A dad has been backed after revealing that he ignores his ex-wife’s demands about how he cares for their daughter.
In a post on Reddit‘s popular r/AmITheA****** forum, user u/OnionVinegar shared the argument with his ex.
“My ex likes to tell me what I should and shouldn’t do on my custody days, and I generally ignore her, because there is a reason we divorced,” he wrote. “She has a list of food she doesn’t want our daughter to eat, and I don’t pay attention to her list.”
Recently, he explained that he dropped their 10-year-old daughter at school and later that day received a call from his ex-wife who was upset because her lunchbox contained onions.
“She said that onions were on her list. I said I didn’t care,” said the dad. “She said onions make our daughter smell bad when she sweats and kids will bully her. I said that at my house our daughter showers, and she might try that at her house as well.”
Gemma Harris, a clinical psychologist who talks about relationships on Instagram as @theexdoctor, told Newsweek: “Co-parenting can often be difficult because parenting is typically something we feel strongly about and don’t want to mess up. This is a good thing, but it can mean we are less likely to be flexible if we view that flexibility as potentially damaging to our child.
“Sometimes, parents can actively choose to act opposite to aspects of their own parenting that they found difficult, for example, seeking to be emotionally expressive because they disliked having a non-expressive parent. Essentially, co-parenting can be challenging when our parenting templates differ in important aspects.”
The issue between the disagreeing parents escalated, and the dad explained: “She called me a spiteful p**** and told me no more onions. Our daughter likes onions, so I’m going to ignore her.”
The post received more than 7,200 upvotes from Redditors who sided with the dad for his actions.
One commenter said: “You were 100 percent being petty, but it sounds so far like it was in the best way possible. I certainly chuckled.”
“From the title I assumed you were forcing onions on a kid who doesn’t like them. If she likes onions and you are including a food she likes in her lunchbox, you are NTA (not the a******),” said another Redditor.
As well as disagreements on parenting style, Harris said that co-parenting can also be impacted by the personal relationships of the parents involved. “Co-parenting relationships are often impacted by the damage that a relationship breakdown has caused. This means that co-parents often find it hard to separate their parenting decisions from animosity towards their ex-partner. Parenting decisions often become tools to punish, restrict and enact power over an ex-partner, and the child’s best interests are either lost altogether or veiled under misleading rationales,” she explained.
“Feuds like this are very common,” she said. “As parents enact their relationship conflict through the parenting task.”
“If your ex feels so strongly about it, she can waste thousands of dollars going back to court to amend the custody agreement with food restrictions,” said another Redditor.
“If your daughter doesn’t have a medical reason (such as allergy) to avoid a food, then this is a non-issue,” agreed another.
Despite the consensus online that the dad was not in the wrong, Harris did warn that conflict like this can have a negative impact on children.
“Co-parent conflict is stressful on children, and likely to be distressing. Children do not thrive in environments where boundaries are inconsistent and the goal posts are always changing,” she said. “If you do have serious concerns about the differences in parenting or co-parenting decisions, these negotiations are best taking place outside of the child’s awareness wherever possible.”
Newsweek has reached out to u/OnionVinegar for comment. We were unable to verify the details of this case.
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