‘Appalled’ Mom Tells Off 8-Year-Old Daughter’s Friend For Throwing Out Burnt Toast But The Girl’s Mom Said She Had No Right To

Is it really unreasonable to tell a kid not to waste your groceries?

mom and two girls eating toast  lavi37, stockmachine, wolfman67 / Getty Images via Canva, Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

Everyone has different standards about what constitutes wastefulness, and they're often informed by our own upbringings. But as a mom on Reddit, shared in a post to the "r/AITA" subReddit, this seemingly simple issue became a huge conflict between her and another parent. 

A mom offended her daughter's friend's mom by chastising her for wasting food.

The mom says she didn't grow up with much, and wasting food is not something that is normally done in her home. So when her daughter's friend Jane did so, she felt she had to say something. But this simple moment of pushback turned into a wider debate about disciplining other people's kids.


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Her 8-year-old daughter's friend threw out toast that was 'a little burnt' during breakfast at a sleepover.

The mom writes that her young daughter was having a sleepover with her friend Jane and they "insisted on making breakfast" in the morning. So, she cooked them eggs and made them smoothies while her daughter and her friend Jane were in charge of the toast. 


"They must have messed with the settings on the toaster," she writes, "and the bread came out a little burnt." Jane was repulsed by the burnt toast, exclaiming "Ew, what happened." Next thing you know, she was hurling the toast into the trash. 

"I didn’t grow up with much," the mom writes, "so tossing food in the trash is not something I’ve done or seen." So she was a bit taken aback by Jane wasting food. 

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The mom explained to the girl that food is expensive and not to be wasted — and Jane's mother was upset.

"I explained to her that this isn’t okay," she writes, "people work hard to afford food etc." She acknowledges that she embarrassed her daughter, which she said was "understandable from her perspective." But what was not understandable to her was Jane's mom's outrage.


"What is crazy is Jane’s mom's reaction who informed me that my behavior was unacceptable and I had no right to call out her child and it was probably traumatic for her," she writes. "She took no accountability for Jane's actions," she added.

She went on to clarify that it wasn't so much the loss of a few slices of bread that got to her, but rather "the nonchalance with which it was just tossed away." You have to admit, it seems like Jane hasn't exactly been taught the value of a dollar, which is surely galling to a parent who struggles.

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Experts say food insecurity is one of many "adverse childhood experiences" that can have lasting impacts into adulthood.

Sure, the mom may have overreacted—being "appalled" isn't exactly commensurate with the supposed misdeed of a kid throwing out some toast. But a wealth of scientific research proves that issues stemming from "not growing up with much," such as food insecurity, can have lasting impacts into adulthood.




A 2019 study at the University of Kentucky found that children who experience food insecurity grow up to be adults who experience "higher psychological distress," even after adjusting for factors like having a higher socioeconomic status as an adult. And poverty and food insecurity are considered among the "adverse childhood experiences"—stressful or traumatic events during childhood— that can result in profound psychological impacts that last well into adulthood.

As science journalist Donna Jackson Nakazawa told us in 2021, these impacts can include changes to the brain that result in "the loss of ability to respond effectively to future stressors"—like responding appropriately to a child throwing toast in the garbage, for example.

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Many people thought the mom was out of line for disciplining another woman's child, but not everyone agreed.

Most seemed to feel the mom had definitely overreacted, even those who on some level empathized with the mom's reaction to food being wasted. "You still have lingering food insecurities," one person wrote. "Talk to a therapist. Help is out there. Good luck." Another agreed, writing, "at most calmly saying 'oh hey, I would have eaten that, next time give it to me k?' That is all that was needed."

But others weren't quite so sold on the idea that the mom had done anything wrong. "Y'all need to understand less privileged perspectives," one commenter who grew up in poverty wrote. "I doubt [she] needs the food and can't afford to throw it away but that kind of shock often comes from people with experience being extremely poor."

And not everyone was sold on the idea of the children having been "traumatized" by simple pushback from an adult either. "Anything and everything embarrasses kids in front of their friends," someone wrote when another commenter chastised the mom for humiliating her daughter.

Another theorized that the whole reason this conflict blew up in the first place is probably that "the kid never gets any sort of punishment so this small interaction was big to her."


And when it came to some excoriations for the mom disciplining other people's kids, there was plenty of pushback. "If your kid is in the care of another adult it is perfectly reasonable to expect that if they do something wrong, the adult in charge would address it appropriately." 

Going ballistic over toast is definitely not appropriate. But is it really that traumatizing and inappropriate to tell a kid not to waste groceries?

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.