I refused to give my stepdaughter cake on her birthday, but I had my reasons

In 2023, a woman shared her story on the ‘Am I the A******’ subreddit, detailing a situation involving her husband’s six-year-old daughter.

The mother says she has two boys, eight and 10, from another marriage, and became a stepmother to Gwen when she got married to her husband, 40. The little girl spends two weekends each month with her blended family and spends the majority of time with her biological mother, whose “blood type is probably ketchup. Similarly, Gwen is about 20lb heavier than a six-year-old girl is supposed to be.”

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“We are a healthful household, and we teach moderation and controlling how much we take when we have treats. We are also very active, and every day strive to get the boys moving,” the woman writes.

And when her stepdaughter visits, she explains “I try to teach Gwen about healthy eating and moving around. We have the boys play with her so she’s getting active.”

Healthy eating, she clarifies is teaching the kids to “make a distinction between foods that are healthy and ones that aren’t.”

“When I see one of the kids reaching for a ‘treat’ food in the pantry I’ll ask, ‘would you like to make a healthier choice?’ And Gwen is really getting it, she’s always going for better choices now and is also asking for fruit at home which is really good.”

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But Reddit users raged over her parenting style along with the food shaming.
“Good idea: providing healthy meals for the kid, and she’s happily eating them. Bad idea: following them into the pantry and shaming them into picking something they don’t want to appease you,” writes one.

A second suggests the child is too young to make the “distinction,” saying “At this age they don’t understand the concept of calories nor should they. It’s a parent’s job to provide healthy food, not a child’s job to ‘choose it.’ All you’re giving this child from this is anxiety related to eating.”

Unhappy birthday
Unfortunately Gwen’s birthday fell on a weekend with her father and instead of putting cake on the table, the OP again pushed the child to make a “healthier choice.”

“My reasoning is unfortunately she’s still getting all that garbage at home, and it’s just not good for a growing girl. She agreed and we decided to have some low-fat ice cream so she can still have a sweet treat. It’s a brand Gwen loves and asks for every time she’s here, so she was happy with it.”

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But when the weekend was over and the child returned home to her mother, the OP received a phone call.

“Her mom called us furious; she said then when Gwen got home and she asked about her birthday with us and her cake, Gwen started crying because she really did want cake but didn’t want to ‘make a bad choice.’ She accused me of fat shaming her and her daughter and that I owe her a cake and a big apology.”

‘Creating eating disorders’
The OP asked Redditors “AITA for not having cake for her birthday?”. Previously, the mom justifies her decision of denying Gwen a happy birthday. She shares, “I’m just looking out for the health of a child in my care, but I never said Gwen couldn’t have cake and she could have had one if she said she wanted one. I suggested sticking to ice cream because I care.”

An overwhelming majority of netizens agreed that “YTA******”

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One Redditor snipes, “She’s 5. Give the child goddamn cake on her birthday and then go for a family walk after.

Also FYI, the good choice/ bad choice talk is just going to give her body image issues for the rest of her life.”

Another suggests the child lied about wanting cake out of fear, adding “the fact that the kid LIED and was afraid, didn’t want to say how she really felt, and what she really wanted for her own damn birthday, says a lot more is going on between these lines OP has written.”

A third writes, “As someone with an eating disorder, this is how you give kids eating disorders.”

Meanwhile, another says the stepmom has a superiority complex. “OP is too stuck up [on] her own self-righteousness to realize she’s creating eating disorders in everyone around her,” they write.

Everyone deserves to indulge on cake on their birthday without being shamed!

What are your thoughts on this mother? Please let us know what you think and then share this story so we can hear from others!

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