Teen Mom star Maci Bookout is defending herself after viewers suggested she was causing potential harm to her son Bentley.
On Tuesday night's episode, Maci reveals that she has signed up her 11-year-old son for private wrestling lessons as "it's been a great outlet for him" as he copes with family struggles. However, fans fear Maci is taking his new interests too seriously, since she's also enforcing a "strict diet" that she says will help him to "achieve his goal" of making it to regionals.
She tells the pre-teen in one scene that he has "lost [his] mind" after he told her he wants grilled chicken for dinner. "He weighs like 74-75 pounds so he's on a very strict, good, healthy calorie diet," Maci explains. "Lots of water and workouts to actually cut out weight."
According to Bentley, he's trying to eat only 1,000 calories a day.
Later, his father Ryan and step-mom Mackenzie Edwards express concern over the the new eating habits, but were primarily focused on the diet potentially causing him to be a "late-bloomer" in terms of his growth.
Viewers, on the other hand, are more concerned that Bentley will form an unhealthy relationship with food. One Instagram user commented on Maci's page, "I am normally on the same page with you about so much—but the weight thing... I have a son the same age as Bentley and I could not imagine telling him it is okay to lose weight at his age. He's a growing boy and his body needs those calories and nutrients. Let him be little. And let him have the damn chocolate milk."
"You are creating an eating disorder in that boy. Shame on your parenting. This episode just makes me so sick. He's 11. No 11 year old should be on a diet," another remarked.
But according to Maci, the episode isn't an accurate depiction of her parenting. "In reference to tonight's episode-I have never and will never convince Bentley to 'cut' weight. After wrestling his first 2 tournaments in the 75lb class weighing in at 72-he came to me & said he wanted to wrestle at 70. I told him that's fine, but you WILL NOT 'cut' weight," she writes on Twitter. "I will lay out a healthy scheduled diet for u, u can eat salads, grilled chicken, veggies, good carbs-instead of pizza, Doritos & candy bars. Through the season, he decided he didn't like it—I told him that's okay! U can go back to usual and wrestle at 75 which is what he did."
And while she's no expert, the reality star says she "grew up around the sport and have a bit of knowledge" on healthy and safe weight management.
Teen Mom OG airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. only on MTV.