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Thread: Living with an ex vegan teenager, or two, or three

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    Default Living with an ex vegan teenager, or two, or three

    I'm thinking I've done all my child rearing and veganism and approach to life generally all wrong.

    Both my children were vegan from birth, boy now nearly 14 and girl 18. We slipped into being veggie rather than vegan with them both as they went into the world and discovered what their friends had. My boy had a spell of 10 months in hospital with mental health issues and ate more and more cheese and eggs there - and ready made foods containing them. He has Asperger's syndrome and cannot cope well with change and eats very badly and a very limited diet as it is and I've been buying organic milk and cheese and free range eggs for the young people.

    Now, I've re-discovered my vegan conscience and am going back on what I had allowed before and have banned all eggs from the house - even to the extent of being very angry with my daughter when she has bought products containing eggs into the house. Cheese is harder to ban, my boy is addicted to it and has more mental health problems that will be made worse if we (my husband is vegan and onboard with this too) take all dairy out of the house at the moment.

    Now, I've had a big tearful, on her part, argument with my daughter. She and her boyfriend (an omni by upbringing but moving away from it) are at college doing some very physical stuff most days. They are advised to eat eggs and chicken, stuff like that. I've urged her to investigate the vegan body building world but really, she strongly resents me being vegan and having forced her to be vegan as a child. She is angry I wouldn't let her and her brother eat what other children ate and says that if I had been more liberal with them, and just let her see that we don't eat that stuff and given reasons, she might have been vegan as an adult.

    This all arose because I wouldn't allow eggs for her to make her sandwiches for college. She said I care more for chickens than I do my own daughter. That hurt. But my response was that the chickens have no choice in their lives, us lucky humans do have the choice and I choose not to buy eggs.

    The trouble is that she hates tofu, seitan, redwood etc slices, nuts, pulses, all the classic high protein vegan foods. We are on a limited budget particularly as her boyfriend is staying here so we can't buy limitless ready made foods. Hence her making sarnies rather than giving her cash to make her own decisions with food out of the house.

    So, why am I posting this here? I suppose because I want to let off steam with people who will understand, and I'm also looking for ideas for high protein easy eat packed lunches. So far I've thought of bhajiis, don't know if I can cook anything that will taste like the ready made ones, and she likes falafel too - ready made ones though.
    Last edited by Gattona; Oct 16th, 2012 at 07:05 PM.

  2. #2
    Nathan John Pryke
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    Default Re: Living with an ex vegan teenager, or two, or three

    I assume you educated them about processed food and factory farm. Most teenagers go through rebellious stages and this is one of hers, also having been vegan then coming off the diet maybe made her questions her morals and thinks it okay. Do the research on healthy living and make sure she gets her supplements.

    The biggest piece of advice is to talk to her about why she wants to be an omnivore and suggest alternatives, discuss her values... shes trying to be an adult now and live by her own rules so she will not listen to you unless you listen to her.

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    Default Re: Living with an ex vegan teenager, or two, or three

    Thanks Nathan,

    we've been having serious talks and I think what has happened in our family could be a learning experience for people with young children. Not that I feel at all able to give advice, just tell our story. I have indeed been listening and its not been easy to hear what she had to say.

    When she was very young she ate differently to her friends, at parties she did not eat all that every one else had and very often I would take a substitute in. One wonderful friend always made sure her daughter had a vegan birthday cake so my daughter could have some, but that was the only birthday party she regularly went to that she could share the whole ritual and eating experience.

    She couldn't understand why it was bad to eat meat and egg and dairy, of course I explained about the animals getting hurt and killed and the calves being taken away from their mothers so humans could have their milk but I did not think a small child needed to be exposed to all the cruelties in depth. So she was confused aboiut her friends that she loved eating these things, sometimes she would eat sweets at friends' houses and come home feeling guilty and wash her hands and teeth intensiviely and cry at night about her badness in eating such things. Hence her rejection of the vegan foods she was forced to have as a small child.

    So I asked her tonight, if I'd been more detailed about the suffering involved in all animal products, if she could have felt more involved and convinced. She said no, that would have made her even more confused about her omni friends. She has been educated about health issues around a plant based diet, and the environmental issues too which are all important to me and her father as well.

    So I don't know, how could I have handled us as a family eating differently to the other families that we associated with. I really don't know and hope that the new vegan families find a way to handle it better than I did.

    I hope too that having listened to her, her pain of childhood guilt, that we can move on from here. We have roast mini leaks, parsnips and carrots cooking atm which I am sure will go down well, and a concoction of brocoli and potato in a besan flour sort of quiche thing without the pastry. My fingers are crossed this will be a success.

  4. #4
    Nathan John Pryke
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    Default Re: Living with an ex vegan teenager, or two, or three

    I'm glad is more peace in your household. It's understandable that the situation you are in started, you wanting what's best for your daughter and her wanting to fit in with her friends. After all humans are pack/tribe animals and we change our morals to fit the pack. I hope things work out in the future for you.

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    Draíochta Blueberries's Avatar
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    Quote Gattona View Post
    I'm thinking I've done all my child rearing and veganism and approach to life generally all wrong.... Both my children were vegan from birth, boy now nearly 14 and girl 18...Now, I've re-discovered my vegan conscience... I've had a big tearful, on her part, argument with my daughter... she strongly resents me being vegan and having forced her to be vegan as a child. She is angry I wouldn't let her and her brother eat what other children ate and says that if I had been more liberal with them, and just let her see that we don't eat that stuff and given reasons, she might have been vegan as an adult...She said I care more for chickens than I do my own daughter....she hates tofu, seitan, redwood etc slices, nuts, pulses, all the classic high protein vegan foods.
    Heya Gattona!

    First of all you have my absolute respect and admiration for trying to raise vegan children, especially in a time before there were the abundance of resources there are now (ie blogs, forums etc). I haven't got children and I wasn't raised vegan so I can't really weight in on the situation but I imagine that raising vegan, or even vegetarian, children in a world where everyone feels like their opinions matter because it's about the children (ie 'you can eat what you want as an adult but you're depriving your children if you don't give them meat' blah blah) is very challenging.

    I think your daughter's just trying to rebel, and is probably annoyed that her brother gets to keep his non-vegan stuff while you're trying to take away hers. Petty I know, but teenagers are like that, especially when it involves siblings! Hopefully when she's a bit older and wiser she'll appreciate that you tried to show her a nicer, more compassionate way of living and didn't mean to make her feel isolated. I also think her 'hating' all the vegan proteins is part of rebelling tbh.
    Houmous atá ann!

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    Default Re: Living with an ex vegan teenager, or two, or three

    Quote Blueberries View Post
    Heya Gattona!

    First of all you have my absolute respect and admiration for trying to raise vegan children, especially in a time before there were the abundance of resources there are now (ie blogs, forums etc). I haven't got children and I wasn't raised vegan so I can't really weight in on the situation but I imagine that raising vegan, or even vegetarian, children in a world where everyone feels like their opinions matter because it's about the children (ie 'you can eat what you want as an adult but you're depriving your children if you don't give them meat' blah blah) is very challenging.

    I think your daughter's just trying to rebel, and is probably annoyed that her brother gets to keep his non-vegan stuff while you're trying to take away hers. Petty I know, but teenagers are like that, especially when it involves siblings! Hopefully when she's a bit older and wiser she'll appreciate that you tried to show her a nicer, more compassionate way of living and didn't mean to make her feel isolated. I also think her 'hating' all the vegan proteins is part of rebelling tbh.
    Thanks Blueberries,

    I really appreciate the responses, I've been feeling pretty bad about this. I feel appreciated for what we did all those years ago, and yes, no internet, no mobile phones, much less ready made vegan food. Heck, it was even hard to find non-animal rennet cheese then. Tbh, I think she's done her rebellious teeneage years, we have a much better relationship now. I've not shared with her it's little brother's issues that have kept dairy in the house and she had the idea that if I'm going to limit the amount of non vegan stuff in the house they could maybe rotate, eggs one week, cheese another. Which I'm happy to negotiate around and it would be good for them to get together on this.

    Plus, I know a rare breeds farm where they have eggs for sale sometimes and the male chicks get sold onto other breeders - doubtless there is also stuff going on I'd not be happy about but it feels better than any other alternative..... oh, she likes cheese too .... yuck. I was even considering some ex battery hens in the garden but I know who would end up looking after them plus I've mixed feelings about supporting the battery industry like that. However apart from that I do like the idea of helping them live out the rest of their lives in a nice environment.

    After our discussion tonight when we both cried and hugged it does feel better. She said she respects and understands my reasons for being vegan (environmental, animal abuse and feeding more people if you feed the plants directly to them) but does not feel ready to commit herself to that.

    The issue though of how to bring up vegan children in a non-vegan world is difficult. Maybe, as my daughter suggested, being more liberal outside the house would have been better. But if I'm telling the children that it is wrong to have chocolate with milk in it it seems very inconsistant to say OK, if granny gives it to you its fine. When they are very little its so easy if you don't have too much problem with health professionals/family/teachers etc. Which we luckily didn't. But then they get big and opinionated and the world is giving a very diffferent message to what the family is giving and it can and does cause conflict. That's what my daughter was angry at me about - putting her in a situation where she was pulled by her friends and the undeniably nice taste of lots of dairy and eggy foods on one side and what her family were telling her on the other.

    Tonight I feel better we have got difficult feelings and memories into the open, I am grateful we have forums like this to share in. Thanks for reading and responding.

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    That's what I would do:

    I would tell them that they have the right to make their own choice. However, they have to respect your choice not to buy animal products. If they want to eat them they will have to buy it themselves with their pocket money or get a job. after all, buying extra food for everyone also costs more money. don't let them become spoilt brats. end of story!

    Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 2

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    oh and maybe speak to her about the reasons why - if you're daughter isn't really convinced she won't stick to it.

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    Bad Buddhist Clueless Git's Avatar
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    Default Re: Living with an ex vegan teenager, or two, or three

    I had a bit of this with my children too, Gattona ...

    This is a tricky angle but in the long run I found it worth doing. Short version:

    I put my children in charge of the household 'morality' with a bit of a catch22 attached. To-whit it was their decision if the household was going to hold it as 'right' to force their views upon others.

    Basicaly, though, if they held it as right to force their view on chickens/cows etc then they had to come up with a sustainable argument as to how/why it was simultaeneously wrong for me to force my view upon them.


    All got a bit fractious (not suprisingly!) but various important lessons on the ignobility of wanting one rule for self and another rule for others were learned in the process.
    All done in the best possible taste ...

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    Quote Cupid Stunt View Post
    I had a bit of this with my children too, Gattona ...

    This is a tricky angle but in the long run I found it worth doing. Short version:

    I put my children in charge of the household 'morality' with a bit of a catch22 attached. To-whit it was their decision if the household was going to hold it as 'right' to force their views upon others.

    Basicaly, though, if they held it as right to force their view on chickens/cows etc then they had to come up with a sustainable argument as to how/why it was simultaeneously wrong for me to force my view upon them.


    All got a bit fractious (not suprisingly!) but various important lessons on the ignobility of wanting one rule for self and another rule for others were learned in the process.
    I like that one CS! GreenJudy, that's a good point too but there is no spare pocket money, it all goes on travelling and helping the boyfriend out. They are both desparately looking for jobs, my daughter applied for over 40 one day, and went round shops etc giving them her CV...


    life is sooo much harder for teens than it was for me at that age .... but I won't go on about it

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    Default Re: Living with an ex vegan teenager, or two, or three

    This is a very difficult situation to be in for everyone concerned however i do feel that as a parent and the person who i guess does most of the cooking and peperation of food you have the right to decide what you will allow in your house. Whilst i am sure you wish to be on good terms with your daughter she to must accept that she whilst living with you may have to abide by your beliefs. I suppose you could allow her to eat dairy outside of home if she must but again not allow the consumption of it in your house. When and if she lives in her own place then she can choose her own lifestyle and diet. Her arguement about having veganism forced on her are valid to a point we all have things forced on us as children. My son is vegetarian he was vegan a one point but when he left home he became vegetarian because he found it easier to eat out with his friends. I lived with him as a vegetarian for a number of years befor he left home. In that time i allowed him to have eggs and cheese in his diet but tried to make as many meals as i could for him that we could both eat. I was not happy that he went back to being vegetarian but it would have been far worse if he had taken up eating meat again. I feel very strongly about animals and cruelty my son does not and he told me he did not think he would ever become vegetarian if i had not changed his diet. Sadly you may have to compromise with your daughter with the eggs if she really does hate so many other vegan foods i too have very little money so i know how hard it is to manage.

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    Default Re: Living with an ex vegan teenager, or two, or three

    Quote Gattona View Post
    ... life is sooo much harder for teens than it was for me at that age .... but I won't go on about it

    Workwise it most certainly is, I think.

    When I left school you just went to the Youth Employment place on a Thursday. They gave you five interviews for the Friday. You spent Saturday pondering which of the jobs you got offered you would turn up at on Monday.

    Slightly different now ...


    And simply because it came to mind while typing this post ...

    All done in the best possible taste ...

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    Default Re: Living with an ex vegan teenager, or two, or three

    @ Gattona I am hands down giving you praise for raising your children vegan, I have four of my own and it is tough in a non vegan world. But what is worth doing that isn't a little tough right? It is now time for them to pave their own way, and do not fret, you did taught them right from wrong.....they will end up right where they are supposed to be in the end.

    @ Cupid I am going to keep that in mind as my children grow into rebellious teens!
    Tanya

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    Default Re: Living with an ex vegan teenager, or two, or three

    Quote BellaTanie View Post
    Gattona I am hands down giving you praise for raising your children vegan!
    Gattona
    Praise from me too..I know you are a wonderful, and caring mother. And I know this because I was priviledged to have shared email conversations with you in the past.
    Hope all else is well with you
    Love Lesleyxx

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    Default Re: Living with an ex vegan teenager, or two, or three

    Quote Eileen Dover View Post
    Gattona
    Praise from me too..I know you are a wonderful, and caring mother. And I know this because I was priviledged to have shared email conversations with you in the past.
    Hope all else is well with you
    Love Lesleyxx
    Ha! Eileen Dover Great new name. I wondered where you got to, worried a bit too ...... will pm you

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Edited: Are you un PM able? Will you drop me a line?
    Last edited by Gattona; Oct 18th, 2012 at 02:38 AM.

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Living with an ex vegan teenager, or two, or three

    That does sound a difficult situation, Gattona, and it sounds as if you're dealing with it very well - you shouldn't beat yourself up about it.

    FWIW coming from a non parent I would put my foot down about buying non-vegan stuff for adult children but accept that they're going to buy what they want/think is OK for themselves. If they haven't got the money to buy their own stuff that's a separate problem - I might even try and give them a small amount to show that I accepted their autonomy but I know that's not always possible. Re what you allow in the house it's a difficult problem as to some extent it's their house as well if they can't afford another one...? :/

    I do hope they manage to get jobs soon - it sounds like they're trying hard.

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    Default Re: Living with an ex vegan teenager, or two, or three

    Gattona,

    I feel for you! It really is a hard one. Your daughter being 18 means that she should be allowed to make her own decisions (and that includes bad ones).

    One question ... have they watched "Earthlings" already? Read "Eating animals"?
    You might ask them to view it, if they feel that they need to eat animal foods. Of course, "rebellion" was already mentioned, so that could also backfire.

    The whole situation reminds me of something I read some time ago ... how teenagers rebel against their liberal/left parents who would allow them to make their own decisions and do what they want ... the only recourse they saw for rebellion was to spout national socialist / racist / skinhead crap, because they saw that their parents strongly reacted to that... not that they really believed in it, but they knew that way they could "push their parents' buttons".

    Best regards,
    Andy

    PS: My wife also uses the "you care more for a chicken than for me" argument on me sometimes. IMO it is not a valid one, as I care more for the LIFE and TORTURE of a chicken than for the SLIGHT INCONVENIENCE of a human, but again, this is not a good item for discussion (at least not when my wife makes that argument).

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    Vegan Princess BellaTanie's Avatar
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    Quote Andy_T View Post
    My wife also uses the "you care more for a chicken than for me" argument on me sometimes. IMO it is not a valid one, as I care more for the LIFE and TORTURE of a chicken than for the SLIGHT INCONVENIENCE of a human, but again, this is not a good item for discussion (at least not when my wife makes that argument).
    I could totally see my husband saying that to me at some point smh.....
    Last edited by BellaTanie; Oct 18th, 2012 at 03:30 PM. Reason: my comment was posted twice
    Tanya

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    Default Re: Living with an ex vegan teenager, or two, or three

    Quote Andy_T View Post
    Gattona,



    PS: My wife also uses the "you care more for a chicken than for me" argument on me sometimes. IMO it is not a valid one, as I care more for the LIFE and TORTURE of a chicken than for the SLIGHT INCONVENIENCE of a human, but again, this is not a good item for discussion (at least not when my wife makes that argument).
    My daughter threw that one at me in a 'discussion' today accusing me of putting the life of a cow in front of her feelings..any attempt to reason or explain after that point fell on dead ears.

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    Draíochta Blueberries's Avatar
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    Quote Eileen Dover View Post

    My daughter threw that one at me in a 'discussion' today accusing me of putting the life of a cow in front of her feelings..any attempt to reason or explain after that point fell on dead ears.
    Is your daughter a rebelious teen too?
    Houmous atá ann!

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    Bad Buddhist Clueless Git's Avatar
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    Default Re: Living with an ex vegan teenager, or two, or three

    Quote Andy_T View Post
    PS: My wife also uses the "you care more for a chicken than for me" argument on me sometimes. IMO it is not a valid one, as I care more for the LIFE and TORTURE of a chicken than for the SLIGHT INCONVENIENCE of a human, but again, this is not a good item for discussion (at least not when my wife makes that argument).
    Have you considered buying your wife a live chicken and a chain saw as a present Andy?

    Like when she says "WTF is this all about??????" just say "and you thought I didn't care, my darling?".

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Eileen Dover View Post
    My daughter threw that one at me in a 'discussion' today accusing me of putting the life of a cow in front of her feelings..any attempt to reason or explain after that point fell on dead ears.
    Hmmmmm ...

    Gift wrapping a live cow for her may prove a little difficult?
    All done in the best possible taste ...

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    Quote Cupid Stunt View Post
    Have you considered buying your wife a live chicken and a chain saw as a present Andy?
    Good one!
    I might even volunteer to do the work for her, as long as the whole family is watching.
    (But my kids will prevent me from doing it, of course, and I do not really feel up to keeping a chicken as pet)

    Best regards,
    Andy

  23. #23
    Nikorusama
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    I agree with thegreenjudy. I am 25 and like to think I am young but thinking about it, it is 7 years since I was 18! How time flies, anyway, my parents brought me and my sister up vegetarian. They were both liberal parents, they taught us to think for ourselves and never pushed us into eating vegetarian. My sister is still vegetarian and I am now vegan (after a brief spell of being an omni). We were always taught to respect other people's eating habits and not to lecture them on the poor animals as they were eating as our friends were only eating what their parents provided for them and it wasn't up to them. We were never chastised for accidents or for eating anything non veggie. It was just forgotten and no big deal was made out of it. From the sounds of things, your daughter sounded a bit traumatised by it! This method seemed to work with both me and my sister as neither of us have rebelled at all. When all my friends were banned from drinking alcohol my parents let me have it in small quantities. it wasn't a big deal for me and I never binged. Two of my friends (I went to a private grammar school btw) whilst at a party that we all had saved up to buy two bottles of Bacardi for, took the bottles upstairs and drunk the lot between them and got stinking drunk! They were both the two that were banned from drinking alcohol altogether. I think we were around 16-17 at the time. Then one of the girls mothers came and shouted at the rest of us for getting her drunk when we were all perfectly sober and if we had shared the drink we oly would of had 1 or 2 small drinks each and no one would be drunk.

    I think you have to let her eat what she wants to eat but say you aren't funding her to eat anything you don't agree with and if she doesn't like it she is perfectly welcome to move out. This may seem harsh but you are already supporting both her and her boyfriend and since she is 18, she is an adult and you don't owe her anything. In your house it is your rules. I'm not suggesting you force your views on her but at least let her know that you won't tolerate her being spoilt. My parents were always like this with me and although I thought they were harsh plenty of times, I honestly think they brought me up to be the best person they cold be. Your job as a mother is to bring them up to survive on their own, not to be their friend.

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    Default Re: Living with an ex vegan teenager, or two, or three

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I worry that I may run into problems like this with my own kids when they get older. The only thing I can say, is that you did what you thought was best, and it's really the only thing anyone can do. You can't go against what you believe, and even if you do, you don't know what your kids will think of it. I mean you could have raised them as omnis, and they could end up blaming you for it, and saying "how could you raise us this way when you knew better?"

    I think it's just a stage your daughter is going through, and she will come out of it soon. I do hope so.

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