'Shame': Dad Slammed for Not Allowing Son To Eat Cupcake at Birthday Party

A father has gained attention online after confessing to banning his child from having a cupcake at a birthday party because he'd already eaten a cookie.

The anonymous father took to popular Subreddit "Am I the A**hole" where users often go to gain opinions on tricky personal situations. On this occasion, the alleged father explained that he and his wife have a nine-year-old son, who they limit his intake of candy and sugary foods.

Although both parents have agreed on the dietary choice, it became an issue at a recent birthday party, according to the father in a post which has received over 10,000 interactions. Halfway through the celebration, the father claimed to have found his son hunched underneath the food table.

"I see him chewing something and come to find out he is eating cookies," he wrote. "No big deal, he could have asked to have some, but he knew that his sweet for that day would have been the cake that was going to be served. So I told him that since he wanted to be sneaky and try to eat cookies without being caught, he would not get a cupcake."

After instructing her son to wash his hands ahead of the cake, the man's wife turned to him and argued that they should let their son have the cake, "implying it would be rude to the host."

The father disagreed, and instead replied: "No, he knows the rules and he sneakily had cookies, so he doesn't deserve one." His son still ended up eating the cupcake, which the father worried made him "look like the bad parent."

Concern from a parent regarding candy and sugar intake isn't out of the ordinary, with one report published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics showing that toddlers are consuming almost as much sugar as older children in the U.S.

The use of restrictive diets in children is something not so supported by studies, with concerns that it could actually have the opposite effect. One study from 2014 found that restricting access to a certain food could actually increase the intake of and desire of such foods.

Child eating cupcake
Stock image of a young child eating a cupcake. Getty Images

Some studies have also found that frequent use of restriction of foods can lead to increased eating in the absence of hunger.

It's because of factors like this that led the Reddit community to dub the father "the a**hole" in the situation, citing potential harm his action could cause.

"It's a birthday party. He is a kid. Sweets are delicious. It's sad that he has to hide from you to eat a cookie at a birthday party. Even sadder is that he gets punished for eating a cookie by not being allowed to eat a cupcake. You are just setting up your kid to resent you and have food issues when he is older," commented one Reddit user.

"You do not have to deserve food of any kind, ever. My parents limited foods like sweets. It sounds harmless, but it's actually very dangerous. Your intentions are good, however, there's a difference between teaching a kid that there needs to be moderation (this is not what you're doing) and teaching them there are good and bad foods (this is what you are doing)," added another.

One user noted: "I could somewhat understand if it was at home, and he stole cookies, knowing he would get cake later. But this is a birthday party. The treats were openly available for everyone and likely he was the only kid there being told to watch what he ate. That is 100 percent TA type move. 100 percent restricting sweets like the original poster is will lead to eating issues later in life, as once they move out, they will eat them, and have no real understanding on control on how much/correct times to overshoot."

Another agreed, simply writing: "Absolutely. This is terrible. OP has created a scarcity mentality paired with shame at such a young age. Poor kid is set up to have a very poor relationship with food."

On reflection after the mass response received online, the father vowed to learn from his actions and change his mindset towards his son's diet.

"I have been able to get some resources and information from some of you that has definitely opened my eyes more to that. My wife and I did have a conversation about this and have already made changes, and I also apologized to my son," he wrote.

Newsweek has reached out to the anonymous father for comment.