While more people are being diagnosed with food allergies, it seems there are still many people who do not take them as seriously as they should.
Unfortunately, that sometimes includes the person with the allergies, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
When Redditor Several_Beginning_87 caught his nine-year-old son eating birthday cake at a friend’s party, despite having a serious dairy allergy, he decided to ground him.
But when his son lashed out at him, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he had chosen the right punishment.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for grounding my son after he ate birthday cake that he knew he wasn’t supposed to eat?”
The OP made plans for his son to be able to attend a birthday party, despite his allergies.
“I (48 Male) have a son (9 Male) who has a severe dairy allergy.”
“Recently my buddy Mike (48 Male) hosted a birthday party for his youngest daughter (10 Female) that my son was invited to due to the two being best friends.”
“Mike knows of my son’s dairy allergy and the fact that it is life-threatening, and because I could not be with my son to make sure he didn’t get very sick, I gave Mike some instructions on what to do if he goes into anaphylactic shock.”
“I also asked him to make sure my son didn’t eat any of the birthday cake.”
“I even made special cupcakes, so my son wouldn’t feel excluded.”
Then the OP received a terrible call during the birthday party.
“Well, a couple of hours into the party after I dropped him off, I got a call from the hospital saying my son was recently admitted due to anaphylactic shock.”
“I was panicking and immediately drove to the hospital to make sure my son was okay.”
“After I confirmed that he was awake and that it was caught in time, I asked Mike about what happened.”
“He said he caught my son stuffing himself with the birthday cake and refused to eat the cupcakes that were made for him.”
The OP tried to discuss what happened with his son.
“Once we got home and all was well, I sat down to have a talk with my son. I asked him why he ate the cake he knew he couldn’t have.”
“He said, ‘Well, the cupcakes looked like s**t, and the cake looked better.'”
“He didn’t even seem phased by the fact that he nearly died.”
“I was upset that he used such language to describe my baking and that he purposefully put his life in danger.”
“I grounded him for the rest of the week and said that he needs to take the time to learn that putting his life in danger was not worth it.”
“He kept protesting this, calling me an id**t and a [c-word].”
“For those who may ask, my son did not learn this language from me, he learned it from ‘Call of Duty.’ His mom lets him play, and no matter how many rules I try to instill about cursing and playing games like that, they get immediately undone when he goes to his mom’s house.”
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 were immediately concerned about the child’s emotional reaction to what happened.
“This is kind of crazy and her son needs some help. This is not normal or even a normal reaction to what he’s been through and if I would have called my mother a [c-word], I question if I would have lived to tell the tale.”
“One of my aunts has some allergies and at one point was also so anemic that her doctor ordered her to have iron injection supplements, almost like dialysis, except it was only once per week over the course of a few months and took about 1 hour (and if I’m remembering correctly they chased it with a saline bag).”
“My aunt was in her 40s and the first time they gave her iron she went into anaphylactic shock due to being allergic to one of the anti-coagulation or other ‘ingredients’ in the iron. Luckily the place doing it mostly also tended to chemo patients so they were well-equipped nurses and other staff to deal with it and they caught it quick enough she didn’t even end up needing hospitalization.”
“Still, she was terrified of getting the iron again even though they sourced one that was supposedly safe. Just recalling her throat closing and blacking out.”
“So in order to make her feel eased I drove her, each time, and they (being a chemo center) gave her Dilaudid about 15-20 minutes prior to the iron which seems insane looking back on it now, but it sure ‘calmed her down,’ and she never turned it down even after several safe rounds of iron but she was still legitimately terrified as well, you could see it.”
“Something is definitely concerning about OP’s son’s reaction to all of this.” – Puzzled-Passion7255
“I am allergic to Shellfish and I’m terrified of going into anaphylactic shock. I’ve worked in ICCU before and seen Tracheostomies performed on patients in anaphylactic shock who could not breathe due to inflammation and swelling.”
“Does this kid not fully understand he could die?!!!” – Terrible-Cost-7741
“My son was about 2 when we realized he was allergic to eggs, and I drilled it into him so much that he knew to tell people, ‘I can’t have eggs they make me sick.'”
“He could clearly tell people that by the time he was 4 and he wasn’t deathly allergic.”
“If at 9 he doesn’t truly get that he can die if he eats dairy, then he definitely needs therapy and should not be allowed to be anywhere without someone watching his every move until he does, and at this time, he clearly cannot be allowed to.” – Chance-Ad-9952
“His lack of concern is worrisome indeed. I had my first anaphylactic reaction a couple of years ago, and I still sometimes wake up in a cold sweat from the trauma of it.”
“There’s something deeper going on with this kiddo.” – TheRedBanshee
“I don’t think OP is an AH, especially since this is about a life and death situation that the son put himself in, but we have to think from the mindset of a 9-year-old.”
“So I agree son needs therapy, but at the same time, I think OP needs to take a different approach.”
“Rather than taking offense to how the cupcakes that OP made were ugly, be more like:”
“‘Yes, I understand they weren’t the prettiest, but they were meant to protect you. You can’t have the same things (since this might be another reason the child wanted the cake) as the other kids. You have these blockers that don’t allow you to eat certain things without hurting you. Like cake will hurt you due to these blockers. And we don’t want you getting hurt and ending up in the hospital again.'”
“I just don’t think grounding him to acknowledge the severity will get the message through, dumbing down what can happen and therapy will.”
“Also, for people who might say this language is too dumbed down for a 9-year-old need to recognize that the kid literally ate something that he knew he was allergic to, or didn’t grasp that he was allergic to.”
“So, the kid’s mental capacity may not be the same level as yours at that age or your children’s since he isn’t grasping it…” – Material_Cellist4133
Others were also concerned about the child’s use of expletives.
“Can we just acknowledge that it is not normal for a 9-year-old kid to feel comfortable calling a parent an ‘id**t’ or a ‘[c-word]’?”
“I feel like this is being glossed over.”
“(Insert possible caveat for being British or Aussie, but I still don’t know if it’s typical at that age.)”
“My dad would have grounded me for months if I had dared to do that.” – rlikesbikes
“I’m British and barely knew what the f-word was at age 9 (and I really need to stop using it before my 2-year-old nephew starts using it…). I’ve called one person the c-word in my entire life, and I was a sight older than 9. It was my sister and we barely spoke for 5 months afterward.”
“If I’d called my mum an id**t, let alone a c-word, at 9, I think I’d still be working off the after-effects.” – 172116
“I’m Scottish, and my parents would have *description of bannable things* if I’d ever uttered that word as a kid, let alone directed it at one of them.”
“H**l, my Dad, who’s Scottish and 3rd generation Army, still half-whispers the word when he’s quoting someone else, and I could count on my fingers the number of times in my 42 years that I’ve heard him use it outside of the standard Glaswegian greeting of friends and younger brothers.” – StJudesDespair
“I knew swear words at 9, but I definitely was not allowed to direct them at people, least of all my parents. Every time I see a post with a prepubescent kid who swears like an Australian sailor, it makes me wonder if the parents actually do any meaningful parenting other than keeping the kid alive.” – Yukimor
“It’s pretty clear the language is being used to hurt OP. Regardless of the words being used, the intent here directed at someone trying to protect him when he is old enough to understand what is going on is disturbing.” – Born_Ad8420
A few also wondered about the possibilities of impulse control or self-harm.
“To be fair, he’s 9 and living in a culture that pathologically insists that everyone’s dietary allergies are fake. It’s entirely possible that he’s just struggling to process a lot of competing pressures and handling it poorly.” – Hekili808
“I’ve seen adult diabetics gorge on sweets that they know are going to make them sick. I’ve also seen a person with celiac disease sporting massive blisters on her arms/hands from eating half a loaf of sourdough bread. She was in her 40s.”
“It’s impulse control, or more accurately, the lack of it. The kid doesn’t have it yet.” – sowhat4
“Your son needs therapy, he’s obviously feeling excluded about being different from the other kids and needs to work through this with a professional.”
“Until you can trust him to be mentally stable enough not to actively try and kill himself, you keep him grounded.” – harasume
The subReddit didn’t see any issue with the OP grounding his son for what happened, but they were worried about the issue with eating off-limits foods went deeper than the grounding would address.
While some thought this was willful rebellion, others were concerned it could be a sign of something worse, like self-harm or impulse control, both of which would need to be addressed with more than a standard at-home punishment.