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Mom accused of being abusive for putting kids to bed hungry out of frustration. AITA?

Mom accused of being abusive for putting kids to bed hungry out of frustration. AITA?

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"AITA for sending the kids to bed hungry?"

I'm a full time working mom with two kids, 5 and (almost) 2. Both have their personal food preferences, which are usually at odds with each other. 5 loves veggies and fruit, refuses to eat potatoes unless they are French fries, and is iffy on most meats.

2 loves pasta and meats, and turns his nose up at anything that grew from the earth. Needless to say, coming home from work and preparing dinner for an hour only to have refused is... exhausting.

Last night, I cooked off-book, just kind of threw things together. A casserole of chicken thighs, mushrooms, peas, gravy, and stuffing. A little downhome, basic kind of meal, but it had a little of what each kid liked, and it was healthy enough.

Neither kid ate it. 5 took a few bites, declared that he hates chicken, and shivered like someone had just walked over his grave. 2 refused to eat it. I told them both that they would have to stay at the table until bathtime.

They.. they did it. Neither kid ate. 5 didn't complain too too much, but 2 screamed right up until bathtime. 2 has opted out of dinner one other time, and was able to verbalize that he was hungry, but didn't want to eat what I had prepared. 2 and I talked (to the best of his ability) about how this was his only option for dinner, and he continued to refuse to eat.

My spouse says that dinner was good, and was impressed with my improv cooking. I'm confident that the dish was decent, albeit not coated in sugar like my kids would prefer. When I was putting 5 to bed, I could actually hear his tummy grumble. I felt like an absolutely horrible parent, sending him to bed hungry. AITA?

Let's find out.

greedytheme8 writes:

Wtf is up with people in the comments. NTA. My parents raised me this way - money was tight, and having the choice of “be gracious for what you have, or don’t have it” was a good lesson to learn early. It wasn’t cruel - it teaches respect.

Many don’t have the luxury of choice of what they eat because there’s nothing else they can afford. Should you force your kids to go without even when you can afford it? No, but then again, you didn’t. That was their choice.

Those saying your starving your kids are wrong - you’re teaching them consequences. They’ll learn pretty quick that refusing to eat what you lovingly made for them will not get them a new meal, and they will begin to appreciate what you make. Maybe offer them some carrots or something, but there will be no new meal making.

I realize that food aversions are a thing, so if the kiddos continuously choose no food, then I’d speak to a child nutritionist or pediatrician. But seriously, normal kids will just learn from this experience and realize they can’t manipulate you to make what they want all the time. It’s healthy. You’re doing good, mama.

fizzbangwhiz writes:

Sorry, but YTA. You're setting up your kids to have an unhealthy relationship with food for a long, long time. 'Sit at the table until bedtime' is a bad strategy. Plus, two is WAY too young to understand such a punishment. 5 is too, for that matter. Some days you just have to make PB&J for dinner. Or grilled cheese, or cinnamon toast, or whatever will get eaten without a fight.

Stop torturing yourself by trying to make well rounded, home cooked meals every single night. Your kids will be FINE eating sandwiches for dinner four nights a week. And, they will be BETTER, both physically and mentally, if they are happily eating a pb&j every night, instead of going hungry and being placed in a battle of wills they don't even understand yet.

Do less! Do the least amount of work possible so that your kids go to bed happy with full bellies. And, if being in charge of dinner is too overwhelming for you, make your spouse share the responsibility with you.

generousplate8 writes:

NAH.Have you had them assessed for sensory processing disorders, ASD and ADHD? The behaviour you describe sounds very much like one or more of these. If that’s the case, then your kids are not just picky eaters, their nervous systems just aren’t coping well with the sensory input they are getting from food.

You’ll need support from an occupational therapist, a paediatrician and maybe a psychologist… it depends on the severity and nature of the underlying condition/s.

I understand how exhausting it is to try to cater to everyone’s tastes. You did the best you could in a difficult situation. Was it your best moment as a parent? No. But, you were trying to do the right thing. Exercise a little self-compassion and forgive yourself this time. You said yourself that this is only the second time this has happened, they aren’t starving or neglected. You are not an AH here.

Obviously, they’re just little people who are struggling to learn how to navigate food. So they’re not AH’s. NAH.

Well, is OP a bad parent? The internet can't seem to decide. What do YOU think?

Sources: Reddit
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