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'AITA for telling my sister she doesn’t have a say in my niece's diet?'

'AITA for telling my sister she doesn’t have a say in my niece's diet?'


"AITA for telling my sister she doesn’t have a say in my niece's diet?"

I adopted my 8 year old niece 5 years ago. Her parents just weren’t fit to be parents. They are still involved in her life as her aunt and uncle. My niece is homeschooled. She goes to a co op 4.5 hours a day, 4 days a week. I work 3 12 hour shifts a week so I usually need help getting her to and from co op 1-3 days a week. My sister works nights and is available to take her. Since it’s a bit of a drive back to the house, she usually hangs out at the co op and helps out with whatever they need.

One mom at the co op makes lunches for the kids as her contribution. She has all of their allergy/dietary info and none of the kids have complained so far. Some examples of their lunches are turkey/ham sandwich, pb&j, mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, grilled cheese, hot dogs, and occasionally pizza.

She also gives them sides like a cracker (goldfish, cheezits, chips, ritz, veggie straws, etc.), some kind of fruit (fruit slices, fruit cups, apple sauce), some kind of dessert (fruit snacks, cookie, brownie, etc), and a drink (usually milk or juice).

My sister told my niece that she doesn’t want her eating that crap and that when she takes my niece to co op, she’ll be packing my niece a lunch. Apparently she told my niece that carbs are bad for her and that these lunches will make her fat.

My niece came to me upset about it because she likes those lunches and that’s what everyone else eats. I told her that my sister was wrong then sent her to play before calling my sister.

My sister defended everything she said and I told her that if she has concerns about my nieces diet, she will need to speak to me about it, not my niece. I also told her that I am my niece's parent, not her, and that if she feels that she has the power to make unilateral decisions regarding her health without consulting me I will get her a babysitter that can take her to co op.

A lot of my family is against me on this, and says that it’s my sister's kid so she should have a say and that me getting a babysitter will be cruel to both my niece and my sister (she already stays with my neighbor during the day but my neighbor can’t take her to co op). AITA for telling my sister she can’t make decisions about my niece?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

Deep_Scope said:

NTA. Your sister pretty much is lying. Carbohydrates are actually good for you. It sounds like the said diet that the co-op is doing is actually doing pretty good. And I would just call your niece, your daughter. Cause honestly, who the heck is your sister kidding? Carbohydrates are healthy when you're a growing child whose 8 years old.

mamaforeman11 said:

NTA. If your sister was great at making child-rearing decisions, she wouldn't have lost rights to her child. I would make sure everybody who thinks it's their business knows that YOU are the parent (for good reason) and if they can't abide by your parenting decisions they'll lose access for a while, too.

Does your niece know you are her aunt/uncle & your sister is her biological mom? Even if so, and she addresses you as aunt/uncle, I suggest you start referring to her as your child/kid in conversation (like this post) to clear up any leeway for people to think you aren't in the right for making parenting decisions yourself.

Such-Flatworm-9857 said:

NTA. It is not your sister's kid- she is your child as you adopted her and have full custody. Second, reducing or eliminating carbs for a child's diet can be dangerous given that they need energy to grow and develop.

Third, as an elementary school teacher, her lunch sounds perfectly aligned with what my students bring from home or what the cafeteria serves (although we do not serve anything with peanuts).

Fourth, speaking to her about a decision that she made is totally inappropriate because what right does a nonparent have to even discuss that with a child? I understand an argument between the two of you regarding your daughter's diet but for her to make a unilateral decision and decide for an 8 year old that she is not responsible for custodially, is a totally inappropriate move- even if her grandmother did something like this, it would be wrong. You are the parent and the decision is 100% yours.

(sounds like your sister is attempting to be a parent after giving up her rights to do so- you may want to look for a different caretaker for her in this case or else you may have more "discussions" incoming).

NotyJewel said:

NTA I think you need to stop having her take her AND only allow supervised visits. This is not about the food. Its a about boundaries and you need to set them now and be firm. You are the mom. Period. You owe this little girl to be that no matter how much shit you have to deflect. This will get so much worse. There's a reason you are legally her mother and actually getting legal custody from a biological mother is a big deal and for very big issues. Hang in there for sure.

Renailane said:

ESH. Your sister because she has no right to make these kind of decisions. She lots that right when she lost custody. You because you’re allowing too much contact and the lines are getting blurred. You need other options for transportation and care that don’t involve family, especially the ones who agree with your sister thinking she has any authority. This will continue to get worse as your daughter gets older if you do not put a stop to it now.

midcen-mod1018 said:

ESH. It really blurs those lines to have your adopted daughter’s biological mother be responsible for parenting type duties. You definitely are N T A for saying what you said, but I can see why she would think the boundaries are blurred if she’s spending 6-18 hours a week as the adult in charge of her biological kid. She’s probably searching to regain some kind of authority.

The opinions were slightly divided here, but most people were on OP's side. What's your advice for this family?

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