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Thread: Transitioning children to veganism

  1. #1

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    Default Transitioning children to veganism

    Hi there,

    I am fairly new to this forum and am loving all the great resources and support thus far. I made the switch from vegetarianism to veganism last December. I have 3 children ages, 3, 4, and 10. My 3 and 4 year old really haven't been any trouble to convert to veganism. I've explained simply my reasoning, bring food where ever we go, and they are very content and will proudly walk over to anyone who is eating something non-vegan and explain to them what they are eating and why it is not a good choice (including my husband- he gets a lot of lectures from our boys).

    My 10 year old on the other hand...well, she has tasted a variety of non-vegan options and is not real happy about this new lifestyle change. I asked her to try being 100% vegan for a little while. That resulted in a huge upset where she was literally making herself sick over the situation, so I sat her down and explained thoroughly why I was doing this (and my reasoning had nothing to do with "ruining her life"!) and we set some new rules. The rules basically are that I will only be bringing vegan items into the home. That is what I will be preparing and if we go out together as a family, we will be eating vegan. If she is at a friend's house or has money of her own etc. she can choose to purchase something else. I of course added that I hoped she would carefully ponder her choice and that she needed to be moderate. This has helped a great deal and probably 95% or more of the time she is home and is eating vegan (we also home school, so that helps too), but it still bothers me that she is so stubborn. I know she is only 10, but I have shared with her the pain and anguish, not to mention all the hormones, drugs, etc that are in some of the things she loves to eat and she basically doesn't care.

    Sorry this post is getting long, I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice on how to warm her up to the idea...the only way I can think of is for her to come to the decision herself and want to do it because she feels it is right for her...that may be a few years off though. I know I lead by example, but have any of you had any success getting through to older kids in creative ways???

  2. #2
    Maisiepaisie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Transitioning children to veganism

    What things does she want to eat that are not vegan? I have 2 sons. One chose to be vegan and the other is veggie however he doesn't mind eating vegan when he's here, although he prefers dairy cheese on pizza to the vegan ones I make but otherwise he's ok about it. I think most foods can be veganised. Perhaps you could list some examples of meals you've given. Maybe she needs more variety or maybe she's just very fussy. Good luck!
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    Default Re: Transitioning children to veganism

    I think a lot of animal charities and organisations have stuff specifically targetted at kids. When I was younger I sent off for info packs I tried to use on my friends (with limited success, but this was when I was 13 or 14...) and they sent me sheets of stickers and vinyl window display things that were quite fun. Maybe check out a few sites to see if they have any kids packs to send?

    I only have my experience to go on - I made the connection between animals I'd seen and animals I was putting in my mouth when I was very young, got upset about it and fortunately my mum supported me. How about taking her to a few sanctuaries or other places where farmed animals are?
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    cherished emmapresley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Transitioning children to veganism

    i have similar goings on..
    an 11 year old who is vegan and a near 14 yr old who is omni (will eat veggie at home (cheese. milk, mayo) - but often refuses to eat even obviously delicious vegan nosh).

    I know she is only 10, but I have shared with her the pain and anguish, not to mention all the hormones, drugs, etc that are in some of the things she loves to eat and she basically doesn't care.

    ^^
    you can apply this to my older girl, aside from the age.

    i'm afraid to say that i think within my home there is one child who gets it and one child who doesn't get it and doesn't care.

    but keep leading by example..have info available to be read..(but apparently leaving pamphlets in the loo is a terrible idea) keep offering nice tasty stuff and don't give a hard time cos her choices are different to your choices..cos that alienates..err..which i've found out these last 2 years :smile:
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    Default Re: Transitioning children to veganism

    It's great that your daughter has a strong character - she'll be a great asset to the vegan movement once she gets it! The house rules you set seem very fair indeed - now she just needs to get through the "I'm not going to do it because I can see that you really really want me to" tweenager stuff. Has she seen the Meatrix cartoons? I thought they were quite enlightening without being too in yer face.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Transitioning children to veganism

    When I was younger there was a girl in my school with a vegan mother. She isn't vegan and she always ate lots of non-vegan things at school. When the subject of vegetarians or vegans came up, she was always the first to make fun of them. I don't know if her mother knew this, probably not.

    I don't know how her mother approached things with her. Hopefully your daughter will not turn out that way.
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  7. #7

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    Default Re: Transitioning children to veganism

    Quote Veg4Life View Post
    not to mention all the hormones, drugs, etc that are in some of the things she loves to eat and she basically doesn't care.
    I don't have children so my advice may be useless... I doubt she's able to appreciate the damage such things do to our bodies and you might need to try a different tack.

    How about buying some commercially made vegan stuff like burgers, fake meats and so on? Maybe take her shopping with you and let her choose what she wants, might make her feel more involved in what is a big lifestyle change for your family. Try and see if there are specific ingredients she doesn't like, and remember there are many ways to cook veggies, try exploring different cooking methods.

    Also does she like baking? Vegan cakes and cupcakes are very easy to make, and she might see that vegan food can be fun.

    Hope that helps and good luck, sounds like you're having a tough time.

  8. #8
    seitan
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    Default Re: Transitioning children to veganism

    veg4life, do you live in so cal?
    if so, take your duaghter to native foods in costa mesa. im sure she'll love it there!!!
    me and my wife went there with a freind of hers, who, insisted she had to eat emat, coudl never give it up. month or so after we took her there, she went straight to vegan, and is very committed!

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Transitioning children to veganism

    Thanks for all the great replies.

    Quote Maisiepaisie View Post
    What things does she want to eat that are not vegan? I have 2 sons. One chose to be vegan and the other is veggie however he doesn't mind eating vegan when he's here, although he prefers dairy cheese on pizza to the vegan ones I make but otherwise he's ok about it. I think most foods can be veganised. Perhaps you could list some examples of meals you've given. Maybe she needs more variety or maybe she's just very fussy. Good luck!
    Dairy mostly is what she misses...she can do without meat (except she likes chicken and fish). I get the soy cheese and fake meats occassionally. I have veganized many different meals and she really enjoys them a lot. However, I don't think most of the fake versions of meat and dairy are very healthy either so I don't buy them on a regular basis. I became vegan initially for health reasons and then I began to learn about the cruelty issues and that just cinched the deal for me. I'm trying to teach my kids not focus so much on whether things are "vegan", but are they healthy, are they natural, etc. (you can live off soda and oreos and claim your vegan!).. I guess what I'm trying to say is being vegan is my minimum requirement- I don't just read the label searching for animal products to determine if I buy it. I look at all the ingredients and determine if that is something I want to put in my body.

    The bottom line is my daughter hates being different. She wants to eat what everyone else eats. We go to bbqs and bring our smart dogs and she quickly smothers it in ketchup and hopes no one notices. I know that is normal too, but she is developing some food "issues" where I know there is some binging going on behind my back, she talks about food a lot, it has unfortunately become a source of contention in our home. My husband is a total carnivore. He has read a lot of what I have read and completely supports me and feels what I am doing is right, but isn't ready to commit yet. He is really good about not bringing things in the home (he has a stash in his car), but if we go out to eat he'll order his usual stuff and my daughter gets resentful that he gets to do that and she has to special-order hers to be vegan. My hands are kind of tied. He's a big boy...I can't control what he does, but I put nutrition in the same category as safety and morality issues. I wouldn't allow my daughter to purposefully do something to hurt herself or another, why wouldn't that apply to her diet? I feel like I'm rambling now, but sometimes I just feel like I am fighting this battle alone (at least in my own household) and I start to doubt myslef...that's when I log on here and feel much relief that I am NOT alone and others feel passionately about this too. So thank you all again!

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    Default Re: Transitioning children to veganism

    Quote Ruby Rose View Post
    It's great that your daughter has a strong character - she'll be a great asset to the vegan movement once she gets it! The house rules you set seem very fair indeed - now she just needs to get through the "I'm not going to do it because I can see that you really really want me to" tweenager stuff. Has she seen the Meatrix cartoons? I thought they were quite enlightening without being too in yer face.
    Where can I access the Meatrix cartoons- is that Peta sponsored?

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Transitioning children to veganism

    Quote emmapresley View Post
    i have similar goings on..
    an 11 year old who is vegan and a near 14 yr old who is omni (will eat veggie at home (cheese. milk, mayo) - but often refuses to eat even obviously delicious vegan nosh).

    I know she is only 10, but I have shared with her the pain and anguish, not to mention all the hormones, drugs, etc that are in some of the things she loves to eat and she basically doesn't care.

    ^^ you can apply this to my older girl, aside from the age.

    i'm afraid to say that i think within my home there is one child who gets it and one child who doesn't get it and doesn't care.

    but keep leading by example..have info available to be read..(but apparently leaving pamphlets in the loo is a terrible idea) keep offering nice tasty stuff and don't give a hard time cos her choices are different to your choices..cos that alienates..err..which i've found out these last 2 years :smile:
    I totally agree about not giving her a hard time. There has been too much judging going on in our house over diet (on both sides). Even though she is a child and I get to help govern her choices, I can do it respectfully. It is much easier said than done!

  12. #12
    Can't cook. Sarah_'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Transitioning children to veganism

    Quote seitan View Post
    veg4life, do you live in so cal?
    if so, take your duaghter to native foods in costa mesa. im sure she'll love it there!!!
    me and my wife went there with a freind of hers, who, insisted she had to eat emat, coudl never give it up. month or so after we took her there, she went straight to vegan, and is very committed!
    I took my omni friend to Native Foods (as I go there a lot) and he got the salad with the corn in it, I can't recall. I told him he didn't have to order a salad but he seemed to think it was the appropriate thing to do in a veg restaurant (SEVERE eye roll). He hated it and we ordered the "chicken" fingers and ranch dressing for him which he ate but I'm not sure he liked...
    I've gone there and had excellent food and I've gone and had not so good food. The deserts are always amazing but I guess it depends on the cook for that night.
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    Default Re: Transitioning children to veganism

    Quote Sarah_ View Post
    I took my omni friend to Native Foods (as I go there a lot) and he got the salad with the corn in it, I can't recall. I told him he didn't have to order a salad but he seemed to think it was the appropriate thing to do in a veg restaurant (SEVERE eye roll). He hated it and we ordered the "chicken" fingers and ranch dressing for him which he ate but I'm not sure he liked...
    I've gone there and had excellent food and I've gone and had not so good food. The deserts are always amazing but I guess it depends on the cook for that night.

    unfortunately i am several hours away from costa mesa. we live on the central coast. not too many option here. we do have a couple of small, overpriced health food stores and trader joes...still, we eat mostly veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, and grains and you can buy those practically anywhere!

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    Default Re: Transitioning children to veganism

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    Default Re: Transitioning children to veganism

    Veg 4 life - I have two daughters 8 and 10. I was vegan well before they were born. The younger one lives with her dad half the week and he is vegetarian and so that's how she eats there. My elder one is with me all the time but finds it hard not to have non vegan things when she's with other people. They are both comiited to not eating meat but have wavered between vegan and vegatarian all their lives. They both know that I would prefer them to be be vegan, but I feel they are now at an age where they must decide for themselves. I have made it clear that we don't have non vegan food in the house.
    My elder daughter already writes to Emma P's daughter and they meet up a few times a year. If your daughter would like someone to talk to about it who would understand things from her point of view, then I'm sure my elder one would love to have mail or email contact with her. PM me if you like.
    Last edited by cookey; Aug 28th, 2008 at 01:01 PM. Reason: to wrong member!

  16. #16
    Michelle MamaVeg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Transitioning children to veganism

    I'm wondering how your daughter is doing now? I know this post is kind of old, but I have a 9 and a half year old and am kind of in the same situation.

    We're pretty much doing the vegan in the home and vegetarian outside of the home. The main thing he misses is pizza - although after reading Vegan, the new ethics of eating by Erik Marcus, there is a recipe for cashew cheese for pizza that I want to try, you can actually google for it.

    My son doesn't seem to "care" either and it bothers me, but I am really happy that he at least is not eating flesh. Petakids.com is a good site and not too gory for kids. He goes on there, there are games, ways for kids to advocate for animals, etc. Also, there are a lot of good vegan ideas on vegcooking.com under the "shopping list" tab. Alot of commercial things (some not organic) are vegan and they have them listed there.

    My son really likes the petakids website though, maybe have her give that a shot! Good luck!

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