When a guardian decides to stop stocking sweets in the house, it can be a challenge, but it can also be an opportunity to teach children about healthy eating and self-control. Someone recently asked on the internet, Am I a jerk for not having sweets in the house for my niece who’s under my care? We want to hear your thoughts. 


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The Original Poster (OP) (27F) has been the guardian of her niece Zoe (9) for almost a year since her brother, and SIL passed away. She works full-time in a relatively high-stressed job.

She Has Been On Low Carb Diet

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Ever since she was 24, she’s been on a low-carb diet. It’s obviously not for everybody, but she feels better not consuming so much carb and sugar—it helps with her weight, concentration, and energy level.

Her diet consists mostly of meat served with fruits and vegetables, but if she craves a slice of pizza or a helping of Pad Thai every now and then she doesn’t beat herself over it. 

What Did OP Do When Her Niece Came Over?

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When Zoe came to live with her, OP made sure to have carbs for her meals, mainly rice and potatoes. She also takes them out to eat once or twice a week so they can explore different cuisines and local offerings. 

Zoe has lunch at her school, and OP gives her a small allowance so she can buy whatever she likes within that budget.

What Does OP Not Have In Her Home?

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OP says, “What I don’t have in my home is dessert. I used to stock some when Zoe first came to live with me and would give her a small serving after her meal while I had some fruits.

A few weeks after that, Zoe asked why I didn’t eat any dessert with her and I told her for me, fruits are yummier and healthier. Not long after she stopped me from buying more of anything sweet when I took her grocery shopping and said she would have just fruits, too, like me.

She Refused

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I tried to serve her some dessert we had at her next meal, but she refused. I stopped offering A few more times and gave her fruits instead. Zoe and I still enjoy dessert when we go out to eat (knafeh is one of our favorites).”

What Happened A Few Days Ago?

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A few days ago, a mom from Zoe’s after-school club called OP. 

She told OP that she brought butterscotch pies to the club, and everyone enjoyed a piece, including Zoe. She also said a lot of kids left school early that day, so there was a lot of leftover pie, and she offered to pack it up for everyone there to take home.

All the kids took some, but Zoe didn’t and told her, “We don’t have dessert at home.”

Mom Was Concerned

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The mom was concerned that OP was possibly setting Zoe up for an eating disorder and that kids deserve to have something sweet in the house.

OP told her how it was Zoe’s choice to not have dessert, so she just stopped stocking them. 

What Did OP Say?

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OP says, “I also told her I know Zoe occasionally bought sweets at school, so there’s no need to add more sugar content to her home food. She said it was wrong for me to set a low-carb diet lifestyle as an example for Zoe when she’s still so young and should not be restricted from eating anything.

Again, I told her that Zoe could have anything she wanted and I would gladly provide any food for her, but she argued that eating is a social thing and by seeing me abstaining from sweets, Zoe would do the same to feel like she belongs.”

What Did OP Feel

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OP’s quite confused about this. She knows from a rough nutrition estimate that Zoe is getting what she needs. She is rarely sick and her martial arts instructor says she’s an active and enthusiastic student. She also doesn’t think she should compromise her own chosen diet so her niece can have dessert at home. 

“Am I a jerk?” asks OP.

Zoe Is Happy & Healthy 

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“Not a jerk at all, and tell that woman to mind her own business. Your niece is happy and healthy, that is what matters.” Said one. 

“Fruit is a dessert and has sugar in the form of fructose. The women butting in with ‘advice’ is probably more likely to be a source of a future eating disorder than OP.” Another added. 

A Very Thoughtful Approach, Indeed 

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“I’m a nutritionist; this is a pretty reasonable approach.

I do think you should be careful around this, and I understand the mom’s concern. But at the end of the day, your niece is healthy and getting enough food. It sounds like you do not shame her to try to get her to follow your diet, and if she asks for something she can have it. She also has access to her own money to buy a sweet if she wants. Having access to get something if wanted is huge, because it will help her not feel the need to eat every sweet because she doesn’t know when she’ll have another.

Don’t sweat it too much. You sound like you are taking a thoughtful approach here”

Don’t Concern Yourself With ‘Unsolicited’ Advice 

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“Other parents are some of the worst with judgment about how you are raising a child. Don’t concern yourself with parenting advice you haven’t asked for. If your niece is healthy and has a healthy view of food, then you have nothing to worry about.” 

That Lady Is Overstepping 

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“This lady is way out of line by trying to push her unhealthy diet on your kid.  Kids don’t need sugary desserts. You are teaching her good eating habits.”

“That mom was really overstepping, especially after you explained that you do not restrict Zoe from having sweets.  It sounds like you’re doing a great job at making sure Zoe gets her nutritional needs and has a healthy, balanced diet that’s NOT restricted. For what it’s worth, I’m saying this as a person with a history of eating disorders.”

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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.

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