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Vegan kids


karlhubris
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I was just wondering...in this country, especially here in the Panhandle of Texas where I've heard up to 80% of the beef in the USA is "processed" within a 100 miles, where it seems everybody is eating meat, how do you explain it to young children? Our daughter is 5 and I think we've done a pretty good job of it. We have had some problems. When she first started attending Pre-K we asked the school about vegetarian options and they actually told my wife she needed a doctor's notice!!! Fortunately they talked to my wife, and not me, I'm far less patient with that kind of ignorance. To be on the safe side we pack her lunch, but I know she feels left out from the other kids. I think she still has a hard time grasping that the hot dogs and burgers they serve at school are not the same that we eat at home. I know once when she was about 3 she was devastated because kids at her day care ate chicken nuggets but she wasn;t allowed, even tho we eat (soy) "chicken" nuggets at home. We since learned to watch the school/daycare menus for items and substitute veggie products. We've also learned to call them soy dogs or veggie burgers so as to eliminate some confusion.

Any ways, any insight from other vegan/ vegetarian parents?

I should clarify, our daughter is vegetarian not vegan, partially because we knew we wouldn't always be around to investigate less obvious food, plus Lori, my wife is vegetarian not vegan. (To be honest, I am lax sometimes on my veganism...I eat Boca burgers and some products that have trace amounts of animal products. )

Funny story...once my daughter and my wife ate at one of their friend's houses and they served chicken. When they brought it out she screamed and asked why there was a dead bird on the table. Priceless! Needless to say my wife was a bit embarrassed, but good for her for knowing EXACTLY what it was...a dead bird!

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That's a great thing to bring up your child vegetarian and not be bullied into the mentality that it's damaging, or controlling etc.

 

I am not an expert, as I don't have kids, but I became vegetarian when I was about 5 years old. My mum at the time was one of those doesn't-eat-any-meat-apart-from-fish types at the time, and although she wouldn't cook meat (apart from fish) at home, I was never forced to be vegetarian. I made the decision one day when I saw some dead chickens on the market near where I live, and I remarked on how sad it was for those chickens (which still looked like chickens with feathers etc). My brother, who was full vegetarian at the time, pointed out that I eat those same chickens, which then just clicked and I knew I was being wrong by eating any meat of any kind, as I realised what it was.

 

Now, I dunno what to say about your daughter. I think that making the direct link between what she eats and animal suffering is the key, but you don't want to freak her out. I think that perhaps meet your meat etc is too strong at her age? But it depends on individually how mature and emotionally stable she is anyway.

 

It sucks because on the one hand, I'm like 'definitely people should not eat meat and if I had a kid I wouldn't want them to' but on the other hand, by actually enoforcing it as a rule, you will maybe upset the child. She was upset about not getting to eat XYZ that other kids were eating. I am not sure what to do, part of me thinks it is best to just provide the information and facts and let the children come to their own conclusion over time, which they will I think if you are good parents who teach them good morals and empathy for others (including animals).

 

Anyway, yeah I think maybe getting her to understand the link fo suffering / death to her food is a good thing, if it can be done right. But if you actually make a point of showing her, then again it is like trying to 'shock her into it' or whatever I guess... as it's the purpose of showing her it deliberately, rather than letting her come across the information herself. But I dunno. Has she ever been around farm animals? My parents used to take me to like farmy places to sit with animals, I remember stroking goats and feeding them, and holding baby chickens etc... maybe that strengthens empathy with animals too?

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About "enforcing vegetarianism" on a child...that's kind of a tough call. I was raised in a hardcore meat eating family...they were very upset when I told them I was going to become vegetarian when I was 19. Some of my meat eating friends have in the past criticized us for forcing our morality on our child, but that is total B.S. These same people have no problem when we "forced" our daughter not to be a racist. Or forced her to be kind to other people. Or forced other "crazy" ideas of morality on her. These same people force their children to accept their religious beliefs. (That's another problem in this part of the country...public schools sending home religious material!) Thats what parents do!!!!! They instill ideas. I had friends who were raised 7 Day Adventists and were vegetarian from birth. At 16 one of them rebelled against their parents and ate a Big Mac in front of his mom. Needless to say it got him sick and he never did it again. He actually felt bad when his hormones calmed back down. I have thought that in the future her rebellion could be similar, but I doubt it. My parents thought I was rebelling, but actually I took alot of what they taught me to heart about being compassionate to the less fortunate, I just took it further than they had imagined.

Thanx for your input...

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Yeah it's madness! People say that vegetarianism is 'forcing' something on your child, however, feeding them meat is forcing it on them at a young age. Up to the age of what, 10 or 12... maybe even later... children will eat what their parents buy or eat at school or at friends' houses. So feeding them meat at home is just as much forcefulness as feeding them anything else, duh... yep yep

 

The dead bird comment that your daughter made sounds very promising! I wonder if there are other veg*n parents who can give you further information and tactics.

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Yeah, I loved her reaction. I have to admit it can sometimes be embarrassing. She can sometimes make scenes. There have been many times where we have been eating out or at a friends house and she will announce (to all) that we don't eat animals because we love them. It's only embarrassing because sometimes we just want to have a quiet meal and not debate someone over our life style choice. But, I guess I'm proud of her most of all.

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. There have been many times where we have been eating out or at a friends house and she will announce (to all) that we don't eat animals because we love them.

 

If she understands that connection, can't you reinforce that idea when she asks why she can not eat the "stuff" other kids eat.

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She knows why we don't eat animals, thats not the problem, the real problem is it alienates her from other kids. Kids tease her, we all know how "kind" kids can be to one another. Especially in elementary and Junior high it seems so important to fit in. She has no friends her own age who live the same lifestyle...we will move soon, out of the beef belt, hopefully then it will be different for her. Surely there are other parents out there who can relate, or is Amarillo the only place so intolerant of heretical vegetarians (3 things you can't bad mouth in Texas...God, Beef, 'merica)

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I think a lot of it has to do with Amarillo, also being around Texas A&M they are very adamant about their lifestyles which I understand but they dont like mine and I dont like theirs. My cousin has a masters from ATM (haha) and its in poultry science/biochemistry. He likes to talk about how the animal rights movement has an innacurate picture of slaughterhouses and rendering plants. I was very suprised though that he knew what veganism was, so they must be teaching those kids something over there. However in Denton (UNT) nobody really cares about anything except parking, so I guess we have an inverse problem in comparison to Amarillo.

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I home school my girls and several of the homeschoolers are vegetarian (I am the only vegan).

 

My girls have veg and non-veg friends through home school. This allows them to make their own decisions and see there are other kid's just like them. They also do several sports and non-home school activities within the community and have no problem expressing themselves as veg. I think having a supportive group of kids is helpful.

 

Another option is getting a penpal or e-mail pal who is also a veg kid. She would be able to ask questions and see she is not alone.

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Yeah, I'm looking forward to moving from here...

As for why they teach them about vegans...its so the know who they are up against. As for having the wrong idea about what goes on in a slaughter house..hhmmmm...just a guess, is it a HOUSE where animals are SLAUGHTERED? He might be right, they're probably not houses per se, more like giant factories, but I think I know what goes on there.

To give you an idea how backwards this place is, I went to Quaker Meetings here for a while and discovered one of the six "Friends" was a Prof. @ WT A&M and he created and studied cattle carcasses!!!!!! Quakers here are just "progressive Baptists". NO self respecting Quaker anywhere else would have been involved in such a field.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

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Its pretty crazy that people think its forcing your kids...really everything is...unless you just give your kid a credit card and say buy whatever the hell you want I don't care. Up to a point...clothes are forced, most activities...you can teach your kids to be willing to try things but in the end they grow up trusting their parents so its sort of forcing things on them...if you didn't I don't think any kids would ever go to school, brush their teeth, and for boys...lift and put down the toilet seat.

 

As for the being alone thing...thats why I want to have a vegan summer/arts camp for kids. We'll have fun with clay, learn to cook, talk about vegan issues the kids are interested in, and just have fun...most vegan kids will likely never go to school with another vegan until middle school(if they're lucky) and this would be a chance to get them together and make the world seem a little smaller...that and it'll give me a break from cleaning grayhound crap from my yard

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Yeah, I'm a pretty ruthless authoritarian dad...I force my daughter to be vegetarian, non-homophobic, non-racist, non-judgmental-I 'm always scared someone might call CPS! In all seriousness-in Texas I could see CPS showing concern over raising kids vegetarian.

 

Summer camp idea sounds cool...great idea!

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Nothings worse than a race accepting, gay loving, herbivore...I may call you in myself...she's still young so its not too late

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