As children age they exert their autonomy in whatever ways are available for them.
Some choose to adopt a unique fashion style, some pick up new hobbies while others pick new personal habits.
But what do you do if one child decides they're going to change their eating habits then demands the rest of the family follow suit?
If the parents decide to support the child's choice, is it fair or equitable to force any other children in the home to also support that choice? Which child's choices take precedence?
That's the conundrum facing one family whose matriarch took to Reddit's "Am i The A**hole" (AITA) subReddit to post a hypothetical "Would I Be The A**hole" (WIBTA) question.
Redditor throwawayveganfamily asked:
"WIBTA if me and my husband force our adoptive daughter to go vegan?"
"Throwaway account because I don't want my main account to be related to this thread. It's kind of a messy story so I'll try to keep it as simple as I can, and english is not my first language."
"Me (F[emale] 43) and my husband (M[ale] 45) are the biological parents of a lovely girl (15F). We always wanted a second child but because of some personal problems we were unable to."
"Three years ago we welcomed a young girl (13F now) in our family. There was not a single problem at that time, I think everyone was a just a little stressed because it was a big change."
However that familial bliss didn't last as their 12-year-old and 10-year-old daughter's decided to become more independent.
"But now there is a lot of troubles in our family. Our bio daughter has been vegan for 4 months and we have chosen to become vegan as well to support her in her convictions as we believe it is an important step in her adolescent life. However, this situation has created a lot of tension as our adopted daughter doesn't want to follow her sister in this journey."
"Our bio daughter has been pressuring us to force our adopted daughter to go vegan as well since she doesn't want any animal product in the house. We agreed to stop buying it because it makes her sick just to know that there is some in the house."
"This doesn't sit well with our adopted daughter, who doesn't want to go vegan, but we already promised our bio daughter to go full vegan with her as a family. We plan to force everyone to eat vegan from now on as our daughter well-being is the most important thing to us."
That last sentence would come back to haunt the Original Poster (OP).
"We hope that this tension disappears with time, but if it doesn't, we don't really know how to handle the adopted daughter. We tried to let them discuss this between girls, but it became very heated."
"Currently, our adopted daughter sleeps at a friend's house because she was mad at our daughter and while she was away, we made the shift to the vegan diet. When she comes home, she will have to comply to the new diet."
"We spoke with some friends and their reactions were mixed, some supporting us while others found it unnecessary."
"Would we be the a**holes if we forced her to go vegan to maintain the peace in our family?"
Now it was time for Redditors to pass judgment by voting:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH - No A**holes Here
"YTA already. You have two kids & are treating one as more important. Holy smokes I'd get banned from this sub if I said all the things I want to right now." ~ DropsOfLiquid
"'our daughter well-being is the most important thing to us'"
"YTA—You are literally one of the most vile a**holes i have seen on this subReddit."
"You went to the bother of adopting a daughter and you openly admit that she is second on your priorities??? They are BOTH your DAUGHTERS... PLURAL!"
"That sentence should never be typed or spoken by someone with adopted children."
"Why on earth did you bother 'adopting' her if you were not going to treat her 100% equal?" ~ SqueaksBCOD
"YTA. Yes, you would be the asshole. You should NOT do that."
"A child, especially a child who has experienced the trauma of being in foster care/adopted, needs a parent who allows (and accepts and LOVES) them just as they are. By forcing her to fit whatever mold your 15 year old has created only makes her feel like who she is is not okay."
"Don't do that. Let her express herself through her eating habits however she wants." ~ Radiant-aside
"Also the fact that you made this change WHILE she was gone because she was mad at your other daughter just highlights the unfairness of this. Every meal will show that you love one daughter more than the other."
"Your daughter is not sick. She is fine. She will live her whole life dealing with meat eaters. She is just dramatic. That's it." ~ woahthatsme20
"YWBTA/YTA. What your daughter (adopted or not) eats is entirely up to her.
"You are clearly, clearly, favoring one daughter over the other, and the fact that she's adopted shouldn't even have been mentioned."
"How many more times, I wonder, have you put the bio-kid first without caring a whit about what the other child thinks?"
"Bio-kid is going to end up one of those obnoxious holier-than-thou vegans that everyone hates, and adopted daughter is going to end up going no-contact with you when she's grown. I'm not honestly sure if you even care though." ~ hockeypup
And remember that one sentence?
It got brought up more than once.
"'We plan to force everyone to eat vegan from now on as our daughter well-being is the most important thing to us'."
"She literally says that the bio daughter is more important than the adopted daughter." ~ LWdkw
"Yeah, that line really stood out. They don't seem to know they have two daughters now." ~ Chesterlie
"It's sad they are forcing a child to do something they don't want to do for the other child's 'well being'. Clearly you aren't treating them equal. YTA." ~ CrisisWorked
Redditor lobstahfingah made sure the OP knew they were older than her so she would understand all ages thought she was wrong.
"Hi there. I'm a bit older than you and your husband... and I feel like you should know that so you don't dismiss the opinions here as 'the opinions of children'."
"YTA. What makes your bio-daughter's food preferences more important than your other daughter?"
"The last thing your younger daughter needs is yet another reason to feel different, left out, weird, not accepted, and not good enough."
279 Redditors told OP "You're The A**hole" (YTA), while 4 people voted ESH or "Everyone Sucks Here" because they included the 15-year-old daughter for trying to force her sister or anyone else to follow her new diet. Zero people thought "No A**holes Here" (NAH) or that the OP was "Not The A**hole" (NTA).
It's unclear what sort of response the OP wanted, but hopefully they see what response they got and reconsider surprising their 13-year-old with her new vegan diet when she finally comes home.
*If you enjoyed this article, you can read more like it by clicking on the WIBTA link below.*