'My wife forces our daughter onto the treadmill after eating - and I'm worried'

Getty Images/iStockphoto
Getty Images/iStockphoto 

A concerned stepfather has turned to the internet for advice on whether to speak up about his wife's "incessant" policing of her daughter's weight.

"I've basically raised my daughter since she was 12 years old, and she's been my princess considering that she only has brothers," he writes on Reddit. "She's always been overweight, and my wife has been policing her on it incessantly."

What makes the situation even worse, however, is how differently she treats the couple's son's.

"She'll let our sons eat whatever they want,' the author continues. "Our sons have pretty fast metabolisms, so they don't really gain a lot of noticeable weight, which is surprising considering they basically just sit on the couch and play games ALL DAY."

According to the father, his wife tells their daughter that she's just "watching our for her", when she tries to control what she eats.

"After my step-daughter has eaten, her mum will basically force her on the treadmill while her brothers veg out on the couch eating a complete bag of chips by themselves," he writes. "It's gotten to the point where I've caught my wife rummaging through our daughter's BANK STATEMENTS, and basically shaming her for how much money she spends on food a month."

And her behaviour is already causing their daughter severe distress. 

"She is basically a crying mess while my wife yells at her asking her if she wants to die early of a heart attack or just putting fears in her head," he continues, adding that she also has anxiety that she's recently been medicated for. 

"My step-daughter has a full time job in retail so she's obviously on her feet a lot, and she really enjoys being outside with the dogs and doing stuff around the ranch whenever I ask her to. She's also played sports most of high school."

Advertisement

Meanwhile, he notes, "Her brothers never do the work I ask them to do and instead just sit on the couch playing games and eating whatever trash food my wife has brought for them to eat"

The worried dads says his wife is "horribly stubborn". "Once she's latched on to an idea she sticks to it."

She also compares her daughter to others.

"She does this weird thing where she'll ask my step-daughter if she thinks she's 'ugly' or 'fat' compared to her skinnier cousins who she hangs out a lot with. They're very skinny, but just like my sons all I ever really see them doing in sitting on the couch or eating fast food. So while they're skinny they're not necessarily the healthiest" 

And she's constantly putting her down.

"My step daughter will proudly show the wife clothes she bought such as dresses, and my wife always has to say something along the lines of, "Oh well you'd look perfect in that if you were skinnier!"

But while he wants to say something, the step-father isn't sure he can. "I feel like this is something I can't really bring up because my wife will just shut me down by saying something about how it's just a 'girl' thing.

"Would I be the bad guy if I told her to stop it and let our step-daughter live in peace?"

Unsurprisingly, the overwhelming consensus was - hell no.

"If I wanted to write a guidebook on 'how to give your child an eating disorder', this is pretty much the script. Poor stepdaughter," one commenter wrote.

"I was your daughter, except I was skinny. I was 105lbs, 5'3 and 12 years old when my mom started telling me to watch my weight," shared another.  "She would say lines like, "it's just 5lbs here, and 5lbs here, and you can't afford to keep gaining 5lbs every year." I WAS A KID GOING THROUGH PUBERTY ... What your wife is doing is extremely dangerous. I'm lucky that I didn't end up with an eating disorder. I still think I'm fat even though I'm 135 with a high muscle content and a size 4. Stop her before it's too late. I wish my dad did."

"This is abuse," said another. "You will lose your daughter if you don't check your wife. Check her and check her hard. Your kid is being abused on multiple levels, and I hate to say it, but you not stopping your wife and protecting daughter is enabling your wife. 

"You kid needs therapy and support, and you need to man up. Best of luck."

Butterfly Foundation National Helpline 1800 33 4673.