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Dad refuses to force upset son to eat blueberries, wife livid. AITA?

Dad refuses to force upset son to eat blueberries, wife livid. AITA?

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"AITA for not forcing my child to eat blueberries?"

DeleteMeLater4321

Today my wife gave our 11 year old son some blueberries. My son said that he rather not eat them because he doesn't really like blueberries. My wife replied, "but these are really good" so my son hesitantly tried one blueberry and replied, "Thanks, but I still don't like them and I'd rather not eat the rest". I thought that was the end of it and went to the store to get groceries for diner.

When I came back, my son was crying at the table because he was forced to eat the remaining three blueberries. I asked my wife, "why is he crying?" and she explained that he had to eat the blueberries because it is healthy.

Thinking it was just about eating a piece of fruit, I told my son that he didn't have to eat the blueberries but he did have to eat another piece of fruit instead like an apple or three strawberries or something similar. My son immediatly agreed, spat out the blueberries (in the garbage can) and started eating an apple.

This, much to my wives dismay. She said I overruled her authority and that my son will never learn to eat healthy. My reply was that it is not ok to force a child (or any other person) to eat something they don't like (especially after they tasted it).

How would she feel if I forced her to eat something she doens't like? Why is it ok for her to not eat certain foods but not for our son? He likes enough vegetables and fruit in order to get a balanced diet, so I think we should meet him halfway and not focus on forcing him to eat stuff we know he doesn't like (and he is not really a fussy eater so we have plenty of healthy stuff to choose from).

The situation escalated and at one point my son even said, "I'll just eat the blueberries", in an attempt to de-escalate our argument (after which he took three blueberries from the fridge and swallowing them almost whole just to get it over with).

Sadly for him, it didn't really work because we were already to far into the argument (although I did thank him afterwards for trying and apoligized for not being able to let it slide). AITA because I didn't force my son to eat the blueberries and allowed him to take another piece of fruit he does like?

Edit : I wasn't expecting such a big response and haven't been able to read all comments. Thanks to everyone who responded, I really appreciate the advice. Maybe I'm not the AH in this situation but in the future I will try not to argue with my wife in front of our son.

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:

dryadduinath

Congrats to your wife for working so hard to mess up your child’s relationship with food, and also starting an argument right in front of him so he would feel wretched and guilty over something that wasn’t his fault.

I mean, he even tried the blueberries. He’s allowed to not like things, as any human being is. NTA, keep an eye on how she treats him going forward, especially when it comes to food.

This incident is likely to have him doing things he doesn’t want to do to reduce friction at home. And the next time she starts up with you in front of him? Take it elsewhere. He doesn’t need to see or hear that.

GoNinjaPro

The father's attitude is perfect. The kid eats a balanced diet of plenty of other fruit and vegetables. He was willing to try it, and he was polite. It's ridiculous to force him to eat foods he doesn't like. NTA.

SamaireB

This is the point for me too. It's not like the son declared he hates all fruit and refuses to eat any. If that were the case, I could understand that he would be partly forced to eat some fruit for health reasons/a better diet. But not only did he try the blueberries before saying he doesn't like them, he also happily substitutes them by eating another fruit. Nothing else is needed.

I can't stand Brussels Sprout, never could. My parents asked me to try one one single time, I hated it, they never asked me to eat one again - but I happily ate basically any other vegetable and that was enough.

Dad did the right thing and mom is extremely wrong. FFS her kid was crying - just have him eat that damn apple or a strawberry or whatever, what the hell is the matter with her.

AllegraO

It seems to me that people like the wife forget that even though their kid is a child, they’re still a person. Just because he’s only 11 doesn’t mean he’s stupid. He’s allowed to have likes and dislikes, and as the top comment said, her attitude is gonna set him up for disordered eating soon.

NTA and I think it might be a good idea to try some counseling with your wife, especially with someone with experience dealing with eating disorders. Have it spelled out to her why her behavior was abhorrent and what it will do to your son.

WickedJigglyPuff

NTA. Being able to control your own eating and not eat when you are full or not hungry or you don’t like it an important skill. Your wife is teaching your son to ignore is own body. That’s a bad idea. There is no rational reason why a different kind of fruit should not have been enough.

It’s one thing to teach healthy eating and portion control. But forcing him to each foods he hates could teach him that healthy eating means discomfort. And could have very unpleasant out comes. Your wife needs to learn what healthy eating is. And that includes stopping when you are full or don’t want anymore.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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