*The following article contains a discussion of eating disorders and body shaming.
Parenting is a complicated career, and anyone who tries to say something else is lying.
There’s a reason why so many people worry about messing up their children, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor healthfulmom thought that she was doing the right thing when she attempted to control what her daughter was eating after hearing that she was being bullied for her weight.
But when her daughter accused her of shaming her, the Original Poster (OP) wondered where she had miscommunicated.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for trying to help my daughter make healthier choices?”
The OP heard that her daughter was being bullied for her weight.
“I am a mom of two beautiful children. My youngest, Paige, just entered her freshman year.”
“She is normally a very happy girl but lately, Paige has dreaded going to school and has even begged me not to go. No matter how many times I asked, she would not tell me why she hated school.”
“I asked Eliza, who is a sophomore, to find out why Paige does not want to go to school. She did, and it turns out that Paige has been getting bullied at school and her peers have called her fat.”
The OP handled the situation the only way she could think of.
“Now, Paige is not a fat girl. She is very athletic and plays tons of sports. But she is a bit on the chubbier side.”
“Since Paige wouldn’t come to me about the issue, I figured I should not say anything to her about it. But I did decide that I could still be helpful by making healthier meals at home.”
“I stopped picking up unhealthy, processed foods at the grocery store and instead stocked up on vegetables and whole foods.”
But she may have taken her attempts too far.
“Now here’s where I may be the AH: Paige asked me to pick up Oreos on my next trip to the store, and I finally broke and told her that instead of turning to food, she could talk to me.”
“Paige stormed upstairs and slammed her door. Even Eliza was upset with me.”
“It may have come out the wrong way, but I really didn’t mean anything wrong by that. I just meant I am her mom and she can always come to me.”
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 OP was a much bigger problem than the Oreos.
“I hate to admit it, but reading the thread title alone already made me reach the YTA verdict, but reading the entire thing is even more disgusting.”
“I have strong feelings about why the daughter isn’t confiding in OP, but I’ll keep those to myself.”
“Parents of this sort rarely want to hear those reasons anyway. They’re the ones that end up in ‘estranged parents’ forums some 15-20 years later, with missing reasons.” – You-Done
“This comment is great. I had anorexia throughout high school and college. I honestly put in so much work to get away from that.”
“Now I’m a mom and I just never wanna make my kids feel bad about their bodies (my grandmother and mother (inadvertently, her mother made her that way) really I think helped fuel my disorder).”
“Comment sections like this help me plan for the inevitable future issues with body image. I just never want them to feel the way I did.” – According-Activity10
“Is the problem that the daughter is a little chubby? No, the problem is the bullies. Mom’s seemingly caring response is actually validating the worldview of the bully.” – lakehop
“EVERY SINGLE physical activity that I ever engaged in became all about ‘weight management.’ Tennis, swimming, dancing, badminton, and even freaking tabletop tennis!!!! ALL OF IT!”
“Not once did my parents ask me whether I was enjoying myself, or about the milestones I achieved in athletics. Instead, it was all about the weighing scale results.”
“To this day, I cannot even imagine doing sports or any kind of physical activity without thinking FIRST about weight management. And I actively HATE weighing scales.”
“Thanks, mom and dad. And also, frick you both!” – LateDiagnosedAutie
“Man, it sucks how easy it is for moms to give their daughters body issues. my mom was never big. But I would see her constantly say she was soooo fat. So I’d look at my body and think, ‘Gosh, I’m fat, too, I guess.'”
“I wasn’t, not in high school. But I went to college and put on the Freshman 40 (it wasn’t 40 pounds, but I’m petite so it was definitely noticeable). I started taking Acutrim, which is now illegal. It was an appetite suppressant and it worked so well.”
“I kept a good weight for years. Then I got diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. For almost a year putting any sustenance in my body caused me a lot of pain. Even drinking water would have me doubled over in pain. When I finally got it under control and could eat again, I did… And so I gained weight, of course.”
“Since college, my mom has offered to pay for Weight Watchers or NutraSlim. She’s obsessed over what I eat, how much of it I eat. If I lose ten pounds, she praises me, tells me over and over how good I look…. and how much better I’d look if I lost ten more.”
“‘I’m just worried about your health,’ would get thrown out, but was somehow overshadowed by her telling me (since my divorce) that she ‘feels bad for me’ because I’m alone. Tells me to wear more makeup because ‘you never know who you’re going to meet.'”
“And I’m finally at a place in my life where I’m not concerned about looking good for anyone else, and I’m not concerned about finding a partner. I’m finally happy with who I am.” – BelkiraHoTep
Others pointed out that the OP’s daughter’s body was still growing and changing.
“The daughter is athletic right? If she’s super active, plays a ton of sports, and is still chubby, that’s just her body type.” – throwawaygaming898
“What the OP is calling ‘chubby’ might just be stocky muscle; ‘strength-based’ athletes like Gina Carano (wrestling) or Valerie Adams (shotput) aren’t exactly built like skeletal catwalk models, but they certainly aren’t fat.” – Kronocidal
“I do gymnastics and volleyball for my school, and I hike and swim a lot in the summer. I’m a really active person, but I’m still chunky.” – cherryxxblossoms
“Even if chubby is how her body type lands, that’s totally okay, but speaking from experience, all of my siblings and I were chubby kids (not athletic at all) and we all hit a growth spurt and ended up weighing roughly the same but a lot taller.”
“I’m grateful my parents didn’t put us on diets because that’s what our bodies needed to grow.” – pasadena96
“YTA. If she is worried about her weight and comes to you, then help her with that. It’s not your place to make her feel the same way the bullies do.”
“You said it yourself, she’s athletic and chubby. Would you say that to her?”
“If the girl wants Oreos, get the girl some d**n Oreos. Don’t contribute to the hate.” – alive82
Some pointed out that the family’s relationship with food needed work.
“The human body stores fat before growth spurts especially, as growing takes an enormous amount of energy and fuel.”
“Also, it’s great that OP wants to cook healthy, but a teen having a few Oreos isn’t going to change a d**n thing. This poor girl.” – Seliphra
“It’s actually better for the daughter to know that Oreos are okay to have as a treat. Restricting access to snacks only makes them more appealing when no one can stop you.”
“If she isn’t binging or compulsively eating them there isn’t any harm in having them as an option. I keep fruit in the house as well as cookies and the kids will go for the fruit most of the time.”
“OP, you can enjoy cookies from time to time without using them to drown your sorrows. Have you never had a craving??? YTA.” – MoxieCottonRules
“My parents heavily restricted my food intake (including having a junk food cabinet with a key they moved around, guess what I did any time they walked out the door?) and as soon as I could travel independently by bus or light rail, I would spend all my money on food.”
“If I didn’t have any money, I shoplifted, something I’m not particularly proud of. A better tactic would have been teaching me from an early age about balanced eating, and the difference between ‘sometimes foods’ and ‘every day foods.'” – cyn000
“So let me get this straight. You find out your daughter is being bullied at school due to her size and instead of talking to her about it, you just changed available foods and are withholding snacks?”
“YTA for how you approached it (with the Oreos) and for not sitting down with your kid and talking the minute you found out what was going on.” – UsuallyWrite2
“YTA. You could have approached this in a much more sensitive and thoughtful way, but instead, you shamed her.”
“Paige plays a ton of sports, right? Which would make her pretty fit and athletic, despite her build. How many sports do you play? Are you athletic? Or are you sitting on your butt chastising her about Oreos?”
“Poor Paige. Bullied at school and bullied by her mom.” – secretkiwi_
The subReddit was left shaking their heads for Paige and how her mother was treating her.
Even if her mom had good intentions, she was approaching it the wrong way and likely sending her daughter a terrible message about her body size, her relationship with food, and even her mother’s love potentially being conditional.