There is no doubt that children are easily influenced.
Which is why many parents are quick to place strict rules on what their children can and cannot do, and can and cannot eat.
Many parents believe that introducing children to fat and sugary foods can put them on a downward spiral, and lead them to an unhealthy lifestyle.
Redditor throwRA123334 was one of those parents, and was very concerned about a recent dinner with her sister-in-law, who’s eating style she does not approve of.
But when the original poster (OP) made a request to their sister-in-law about her eating choices in front of her daughter, it resulted in an outburst.
Wondering if she was out of line, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for telling my sister in law not to add a slab of butter to her hotdogs in front of my 7 year old?”
The OP gave an idea of what their sister-in-law’s eating habits are like, and how they worried about their daughter taking after them at a family barbecue.
“My sister in law call her Barb, has a habit of putting butter and mayo on her food.”
“Like it’s not uncommon when she eats a white sauce pasta she will add a half a stick of butter to her plate and have it melt in or if she is eating biscuits from Popeyes to dip it in melted butter as well.”
“My daughter is now 7 and we don’t want her to pick up any unhealthy habits.”
“My husband was making hot dogs and I know Barb was going to add butter to her hot dog buns.”
“My husband already adds some and toasts them but again she was going to add A LOT More.
The OP made an attempt at avoiding this situation, and greatly upset their sister-in-law as a result.
“I pull her to the side and I am like ‘hey Barb, do you mind adding the butter to your hot dogs in the kitchen, I don’t want Emily [my daughter] to start doing it too’.”
“She then is like, ‘you are putting your 7 year old daughter on a diet?'”
“I am like ‘no, we know that she likes to copy people especially adults and we would rather not have her do that’.”
“Barb is then like ‘why? so she won’t become fat like me?!’ and starts raising her voice.”
“She says that there is nothing wrong with being fat, and that I am giving my daughter an eating disorder by restricting her.”
“She then brings up the fact that she is a nurse, and that she knows more than doctors.”
“And guarantees me the anxiety and depression I am creating by preventing her from eating what she wants is way more harmful than whatever cholesterol a little bit of butter would give her.”
“And that she, Emily, should be able to make her own decisions that if she wants to eat hotdogs with butter she can eat hotdogs with butter.”
“I am like ‘Barb, if you have kids and want to teach them to do that, that is fine, but please respect my wishes’.”
“Barb gets angry and confronts my husband.”
“My husband talks to Barb, and eventually she just packs some of the food from the grill and leaves.”
“Was I wrong here?”
“If my daughter was 10, I wouldn’t mind at all but these are crucial ages.”
” And I just asked her to do it in the kitchen, not to not do it at all.”
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
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
While there were some divided opinions, the Reddit community largely agreed that the OP was not the a**hole in requesting that Barb add her butter and condiments in the kitchen.
Most agreed that it was fine for the OP to ask Barb to add butter in the kitchen, and pointed out that she didn’t tell her not to do it at all, or made any remarks about her eating habits or body.
“NOBODY TOLD BARB NOT TO PILE TONS OF BUTTER ON HER FOOD.”
“OP politely asked her to do it in the kitchen, so her impressionable child would not start imitating an unhealthy eating habit.”
“THAT’S ALL IT WAS, IT WAS NOT A HATE MONGERING TIRADE AGAINST UNHEALTHY, DISORDERED EATING.”
“It was a request not to make a display of it in front of a child.”-AbbyFB6969
“You made this request in as polite a way as possible.”
“Pulling her aside so as not to embarrass her, suggest buttering it in the kitchen, etc.”
“I think it’s not good to overly restrict kids diets but you are doing no such thing.”
“You’re just trying to model healthy habits.”- Complete-Proposal729
“People have the right to eat whatever they want but she put you in a no-win situation.”
“But seriously, who puts butter on a f8cking hotdog?”
“That seems like some straight up Honey Boo Boo sh*t.”- Riots_and_Rutabagas
“It would be the same as if you didn’t want her to watch someone smoking cigarettes, so she doesn’t think it’s healthy.”
“The adult smoking the cigarette has the choice to do so, but asking them not to in front of your kid isn’t a bad thing.”
“It’s the same with unhealthy eating habits.”- therenegadegoose
“First, nurses DO NOT KNOW MORE THAN DOCTORS.”
“That type of thinking needs to stop.”
“Second, if she truly is a nurse then she should know that unhealthy eating habits would lead to more than just getting fat.”
“Having a heart attack because you arteries are clogged is not a good way to go.”
“Third, keep your kid away from her.”
“You’re right in that she’s an impressionable child that should not be allowed to be near people who do not take their health seriously.”- kittylemewmew
“Assuming that your description of the conversation is accurate, you did not body shame.”
“You are discouraging unhealthy habits in your daughter, like a good parent should.”
“Your SIL is going to die of heart failure.”
“Sooner, more so than later.”
“That’s not an issue of shame or judgement.”
“She is deluding herself over her behavior, and honestly she should probably seek therapy to process what drives her eating habits and why she creates justifications for them instead of seeking to improve them.”
“Adding a half stick of butter to your individual plate of food is not healthy, or even generally approaching normalcy.”
“If you saw someone who couldn’t stop themselves from taking drugs, you would intervene.”
“If someone in your family was addicted to cigarettes, you might insist that they smoke outside.”
“Your SIL is slowly killing herself with food.”
“To anyone here that is saying it’s her choice to eat how she wants, self harm is almost never a choice, but a symptom of psychological trauma.”
“Eating the way this woman does is self harm.”- the_one_54321
“Would SIL prefer you to explain why you don’t want your kid to eat a load of extra butter, either saying because it’s unhealthy for her heart or it will make you fat?”
“Letting her see something and then denying her of she wants it is more likely to give an eating disorder than not seeing it at all.”
“Personally, I think NTA as you asked her to add the butter out of sight rather than outright asking her not to have it.”
“I think her reaction is more a reflection of her own insecurities.”- essres
“The power of suggestion is just too strong.”
“There are many things I ‘hide’ from my grandkids.”
“I’m a butter lover, too, but the kids don’t need a loaded with fat sandwich.”
“The dogs are unhealthy enough, I love those, too, without a tablespoon of fat on top of it.”
“Your 7-year-old won’t miss what he hasn’t had.”
“But the butter lady is…”- babylon331
There were those, however, who felt the OP was at fault, and should have told her daughter not to copy Barb, rather than tell Barb not to do it in front of her.
“It’s on you to parent your kid, not on Barb.”
“A lot of people have bad habits, it’s on you to teach your daughter not to copy each bad habits she sees in other people.”- Primary-Criticism929
It’s easy to say that the OP should have realized she would upset Barb with her request.
But then again, she would have likely also upset Barb had she told her daughter not to copy Barb by adding extra butter to her food.
Nor did the OP do anything out of malice, but out of concern for her daughter’s health.
It’s also easy to imagine that the main reason Barb was upset was because she might be aware her eating habits are less than healthy.
An uncomfortable situation for all.