Grandmother takes heat on Reddit for sending hungry 5-year-old to bed: ‘He’s not starving’

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A grandmother who says she’s vegetarian took heat from others on Reddit this week for revealing that she sent her youngest grandchild, age 5, to bed “hungry” after a particularly challenging babysitting incident at her home in which the child apparently refused to eat the food she prepared.

“Hello, all, I’m 59,” she wrote on the subreddit known as “AITA” (“Am I the a–hole”) by way of introduction on the platform.

Her daughter, she said, is 31 and has “been living with me for the past few months, as they’ve had some financial trouble,” she said, referring to the couple. (She did not share her location.)

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“Her husband is 38, and they have 4 children, from 5 years old to 9 years old,” the woman also noted, calling herself “MamaBear5738” in her post. 

She added, “I’m vegetarian, so I don’t cook meat in the house, but her youngest is picky and usually doesn’t like my food.”

Her daughter, she wrote, “cooks a few meals a week, and she’ll usually make something for the kids if I’m making something they won’t like.”

However, “last weekend my daughter said she was going out with her friends and I assumed she would be home by dinner, because she didn’t say anything specifically to me about doing anything for the kids.”

But the daughter did not return by 9 p.m. — “and the kids were hungry,” the grandmother wrote. 

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“So I called her, but she didn’t pick up. Phone probably dead.” 

“The 5-year-old was upset … and asked if I could make chicken nuggets for him.”

Wrote MamaBear5738, “I’d just made rice and steamed veggies for myself because I wasn’t too hungry or in the mood to cook properly. I offered some [to] the children and the two older ones ate. The 5-year-old was upset, though, and asked if I could make chicken nuggets for him.”

Added the woman, “We did have chicken and breadcrumbs, and I know how they’re made, but I didn’t feel good about cooking meat, so I told him he [could] wait until his mom [came] home.”

She went on, “He got upset and threw the plate of food down and it broke. I picked up the ceramic pieces but had him help clean the rice. He was upset about that, too,” she added. 

Boy upset crying

“My daughter wasn’t back until 11 and the kid went to sleep after a little while.”

Wrote MamaBear5738, “My daughter was really upset that I let him [go to] sleep hungry, and I said it was one evening, and he’s not starving.”

She continued, “She said I could just get over myself and make the damn chicken. Then I told her he broke a plate, and she got even angrier that I asked him to clean like a ‘maid’ when he’s a little kid.”

DAD ASKS REDDIT IF HE SHOULD LET HIS TEEN DAUGHTER MEET A BOY FROM INSTAGRAM IN PERSON

The Reddit writer finished her story with these words: “I think she coddles him and I told her so. What do you think?”

Commenters expressed anger and disbelief at both the grandmother and the daughter who had a hand in the drama through her absence.

On the subreddit, people can reply to posts and indicate the poster is “NTA” (“Not the A–hole”), “YTA” (“You’re the A–hole”), “NAH” (“No A–holes Here”) or “ESH” (“Everyone Sucks Here”).

For this personal atory, many people weighed in with the “ESH” label — and the post so far has gotten more than 1,800 comments in less than a day.

Fox News Digital reached out to two psychologists for professional insights into the incident.

Plenty of online commenters expressed their anger and dismay at the grandmother as well as the mother — who had a hand in the drama by her absence and lack of planning, they said.

Reddit app button

Wrote one commenter incredulously, “Your daughter is out partying, and you let kids as young as 5 stay up until 9 p.m. wondering if they’ll get dinner?”

Added the same person, “Where was her husband for all this?”

That comment alone received more than 6,000 “upvotes” by others on the platform. 

Wrote another person who weighed in, “It sounds like no one wants to be in charge of the children. A hungry 5-year-old at 9 p.m. is going to be HANGRY. They should have been fed earlier.” 

That comment received over 2,000 “upvotes.”

DAD ASKS REDDIT IF HE SHOULD LET HIS TEEN DAUGHTER MEET A BOY FROM INSTAGRAM IN PERSON

“Everyone involved knows it, but it sounds like no one wants to be responsible,” the same person added.

Said this same person directly to the poster, “You’re an adult, and [the kids] needed to eat. Come on.”

Another commenter boiled things down this way: “If you haven’t had the big-picture talk about timelines for moving out and rules around child care, please do so now.”

The Reddit logo on a smartphone

Another person weighed in with straightforward thoughts as well.

“There’s four kids in the house, aged 5 to 9, and the adults are being wishy-washy about feeding them, supervising them, bedtime, chores, etc.” 

Added this same commented to the grandmother, “Yes, they are not your kids, so you don’t have to take on all responsibilities, nor cave to all your daughter’s demands. But you should definitely communicate clearly what your boundaries and expectations are, and put some ground rules in place asap.”

After the flurry of negative feedback, the original poster came back with an “edit” to her story. 

She added, “Lots of misunderstandings, so I’ll be more clear. He [the five-year-old grandson] ate some crackers before he slept, so not completely hungry. He only got hungry at 9 because he ate at 5, I thought an early dinner would be fine, and he could sleep soon.”

Mom hugging daughter

She also wrote, “He wanted to stay up and wait for his mom, though. So I didn’t keep him hungry from lunch ’til 9. I offered him PB&J in addition to the rice and veggies.”

Folks online, though, weren’t buying it.

Wrote one person strongly, “You were the adult in charge — feed them properly.”

Also, the same responder said, “Take [the] issues up with your daughter … and who [in the world] starve[s] their grandbabies?”

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