Most parents are shocked by the amount of food such tiny kids can inhale into their mouths. Snack after snack, meal after meal — these kids can sometimes seem like bottomless pits. This can be especially true when they are growing.
One dad on Reddit is wondering if he feeds his son too much after battling it out with his ex-wife when it comes to portion sizes.
“My 9-year-old son has started to ask for adult meals when taken out for food,” he said in the original Reddit post in the r/Parenting SubReddit thread. “For example, he asked for a Big Mac meal when he was last at McDonald’s.”
He goes on to explain that he trusts his son’s hunger level when he expresses it and lets him eat however much he wants. “I have been buying him whatever he asks for food wise, as I simply do not want to have to deal with him being upset — and at any rate, I was eating adult meals at his age. He was also bought an adult meal by his stepfather before I'd even thought of allowing him to have one.”
He noted that he doesn’t mind the cost or amount of food. However, his ex-wife does have an issue with it.
“When finding out what I was ordering for our son, she criticized me at length on WhatsApp for it,” he revealed.
Things took a turn for the worst over the holidays when the dad took his sons to his family’s place for Christmas.
“I chose to take them to spend it with my family. During this time we were bought a couple of takeaways as a treat, among other things. The 9 year old didn't leave a scrap of food at any point, other than some pizza crusts,” he wrote.
After returning the boys back to their mom as per her demand, she messaged the dad on Whatsapp and revealed that she had weighed the boys upon their return, noting they had “put on a substantial amount of weight.”
“Neither boy is even close to an unhealthy weight,” he remarked.
According to dad, the former couple have always “clashed” when it comes to deciding on portion sizes for their sons. He revealed that he never felt like his ex gave the two kids enough food.
“They used to often complain about being hungry. The older boy even resorted to smuggling bags of crisps. At the time I didn’t feel able to openly go against my ex as she was known for criticizing me loudly to her friends, and even over social media, if I went against her,” he wrote.
He concludes, looking for advice from fellow Reddit users, “My family and I don't think I have done anything wrong, but given how seriously my ex seems to be taking it, I'm wondering if I should be more assertive and insist the 9 year old has a child's portion.”
The majority of the responses surrounding the worried dad with support, noting that kids eat a lot sometimes and that’s okay. Several were concerned for the children living with a mom who may be creating a toxic eating environment.
“If your child is taking to hiding food, then it is clear your ex is creating an unhealthy environment as it relates to food. Conversations about listening to your body, stopping when you are full, healthy balance of food, etc are important, but at the end of the day, if the kids are otherwise healthy they, should be able to eat whatever amount they need to be full (generally speaking),” one user wrote.
Another echoed at how shocking and alarming it is that the mom is weighing the children. “Weighing your kids the minute they get home to see if they gained weight during the holidays is an insane and unhealthy thing to do, and it needs to stop at once,” another commenter said.
Another user noted that this dad’s ex-wife may have some eating issues of her own. “Sounds like your ex has an obsession over weight. This is really upsetting and it’s not healthy for children to grow up around that. She should seek therapy. Also, I think it’s pretty normal for a 9 year old to eat an adult portion. Sometimes my 2 year old eats a larger portion of spaghetti Bolognese than me!” they wrote.
Read the entire Reddit thread here.