'My mother-in-law tricked my vegetarian daughter into eating meat.'

One might assume, that when they tell someone else — especially a loved one — they have restrictions with food, that there would be enough respect for the boundaries. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case for a grandmother towards her vegetarian granddaughter.

In a post on Reddit's JUSTNOMIL thread, a mother asked for advice after learning that her mother-in-law had duped her nine-year-old vegetarian daughter into eating meat.

"My nine-year-old daughter became a vegetarian about eight months ago (thanks to her friend’s older sister’s influence) and takes it surprisingly seriously, given her age," the user explained. "For some bizarre reason, my mother-in-law [MIL] has a serious problem with it and hates that my husband and I allow it."

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The mother wrote, that she, her husband and MIL started a "small confrontation" about the situation but ultimately decided to let it go when the parents both stressed they were no longer "interested in her input."

However, things reached boiling point when the family attended a dinner, hosted by her MIL.

"She served spaghetti," the poster said. "It was a meat sauce for the rest of us, but when she gave my daughter her bowl, she said all sweetly, 'And a special veggie sauce just for you.' Halfway through her bowl, my daughter started to panic."


They then quickly realised what their MIL had done with the woman writing, "My MIL insisted there was [no meat but] I took her plate to inspect and sure enough, there was beef in her sauce. When I stated there was indeed meat in it, my daughter immediately began to cry."

"I took her into the living room to calm her down while my husband confronted his mum. She, at first, insisted it was an accident, but after he established he didn’t buy that for a second, she admitted it was intentional. She said she thought by reminding her how delicious meat was, she would 'give up that vegetarian nonsense'," the woman continued.

"She said she couldn’t see what the big deal was and suggested we get our daughter therapy because the fact she cried over it was 'very troubling, and a sign something is wrong with her'."

The boundary was admittedly crossed but the woman still did not apologise to her son, DIL or grandchild. Instead, she later texted her son and wrote, "'I shouldn't have done but that... but *insert essay about why eating meat is no big deal and the daughter overreacted here*.'"

"I'm beyond livid. He's trying to figure out things to say to get her to understand our daughter's feelings, like asking her how she would feel if someone tricked her into eating a dog. However, I strongly feel like we shouldn't have to do that," the mother continued.


"We shouldn't have to defend our daughter's personal choice not to eat meat and her right to have that respected. We shouldn't have to try to validate her feelings of being deeply upset after she was tricked into doing something she is strongly morally opposed to by someone she trusted.

"I told my husband I don't trust his mother to feed my kids anymore. He thinks I'm overreacting and we should give her a second chance once the dust settles with this, but my trust is gone. She took it upon herself to decide my daughter was 'wrong' for being a vegetarian and tried to 'fix' her. She decided she knew best and to ignore not only my daughter's boundaries, but ours as her parents not to push meat on her.

"It also worries me because our five-year-old has a peanut allergy that my MIL scoffs at. She's never tried to sneak her peanut products, but she's dismissed it as 'probably not serious' and has said how people 'outgrow allergies, so she probably will too'. After this incident with the meat, I'm terrified she'll decide to ignore that food restriction too."

The responses were immediately against the MIL who'd tricked her grandchild into eating meat.

"This poor kid could have gotten really sick, your MIL is way out of line. This is a big damn deal," one comment read. For me, this would mean no meals together. Not at your house, not at MIL’s. Not now, not on holidays, either... Your MIL needs to learn that your husband will not tolerate her deceiving him, his kid, or his wife."

Another read, "I doubt your daughter wants to eat at grandma's again, no matter if your husband 'allows' it or not. I'm a pestering myself and I wouldn't touch a thing that woman has prepared anymore."


A third person said the decision of forgiveness should rest firmly in the daughter's hands, as she was the one most hurt by her grandmother's actions.

"Honestly, as your daughter was the one that was wronged in this situation, I'd leave the decision entirely in her hands if she wants to eat anything from Grandma again. Your MIL not only needs to re-earn your daughter's trust, but she needs to re-earn yours as well," the user said.

"I think the best thing to do is follow your little one's lead on this. No guilt, and she needs to know that in this case she is absolutely entitled to refuse food from Grandma with no grief from you or Dad and that you will both support her with her grandma should she try to guilt her into something.

"Your MIL may have irreparably ruined her relationship with your daughter, but that was your MIL's s****y choice. Actions have consequences. Your MIL has some amends to make."

Aside from the betrayal that comes with tampering with someone's food, it's also an illegal act. In Australia, 'food sabotage' or 'food tampering' is referred to when food is deliberately interfered with and contaminated. In NSW, food tampering carries a maximum penalty of 10-15 years' imprisonment.

What would you do in this situation? Tell us in the comments section below.

Feature Image: Getty.

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