Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
What you allow your kids to eat is a very personal decision, and all parents have different rules and opinions on what’s best.
But one divorced dad has divided opinions online after choosing to end his daughter’s run of being vegan by feeding her chicken nuggets behind his ex-wife’s back. Eeeek.
Furious when she found out, the mum, who goes by @veggiecoparent on Reddit, wrote: “I’m pissed because I wasn’t aware our hitherto vegan daughter was now eating meat and I feel like that’s a decision that I should have been informed about.”
The mum said that she had been informed about chicken nugget-gate after her daughter “wore herself out crying,” because she wouldn’t let her have Chicken McNuggets, before claiming: “Dad would have let her”.
What made it all the worse is that the woman had only ever gone vegan because the father was.
“I became vegan when we moved in together because he was vegan and he didn’t like there being animal products in the house. I learned more about the way food was made and I agreed. I was vegan while I was pregnant and we’ve raised our daughter vegan for the past eight-ish years,” she explained.
When they divorced, the pair never had any discussion about the little girl changing her eating habits, and so the mother assumed that things were continuing as normal. Understandable, right?
“I called him after she went to bed and he told me I was being uptight and he didn’t tell me because he knew I’d overreact,” the Reddit poster said.
“[He added that] I’m controlling and I don’t need to be privy to every single thing he does when our daughter is with him.
“I’m fucking MAD. There are vegan options at McDonalds – he didn’t have to feed her chicken but since he did, I would have appreciated a heads-up.”
The mum added that given how ardent her ex-husband used to be about their vegan eating habits, she was even more enraged that he was regularly taking their daughter to the Golden Arches and breaking her vegan lifestyle without discussion.
“I’d always felt like when she became old enough to choose her diet, I’d let her make her own decisions. If she wants to each chicken nuggets, give’r,” she said.
“But, like, I feel wildly, wildly frustrated that he unilaterally made this choice.”
The mum then called for others to share whether they agreed the husband was in the wrong, of if they thought she was over-reacting, and it’s safe to say that people had some opinions.
Some were on the dad’s side.
“Clearly she wants to eat meat and she’s old enough to make her own decisions (to some extent) in regards to what she wants to eat,” said one.
“When she’s older and can comprehend more fully the nuances of the issue, she may choose to go back to veganism, or vegetarianism, etc. or maybe she won’t. But she’s an individual, not property, and she should be allowed to make some decisions for herself.”
“You say you’ll let her decide, but she seems to have decided she likes meat and you’re denying her that saying she’s not old enough to make that decision,” said another.
However, others were quick to jump to the mum’s defence.
“If you and your co-parent have agreed to a diet together, you absolutely should let the other person know when you change something,” reasssured one Redditor.
Whilst another wrote: “When you’ve both decided together you’re going to raise your daughter vegan, I don’t really think it’s overboard to expect your partner to mention that they’re no longer sticking to how you agreed to raise them.”
“Your ex is a hypocrite and, you’re right, he made a unilateral choice about a major health and lifestyle associated decision that you made together,” said a fellow supporter.
“While you can’t and shouldn’t be able to control everything he feeds her, he absolutely should have checked in with you when he was considering it, so you’d at least be informed.”
Obviously, when it comes to big life choices like veganism, the arguments for and against are nuanced – but we have to agree that this is a decision that parents should make together, until kids are old enough to decide their diets for themselves.