Secret Fast Food Trips Tear a Family Apart

A Reddit user posts about cutting off her kids from their grandma over McDonald's meals.

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McDonald's
Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

Food, for the most part, brings people together (heck, we bank on that very premise for every story we publish!), but in some cases it can completely destroy relationships. Just last month we told you about the ultimate betrayal when a woman found out her husband was lying about the flavor of green gummy bears for 13 years so he could eat more of the little guys. This time it’s McDonald’s that’s tearing a family apart, and people on the internet have opinions.

Parenting site SheKnows spotted a Reddit post on the site’s popular Am I the Asshole forum from hronologos, a mom with three sons (6-year-old twins and a 4-year-old) who cut off unsupervised visits between her kids and their grandma, her mother-in-law, over some unsanctioned fast food meals. The mom writes:

I am very peculiar about the children eating fast food like McDonalds and KFC. KFC, they’ve had along with Subway and some other fast food places but I avoid ordering from those places. When they get older, sure, I will be unable to stop them from eating fast food but when they are this young and eat what I give them I rather they don’t know McDonalds even exists.

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Turns out when the boys visit Grandma, she always treats them to a drive-thru snack. Even after their mother asked her several times not to, she continued to take the boys to McDonald’s, which the kids called their “secret meal from mummy.” After multiple “secrets” got out, the poster eventually told her mother-in-law that if she wanted to see her grandkids, she could only do so under supervision to make sure no junk food was being eaten.

A lot to unpack here! And the kind opinionated folks on Reddit had a lot to say. Some fell on the side of the mother-in-law, saying that restricting a kid’s diet will eventually make them only want junk food when on their own or complicate their future relationship with food. But ultimately this poster was voted “not the asshole,” with a majority of the comments reading something like this one from user herdingsquirrels: “If my child ever told me that someone told them to lie to me or hide things from me we would have problems. You gave her so many chances.”

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I’m not a parent, but I agree that teaching kids to keep secrets is a bad idea, even about something as seemingly silly as some french fries. You never know when they might be keeping a secret about something potentially dangerous. That being said, I hope this mom does let her kids have the occasional fast food stop—getting a happy meal is just part of growing up, right? And maybe those occasional trips can be agreed upon ahead of time as special time with grandma.