Redditor NorthCarolina35533 has a precocious stepson named Joey.
Because he has a food allergy, the nine-year-old’s father prepares his meals for him whenever they visit the Redditor’s parents.
On their recent trip, Joey’s “smart mouth” got him into trouble after he got into a dispute with his grandmother.
The Redditor visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for not grounding my stepson for not eating my mom’s food and talking back?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“This might sound weird but my stepson ‘Joey’ talks like a grown man. He’s 9 but oh my he’s such a gentleman.”
“He has a smart mouth and talks in a witty manner. He has a personality of a 30-year-old. Admittedly, he takes after his father and picks on A LOT of what his father says.”
“Another thing I noticed is that he tends to act protective of his dad. How do I explain it?”
“For example when my husband introduced me to him first time he told me to take care of his dad and not make him cry. My response was to laugh. But felt a bit intimidated honestly lol.”
“Joey brings his own meals that his dad cooks for him when we visit my parents on the weekend because of his allergies.”
“Mom complained about it saying we were spoiling him rotten by letting him disrespect table manners and not eating what’s presented at the table.”
“I explained that Joey isn’t doing this because he’s a picky kid but he has food allergies and intolerance so she should understand that. But every single time we visit, she’d give us grief because of it.”
“Last weekend we visited for dinner and there were formal guests. Joey brought his own meal and joined us to eat at the table.”
“Mom saw his plate, got up from her seat and said ‘no, you don’t. You’re eating what I cooked tonight mister!’ my husband gave her a look.”
“I told her to stop but she said she got this then proceeded to grab Joey’s plate. Joey moved it out of her reach and said no.”
“I said ‘mom leave him alone’ but she threw a fit and lectured me about how Joey is being spoiled and ‘will be fine’ if he ate what she put on the table.”
“She tried to convince Joey to hand her his plate but he refused. She tried guilting him saying grandma will be upset if he didn’t eat what she cooked and will cry because of it.”
“He told her in strict voice ‘cry me a river, build a bridge, and get over it lady! I’m keeping my dinner!’ She was shocked, but everybody else started laughing.”
“My husband’s face turned red and he just paused. Mom walked into the kitchen and was so upset.”
“She lost it after the guests left and said Joey was behaving like a spoiled brat with his God-awful, slick attitude and talk back nonsense.”
“She demanded I step up, get a grip and start showing him consequences by giving him a punishment for what he said/did.”
“I told her he has allergy and can not eat her food, period… nothing is gonna change that. She got more upset and claimed I avoid punishing Joey just to please my husband.”
“She literally cried saying she got embarrassed in front of guests and I should punish Joey for his attitude towards her but I refused. My husband wanted to apologize but I saw no need for it.”
“She hasn’t been speaking to us ever since.”
Strangers online were asked to declare one of the following:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
Many Redditors said the OP was not the a**hole in the situation, and grandma was not spared from criticism for her actions.
“‘I told her he has allergy and can not eat her food, period.'”
“I’m assuming that Grandma doesn’t cater to his food needs. I’d just stop visiting Grandma if she’s upset about him not eating food that can harm him.”
“If she wants to see him, she can meet him at your house where he can eat food that he is comfortable with.” – CakeisaDie
“Sounds like the kind of Grandma who’d feed him something that he is allergic to on purpose ‘just to see.'”
“But grandma IS right, you do need to show the spoiled brat that there are consequences for their actions, she just needs to understand she is the brat, no more visits to Grandma’s!” – DuckyMcQuackatron
“Yup. ‘He is obviously faking allergies for attention, let’s slip a little tomato in this casserole, or maybe some ground peanuts in this sauce. I know I am right and then I will definitely expose his lies!'”
“She is probably the type to try and slip meat into vegan meals too, just because.” – HonPhryneFisher
“People do this. I know because I have food allergies and have been to the hospital at least twice from people who think food allergies aren’t real.”
“She should never take him to that house again or see Grandma because Grandma might be a psycho.” – tulipz10
“NTA at all. Food allergies are nothing to f**k around with, and your mother needs to understand that.”
“She wouldn’t listen the first, or second, or third time both you and your stepson said no, and then she tried to emotionally manipulate joey. This is 100% on her and she should honestly be ashamed.” – LongIslandIcedBree
“NTA She embarrassed herself. Joey sounds like a legend.”
“Good on him for standing up for himself. Although that is actually your task, not his.” – coconutandpotato
If people had any criticism towards the OP, it was that they should not have been repeatedly taking Joey to see his grandma for dinners, especially when she continued berating him for not eating her cooking.
Overall, Redditors thought the OP was right in not punishing Joey for his rejoinder at the dinner table.
They also emphasized that food allergies are no joke and that one’s dietary restrictions should be taken very seriously.