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'AITA for sneaking my kids a snack after dinner after my husband said no?'

'AITA for sneaking my kids a snack after dinner after my husband said no?'


"AITA for not allowing my kids a snack after dinner?"

I (28f) and my husband (32m) have 3 beautiful boys together aged 8, 7, and 4. Almost every evening we sit together at the table as a family and enjoy dinner. We have a strict rule that if you don’t finish your plate, you don’t get a snack later or dessert.

If our kids are full before their plate is gone, we let them leave the table but save their plate in case they ask for a snack later. This really hasn’t been an issue until recently and specifically tonight where my husband and I got into a fight in front of the kids disagreeing if they could have a snack or not after dinner.

For background purposes, financially I would say we are equal when it comes to income. My husband makes twice as much as me and pays all of the bills except the mortgage. I pay the mortgage, our youngest’s daycare, and I buy our groceries and any household necessities. We don’t fight about finances. Recently my husband has been not allowing the kids to have a snack after dinner even if they finish their plate.

I’ve been arguing back saying “they finished, they’re allowed a snack.” Tonight our 7-year-old asked for a snack after dinner and my husband flipped saying “don’t ask again you’re not having any more food tonight.” I told him he was being unreasonable and snuck my 7-year-old down to have a clementine and a banana.

My husband thinks I’m the AH for undermining his decision that the kids won’t have snacks but I think he’s being unreasonable and if we have the means to fed our kids dinner and snacks after why wouldn’t we? So AITA?

(Edit - titled this wrong, I let my kids have a snack after dinner, my husband didn’t.)

INFO: My kids snack freely throughout the day. We give them small portions at dinner. The reason we keep the plate if they don’t finish is because they will sometimes have a bite or two of dinner and say they’re full, then minutes later ask for dessert.

The internet was quick to respond.

Active-Anteater1884 wrote:

Your and your husband's behavior toward food is weird as hell. ESH. What you're doing is forcing your kids to eat, perhaps past the point of satiety, if they want, IDK, ice cream. And everyone wants ice cream. The keeping the leftovers in the fridge in case the "offending" child is hungry later is just, beyond.

What do you say? "Okay, you two kids finished your meal so for a snack you get two pieces of candy. You, third child, didn't finish your meal, so you get cold broccoli." Keep on this way if you want to give your kids an eating disorder.

Peony-Pony wrote:

Wow. YTA, as well had your husband, for making dinner and food a battleground. Nothing good is going to come from you and your husband's mentality about food when it comes to your children. It's unhealthy.

Snoocupcakes7992 wrote:

If you’re paying the mortgage (can’t be cheap), daycare (can’t be cheap), groceries (5 people - can’t be cheap) and house household necessities (can’t be cheap) - what in the world is he paying for if he makes twice your salary? Or do you both make tons of money?

ConfusedArtist89 wrote:

NTA. What is his reasoning for no snacks? A clementine and a banana are healthy. What’s his beef?

OP responded:

His only reasoning is “I said no.”

Desert-Songlala wrote:

ESH - You both are essentially labeling food 'good and bad' instead of, there is a food balance to each meal and snacks throughout the day. You also focus on volume. "Complete all of this now or later or you will not earn a reward". Kids go through growth spurts and may eat two portions more then three weeks later not.

One clementine or banana in the evening if their plate is 'not cleaned' is really not a big deal. This is the time to empower kids through food education. Them applying this knowledge correctly is what builds healthy eating patterns and relationships with food.

Husband's an AH for not taking your private inquiries about this topic seriously. You are life partners and should be able to talk through tough topics. He needs to evaluate what is behind his changed behavior. He sounds like an overbearing 'Bear' at the kitchen table who dictates what can and cannot be eaten.

INFO: Why the sudden change? His behavior is unsettling. You had to resort to sneaking your youngest to eat fruit. You and hubby need to sort this out not in front of the kids.

OP responded:

His behavior / reactions are inconsistent and I don’t know what’s coming usually. I try my best do figure it out without the kids present.

Desert-SongLaLa responded:

This is your starting point. You two have to solve this. Is he stressed over money...real or imagined? What are his beliefs surrounding finishing meals and accessing treats---does this stem to his childhood?

Your current structure can support feelings of food scarcity and nurture symptoms related to eating disorders. Food scarcity does not always mean a family struggles to earn money to pay for food. It also applies to families that restrict food access or require specific behavior to 'earn' food access.

This gets layered with complication when the rules, between the authoritarian roles, change. Kids thrive on predictable consistent expectations and behavior. Imagine your 7-yr old looking back 8 yrs from now remembering you had to sneak him into the kitchen for a small orange and banana.

prevknamy wrote:

ESH. Teaching unhealthy eating habits. Restricting dessert is ok (let them have it once or twice a week) but nothing should be linked with finishing their plate. They should be allowed to have healthy snacks regardless, especially when their body tells them they’re hungry. Oh, and your husband is downright awful. Like…awful. Yikes. Think about the lessons you two are teaching your children.

AvocadoJazzlike3670 wrote:

ESH first the saving of the plate is ridiculous. Way to make your kids have issues around eating. My kids eat dinner then will have fruit, yogurt, cheese stick and whatever else they want. It’s not crap like cookies and candy. If they are hungry and it’s good food why are you policing it? This is crazy to me.

PandaCotton wrote:


First, arguments should never take place in front of the children. Then I think that dessert should not be seen as a reward but as a normal food, don't make food a reward for finishing your plate, it's a bad idea.

PuzzledUpstairs8189 wrote:

Okay ESH because the “finish your plate” mentality is crap. It’s one thing not to completely waste food, but not allowing a child to eat until they are comfortable for a “reward” is just a terrible starting point for healthy food relationships.

I’m not sure where you are from, but this is one reason American has an obesity problem is our parents/grandparents taught us this crappy rule. It teaches people to ignore full/hunger cues. Second your husband is being an AH about children having fruit before bed. That’s just stupid and really no defense for it, but a power play.

One-Low1033 wrote:

My dad had a "clean your plate" rule. Dinner was a nightmare. There were many nights I sat at the table, because I couldn't leave until I finished. I sat until it was time for my bath and bed.

As an adult, one year at Thanksgiving dinner, I said to my dad, "Look, I'm not going to finish this." He sighed, and said "At the time, I thought I was doing the right thing." It's not the right thing. ESH, your husband more so, though.

Sources: Reddit
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