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Dad refuses to maintain vegetarian diet with sons against ex wife's wishes; AITA?

Dad refuses to maintain vegetarian diet with sons against ex wife's wishes; AITA?


Co-parenting can be a challenging but overall rewarding journey for many ex-couples, especially when new partners enter the equation and switch up the routine (and the menu)...

So, when a conflicted meat-eating dad decided to consult the moral compass of the internet otherwise known as Reddit's 'Am I the As*hole' about whether or not he's wrong to serve his currently vegetarian kids meat, people were ready for the juicy gossip.

AITA for refusing to maintain a vegetarian diet when my kids are in my home?

My ex and I have 2 sons that are 6 and 8. We split time 50/50, they’re with me 2 weeks a month, then with her the other 2. A couple of years ago, she began dating this guy “Saul” and they got married a few months back.

I knew Saul was a vegetarian and my ex became one as well about a year into dating him. Still, she would cook meat for the boys. Once Saul moved in after the wedding, he said he didn’t feel comfortable with any meat in the house at all.

I didn’t see much issue with this at first. Their home, they can do as they please. All I care about are my boys being fed and remaining healthy, which they are.

Then my ex became upset that our sons are not following a vegetarian diet. At her house, they have no choice, really. But my wife and I serve a variety of foods. There’s not meat every night, but at least 3-4 times a week, you can guarantee a dish will include it.

If the boys stated they wanted to become vegetarians, I would respect it and find a way to make sure they were maintaining a healthy diet. However, neither of them want to be.

I’ve heard that at my ex’s, they complain that they can’t eat meat. Even if they go out, my ex and Saul will only let them order vegetarian items. In the beginning, I did try to explain different houses have different rules but eventually just let them vent.

I also told my ex that this is her circus to handle, because she and Saul are making the rule. Last week was my birthday, so my wife took me and the boys to my favorite steakhouse. They went back to their mom’s on Sunday afternoon.

She sent me a long rant text stating that the boys were requesting burgers and when she said no, they said “but dad let us have steak last week.' She asked that I stopped serving meat in my house and letting them order it at restaurants.

I said I wasn’t going to do that unless they told me that they wanted to follow a vegetarian diet. She claims that I am making her job harder. When I told her that she’s making her own job harder, she got mad and called me an a*shole.

The people I’ve spoken to are split. All agree that I should be able to feed my kids whatever (within reason) but some feel I should try to make my ex’s life easier. AITA?

Of course, the jury of internet strangers was dying to weigh in on this plant-based family conflict. Here's what people had to say about this steak dilemma...

extinct_diplodocus said:

NTA, and no do not think of making ex's life easier. Think instead of the children. They don't want to be vegetarians, and there's no good reason for you to force it on them.

If ex wants arbitrary rules, you've let her have them. There's no way you have to descend to her level when the kids are with you.

Environmental_Art591 said:

Also, a vegetarian lifestyle is hard enough to get all the dietary requirements an adult body needs, trying to ensure a child's growing body gets everything it needs with a vegetarian diet is near impossible without a drs guidance.

Euphoric-Recording64 said:

NTA. I am divorced. We share 50/50 custody. In order to have our divorce finalized, the county that we live in made both my wife and I attend parenting classes. At first I was a little perturbed.

But having gone through them, I am so glad that my tax dollars are being spent on that. This food example is straight textbook out of the classes. Food is one of the most common conflicts that divorced parents have in relation to their children.

The metaphor that we were given is, 'Parent in your box. And let your ex parent in their box.' Feed the kids what you feed them when they are with you.

If they grow up and start cooking for themselves, you can absolutely offer to buy groceries that they can use to cook vegetarian meals if it is important to them to eat vegetarian meals when they are with you.

Your wife has no leg to stand on when it comes to what you feed them. Just as you would have no leg to stand on when it comes to how many pillows they have in their beds at her house. Or what kind of shampoo they use when they are with their mom.

ADawg28 said:

NTA. If your ex wanted to continue to have a vote when it comes to what you do in your household, she should have stayed married to you.

Universal_Cognition said:

NTA If a vegetarian diet was a mutual parenting decision when you were married then she would reasonably expect you to maintain that for the children afterward.

In this case she made life changes after your divorce, and it's unreasonable for her to expect you to follow her life choices in raising your kids.

Bloodrayna said:

NTA As a vegan, I think the best way to make your kids eat nothing but burgers for the rest of their is to try to force them into a meatless diet.

They're just going to eat meat the first chance they get and then spend the rest of their lives eating their way into an early heart attack. She's going about this all wrong.

Scarlett_Fairchild said:

NTA, if all you were feeding them all the time was meat and potatoes and pasta, and she was just trying to make sure they got some vegetables in there too, that would be different.

But she doesn't seem to be concerned about their actual health or nutrition. Forcing a child to adopt a restrictive and unnecessary diet is cruel and borderline abusive. And I say that as a vegetarian myself.

So, there you have it...

Everyone agreed unanimously here that this dad was 100% not in the wrong to disagree with his ex-wife's newfound forced vegetarianism. Mark the cal for burger night at dad's house, kids.

Sources: Reddit
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