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Parent Called Out For Making Their Teen Kids Spend Their Own Money If They Want Junk Food

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Most parents would agree that teaching kids the value of money is important. For one parent on Reddit, making their three teenagers fund their own voracious appetites for junk food seemed like the perfect opportunity for this lesson.

But after their daughter and some other family members criticized them for the move, they weren’t so sure about how they were handling things. So they went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.

The Original Poster (OP), who goes by rufusandyogi on the site, asked:

“AITA for making my kids buy their own junk food?”

They explained:

“I have three teenagers, M[ale] 17, F[emale] 16, M15. They eat like a plague of locusts. Any time there is a treat food they are right onto it, I try to hide it sometimes but when my partner and I try to have something nice after dinner they hear the wrapper and are right onto it.”

“I used to buy snacks for them, but it cost a fortune and would only last a day or two, not the whole week and forget about anything a bit nicer or more expensive for us. All of my kids have casual jobs and earn at least $150 per week. We have instituted a rule that they buy their own junk food.”

“My boys are happy with this arrangement. They keep the snacks in a sealed tub in their rooms (we don’t want mice) and label their drinks in the fridge. For four of us the arrangement is working well and the boys have discovered just how much all this crap costs.”

“My daughter keeps ranting at me that it’s our job to feed them, why does she have to pay for all her own food and I just want her to starve.”

“I have a pantry and fridge full of breakfast (sugary cereal like coco pos is considered junk and I expect them to buy it, I have cornflakes and muesli for them), and lunch foods and they get a healthy tea each evening, the pantry is full of ingredients if they want to bake, with the understanding that what ever they make is for the household.”

“My daughter thinks I’m the arsehole, her friends and my mum agree with her but other parents wish they had thought of it. AITA?”

People on Reddit were then asked to judge who is in the wrong in this scenario based on the following categories:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

And they were pretty much unanimously on OP’s side and thought their daughter was out of line.

“NTA. Yes, it is your job to feed them. And you are doing that.”

“Your daughter is simply pissed that you’re not buying the junk anymore. But she is delusional (as many teens are) in thinking that you some obligation or legal duty to provide her with junk food. As long as she is getting meal, you are doing your job.”

“If she wants the extras, then she is welcome to pay for them.”Disastrous-Nail-640

“I think it’s actually really health for teenagers to start pay for “extras” (junk food is absolutely an extra). It gives them a health understanding of cost and responsibility with money. It’s important to teach teenagers health spending habits and understanding cost of extras on their income.”bgreen134

“NTA. I actually think this is a genius idea – the healthy food is free, and the junk food is discretionary.”

“To be honest, this is how I grocery shop as an adult. If I’m trying to save $ on groceries, the junk food is what goes.”

“You’re actually teaching your kids two valuable lessons here: how to eat well, and how to budget.”Groundbreaking_Mess3


“A plague of locusts has me cracking up. I have 4 kids. F12, M12, M10 & M10. The amount that they can eat is insane.”MAnnie3283

“NTA. Not only is she and her friends delusional, but is anyone surprised grandma agrees with her? Tell grandma to pay for it. But if she does, she has to do it with all three. Let’s see how quick she learns to mind her business.”SheJuan01

“This wasn’t even a formal “rule” in my house when I lived with my parents, but there was an unspoken understanding that once I was working, anything extra I wanted,, I had to pay for. And that was completely reasonable to me.”

“They also had the rule as long as I (and my sisters) were in college/trade school trying to better ourselves, they also paid our phone/cars/insurance bills. And if we wanted extra we still had to work to pay it ourselves.”

“I don’t understand the concept of paying for EVERYTHING for your (working age) children, especially nonessentials like junk food.”lady_of_the_forest

“My mom never bought junk food. Once I started working, I would buy soda for myself and snacks with no issue. I was also responsible for 75% of the car insurance. There’s nothing wrong with what my mom did or OP. The privileges in life are just that.”

“I think if I were OP I’d be taking daughter to volunteer on her Saturday so she can appreciate what she does have.”apollo22519

“…NTA we do the exact same thing. Well our kids are younger, but if we have takeaway for dinner or Friday night candy of course we pay. But if they want to eat junk going out with friends or when we are out shopping, they pay for their own stuff. I think it is completely fair. And gosh yes teenagers can eat you out of the house!!!”sunshinepipper


“They have access to food. If they don’t want to eat that or cook it that’s up to them, but clearly they won’t starve. If they want to purchase junk food they’d prefer, I think that’s totally fair they pay for it given it’s “on top” of the household food, with the express understanding that nobody else can eat it.”

“It’s also telling your sons have been okay with it but not daughter. That tells me it’s not an unreasonable rule but rather she simply wishes to bypass it.”BoomtheBear86

Hopefully OP’s daughter can get past this and learn something from it.

Written by John Sundholm

John Sundholm is a writer, content producer and performer originally from Michigan. His writing has also appeared on YourTango, Delish and Medium, and he has produced content for NBC, The New York Times and The CW, among others. When not working, he can be found tripping over his own feet on a hiking trail while singing Madonna songs to ward off lurking bears.