Everybody has a dietary issue these days.
Going out to eat or going to someone’s house for even a quick snack can be more difficult than you think.
Friends have fought because of it.
Waiters have cried over it.
Office parties imploded thanks to it.
Marriages have even fallen apart.
And that’s not embellishment.
So what does one do as a parent when your child wants to eat against your beliefs?
Case in point…
Redditor Lucky_Grass7069 wanted to discuss his experience and get some feedback. So naturally, he came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.
“AITA for giving my son non-vegan food behind my wife’s back?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“I am 32 M[ale] and my wife is 33 F[emale].”
“We have been married for eight years and have a 12-year-old son together.”
“About six years ago, my wife decided to go vegan.”
“She was sent the documentary ‘Dominion’ by a vegan friend of hers and ever since has said nonvegan food is ‘revolting’ and refuses to eat it.”
“After a long conversation, I agreed to go vegetarian and be vegan in the house and around her, which she was happy with.”
“She also decided our son should be vegan, which after seeing a dietician, I also agreed with.”
“Things have been fine with this arrangement until a few months ago when I began finding wrappers from non-vegan candy and even burgers from McDonald’s in my son’s school bag.”
“Which he had been buying with chore money.”
“I had a conversation with my son, and he confessed he felt lonely and excluded eating vegan around his friends and that they always had much better candy than he did, and it wasn’t fair.”
“I decided I didn’t want him spending his pocket money on snacks and throwing out the vegan snacks we actually brought him instead of buying games, etc.”
“It made no sense, but I also know the way my wife feels about nonvegan products.”
“So, I began buying my son what he wanted on our way to football practice instead.”
“Long story short, my wife recently found out what has been going on and completely flipped out.”
“She called me an animal abuse enabler and a few other names and said I was corrupting our son.”
“Now she is not speaking to me. Our son panicked and told her I had bought the snacks for him, and he didn’t know they weren’t vegan.”
“I don’t blame him for that, he just doesn’t want to be in trouble with Mom.”
The OP was left to wonder,
Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole.
“NTA. I think my answer, at this point, would be, ‘Our son is old enough to decide what he wants to eat and what his dietary preferences are.'”
“‘If we put him into a situation where he feels he has to hide things from us, that’s on us.'”
“If your wife is confronting him about this in any kind of intimidating way or trying to make him feel guilty with the same phrases she’s using with you.”
“I would prioritize your son and his needs and well-being.”
“S**t like this can cause a lot of problems.” ~ SeekingBeskar
“I agree. She is trying to bully everyone with her choice.”
“Does she forget most of her life eating animals?”
“Now she wants everyone to do what she wants.”
“Yes, putting people in a position to lie is also bullying.” ~ Admirable_Remove6824
“I think we’re also forgetting this is a 12-year-old boy.”
“Anybody who has spent time around a growing boy knows that they eat nonstop, literally they can eat an entire roasted chicken in a day and still be looking for food.”
“I know plenty of kids are vegetarian and fine, but that’s because they choose to be.”
“Having a kid walking around feeling hungry and unsatisfied all the time is borderline abuse.”
“And I’m saying this as a vegetarian of 15 years who fights for animal rights.” ~ CynicallyCyn
“It’s hard to get all you need at that age, it would seem.”
“Especially playing sports.”
“Worked with a guy doing construction.”
“He ran ultramarathons and was vegan.”
“He ate all day long, it seemed and took supplements.”
“He was in his 40’s.”
“I can’t imagine a 12-year-old being that organized about keeping it up.” ~ Admirable_Remove6824
“Yes. I don’t know what dietician they talked to, but I know a few, and they will all tell you it’s nearly impossible for a growing child to get all the nutrients they need from a vegan diet.”
“A 12-year-old boy who plays football, it’s basically completely impossible.”
“His diet isn’t healthy for him at this point.”
“Plus at 12 he’s old enough to make his own choices.” ~ ShoddyCandidate1873
“He would definitely need to take supplements if he actually wants to maintain a vegan diet while playing sports and going through puberty.”
“But if that’s the route OP’s kid wants to take (not his wife demanding that be the route he takes) then OP needs to take his kid to a real doctor and understand his son’s body’s needs.”
“If he’s taking football seriously, his body will need enough nutrients to support him not just playing football at the games but through all the practices, two-a-days, weight training, etc.”
“12 years old is middle school.”
“If he wants to play in high school, it gets more serious.”
“Depending on where OP lives, high school football may be incredibly competitive.”
“And a kid maintaining a vegan diet with no medical input won’t stand a chance against the kids who are allowed to eat anything and everything to sustain that level of activity.”
“In high school, I couldn’t break 140 lbs.”
“I ate all day long, played a lot of recreational sports, lifted weights, and jogged frequently.”
“The kids playing Junior Varsity and varsity football towered over me.” ~ StankBudCannabis
“I had a professor who basically had the same documentary sent to her as OP’s wife.”
“While it convinced her to go vegan, the sentiment was not returned by her husband and kids.”
“Every day she prepared vegan food for herself and nonvegan food for everyone else.”
“She told our class about how it would be ideal if she was making all vegan food, yet she respected that the other portion of her family chose not to.”
“To me, her attitude and approach were not only healthy, but it was realistic.”
“I’m not going to demonize anyone for their dietary choices.”
“However, someone making it their mission to make others feel bad about what they are eating needs to be corrected.” ~ leftclicksq2
“Also, if the choice his mother is imposing on him is making him socially awkward and possibly could lead to him being bullied or ostracized, I think his father did the right thing.”
“OP you’re NTA for being approachable and looking after your son’s wishes and well-being.”
“However, I think you shouldn’t have lied to your wife, which gives you a soft YTA.”
“I think SHE’s also being an a**hole by trying to impose her (newly found) beliefs on her whole family.”
“Your son is a kid and afraid of getting in trouble, which is understandable.”
“But he too has been lying to his mother, and something that could have been much easier with you and him explaining to her the whole situation could possibly lead to you being singled out and having to take the blame for all.”
“I think you should all sit down as a family and discuss the situation.”
“Explain to your wife the potential damage that not eating non-vegan food could do to your son’s social life and make her understand that she’s free to make her own choice, but your son’s body is his.”
“Your son’s food choices are his.”
“She has no right to impose her own beliefs and diet on him if he doesn’t want to follow what she does.” ~ JuliaFC
“I agree, OP’s son is at an age where he can make decisions about his own diet. If his mother was more approachable, he wouldn’t have to hide his dietary preferences.”
“She needs to realize that she can’t control other people’s food, the same way most people respect other people’s food choices, the same should go for her family. NTA.” ~ Apart_Foundation1702
“As a vegan… NTA.”
“We humans are designed to eat meat – it’s a perfectly normal thing for our bodies to do.”
“In fact, I’m the abnormal one NOT eating meat!”
“I’m old enough to have made that choice and I’m happy – your son shouldn’t have it ‘forced’ upon him at such a young age when building bonds is so important.”
“His body, his choice and you’re doing nothing wrong supporting him. NTA.” ~ GottaSpoofEmAll
“NTA. Dietary preferences are personal.”
“You have graciously gone along with hers, which I assume is coming from a place of love and respect.”
“Your son grew up with her preferences and is now realizing that he has different preferences.”
“The respectful thing for your wife would be to accept that her son (and you) are allowed bodily autonomy around food choices and that she isn’t allowed to force hers onto people who aren’t okay with them.”
“She needs to realize that her will isn’t law, and you need to realize that it won’t help anyone, her included, to avoid confrontation by obfuscating and lying.”
“Support your son’s choices openly, and if she goes to war over this, you need to support your son and not her.”
“Also, veganism isn’t morally superior.”
“No matter what you eat, both humans and other animals suffer because of things like pest control, harvest deaths, and undocumented immigrants working fields for a pittance.” ~tuttkraftverk
“As a vegetarian, I would never force my choices on anyone, they can eat what they want.” ~ rosepeachcat
Well, OP, Reddit is with you.
You were acting in your son’s best interests.
Though a few people would have rathered you not kept this secret from your wife, they seem to understand your reasoning.
Three people in one house with three different dietary needs is not easy to do.
Maybe all three of you should sit down with a therapist and dietician.