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AITA: Allow One Child To Eat What He Wants But Not The Other Two

Imagine seeing your eldest child lose weight with depression at the age of 12. It's hard to even answer how you would deal with it it unless your living with it day in and day out.

One Father of 3 took to Reddit's AITA (Am I The Asshole?) board after he and his wife came head to head with his brother and his wife over their treatment of their older son compared to their other two kids...

Read the post below...

"This weekend my family and my brother’s family were at our holiday cottage together, and my wife (42F) and I (40M) got in to this huge argument with my brother (45M) and SIL (45F). The argument regarded my wife and I allowing one of our children (12M) eating whatever he wants, while somewhat restricting what the other two (11M and 9F) eats.

They found this totally unacceptable and mean, despite us providing a, in my opinion, legitimate reason for why. future.

So, to provide some background to make judging possible, my wife and I have always aimed to provide our children with somewhat healthy food and eating habits. This means we mostly eat home cooked meals and that we limit sweets and “unhealthy” snacks to the weekends and in no excessive amounts.

We are in no way extreme. We eat fast food occasionally and make exceptions for sweets and “unhealthy” snacks for special occasions or if we feel like it. The children are allowed to eat whatever they are offered when visiting their friends.

The past months, our 12 year old has not been well. He started eating less and less and basically stopped eating 8 weeks ago. He was shortly after diagnosed with depression, hence his loss of appetite.

Since he basically didn’t eat, my wife and I decided that it is more important that he eats than what he eats, and that he therefore is allowed to eat whatever he wants when he wants to. Meaning that if he wants ice cream for breakfast or crisps for dinner, he can have it. If he wants pizza or hamburgers, we happily go and get it for him.

But for our other children our normal “rules” still apply, and they cannot have sweets and “unhealthy” snacks all the time or always get the food they ask for. We have explained to them why 12 year old is allowed and they are not. And they seem to understand and mostly be fine with it. But they are still children and sometimes find it unfair. Which I get, but sometimes life is unfair.

So, as stated above my brother and SIL do not think this is OK, and are convinced our younger kids will grow up hating us for this. Are they right, AITA?"

Read the full Reddit thread here


What was the general consensus?

It was quite a mixed bag on whether the poster was the asshole or not. One comment said:


You're going to give your 9 and 11 year old eating disorders. You've basically sent them the message that if they ever have appetite issues and stop eating, they'll be rewarded by being allowed to eat pizza or burgers or whatever they want.

I get that it's a messy situation, but this isn't a healthy dynamic. Would it really be so bad to be a bit more lax on your 9 and 11 year old and give them a bit more freedom to choose their meals too?"

While on the other hand, another commented:


Depression doesn't care if you're hungry. You will lay there and your stomach will be screaming and hurting and you just wonder what the point of eating even is? You'll just be hungry again later, anyway. Why bother? Same with personal hygiene, and even getting up to pee.

Everyone saying you're the asshole and giving your kids eating disorders doesn't understand that you're worried your child is going to let his apathy towards food kill him and that he needs to live long enough to attend therapy in order to change anything. I'm sorry for the blunt language, but I don't think people are understanding that he isn't playing some game.

He literally just doesn't care if he eats or not. My therapist and doctors ask me all the time if I'm eating and what Im eating and they don't always love my my answers but they agree with you, OP. They'd rather I eat something and show up for my appointments to work on things than not eat at all."

Our verdict...

This is such a hard one! While of course you don't want to see your child fade away before your very own eyes, it's also hard on the other children and the lengths they will presumably go to in the future to get the foods they want. Not to mention the resentment it might cuase between the siblings. However, it's noone elses business other than the parents that are dealing with it.  No-one should be involving themselves within this. When parents are worried about their children they will do whatever it takes to make them feel better. And no-one has the right to judge that.

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