Feeding children a healthy diet and implementing healthy habits is a priority for many parents.
However for Redditor CaterpillarOk2828 and their ex, their children’s diets is someone a point of contention.
The Original Poster (OP) eats a more traditional diet consisting of both meat and vegetables.
However, the OP’s ex and new husband follow strict vegetarian diets, and they want the kids to do the same.
This drove the OP to subReddit “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA).
“AITA for refusing to maintain a vegetarian diet when my kids are in my home?”
They went on to explain.
“My ex and I have 2 sons that are 6 and 8. We split time 50/50, they’re with me 2 weeks a month, then with her the other 2.”
“A couple of years ago, she began dating this guy “Saul” and they got married a few months back. I knew Saul was a vegetarian and my ex became one as well about a year into dating him.”
“Still, she would cook meat for the boys. Once Saul moved in after the wedding, he said he didn’t feel comfortable with any meat in the house at all.”
“I didn’t see much issue with this at first. Their home, they can do as they please. All I care about are my boys being fed and remaining healthy, which they are.”
“Then my ex became upset that our sons are not following a vegetarian diet. At her house, they have no choice, really. But my wife and I serve a variety of foods.”
“There’s not meat every night, but at least 3-4 times a week, you can guarantee a dish will include it.”
“If the boys stated they wanted to become vegetarians, I would respect it and find a way to make sure they were maintaining a healthy diet. However, neither of them want to be.”
“I’ve heard that at my ex’s, they complain that they can’t eat meat. Even if they go out, my ex and Saul will only let them order vegetarian items.”
“In the beginning, I did try to explain different houses have different rules but eventually just let them vent.”
“I also told my ex that this is her circus to handle, because she and Saul are making the rule. Last week was my birthday, so my wife took me and the boys to my favorite steakhouse.”
“They went back to their mom’s on Sunday afternoon.”
“She sent me a long rant text stating that the boys were requesting burgers and when she said no, they said ‘but dad let us have steak last week’.”
“She asked that I stopped serving meat in my house and letting them order it at restaurants. I said I wasn’t going to do that unless they told me that they wanted to follow a vegetarian diet.”
“She claims that I am making her job harder. When I told her that she’s making her own job harder, she got mad and called me an a**hole.”
“The people I’ve spoken to are split. All agree that I should be able to feed my kids whatever (within reason) but some feel I should try to make my ex’s life easier.”
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
“NTA, and no do not think of making ex’s life easier. Think instead of the children. They don’t want to be vegetarians, and there’s no good reason for you to force it on them.”
“If ex wants arbitrary rules, you’ve let her have them. There’s no way you have to descend to her level when the kids are with you.” – extinct_diplodocus
:I am divorced. We share 50/50 custody.”
“In order to have our divorce finalized, the county that we live in made both my wife and I attend parenting classes.”
“At first I was a little perturbed. But having gone through them, I am so glad that my tax dollars are being spent on that.”
“This food example is straight textbook out of the classes. Food is one of the most common conflicts that divorced parents have in relation to their children.”
“The metaphor that we were given is, ‘Parent in your box. And let your ex parent in their box.’”
“Feed the kids what you feed them when they are with you.”
“If they grow up and start cooking for themselves, you can absolutely offer to buy groceries that they can use to cook vegetarian meals if it is important to them to eat vegetarian meals when they are with you.”
“Your wife has no leg to stand on when it comes to what you feed them.”
“Just as you would have no leg to stand on when it comes to how many pillows they have in their beds at her house. Or what kind of shampoo they use when they are with their mom.” – Euphoric-Recording64
“NTA, your ex is being unreasonable. She can’t force vegetarianism on her children all of a sudden.”
“Even if you give in they have other ways to access meat and she will just make it more appealing to them.” – Accurate-Ad-4905
“So NTA. Honestly it sounds like this is all coming from the new husband mostly, and your ex is not standing up for your kids.”
“While it might be his and her CHOICE to be vegetarian, they are not giving your sons a choice in the matter.”
“However, you are their father. You get a say in how they are raised. And if she wants to force vegetarianism on them in her house without you getting a say in it, fine that’s her choice.”
“But then she then doesn’t get dictate how they eat in your house. She made her bed and now she can lie in it.” – SugarPriestess
“NTA, at all.”
“She’s shacked up with a vegetarian and drank the koolade, and now she’s turning into the stereotypical vegetarian that everyone knows and hates.”
“You’re completely right, you’re not making her life harder, she is, by dictating what her kids eat cos her new partner is into it and she’s apparently easily swayed.”
“You’re not doing anythng wrong, she has no more right to demand you don’t server them meat than you have to demand she serves them meat.” – Gazpacho_Catapult
“NTA If a vegetarian diet was a mutual parenting decision when you were married then she would reasonably expect you to maintain that for the children afterward.”
“In this case she made life changes after your divorce, and it’s unreasonable for her to expect you to follow her life choices in raising your kids.” – Universal_Cognition
“NTA As a vegan, I think the best way to make your kids eat nothing but burgers for the rest of their is to try to force them into a meatless diet.”
“They’re just going to eat meat the first chance they get and then spend the rest of their lives eating their way into an early heart attack. She’s going about this all wrong.” – Bloodrayna
“The kids shouldn’t be vegetarian because she married a veggie. That’s a bad sign.”
“The dude that moved in shouldn’t get to dictate the entire house. Your ex is an a**hole. Your ex made her own life more difficult. This has nothing to do with you. NTA.” – slendermanismydad
“NTA. She has no right to control and police what you do with and how you raise your kids during your parenting time, as long as you are a safe and appropriate parent.” – Old-Fox-3027
“NTA, if all you were feeding them all the time was meat and potatoes and pasta, and she was just trying to make sure they got some vegetables in there too, that would be different.”
“But she doesn’t seem to be concerned about their actual health or nutrition.”
“Forcing a child to adopt a restrictive and unnecessary diet is cruel and borderline abusive. And I say that as a vegetarian myself.” – Scarlett_Fairchild
“NTA My dad’s a vegetarian, and pre-divorce we would have meat (along with “experiment” green pasta) fairly regularly.”
“After the split, there isn’t any meat in his house but we can eat it around him, and the thought of him trying to influence what we eat at our mother’s house is ridiculous.”
“Making her life easier would mean at most explaining why your kids can’t have meat at their mom’s house, but that could easily backfire if they interpret it as ‘dad’s treat only’.”
“So really, the onus is on her to explain her rules.” – bs_pal
“She is forcing them to be vegetarian. Or trying to anyway.”
“Just tell the boys they can have meat at your house anytime they like. Keep doing what you’re doing. Ensure they have a balanced diet in your home and ignore her on this issue.” – Mundane_Bike_912
“The main point here for me is that your sons do not want to be vegetarian. They request meat at her house, try to order meat dishes at restaurants, and happily eat it when they’re with you.”
“They’re old enough to know their own preferences and that should be respected here by their mother. You are just following their wishes. NTA” – Lizkimo
The jury has spoken.
As long as the kids are well fed, they should get a say in what’s on their places.
We hope these parents can meat in the middle.