Mom Furious With A Friend Who Forced ‘Clean Plate Rule’ On Daughter


When it comes to parenting, everyone has an opinion and everyone raises their children differently, so you get to listen to a lot of absolute NONSENSE and feel ridiculously judged while you raise your kid.

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It’s not necessarily a bad thing for kids to be raised in different ways either — which is the piece I think a lot of parents forget. What’s a rule in your house may or may not exist in other homes and that’s fine; respect all around is important.

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Recently, @lolabear38 over on Mumsnet tried to impose her own rules while visiting LolaBear38’s home with the kids. Here’s what Lolabear38 wrote (fyi, pudding = dessert, for all my non-British readers out here!):

We have close friends whose house we eat at, or they eat at ours, fairly often. They have different expectations at dinner time for their kids than I do – they enforce a very strict ‘clear your plate or no pudding’ rule, I don’t do this. 

She explains that at her house, there is no “clean your plate” rule. When they visit some friends that do have that rule, that’s fine and it goes: your house, your rules.

When dd is at their house, their rule applies.

Generally I would agree – their house, their rule but there have been quite a few times recently when she’s become very upset at being forced to eat a whole plate full of food she doesn’t want with the threat of no pudding hanging over her (she’s 6 and loves pudding).

Unfortunately, a six-year-old kid doesn’t really love the clean plate rule — fair enough. And she is starting to put up a fight about it, which means OP attempts to avoid going to this particular house.

Friend or her DH are very firm with all the kids that they have to eat everything and they follow through with the threat of no pudding. It’s got to the point where I’m finding reasons not to go there to eat because dd is so anxious about it. 

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Problem solved, right? No. Because now OP has this family over and they try to push the same rule. OP explained she doesn’t do that, but the friend wanted to enforce it anyway for “fairness” because her kids will still have the rule hanging over them.

What is bothering me a lot about this situation is when they come to eat at ours, they try and enforce the same rule. I took friend aside this evening and told her that I don’t generally make dd clear her plate and explained why – she said fair enough but for the sake of making everything fair to her kids when they’re all eating together the rule has to apply – it’s not fair her kids have to do this while mine don’t. 

OP explains her own reasoning for not bothering with the clean plate rule, basically boiling down to “I know what she ate and if it all generally evens out, it’s okay”. Plus, food as a reward or punishment sets up potential issues.

I take things on a case by case basis – I generally know what dd had eaten in the day and so know she’s had a roughly balanced diet so if she doesn’t want to finish a whole plate of food, and presuming she’s eaten (what I consider to be) enough, then she’s allowed to leave what she doesn’t want and still have pudding. I also don’t want to force her to eat or use pudding as a reward.

So she wanted to know if she would be wrong to enforce the rule in her own home.

AIBU to put my foot down and say dd doesn’t have to clear her plate to have pudding? In my own house?! Or when at restaurants? In their house, ok I guess. But if I’m following their rules in their home surely they should return the gesture when in my house?!

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Obviously the answer to if she would be wrong to enforce HER rule in HER house is … no.

@PaddleBoardingMomma / Mumsnet
@ByeByeBoree / Mumsnet
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@bunty55 / Mumsnet

Written by Kate Hackett

Actor. Writer. Producer. Human bean. See more at