A mother is asking Reddit if she is the a****** for making her kids purchase their own junk food.
“I have three teenagers, M17, F16, M15. They eat like a plague of locusts. Any time there is a treat food they are right onto it, I try to hide it sometimes but when my partner and I try to have something nice after dinner they hear the wrapper and are right onto it,” the OP (Original Poster) begins.
“I used to buy snacks for them, but it cost a fortune and would only last a day or two, not the whole week and forget about anything a bit nicer or more expensive for us. All of my kids have casual jobs and earn at least $150 per week. We have instituted a rule that they buy their own junk food. My boys are happy with this arrangement.
“They keep the snacks in a sealed tub in their rooms (we don’t want mice) and label their drinks in the fridge. For four of us the arrangement is working well and the boys have discovered just how much all this crap costs. My daughter keeps ranting at me that it’s our job to feed them, why does she have to pay for all her own food and I just want her to starve.”
“I have a pantry and fridge full of breakfast (sugary cereal like coco pos is considered junk and I expect them to buy it, I have cornflakes and muesli for them), and lunch foods and they get a healthy tea each evening, the pantry is full of ingredients if they want to bake, with the understanding that whatever they make is for the household. My daughter thinks I’m the arsehole, her friends and my mum agree with her but other parents wish they had thought of it. AITA?”
One user commented: “Agree. NTA. I actually think this is a genius idea – the healthy food is free, and the junk food is discretionary.”
While another said: “This is a much more complex issue than a [discussion] about healthy food. I was a child that grew up in a home with these same rules. While technically you are NTA, you need to be aware of the consequences that come with this philosophy.”
“I was one of the children who took responsibility, didn’t complain, used my own money, cooked and believed they were building my character with their logical and healthy options. As an adult, I see the damage and pain that it triggered in the kids and none of us have a good [relationship] with our parents. Why? Because we felt worthless.”
“It sounds silly, but think of it this way. We were told we were a burden financially because we were hungry. Kid thought 1- we were a burden. We could cook treats, it took a lot of time and everyone was ravenous for treats. So it caused fights and contention when doing the work and hardly any reward. We had to share with everyone. Kid thought 2- our time and work is not important.”
“Then, Mom and Dad had their secret stash of nice treats that were only for them. These were the good expensive stuff. Kid thought 3- we can afford treats, but only the most important people get them and that is not you. Kid thought 4- you are not important or worth sacrificing for.
“Feeding your kids healthy food is great, that was never the problem. Having everyone else help financially is not the problem. Especially if everyone [is] sacrificing. As [an adult], you can choose to provide only the basics, while [splurging] on yourself. You probably work hard and deserve it.”
“Your happiness matters. But be prepared when your children feel basic and that their needs and wants were not important to you. Even if this is not your intention, this could be the result. You have a choice to make. Do you want to be logical and feel right or do you want a good relationship with your daughter? Because whether anyone on here feels like you are NTA, your daughter does. And that’s what is actually important. A little bit of sacrifice for someone can make a world of difference in your relationship.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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