at best.

“And the daughter probably never gets to eat seafood because of her brother’s allergy, so she wanted to be able to eat it on a day that’s meant to celebrate her or be her choice.”

“But it was still taken away. Thanks, Mom! Great job, YTA.” ~ Nihon

“It doesn’t sound at all like the daughter was excluding the son with her choice of restaurant. It sounds like she chose it because she understood he didn’t want to come anyway, wherever they went.”

“There is nothing negative there. For their ages it sounds perfectly normal and reasonable. YTA.” ~ GypsumF18

“Given the son’s allergy, they probably don’t even allow shellfish in the house. And since he also hates fish, they probably never eat fish at home.”

“Coupled with the fact they don’t go to restaurants that often, when is the daughter supposed to ever have seafood?”

“She might really like seafood but literally never get to eat it. So for her birthday, she wants to have seafood.”

“And the ease of the brother agreeing to stay home tells me that the daughter may have even ran her choice by him, and he confirmed that an evening of video games and pizza sounded just fine to him.”

“YTA for sure, Mom.” ~ tibbles1

“YTA. Your son offered an easy solution, but you rejected that. I get that you can only afford to go out as a family a limited number of times, but geez—it’s her birthday dinner!”

“You told her to pick out the restaurant she wanted. Might as well have just asked your son where he wanted to go for her birthday. ‘Most people I’ve asked say I’m wrong’— that’s because you ARE WRONG!” ~ Ok_Conversation9750

“It wasn’t as if the daughter was insisting on going to the seafood place for a family dinner knowing her brother’s allergy. You asked her to choose a restaurant for her birthday dinner.”

“If your son and husband are okay with the solution your son provided then what’s the problem? YTA.” ~ Low-Mistake-1449

“YTA. Your son was fine with staying home. Your husband was fine with your son staying home.”

“It was your daughter’s birthday. But you chose to center a day that was supposed to be about your daughter on your son’s needs.”

“Does your daughter ever get to enjoy the seafood she likes? Or does she have to wait to get away from you and your controlling tendencies and move away from you in order to do that?”

“Sounds like the latter. I wonder how often she’ll actually call home when she leaves, given your relentless need to prioritize her brother when literally nobody is asking you to.” ~ ElementalHelp

“She didn’t even center it around her son’s needs. She centered it around herself.”

“Son was happy to just stay home, but OP wanted what OP wanted—sod everyone else. YTA, OP.” ~ Anxious-Kitchen8191

“YTA. She picked a seafood restaurant because that is the special meal she always wants and never gets.”

“Any other day, she couldn’t expect it because it wouldn’t make sense for the family to get something expensive her brother can’t have.”

“But on her birthday, the one day that was supposed to be about her, she hoped she could have this one special treat she has been dreaming about.”

“But no, how dare she think her birthday is about her. Her birthday is clearly about mom having an excuse for a family dinner.” ~ nervelli

“I was expecting the son to be much younger and/or really wanting to celebrate with his sister. Totally bonkers that OP decided for everyone that an outing together is better than what everyone else wants.”

“Even though at this point forcing the daughter to pick a new restaurant is going to make everyone resentful and bitter and they won’t have as nice of a time. YTA.” ~ Tank_Girl_Gritty_235

“YTA. The daughter’s better than I was at 17, though. By 17—and I had a self-centered  mom very much like OP is—I would have just said sod the birthday and chosen nothing.” ~ Maj0rsquishy

“YTA. How much do you want to bet that OP is the ONLY person who thinks they had a nice dinner AS A FAMILY?” ~ bilateral_entropy

“YTA. Some people are all about the optics of ‘Look! Our happy family is happily enjoying things together!!’ when they are all actually miserable.”

“I really believe that if you find yourself applying checklists to life events—as in, the following things must happen or it doesn’t count—you are doing it wrong.” ~ withbellson

“OP wasn’t really concerned with her son’s allergies.”

“She wanted to have a nice family dinner out and used the daughter’s birthday as an opportunity for this, not as a treat to the daughter.”

“OP owes her daughter a birthday dinner.” ~ CognitiveTeaKettle

While this mother wonders if it was wrong to turn her daughter’s birthday dinner into the family dinner only she wanted, it seems everyone else already knows the answer.

Maybe Dad can take his daughter out for her birthday.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.