There is little more frustrating than a child’s hesitations when it comes to food.
Very often, children will simply flat out refuse to eat something based on the way it looks, smells, or even because of what it’s called.
Parents are therefore faced with a dilemma as to how to handle this situation, in a manner that is safe and healthy for their children.
Redditor wouldificouldxo thought they had just the right solution to when their daughter wouldn’t eat food placed in front of her, and claimed to not be hungry.
But the original poster (OP)’s husband had a very different view of discipline when it came to food, and wasn’t afraid to say so to the OP.
Wondering if their methods were as outrageous as the OP’s husband claimed them to be, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for letting my kid go to sleep without eating?”
The OP explained how they and their spouse each had children from previous marriages, and one fateful dinner exposed some fundamental differences in parenting styles.
“I recently remarried and now have my daughter (9) and my step daughter (10).”
“My husband is someone who believes in no food waste and in finishing everything on your plate whether you like it or not.”
“He believes it teaches children discipline, learning to do things you don’t like, and can help them find new things they like to eat.”
“We usually have about 2-3 dishes per meal as an option to eat.”
“My belief is if you’re not hungry you’re not hungry.”
“I let my daughter try out new things when we make them and if she decides she doesn’t like them then oh well, we can revisit the dish in a few months and retry.”
“Taste buds change.”
“Now the issue: I also have this habit of if my daughter decides she doesn’t want to eat anything on the plate she’s allowed to a.) make herself something she wants under my supervision or b.) go to bed.”
“A few weeks ago she decided she didn’t want to eat anything and asked if she could go to bed.”
“I told her yes and my husband was shocked.”
“He claimed I was using food as a punishment as I was letting her go to sleep hungry.”
“I explained that I would put her food in the fridge and if she got hungry throughout the night she was welcome to heat it up and eat it and/or if she didn’t want it and was still hungry she could wake me up and she could make herself a midnight snack.”
“He claimed I was reinforcing bad habits, midnight snack, and I was teaching her that going to bed hungry is better than learning to do what is asked of you.”
“Personally I don’t see how his last two point correlate.”
“Nonetheless I ask you all- AITA for letting her go to sleep without eating?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
The Reddit community agreed that there was nothing wrong with the OP’s parenting style, and she was not the a**hole for allowing their daughter to go to bed without eating.
Just about everyone agreed that the OP’s husband’s rules were far more dangerous than the OP’s, and it was he who was using food as a punishment, not the OP as he claimed.
“This is ridiculous.”
” Does your husband have a history of disordered eating or is he just obnoxiously strict & unyielding to the point of bad parenting?”
“‘Do what is asked of you’ as an excuse for forcing someone to eat when they don’t want to.”
“What a gross mindset, especially as a parent.”
“NTA, but your husband sure is.”- Motor_Crow4482
“He’s calling you out for using food as punishment, which you’re not even doing, but him using food as a disciplinary method is totally fine!”
“She just wasn’t hungry, she can eat later.”
“By the way, I’ve seen the result of the ‘finish everything on your plate’ policy on my boyfriend.”
“He once spent 3 hours on the diner table, told not to move until he finished something he couldn’t stomach.”
“Now that he’s an adult he’s the pickiest eater I’ve ever seen.”
“Because he was forced to eat things he hated and now he won’t try anything new, or things that contains an ingredient he hates.”
“Thankfully he’s getting better.”- Vixen7-9
“I was raised in the ‘you’re not leaving the table until you finish your plate’ household.”
“I’m not obese or overweight, but I have to consciously deal with my relationship with food because it’s incredibly damaged.”
“A good compromise would be having the kids choose what they want to eat before making dinner so they don’t have to opt for 4th or 5th thing that’s not on the table.”
“That would teach them the responsibility of ‘we chose this, mom made the effort to prepare it, now we should eat it.”- Admirable-Disaster03
“It’s pretty widely known that making kids finish what’s on their plate leads to kids who don’t listen to their body and hunger signals.”
“You are teaching your daughter to eat when she’s hungry.”
“Nothing more normal.”
“As long as she’s not using it to control the rest of the family’s meals, I think it’s great for kids to be able to think before they eat this way.”
“Difference of parenting.”
“One thing we have learned in marriage counseling is that you know what is best for your daughter and what has worked.”
“You call the shots.”
“Otherwise, room for resentment comes up really quickly.”
“If you disagree over stuff like this, talk about it away from kids, but ultimately it is what bio parent decides.”
“As a side note, dietitians and Dr’s told me to never force a child to eat when they say they are full or are not hungry.”
“Kids are really good at listening to their stomachs at this age and it will actually create a mindset of over eating and not listening to when your body says I am full.”
“I listened to that advice and my children stop eating when they are full.”
“They never get more than they can eat unless it is take away, then, they will eat it the next day.”
“My kids are fit and definitely not at risk of malnutrition nor unhealthy eating habits.”
“I also don’t punish my kids by making them go to bed if they don’t want to eat.”
“They sit at the table and chat though while everyone else eats.”
“Why punish someone for not being hungry?”
“They still have to help with chores and clean up though.”- usernameawesome1
“If your daughter isn’t hungry, she isn’t hungry.”
“Nobody should be forcing or compelling her to eat.”
“That’s how you create an unhealthy relationship with food.”
“Children need to learn to listen to their tummies.”-PJfanRI
“Finishing your plate is an awful tactic.”
“Full is full.”- noirevalier
“You need to do some soul searching to figure out how in the world you ended up married to a man who is so ideologically different from you and put your daughter in a potentially dangerous emotional situation.”
The OP later returned to give an update that they and their husband had a conversation regarding this issue and their different styles of parenting, while also coming to their husband’s defense.
“So I showed this post to my husband and we had a lengthy discussion about this particular parenting style of his.”
“We also discussed my parenting style, things he likes/doesn’t and discussed how we can raise the girls through one parenting technique so as not to create future conflict between them.”
“One thing I don’t like about reddit is the way everyone jumps to conclusions regarding people’s personality based off a single event.”
“No I will not be rethinking my marriage because of a single incident, and no my husband is not controlling.”
“We had this discussion much after the kids were asleep and we often discuss things on our mind regarding the other’s parenting to have complete transparency.”
“I took a lot of advice from this sub and am glad to say my husband and I will be spending the next few months combining our ways to ensure a proper blended family and prevent any issues.”
“Also to the people thinking I am starving my daughter and/or punishing her or promoting unhealthy eating- one incident doesn’t define her eating habits.”
“Thank you for your help everyone and please feel free to ask me any questions or offer any more advice!”
It seems fairly clear that neither the OP or their husband would ever dream of harming their children.
And it must be remembered, seeing the difference of parenting styles would likely come as a shock to both of them, after raising each their children individually for close to a decade.
Luckily, it seems that they are both level headed, adaptable people, and will have no trouble finding common ground on this issue.