It’s 2022, and we should all be able to agree by this point that food allergies are real and serious.
We should also agree that it’s nice to accommodate the people in our lives who have food allergies whenever we can.
But that doesn’t mean we should change someone else’s party just so the person with an allergy can eat the birthday cake, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor DifferentScarcity206 was preparing for their daughter’s first communion ceremony and wanted her to have her favorite cake, white chocolate, during the reception.
But when their sister-in-law openly criticized them for not taking their nephew’s allergy into consideration, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they were somehow wrong for planning a party that was catered to their daughter’s likes.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for getting a white chocolate cake for my daughter’s first communion even though my special needs nephew is allergic to chocolate?”
The OP was in the process of planning their daughter’s first communion reception.
“My (9 female) daughter is getting her first communion soon.”
“Chocolate is her favorite. I tried to encourage her to get vanilla because her cousin (my nephew, who is neurodivergent) is allergic to chocolate.”
“She got very upset, saying it’s not fair and that it’s her party.”
“I began to agree with her and am ordering a white chocolate cake.”
Their sister-in-law (SIL) was furious.
“I plan to accommodate my nephew by getting him an individualized vanilla cake.”
“But his mother (my SIL) is upset, saying he will feel excluded and will not understand why he can’t have the same cake as everyone else.”
“She also says we should get a vanilla cake because it’s not his fault he’s allergic.”
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 said the OP wasn’t responsible for their nephew “understanding” what was going on.
“NTA. It’s HER job to make sure HER child understands, not yours.” – No-Rub1544
“It is her job to manage his needs and expectations. Not everything or everyone is going to cater to his needs in life and learning that it’s OK to make different arrangements is an important lesson.” – pittsburgpam
“He needs to learn that this is the best he’s going to get in most situations in life: people accommodating the most important of his needs (protecting him from his allergies) and nothing else.”
“It’s best for SIL to teach him to cope and manage his expectations now when he’s up against the gentlest possible situation for him to learn (someone who believes in his rather obscure allergy and graciously chooses to be accommodating, but not overly so).”
“Rather than her pig-headed insistence that everyone should cater to his needs, which isn’t going to serve him very well at all when he’s older.” – calliatom
“It is possible that SIL has done her best to explain it but her son is not capable of understanding. I didn’t see his age and neurodivergent is a very wide spectrum that could mean a lot of different things in terms of her son’s ability to understand the situation.”
“Which sucks. That’s sad and must be very hard for his parents as well, to see him unhappy and be unable to fix it (if they can’t).”
“But that is also the reality of the world, we can’t expect everyone else to never have things our kids can’t have.”
“It isn’t a fair expectation of OP’s daughter, who is a child herself.” – TheHatOnTheCat
“When I was a small kid in late 70’s Ohio, most people had never heard of allergies and were convinced that my family was senselessly cruel/stupid/overly dramatic when they were told that certain foods were forbidden to me and would kill me.”
“Several people (both adults and children) tried to trick me into eating allergens; one particular kid tried to force 4-year-old me to eat it…”
“My point in saying this isn’t ‘look at me,’ but rather that social situations for allergic people can be far worse than what’s outlined in this post.”
“The boy’s mother needs to remove her need to be the center of attention and recognize OP’s graciousness. I mean, in this case, it’s not about allergies, it’s all about her ego.” – Nire_bibi
“We can’t be with our kids 24/7, especially once they start school, and they have to learn how to be their own advocate because of this. Not to mention, if it’s an allergy they don’t get to grow out of, this will be something they deal with their whole lives, so it’s better to get used to it as early as they can.”
“It’s not just a matter of avoiding an allergen, it’s also helping them to mature into the adults they need to be one day and teaching them to be responsible for their own health because sadly, there are still a lot of jerks out there who don’t take food allergies seriously and think nothing about trying to feed someone an allergen to ‘prove they’re faking it.'” – MisforMisanthrope
Others pointed out that no one needed to cater to the son’s needs except his mother, either.
“If your coping strategy relies on other people conforming to your will, you need another coping strategy because that’s stupid and it will never work.”
“It’s really s**tty that not everybody gets dealt the same cards. It’s not your fault what issues you end up with, but it is your responsibility, and your parents’ responsibility, to arm you to bear that responsibility for the rest of your life.”
“You are not helping a child by refusing to let them engage with the real world and find useful strategies for managing it. When you are gone, the real world will be all that is left for them.” – Uncynical_Diogenes
“My child is on the spectrum and has multiple food allergies. If I taught them everyone has to pander to them as a top priority in every situation, I would be setting them up for pain and disappointment.”
“When you’re part of a family or community you should be inclusive. And this is exactly what OP did.”
“She informed her nephew’s mum there would be chocolate cake (allowing nephew’s mum to prepare him in advance), but she is also bringing an alternative for him so he is included in the celebration.”
“Inclusivity is about facilitating full access and participation in an activity or service. It’s not about dictating everyone else’s choices to your own preference.” – LedaKicksTheSwan
“They should be accommodated in that there should be some things they could eat, and they should be informed as to what they cannot eat, but that doesn’t mean every single thing should be directed to their food needs.” – bopperbopper
“It’s not like op was excluding him completely either. Her solution was the best she could do to give her child what she wants while providing an alternative for her nephew. Alternatively to different cakes, if she wanted, OP could opt for cupcakes in both vanilla and white chocolate.”
“OP’s child shouldn’t be expected to cater to her cousin’s allergy for a cake. It could breed resentment.” – RebeccaMCullen
“This kind of parenting drives me BATS**T! This child was not being excluded but the thing is, even if he were… well, that’s how it goes sometimes.”
“You can support children through disappointment and adversity, but you don’t do them any favors by shielding them from it.”
“No one is too delicate to hear, ‘Chocolate is Cousin’s favorite so that’s what we got for her, but Auntie Generous knows you’re allergic and got a special vanilla cake for you!'” – Hoistedonyrownpetard
“NTA. Just went to a birthday party with a little girl that has a dairy allergy and mine is very lactose intolerant. I made and brought a couple of dairy-free cupcakes and lunches for the two of them. The mom loves these two hanging out because she doesn’t have to worry about dairy at all with me.”
“No one was upset, they understand that dairy = pain. Obviously, this is to varying degrees.”
“That mom needs to teach her kid that not everything is about them. I developed a chocolate allergy when I was a kid. Sucks to suck. Don’t eat chocolate. Bring your own snack. It’s not the end of the world.”
“Also, I wasn’t going to mention it, but a big part of why I taught my daughter so young (other than teaching her to be independent) is because her father (my ex) still tries to give her mustard. We ended up in the hospital once when she was very little.”
“She needs to be able to tell her dad no. He says he forgets. She says he told her she isn’t really allergic. It’s a mess I’ve dealt with and she is safe for those who might be wondering. I don’t know his rationale there, but he has only ever proven he isn’t fit to be a parent for so many reasons.”
“So that is a large part of why my 5-year-old can turn down foods she cannot have.”
“Yes, it involved a lot of testing her in the store with different foods. Can you have this? She answers yes or no. I tell her if she can or cannot have it and why. She repeats it back. It sucked to do but was necessary.”
“Protect the children by educating the children. Don’t coddle them about everything or they will be defenseless.” – Happykittymeowmeow
While the subReddit could understand the mother’s concerns about her son feeling left out at any party like this communion reception, they also knew that it was in the son’s best interest to learn from an early age how to be around food that he could not eat and to advocate for his health.
Plus, the OP had done their due diligence to include their nephew in the celebration, while also meeting the needs of their own child. That was far more, as some Redditors pointed out, than many social gatherings would provide for the nephew in the future.