As a parent, it’s important to support a child’s growing passions, especially if it’s something they enjoy, can use to relax, and might even see a future in someday.
But when there’s a lot of arguing going on in the household, especially among siblings, sometimes parents have to make tough calls, and it isn’t always the right one, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor RealisticPeach8977, for instance, was pleased her teen son had found passion and comfort in cooking and baking, and she enjoyed seeing the recipes he often made after school.
But when he began to constantly argue with his siblings about sharing his culinary creations with them, the Original Poster (OP) decided it was time to choose between the ongoing fights and the kitchen escapades.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for calling my son inconsiderate?”
The OP enjoyed seeing her son’s passion for cooking grow.
“I (46 Female) have twins (19 Male) and another son (16 Male).”
“My younger son loves to cook and bake. To him, it’s his source of relaxation. Alfredo, burgers, pizza, you name it. Heck, even a whole cake, he can make it.”
“Everyone who’s met him knows he’s a fantastic cook.”
But the OP noticed her son preferred for it to be a solo activity.
“However, he prefers to only cook for himself and gets really annoyed when my twins walk in on him cooking and ask him to make their food as well.”
“He’ll end up doing it but he does it very begrudgingly and usually gives them a much smaller portion than his own serving, which my twins don’t like.”
“They both have jobs, and will sometimes use their job money to buy us all a little fast food. So they find it really upsetting how their younger brother never returns the favor by primarily cooking for himself.”
The sibling arguments recently intensified.
“The other day, neither of my twins had class and weren’t really in the mood for the food that we had in the house.”
“My son came back from school and decided to make himself some banana pudding.”
“When my twins asked for some as well, he told them they could just make it themselves and the ingredients were all still there.”
“My son put the banana pudding in the fridge and went to go take a shower while it was chilling.”
“When he came back down, he saw that my twins had eaten it all and this really upset him.”
“When he told me about the situation, I confronted the twins, to which they said it was really rude for him to only make something for himself, knowing that they were hungry as well, and like he said, he could always make some more.
The OP made a tough decision.
“I told my son that while they shouldn’t have eaten his food that they were right, and he was very inconsiderate.”
“My son replied that it’s not fair how he gets back from school and is expected to make food for his older siblings. He pointed out that they can just get a cookbook and learn how to make things for themselves.”
“I told my son that if he’s not going to cook for everybody, then he can’t cook anymore.”
“He’s been pretty moody ever since.”
“Obviously, his brothers shouldn’t have eaten his food, but it takes no effort to just make a larger portion of the food he’s cooking so that everybody can have it.”
“My husband thinks I’m in the right, but I’m really not happy with how things are right now between my children.”
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 saw three offenses: favoritism, ruined passion, and poor distribution of labor.
“This is intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation.”
“Your 16-year-old cooked and baked because it’s something that he inherently loves to do.”
“But when his passion is pressured into making food for the twins or the rest of the family, he’s less joyful in the task.”
“You’re snuffing out a light whether you know it or not. If this keeps up, your 16-year-old is no longer going to find happiness in cooking.” – Akot_elderm
“YTA. We now know who the golden child(ren) are. You have just taken a hobby that is used for relaxation and made it the worst thing ever to your youngest.”
“Now he won’t WANT to cook/bake anything, at least until he’s out of your house permanently (which may happen the moment he can after turning 18), because it will be forced on him and there is NOTHING relaxing about being forced to do something against your will even if it’s something you enjoy doing.”
“Worse, you allow him to be bullied (and probably take part yourself) into making food for others/everyone when someone comes into the kitchen and sees him making himself a meal for one. Tell your twins that they have four working hands between them (and also four legs and feet) so use them to actually make their own food. It doesn’t matter if it’s as good as your youngest makes, it’s food and fills the hollow spot.”
“Also, how the h**l are your twins going to survive once they move out to start lives of their own…oh, wait they’re the golden kids, so they will always be allowed to live at home and be catered to hand and foot.” – ToriBethATX
“‘I told my son that if he’s not going to cook for everybody then he can’t cook anymore.’ YTA.”
“You are not entitled to have your 16-year-old cook for the whole family every time he wants to cook. If this is a hobby that he enjoys, good for him. You and your other children are not an automatic beneficiaries.”
“And your twins eating all of his pudding? Major AH move. Did you make them make another batch to replace the one they ate or did you just let it slide and go on to punish 16-year-old? Give your head a shake.”
“If you want him to cook for you, then maybe you should assign a night of the week that each of your kids is responsible to feed the family, whether than be cooking or bringing home food. Then it’s fair.” – apothekryptic
“I like to draw and paint and make art! Nobody expects me to make them something just because they walked into the room! Other people make food just for themselves and are never expected to share with everyone else!”
“The entitlement on those twins is something else. YTA, and so is your husband, OP. Stop forcing your poor son to be the one who has to feed your entitled children and either feed them yourself or teach them how to feed themselves.” – NightWitch65
“I hope he goes no contact after he graduates, to be honest. You can tell from his response that this has gone from a hobby that he enjoys to his d**n parents expecting him to be their personal chef, with no regard for what he wants at all.” – Hazel2468
But others agreed the son needed to learn to be considerate of the people around him.
“Going against the grain with NTA.”
“He is using ingredients bought for the household. It might be different if it was once in awhile just for himself, but he’s being kind of a jerk to cook for only one person in a household.”
“His parents aren’t telling him he has to cook dinner all the time, but if he’s going to he should make enough for the family. It’s the family’s household budget going into this. The twins also return the favor when they’re bringing home takeaway.”
“They were also AHs for eating all his pudding when he already told them no.”
“This just doesn’t feel sustainable. When you’re part of a family and a household, you can’t ignore that fact. Again, they’re not saying he HAS to cook or be responsible for dinner. If he CHOOSES to, he should just be thoughtful of the household.” – Housing99
“All these people who voted YTA don’t understand what family means. The mom is giving her son a valuable lesson. Everyone is jumping to conclusion that she is making her son their personal chef and taking away his hobby when she actually wants him to think of others.” – AeCGEshei
“I consider it pretty rude to only get food for yourself if someone also wanted some…? Yeah, they were AHs for eating the pudding, but for f**k’s sake, they’re not asking him to cook on demand but just asking him to make some more of what he’s already cooking.”
“I get that cooking involves his labor, but it doesn’t take much effort to just make a bigger portion most of the time. I had that kind of attitude toward helping my family too when I was 16, and I’m embarrassed now how selfish it made me appear.” – jacxf
“I live alone and cook for one person, me. It’s actually not that difficult to size up portions when cooking. In fact, I rarely cook only a single portion.”
“Now, if it’s something like a grilled cheese, they shouldn’t expect him to make that for them. Making more than one sandwich involves twice the effort. Not to mention, who doesn’t know how to make a grilled cheese? At least they should be willing to learn.”
“But making multiple servings of pasta with Alfredo sauce doesn’t take any more effort than making a single serving.”
“Throwing a pizza in the oven and not sharing it? Or making a whole cake or batch of pudding and not sharing? Even burgers, does he take a single serving of ground beef out of a packet and make a burger or something? Or a single frozen burger out of the freezer that he then cooks alone in a pan? Again, not really any more work to make more.”
“I think OP is an AH for playing favorites and forbidding the kid from cooking if he doesn’t share. I think the twins sound like demanding jerks who probably act entitled due to parental favoritism. But it sounds like there are cases where the kid was cooking something he could have shared and didn’t, and that doesn’t sit right with me, either.”
“Oh, and by the way, I know plenty of people who pursue hobbies and do actually enjoy sharing them with others (or at least don’t mind using their skills to help family and friends).”
“I do cross-stitch and use my skills to make gifts for other people. I have hats and scarves from friends who knit or crochet. I have friends who’ve painted art for me.”
“And I’m a professional writer. I’ve never complained when I’ve been asked to proofread my nephew’s college essays or look at a letter my sister is writing to her administration. I’ve even written letters for my attorney’s father after his secretary died.”
“And I’ll be enjoying Easter Sunday dinner at my chef cousin’s house. That’s what you do for people you care about: share your gifts.” – _Wims_
The subReddit was left shaking its head at what the OP thought was a good idea and what could leave her youngest son feeling passionless in the kitchen. Just because someone enjoys cooking and is good at it does not mean that their talents need to be gatekept in favor of feeding the entire family first.
It’s conditions like this that lead to resentment and potentially going no contact at the first opportunity, not to mention switching to ordering takeout all the time instead of preparing meals at home.