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Thread: Explaining veganism to our kids

  1. #1
    wuggy
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    Default Just had difficult chat with my son....

    My son, who is 7, has just got a new Encyclopedia, and was in the shop with me this morning, reading parts of it, when he stumbled upon a section on farming animals.
    He proceeded to tell me that only 'bad' farmers kill the animals, the 'good' ones just 'look after them'. Well, feeling like a real nasty, I had to use the opportunity to tell him the truth about these farmers, and what happens to all their animals, including the dairy Cows. Although he has been raised vegetarian, he still had some fantasies about farms.
    He was very, very upset and says he will now think about going vegan (he currently has no dairy or eggs but does eat things which include these ingredients). I just have to win him over with my cooking and baking - a new challenge!!
    At the moment I feel like THE GRINCH WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS, though I am proud of my son's reaction. He asked if we could adopt lots of farm animals when we move, so no-one could eat them! (I'll have to see how large the garden will be!!!!!!!!!!).
    I hope I handled this chat in the best way today, it wasn't easy to see my little boys eyes filling with tears, but they must know the truth - musn't they?

  2. #2
    Goddess foxytina_69's Avatar
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    i know that if i had been told the truth when i was young, i would have respected and appreciated my parents alot more when i was older. i think u did great
    "you dont have to be tall to see the moon" - african proverb

  3. #3
    tails4wagging
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    A friend of mine, was told by her parents what meat so when she was 6 and never touched it since.She is now vegan.

    If every child in the world was told what meat was we would have a world full of veggies!.

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    Well Done Wuggy

  5. #5
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Yes, I'm sure you were right to tell the truth. As he's obviously interested in these things, he wouldn't thank you later if you'd made up a story.

  6. #6
    TheFirstBus's Avatar
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    Yes good for telling him the truth. Besides the tears in his eyes show him how much he cares.
    "Its bad karma to fuck with the stoned"- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Comentary (found on criterion collection)

  7. #7
    wuggy
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    I know, but it's as though his carefree childhood days are ebbing away before me!

  8. #8
    ConsciousCuisine
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    It is never to early to awaken consciousness. Good job, Wuggy. The truth is always a good idea.

  9. #9
    mysh's Avatar
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    Wow! That's really difficult! When I went veg*n, and told the kids they wouldn't be eating meat in the house any more, they were ok with that, but my then 5-year old son asked me, with tears in his eyes, if he could, please, continue eating cheese. Later on he guilted me into letting him eat chicken when we go to a restaurant (although he more often will eat cheese pizza). I feel completely torn what to do.

    So I am very impressed with you, wuggy, for being brave enough to face the tears now, for the better result in the long run!
    No Gods, No Masters.

  10. #10
    ConsciousCuisine
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    [QUOTE=mysh] When I went veg*n, and told the kids they wouldn't be eating meat in the house any more, they were ok with that, but my then 5-year old son asked me, with tears in his eyes, if he could, please, continue eating cheese. Later on he guilted me into letting him eat chicken when we go to a restaurant (although he more often will eat cheese pizza). I feel completely torn what to do.
    QUOTE]

    If you'd like any assistance or ideas, let me know. I had a similar experience with my daughter who has successfully embraced pure Veganism for many years now.

    She was a devout cheese-lover who also asked me if she could "just eat chicken" at restaurants.

    I will tell you how I handled it if you are interested...

    Our children are more wise and open-hearted/open-minded than we might initially take them to be, when we give them the oportunity to show it (and give them correct information).

  11. #11
    mysh's Avatar
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    Quote ConsciousCuisine
    I will tell you how I handled it if you are interested...
    I would love to hear all about that! That's the main reason why I started posting here - to ask about that one thing...

    I'm not sure whether we should discuss this in a new thread, or here - I'd feel bad hijacking wuggy's thread, although it is a related topic.
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  12. #12
    ConsciousCuisine
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    We can start a new thread about "The BIG talk" for Vegan Parents...

  13. #13
    cedartree cedarblue's Avatar
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    or you could pm each other

  14. #14
    mysh's Avatar
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    Question The "Big Talk": How do I explain veganism to my kids?

    After wuggy posted about her own brave confrontation with a parent's greatest fear - her child's tears (see here ), I was inspired to maybe do the same with mine. But I don't know how.

    When I went veg*n, I told my children (boy, aged 5 at the time, girl, aged 3 at the time). Now they're 6 and 4. For my daughter, it was too abstract to really understand. With my son I went somewhat over the top, by constantly confronting him with meat being killed animals, etc. My wife luckily put stop to that very quickly.
    So, my wife, being the supportive soul that she is, helped me turn the household into an ovo-lacto vegetarian one. When I told my son that they're not getting meat anymore, he pleaded with me, in tears, to still be allowed cheese. How could I resist?

    Some time later, he asked me to be allowed to eat chicken again. I asked him if he understood the significance of eating meat, i.e., that a chicken had to die for his meal. He did, and seemed to be ok with it (!). So I made a deal with him that he can eat chicken in restaurants, an we would talk about it again in a year's time.

    Both of my children are rather picky eaters (dunno how that happened - I'll eat anything). Both of them loooooove cheese pizza (obviously, with sauce, too), and we often make that ourselves at home, with my part having no cheese, and lots of other good stuff instead . It's also something easy to find at restaurants. My son loves bread, pb&js, yoghurt, peanut buter, milk, pancakes, waffles, cheese, some cereals (not always with milk), pita, flat bread. My daughter likes some breads, pb&js with very very thin pb, yoghurt, milk, cheese, some cereals, and nuts. They have both tried soy milk, and didn't like it much (which I can understand, as it does taste very yeasty). Oh, and of course, they both love chocolate.

    Now, I am very very bothered by my son's desire to eat chicken at restaurants, however I want him to arrive at the logical conclusion on his own. I would also like to move them both towards veganism.

    My children are both very sensitive (they get terrified by most Disney movies), which I am happy about - I definitely don't want them losing that!
    They are also both very stubborn, so me telling them what to do is rarely successful.
    They are both very supportive of my choices, and will make me soy-based "food" in the toy kitchen. Even sometimes "soy vegetables"

    Any advice on how to convert them with a minimum of trauma would be very appreciated!
    No Gods, No Masters.

  15. #15
    ConsciousCuisine
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    Yes, we could simply PM one another, but surely Mysh isn't the only one who is interested in this topic. I know other people are interested in openly sharing on the topic of being a Vegan Partent and how we approach and apply Veganism with our child/ren...

  16. #16
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    I started the thread here .

    cedarblue - I think other parents, especially those new to veganism, might like similar advice, too.
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  17. #17

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    Keep doing what your doing. It's a fine line between standing up for your values and not creating meat and cheese eating rebels.
    At ages six and four they may just not be developmentally able to really "get it" that the stuff on their plate was once alive. Kids don't always understand death.

  18. #18
    mysh's Avatar
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    That's how I've been going up to now. My son for sure understands death. One of my friends died early this year, and we had many long talks about it. My daughter still equates death with sleeping, or being away somewhere from where you can return. But she also doesn't want chicken. She wants bacon and sausages, which ain't gonna happen - it's been proven that BSE can easily transform in to Porcine Spongiform Encephalitis, and I'm not going to expose my children to the potential of vCJD!

    But your point about not creating the rebels is exactly why I'm not pushing it (for now)!
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  19. #19

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    Well, you are the parent and you are deciding to buy non-vegan products for your children. I don't quite understand this. If you have a moral problem with killing chickens for food, why are you buying it and feeding it to your son? Why would you feed them cow milk products, which are proven to be unhealthy, causing many health problems, including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity? Why would you support the cruel industries?

    I understand that being "strict" with your children may have a poor effect later on if they want to rebel, but omnivore parents are also "strict," oftentimes forcing their children to eat flesh and cow milk, even though the children do not like such foods. Better to be "strict" and support a healthy, balanced, cruelty-free diet than an omnivore one.

    I don't have kids, but if I do decide to have them, I will only have children with a vegan and the children will also be vegan. Hell, my cat is a vegan and doesn't mind!

  20. #20

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    It's not that simple, Artichoke. If you're raising your children vegan, the society is almost guaranteed to see it as your imposing veganism on your children. The last thing that you want is to have your children agree. If they feel that a vegan diet is imposed on them, they will sneakily eat animal products in their friends' houses, and once they become independent, they'll become omnivores with a sad story of a deprived childhood. The trick is to make your children internalize the vegan values so that they actually want to be vegans. I don't really have any advice about how to make this happen, but I do appreciate what mysh is trying to achieve.

  21. #21
    mysh's Avatar
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    Quote Artichoke47
    I understand that being "strict" with your children may have a poor effect later on if they want to rebel, but omnivore parents are also "strict," oftentimes forcing their children to eat flesh and cow milk, even though the children do not like such foods. Better to be "strict" and support a healthy, balanced, cruelty-free diet than an omnivore one.
    Oh, right, so you're saying, in effect, if it's good enough for an omni, it's good enough for me? Interesting position...
    I think you'll find that it's better to teach things like caring and ethics, rather than imposing them. Right now, I'm teaching by example, and have already seen some effects. But I would like to speed those up, some.

    Quote Artichoke47
    I don't have kids,
    Obviously.

    Quote Artichoke47
    but if I do decide to have them, I will only have children with a vegan and the children will also be vegan.
    It's easier bringing them up that way, than converting them. Most children thrive on routine. Breaking this routine can have quite unpleasant side-effects, depending on how deeply ingrained it is. And it doesn't get any deeper ingrained than food!

    Quote Artichoke47
    Well, you are the parent and you are deciding to buy non-vegan products for your children. I don't quite understand this. If you have a moral problem with killing chickens for food, why are you buying it and feeding it to your son? Why would you feed them cow milk products, which are proven to be unhealthy, causing many health problems, including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity? Why would you support the cruel industries?
    And this is why I am here asking for advice. Being a parent should be entirely unlike being a dictator. I do not own my children - I am simply keeping them safe until they can take care of themselves, giving them a loving, nurturing environment in the meantime. Sometimes I forget that, and it (almost) never works out in my favour.

    If you do have any suggestions, I would be more than happy to hear them.
    No Gods, No Masters.

  22. #22

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    Oh, but I don't have children, so my advice OBVIOUSLY isn't good enough for you. Apparently, it's also SIMPLE.

    I'm done with this.

  23. #23
    mysh's Avatar
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    Thank you, Hasha - I guess I was a little too slow with my typing...

    Incidentally, when I went veg*n, I tried to guilt my wife into stopping her carnivorous habits. She, quite rightly, resented my behaviour. Once I realised what I was doing, and how it was afecting her, I stopped. And left a PETA guide lieing around. She hasn't touched meat since (well, except animal-derived ingredients in processed foods).

    This is what I want to achieve with my children, but without the trauma of PETA literature.
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  24. #24

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    It's ignorant people like this that really make parents look bad, trying to act as if you have to have children to understand different concepts. Of the people that I know, most of them started acting like idiots after they had children, so don't sit there and act like just because you had sex and produced a child it makes you more intelligent than other people. ANYONE who is sexually mature can produce a child. You are no greater than the rest of us childless members. Maybe you should specify next time if you want to limit the responses to certain people.

  25. #25
    mysh's Avatar
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    The 'Obviously' comment was meant as a joke. I guess it didn't work...
    I know perfectly well that having children doesn't make anyone a guru - especially not on children! Nor does it make most people act like idiots (contrary to your sample).

    All you did in your response was criticise my choices - exactly the same ones I'm currently anguishing about. Not exactly what one might term "supportive". If you want to come over and tell my son he can't eat chicken anymore, nor have any dairy, or cakes at birthday parties, etc., come on over. If you can withstand his tears, you're more of a man than I am. But I am willing to listen to suggestions - just not "don't let them have it" suggestions. As you may have noticed from the list of things my kids eat, they get most of their protein from animal derived stuff. So how do I change that? I would love to, but I just don't know how.
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  26. #26

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    I was asking you questions to try to find out more about the situation, one which I found very unusual. Then I was going to try to offer advice. I'm going to think about it some more.

  27. #27
    mysh's Avatar
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    Sorry - I read your questions as rhetorical ones, i.e. criticism.
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  28. #28

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    I would first address with your son why he wants to eat chicken. Is it for taste? Is it the fat content? Would he try the transition foods, like the chicken soy products or whatever else is available (I haven't been looking lately, but I hear there's lots of variety)?

    I think for him to not want to satify his taste buds for chicken, he will need to see chicken. He probably wouldn't ask to eat the family dog, because of the familiarity. Could you take him to a farm or something with happy chickens?

    I put a melty pizza cheese recipe in the Foods section. It's really good on pizza! Or even if they had the "Veggie Slices" brand, even though it's not vegan, it's better than cow cheese.

    Have they tried rice milk and oat milk?

    I would think if you use whole wheat flour, that the pancakes, waffles, and bread will supply more protein than refined grains for your son. Will he eat some burritos with whole wheat tortillas, rice, and beans? There's triple good protein sources right there.

    Broccoli supplies protein and many vitamins as well. Maybe they'd like the broccoli with peanut sauce. There's a recipe for that in the recipe section, also.

    Whole wheat pasta has 8 grams of protein per 2 ounces. I think sometimes people overlook that. Do they like pasta?

    The reason why I had so many questions is because I'm trying to see what they see. They have a father who is against purchasing animal ingredients and products, yet he does it on occasion in a restaurant. I wonder what they think. Perhaps they think that it's not as important to you as it really is. I don't know. I don't want to speculate. Do you think they can understand the reasons why you do what you do, not just the animal protection issues, but also the damaging effects on the environment and their health?

  29. #29
    mysh's Avatar
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    I appreciate your food suggestions, Artichoke! I will work on trying these recipes out, one at a time. And yes, they love pasta with pesto.
    Both of them like the "chick'n nuggets" that are available (though not vegan), and they like quorn. I don't completely understand we he chose to go back to eating real chicken. I might try the chicken farm approach, if I can find one near me.

    Quote Artichoke47
    The reason why I had so many questions is because I'm trying to see what they see. They have a father who is against purchasing animal ingredients and products, yet he does it on occasion in a restaurant. I wonder what they think. Perhaps they think that it's not as important to you as it really is. I don't know. I don't want to speculate. Do you think they can understand the reasons why you do what you do, not just the animal protection issues, but also the damaging effects on the environment and their health?
    Yes, I definitely understand your questions in that context. My son definitely understands the animal rights issues (obviously not completely...), but I don't think my daughter understands/cares. I haven't explained other aspects, yet.
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  30. #30
    ConsciousCuisine
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    First let me say that I see a lot of great support and questions posted above, especially Artichoke's line of reasoning and questions.

    These were the same thoughts I had when faced with a child who claimed to "love animals" yet resented having to stop eating their dead corpses and secretions. (Chicken and Cheese, to be specific, nothing else was a real issue. She loved "Seafoods" but they were easier for her to identify as "animals" because shrimps, lobster and crab were eaten "whole" and not served like chicken...)


    I am a Mother who has transitioned an Omni Child (my Daughter) to a 100% *strictly* Vegan Lifestyle. She will not even use sunscreen without reading the ingredients now! She "gets it" on every level! She cries when she thinks about having EVER eaten animals. Don't you....?

    Like all transitions, it was rough going in the beginning. Once I knew without a doubt that being Vegan was the only compassionate, health-giving, life-affirming way of life, I had no choice but to provide only Vegan foods and ethics as a part of our Wholistic Lifestyle. How could I live with the knowledge that I was giving the *most important person in my life* and the small Soul in my charge anything but the finest and most Spiritually and Karmically Pure Sustenance?

    When we had "The Big Talk", My Daughter looked up at me with tears in her eyes, telling me she loved vegetables *and* animals, but that she didn't want to be *that* different, that children at school were teasing her for having lunches that were "too healthy" and that it would be "hard to stop eating what other people eat at her friends' houses" and "What about pizza?". Cheese was the hardest thing for her to imagine being without.

    How did I handle this? Like any responsible, loving parent, I want nothing but the best for my child. It pains me to no end to see her tortured and conflicted! It *also* sickened me on a very deep level (it felt like a knife twisting in my gut) the last time she ate the leg of a dead chicken.

    We were in a grocery store and the aroma, the forbidden nature of the beast itself called to her. "Mom, pleeeeease, can I have a piece of chicken? You don't have to cook it! I'll buy it with my own money!" I was frustrated, saddened and told her that I didn't want her eating anything toxic and dead. I asked her if she understood that the chicken was dead, had lived a sad, small and short life, and she became quite angry and dismissed all of that with an impatient "YES!!!"...

    "And you still want to eat that?" I asked her. "YES, please Mom!?" I said that I wouldn't allow her to buy it or buy it for her. She asked if I would let her have a sample of it. (See how cunning they are and how strong the addiction is?) I was so irritated and saddened at this point that I didn't answer her but walked away saying; "You know how I feel and what your heart tells you is the best choice."

    I resumed my shopping and after a few minutes I turned a corner where I found my young daughter wildly gnawing at a dead chicken's leg with a napkin wrapped around it. I felt like I had been stabbed in the gut. The wind was literally knocked out of me. The realization of what she was doing hurt me so deeply, mostly because she was just a child who knew no better and it was my error for ever allowing animal products to be eaten in the first place. I felt guilty for *ever* letting her eat any animal products. I knew it would only be worse if I, as the parent continued to allow her to damage herself in this way any further. The guilt would then be truly unbearable and everpresent. This was my fault.

    It was also my responsibility to *do* something about it, as her parent and guardian in this life, to keep her safe from harm. Allowing her to continue to eat *any* animal products would not be accomplishing this or fulfilling my goals of looking out for her best interests as a parent. My mind was made up for me at that moment. There would be no "compromise" as far as Veganism was concerned.

    She had shame in her eyes when she saw how stricken I was. "But Mom, I don't know WHY I like chicken, I just do! I'm sorry!" I said, "I am sorry too. I wish I had never given it to you. I am sorry I made choices that weren't the best. I can't do that anymore. I *must* do what is best for us, our health, for the enivironment and the animals too."

    (Yes, I really spoke to my child this way. I also never lied to her about "Santa" or any other big lies. I am raising an intelligent, Spirited, Happy child who appreciates the truth. She believes in magic and Faeries and in Karma and other lovely things, she's not "deprived" by having a Mother who tells her the (age-appropriate) truths about the world she lives in. Call me morbid, but nothing is a "given" and if I do not raise her to be a balanced, independant thinker, who will? I may not be here forever as her guide and so it is my duty to raise her with reality and honesty so she will be fully-equipped to face the world around her, with or without my guidance! While I *am* here, it is my job to keep her out of harm's way. Children might choose candy and cake and icecream for breakfast if we give them that much choice. That doesn't make sense does it? How little sense does it then make for a well-versed, ethical Vegan Parent to allow their child to choose harmful animal products to consume?)

    I had the "big talk". I explained that I could not be in charge of what she did when she was not with me, but when she *was* with me, I could not ever allow her to harm animals, herself or the environment by eating animals or their secretions again. I told her that I would continue to talk with her about these issues and that she could chose to see a Counsellor to discuss them privately if she didn't feel comfortable being open with me about her desire to continue to eat meats and cheeses. (She took me up on this. She felt too guilty and even felt "judged" because she wondered how I could be fair with her if I myself thought it was sad and disgustiing to eat the things she pined for)

    I bought every substitute known to man. I sought out other Vegan parents and asked endless questions. I spent so much time and money trying to appease her tastes!

    Eventually she begged me to allow her to watch radical Vegan and AR footage such as "Meet your Meat", which she knew had helped make my mind up to be Vegan forever.

    I told her that I didn't think it was appropriate to let a very young child watch that kind of torture. (She, at 11 has still not seen them. She's too young. It would be like letting her watch "A Clockwork Orange", only that is a satirical portrayal of our debased society and "Meet Your Meat" is reall!) Instead, we watched "Diet for a New America" and visited rescued animals, did health research together and discussed the environmental impacts of animal-eating. It brought us closer together and helped her develop true empathy and compassion, priceless traits for any human to have developed...

    I am going to end this here and will add more later. I just wanted to share part of my experience and say to any parent that it is a tough decision to make and one of the most important ones you could ever make and PLEASE make it NOW! Don't wait! There is no good reason to *not* be fully Vegan! Your children deserve what you have already discovered is the BEST!

    In Love,

    Brande

  31. #31
    ConsciousCuisine
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    Quote mysh
    When I told my son that they're not getting meat anymore, he pleaded with me, in tears, to still be allowed cheese. How could I resist?

    Some time later, he asked me to be allowed to eat chicken again. I asked him if he understood the significance of eating meat, i.e., that a chicken had to die for his meal. He did, and seemed to be ok with it (!). So I made a deal with him that he can eat chicken in restaurants, an we would talk about it again in a year's time.
    I just have one comment- from a strictly Child Development perspective, a year is a very long time to allow a behavior until revisiting the topic. It likely will lose real meaning set up that way.

    When asking a child time-realted questions, they often say that something that happend months ago was "Yesterday" or pester us minute-by minute, incessantly over a promised outing just a week away...their concept of time is "slippery".

    Most children at his age have a very limited idea of "actual time". For comparison, as a means of discipline, would you ever take away a privelidge for an entire year? More likely it would be a few days at the most. Another example of age-appropriate time-related issues with children is that Child Development experts agree that a "time out" that is age-appropriate would be one minute for every year, as a reflection of the amount of time that a child would reasonably be able to be still nad not forget the reason they are there in the first place...

    Just my two cents...

  32. #32
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    CC - Thank you so much for sharing your experiences!
    I will try some of these ideas this weekend, after discussing them with my wife. (She's ovo-lacto veggie, and so is interested in getting them off the meat, but not necessarily off the dairy. But that's another issue altogether).

    You make a very good point about one year being too long. At the time that I made that deal with him, I didn't think of it from the perspective of a five year-old.
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  33. #33
    ConsciousCuisine
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    *whew!* Huge sigh of relief!

    I feel so passionately about this subject and I know that it is a touchy one (as are all areas involving parenting for some) and so I wieghed it in my mind before posting, because my intent is to share my story and also to encourage other parents in knowing that it is possible to make changes without causing "permanent issues" surrounding food and setting up a constant- power struggle!

    I am so glad you are open and sharing, Mysh. Thanks for hearing me with an open heart and mind...

  34. #34
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    You are right - parenting advice can be touchy (as evidenced by my immediate defensiveness towards Artichoke). I realise, though, that I'm not a perfect parent - far from it, in fact. And here's an issue unlike any I've ever dealt with before. That's where advice is always welcome. Of course I will take what I like from all the advice, and discard what I don't like (until I need it later, maybe), but there are suggestions in this thread that had never occurred to me, and likely wouldn't have ever occurred to me. Who can say "no" to free ideas?
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  35. #35

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    I didn't mean to make it seem like I was criticizing you, Mysh. I'm sorry about that.

    I just wanted to add that there's also a lentil tomato sauce recipe in the food section. The stuff is awesome!

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    Heh heh - I'm gonna be busy cooking this weekend!
    The best side-effect of going veg*n, I've found, is re-discovering the joy of cooking and baking! Oh, and discovering lots of new foods that I never knew existed.
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  37. #37
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    mysh and/or anyone else, have you heard of or read the book "Raising Vegan Children in a Non-Vegan World" by Erin Pavlina. See HERE for more info. Hope that helps.

  38. #38
    mysh's Avatar
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    Hmmm... looks interesting. I read through the relevant parts of Stepaniak's book on the same subject. It's very informative, but it's really aimed at the parent of a child who has already decided they want to be veg*n. Pavlina's book looks more relevant - thanks for the suggestion!
    No Gods, No Masters.

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    I was lucky that I raised my kids vegan from the start. I think that (just like with cats ) it's much easier when they haven't tasted animal products yet.

    We make sure that they have enough nice stuff to eat so they don't feel deprived. And I also make very sure to always let them know that they are vegan now because their parents are vegan, but that they get to choose themselves when they are adults. I explain to them about meat-eaters, fruitarians, raw food eaters, vegans, vegetarians. I always try to make them know about all the choices they have in life. I think that really helps to make them feel less forced. So far they are very happy to be vegan.

    I also encourage their natural love of animals. We talk a lot about the animals in our backyard and study their habits. When we see animals in a cage, I discuss with them whether locking animals up is the right thing to do. When all the kids in the neighborhood are jumping on ants, I teach them why that isn't right. I try to be very consistent in a loving and respectful way. So far they react to it very well and seem to really get it. The concepts of course are very simple. For meat you have to kill animals. For milk you have to steal food from calves. Kids get it.

    If your children are already used to eating meat, I think that some major dose of showing them how great animals are could really help. Maybe you can plan a vacation at Farm Sanctuary?

    What also might help is to bring them in contact with other vegan kids. (Did anyone mention that already? - Don't feel like reading back.) EDITING: VEGETARIAN KIDS. Sorry, the word 'vegan' slips out way to easy for me. I forgot that you are trying to get them to be vegetarian right now.

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    Default Re: Should we voice our disgust at animal carcasses on public display?

    As someone who grew up without meat, I think the best thing you can do is honestly share with them the ethics of veganism (which I have no doubt you will do anyway) while not pushing it as the most important issue (above other things). If they get the feeling it is something you would force on them, or push too hard, they probably won't make that decision based on the Right things. My mother never told me why we never ate meat. After a decade of her vegetarianism, she gave up. She sort of got depressed and figured "I guess this is what we're supposed to do". I didn't start eating meat with her, but after a couple of years, I just wanted to know what it was, in terms of food; I never really thought of what it REALLY was. I was just curious why other kids ate it and I didn't, so I asked my dad (who always ate meat) if I could have a Big Mac. I fell in love with the sauce they soaked the (pathetic excuse for) lettuce in, and it became my favorite thing until I came to my senses. My mom was also health conscious, so I was raised on whole grains, carrot bread, fruit, sprouts, etc. (which I now thank her for), but because she made it seem so important (and failed to give enough variety; I got sick of the same foods), from ages 12-18 I ate nothing but lunch meat, white bread, and cola. Then, of course, I came to my senses.
    Last edited by Korn; May 2nd, 2005 at 10:34 AM. Reason: This post was moved from another thread...

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    Default Re: Just had difficult chat with my son....

    Quote Erin Pavlina
    As soon as your child begins to notice that other people are eating things that your family doesn't eat you'll want to begin explaining veganism to her. I began talking about it with my daughter when she was 3 years old. First I just started using the word with her, "Emily, we're a vegan family. Can you say 'vegan'?" I got her used to hearing the word first.

    Next I started gently pointing out what we ate using the word as well, "Look, Emily, we're eating vegan cheese. And for dessert we're going to have vegan ice cream." So she started to combine thoughts of "vegan" with certain foods.

    When we attended family events where non-vegan food was present, I started pointing out which foods were vegan and which weren't. "Emily, these cookies here are vegan, but those aren't. So don't eat the other cookies, just eat these." Or "Yes, they're having cake, but we're going to have our vegan cake that mommy made." So she started to learn that there were certain foods that were vegan and other foods that were off-limits.

    As she got older she started asking me if a food was vegan before eating it. When she turned four, I began talking about the animals. I told her that we are a vegan family because we don't think it's very nice to eat animals. I've told her that if she eats foods with animals in them that she might get a tummy ache. I've also told her that it hurts the animals when we eat them.

    She is now an advocate of veganism and tells her school friends not to eat animals, much to their annoyance, which is an entirely different issue that we're working on now.
    This is www.vegfamily.com . Erin Pavlina is the auhtor of Raising Vegan Children in a Non-Vegan World

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    Default Re: The "Big Talk": How do I explain veganism to my kids?

    I feel more terrified thinking of watching Meet Your Meat than for most anything. At 29, I still can't watch it.

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    Default Re: The "Big Talk": How do I explain veganism to my kids?

    I was at an organic farm today getting some fresh veg and I was the farmer introduced me as a mom of vegan twins. The woman said that she was a vegan too but she couldn't imagine raising a baby as a vegan, it would be too much work. I asked her how so and she said that it just seemed so overwhelming. I told her it wasn't and being vegan was fantastic for my pregnancy and for the kids. She just shook her head.

    I can imagine non-vegans being skeptical of raising children vegan but a vegan being skeptical!!

  44. #44
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    Default Re: The "Big Talk": How do I explain veganism to my kids?

    Quote feline01

    I can imagine non-vegans being skeptical of raising children vegan but a vegan being skeptical!!

    Well, just like there are 'Christians' who cheat on their taxes, thier wife and so on there are 'Vegans' who aren't up to snuff and so on...

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    Default Re: The "Big Talk": How do I explain veganism to my kids?

    Quote feline01

    I can imagine non-vegans being skeptical of raising children vegan but a vegan being skeptical!!
    Well, I don`t understand it either. If it is not "overwhelming" for herself to be vegan, how much more an effort can it be to mash something of her own food for the kid?

    One thing may be explaining to the kid later why he/she does not get what others are getting but with a sensitive and understanding approach, also this can be done.

    littleTigercub

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    Default Re: The "Big Talk": How do I explain veganism to my kids?

    Quote feline01
    I can imagine non-vegans being skeptical of raising children vegan but a vegan being skeptical!!
    Well I've no kids and don't plan on having any but for the first 3 years of being vegan I was very strongly against my animals eating vegan which is the same sort of thing (for another omnivore anyway). It Just didn't seem right to impose on them. Anyway I've stopped giving my animals meat. I'm still worried that I may not be doing the right thing but I can understand why some vegans may feel it is wrong to impose their beliefs. Right now friends and family are making me feel terrible about my decision regarding Jilli's diet.

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