How come I don't look healthy? (HELP and URGENT) - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 08-22-2007, 09:13 PM
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My parents won't let me be veg*n anymore! For almost a year now, they are saying that I do not look as healthy as my pre-veggie days. They are convinced that if I start eating meat again, I will be healthier. They tell me that looking at my face, I look 'old' and not as vibrant and rosy and healthful as other girls my age. I am sixteen and I have been veg*n for a year and a half already. They have been constantly trying to get me to eat meat, even a little, and both my parents, my mom especially, are very worried for my health. They firmly believe that eating a veg*n diet is not healthy, natural, and good enough for optimal health. They also think that the people promoting veg*nism who claim that they do not eat meat really do in private and are misleading others to think that they can be healthy from a meat free diet. And they said I am brainwashed by all this veg*n propaganda about saving animals while compromising my health. They think that all the healthy-looking vegetarians secretly eat meat to maintain their health... That's what my mom said today. We have been arguing again and her trying to get me to eat some meat. I told her that I will propose a compromise by tomorrow.

I don't get it though. It's not like I am overweight, eat junk food, and don't exercise. On the contrary, I am slim, eat very consciously with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and I exercise a lot since I am on my school's varsity volleyball team. I even took a blood test and got my results a week ago, and every thing was pretty much normal. There was only one little thing, and that was my white blood count was a little low on the normal range, but it was still in the normal range. I even had low bad cholesterol and high good cholesteral and normal protein.

Why are they saying that I do not look healthy? They say that my skin has a yellowish tint to it, and that when compared to other girls, they can clearly tell that they look healthier than me. Even their friends agree with them, who are all Chinese.

What can I do? My parents believe that I am unhealthy and are trying to change the way that I think about killing and eating animals. They are putting all this blame on me; blaming me for making them worry, telling me that they have worked so hard to raise me and that I am being ungrateful for trying to lead a veg*n lifestyle because it is making me unhealthy. They think that I am undoing all the effort they have put into me to grow into a healthy adult.

Now I am in some deep [email protected]#$ with this whole thing. I could either persist in my veg*n lifestyle and ruin my relationship with my parents, ruin our family's happiness, and potentially ruining my mother's health because she worries about me all the time. Or I could give up being veg*n, but being veg*n means so much to me, though, and I hate the thought of consuming meat, again. What a choice I have to make.

So, tomorrow, my parents are going to force me to eat some meat. I told them I would make them a compromise. I was thinking that I would:

-only eat 'happy meat' (like from Whole Foods or something) a few times a week, not every day

-not make me eat anything else that is not vegan, including eggs and dairy (so I would technically be vegan if not for the meat that I would have to eat)



This kills me, it really does. But it seems like my parents won't give in. They just HAVE to see me eat meat.

So, please please PLEASE help me. I don't know what to do, and I don't know what will convince them. I live around the DC metro area, if anyone else here does. I don't know, show up at my doorstep and show my parents how healthy one can be on a veg*n diet, what ever it takes to convince them. help help help, i really don't know what to do and i am desperate.
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#2 Old 08-22-2007, 09:45 PM
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Oh sweetie! I'm so sorry! I don't have any advice for you, just hugs. If you'd like to talk PM me. I'm good at listening.



R



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#3 Old 08-22-2007, 10:26 PM
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aw that's horrible, i'm only 16 and i knoooow know know how difficult parents can be with these issues. i can't relate exactly but i can relate on how you feel. make them go for a dr's visit with you concerning the issue- doctor's done always agree with vegetarianism or veganism BUT they can help give you tips on how to get more nutrients (i'm sure you eat fine, but this is for your parents sake)... and also, you can have him do blood tests so you can say SEE MOM AND DAD I'M HEALTHY.



there's ways to get around this. it's your body, after all. i hope it works out.
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#4 Old 08-22-2007, 10:29 PM
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I'm really sorry that you are having to go through all of that. Your parents sound paranoid and what they are doing to you is abusive, imo. Parents should never put down their children's beliefs in such an ignorant and paranoid way ... and all this about not looking like your friends can be dangerous to your emotional well-being not to mention create body image issues!



You said that you had blood work done and that you had normal levels ... what does your doctor think about your diet? I'm not sure what the lower on the normal range white blood cell count is all about. I just had blood work done as well and I am completely in normal range and nutritionally healthy except my white blood cell count was a bit higher than normal. But I'm on meds for an infection and I think that is the cause.



One thing I have to mention is that you are not doing anything wrong and definitely won't ruin your family's happiness. That's just emotional blackmail bs that your parents are laying on you. You have no control over their feelings or their happiness, only over your own. You can't 'make' your mother sick. She is choosing to believe propaganda (vegetarians secretly eat meat ...WTF?!) and choosing to create stress over it. And she is choosing to take her stress out on you, her child, which again imo, is unfair and abusive. There are plenty of legitimate sources out there about vegetarianism and how to maintain a healthy veggie lifestyle that they shouldn't be this ignorant on the subject.



I wish I could tell you what to do to make the situation better but I don't know. Every family dynamic is different and what would work with my family might not for yours. The only thing I could suggest is to seek advice and maybe mediation from another adult with whom you trust like a doctor, a teacher or a school counselor. Do you have anyone in your life who would understand where you are coming from and would be open-minded about the reality that one can be healthy and thrive on a vegetarian diet? I would also suggest printing out information (like from the ADA) about healthy vegetarian diets but your parents don't seem to be willing to look past their own fears in order to take it seriously.



I live in the dc metro too! If you ever need to talk or vent or whatever, feel free to pm me.
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#5 Old 08-22-2007, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Hang~Ten~Honey View Post

One thing I have to mention is that you are not doing anything wrong and definitely won't ruin your family's happiness. That's just emotional blackmail bs that your parents are laying on you. You have no control over their feelings or their happiness, only over your own. You can't 'make' your mother sick. She is choosing to believe propaganda (vegetarians secretly eat meat ...WTF?!) and choosing to create stress over it. And she is choosing to take her stress out on you, her child, which again imo, is unfair and abusive.



Ditto.



And I'd ask them how they felt if you were approached by a male who wanted to have sex with you. You weren't interested and told him no. He insisted and persisted and said that a compromise would have to be reached. You would use "happy drug" and give him a blow job. Otherwise, you would ruin his entire senior year. What should you do?
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#6 Old 08-23-2007, 03:08 AM
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Maybe you could re-evaluate what you are eating on a daily basis. Are you sure you are getting adequate fresh fruits/veggies? All the necessary vitamins/minerals? Fresh air and sunshine? These can all help you acquire that 'healthy glow'. With some good literature/documentation on a healthy veg*n lifestyle, you might be able to adjust your intake of food without having to go back to eating meat.
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#7 Old 08-23-2007, 03:22 AM
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Making yourself look healthy now they're making you eat meat isn't a good idea. Look as sickly as you can so they realise its not the meat thats making a difference.

Maybe try to get a second chance and do what Karen says, so make sure you'rte as healthy as possible.
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#8 Old 08-23-2007, 03:27 AM
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To look healthier for your parents, sneak into a solarium from time to time. Don't stay too long - just enough to make your skin looks a bit less pale.



This is a mother of a teenage child talking - and I think this would be quite acceptable.



And just refuse to eat meat. They can't tie you down on a chair and force it down your mouth, can they?



Stand up for your beliefs. And for animal rights.



I swear, if my parents had forced me to go against my beliefs as a teenager, I would have packed my bags, caught the first long-distance bus and found a job as a waitress somewhere.
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#9 Old 08-23-2007, 05:39 AM
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Oh Hunny, I am so sorry! This is just terrible. I was going to say the same exact thing as Diana- go for a few tanning sessions. Play up the makeup a bit even.



I don't know what I would do in that situation- considering my parents were not like that at all. But I do know I couldn't eat meat. I would throw up... for realsies and that is so not healthy. If that were my family (and I know this wouldn't work for you) I would tell my mom she could eat a cockroach and then I would have a cockroach size bite of meat. Then we'd both run to puke and she'd get it. lol



I'd bet you look fine so try informing them on things. Print out information and show them or just leave it everywhere around the house. (Secret Meat-Eating Vegetarians- that is shocking) But show them stuff on nutrition, or compare your blood work to theirs and see who's really healthier. Find ways to make them understand what you believe, why you believe it, why it's so important, and how nutrition actually works.



Good Luck, Luvie, keeps us updated!
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#10 Old 08-23-2007, 06:06 AM
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Wow, I feel for you. My parents weren't feeling the veganism thing either. Maybe it's just me, but if they made me(like force feed) eat meat again I would hold a hunger strike. And don't believe the backmail. Some people are scared of change, but NEVER compromise your beliefs.
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#11 Old 08-23-2007, 06:11 AM
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Just one question: Do you FEEL healthy???
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#12 Old 08-23-2007, 06:44 AM
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Yea, I feel healthy. It's not like I get tired easily and feel weak all the time. I sleep well and awake with plenty of energy. When I am playing volleyball, I have a lot of energy and do not fatigue easily. I don't consume a lot of caffeine, either. Only the occasional Starbucks, which is less than once per week.
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#13 Old 08-23-2007, 07:03 AM
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anomymousemo: Only you can know how far you are able to stand up to your family's wishes. All I can do is to encourage you to stand strong.



Meat is unhealthy - for you and for the animals that are being exploited and slaughtered. You know that what you are doing is right. How will you cope with yourself if you let your beliefs be compromised by your parents?



Your parents may love you dearly, but they are extremely ignorant when it comes to health issues. I really think you should continue to try and educate them. Find stuff on the internet to print out to them. Don't necessarily find it on vegetarian websites, but from more neutral sources.



I hope you find the strength to stand up to your parents. If you do... you will also later on in life find the strength to stand up to your bosses at work and other situations in life where you may be challenged.



Use this as an opportunity to grow and to learn how to deal with this kind of situation.



Keep us updated.
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#14 Old 08-23-2007, 10:08 AM
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The good news is, your parents clearly care about you. I would sit down with them and see if you can figure out exactly what your parents' concern is. Is it protein? Iron? Some other mystery ingredient in meat that we don't know about? Or is it just that you look too pale?



If it's a specific ingredient that they're concerned about, ask if you can track your meals for a while on fitday.com to get an analysis of what you're eating. Fitday isn't a vegetarian tool - it just analyzes what you eat, whether it's cake or beef or carrots. Maybe then you can make adjustments that all of you can live with. This way, you can work with them.



If it's just that you're too pale, I'd either take up some gardening, or beach volleyball or something go get out in the sun for a bit (even with sunscreen, you should get a little bit of color). Alternately, get some self-tanner (a light-colored one) and try that.



I'd hold my ground on the meat issue, though. If after some time the fitday and/or light tanning don't work, figure out where you'd be willing to give some ground. I don't want to define those for you - for me, it would be having dairy or an egg occasionally.



Gee - a varsity volleyball player, and they're wondering about how healthy you are? It makes you wonder a bit, doesn't it?
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#15 Old 08-23-2007, 11:44 AM
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I can't believe they are trying to tell you that you look sick DESPITE your bloodwork! You're perfectly healthy!!



Ok, first of all, they can't MAKE you eat something you are morally opposed to. Are they going to tie you down, and force feed you? Because I believe that's child abuse.



Your parents need to recognize that you are doing what you believe (actually, know) is best. So throw a couple of books at them and tell them to get educated, and if they don't want to accept that a vegan diet can be healthy, then atleast they have to respect your choices.



I hope you can cook, because this if you depend on your mother, then this can make it more difficult for you. Start taking your independence NOW, and show that that you're serious about it.



You are not making the relationship between you and your parents a "bad" one, its their inability to accept you. Would they also do the same if you were gay? Didn't have an interest in going to college?

I believe parents should love their kids unconditionally, whether theyve got 3 legs, one ear, or are vegan.



Whatever you do though, don't give up on veganism if you really care about animal rights and yourself. I think it would be very troubling emotionally to have to eat meat. Do they understand the torment you would be going through if you ate meat??? If not, let them know.



I wish you the best of luck.
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#16 Old 08-23-2007, 11:46 AM
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Sorry if I came off as a bit, rude in my last post. I just get really frustrated when people try to impose their views on others.



I meant it all in good faith and sincerely hope you can get your parents to come around.
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#17 Old 08-23-2007, 12:37 PM
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If they are concerned about your health, what about a compromise to go to a doctor together and let the EDUCATED doctor (assuming they aren't as ignorant as your parents!) decide how healthy you are? Are they aware of your bloodwork or do they just think that is a lie, too?



Have you explained to them how you feel about it, and are they the sort of people who would be willing to listen? I don't know what your parents are like so its hard for me to give advice, but I personally would turn their own words against them and explain how eating meat would make me unhealthy because I would feel sad and sick to my stomach each and every time they make me eat meat. I would probably go throw it up or have a hunger strike too, although that might be a bit extreme and I'm not really suggesting it as a solution for you...thats just how angry and stubborn I can act sometimes.



Only you can decide how to deal with your situation, but I really hope you stand up for your beliefs. If you don't, you'll be teaching them that they can guilt you into doing whatever they want.

It's not in what you say, it's in what you do (Oasis)

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#18 Old 08-23-2007, 01:01 PM
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Aww, that sounds really sad. I wouldn't give though, I think you should stand up for your beliefs, if at all possible. Could you eat fake meat, like Boca or Morningstar or something? Would that make your parents feel better?
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#19 Old 08-23-2007, 01:30 PM
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Has any impartial third party said you look unhealthy? Like someone whose opinion you were not seeking? I think if you truly looked unhealthy, your teachers and other school personnel would be concerned about you. Having worked in a school as a social worker, I can tell you that teachers/school social workers/guidance counselors etc... are trained to notice when students don't look well, and will question it. If they haven't been questioning you about your health... chances are you look just fine and your parents are telling you you don't look well because they *think* you can't be well because of your diet. They don't sound very educated about vegetarianism.

Could you compromise to go see a nutritionist?

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#20 Old 08-23-2007, 02:08 PM
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Has any impartial third party said you look unhealthy? Like someone whose opinion you were not seeking? I think if you truly looked unhealthy, your teachers and other school personnel would be concerned about you. Having worked in a school as a social worker, I can tell you that teachers/school social workers/guidance counselors etc... are trained to notice when students don't look well, and will question it. If they haven't been questioning you about your health... chances are you look just fine and your parents are telling you you don't look well because they *think* you can't be well because of your diet. They don't sound very educated about vegetarianism.

Could you compromise to go see a nutritionist?



These are good points. If you really did look unhealthy, someone in the system would have said something at some point.



Is there any chance you can delay the compromise long enough to try to educate your parents a bit? I know they think we're all sneaking off to eat big macs, but would they look at something a little "impartial" in their eyes? Maybe the China Study?



Also, what about your blood work? That seems like a clean bill of health to me, can you show them your results?



I do wish you a lot of luck and hope that you can continue doing what you want to do.
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#21 Old 08-23-2007, 07:18 PM
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aww that totally sucks anonymo...

i agree w/ the others about not giving in. i just couldnt do it personally, but i understand where you are.



aside from the dangerous tanning beds....try some self tanner and bronzer.



and www.vrg.org has some great info on teens becoming veg'n.



it is absolutely not necessary to eat meat to be healthy!! in fact, im sure others would know more than me...but animal proteins can actually ROB your body of minerals, calcium, etc.!! '
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#22 Old 08-26-2007, 05:26 AM
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So how goes it, Anonymousemo? I've been thinking about you and wondering how you're doing. You got some great advice, advice we can all use actually. I hope it's all well and that you're reaching a compromise with your parents that makes you all happy
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#23 Old 08-26-2007, 07:05 AM
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I'm so sorry! That really stinks. There's a lot of stuff online about the health benefits of reducing the amount of meat you eat, not totally eliminating it, and maybe your parents will respect this since meat is still involved. As for your skin, my skin has always had yellow undertones (and, no, I'm not jaundice), maybe it's just your skintone.

But I think the best way to go about this is just to try to get as much info to your parents as you can, info that ISN'T associated with a vegetarian diet, since they seem to be distrustful of that. Try to find some stuff on just reducing meat intake. Good luck!
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#24 Old 08-26-2007, 09:57 AM
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I think your parents are trying to manipulate you with guilt which is pretty ****ty, IMO. As with the lusty boy example above, what are they teaching you about self-respect in your interactions with other's? That you should let your future boyfriends manipulate you with guilt as opposed to working things out in an open and honest manner?



How about this- agree to eat meat again if you, and both your parents agree to log all of your food on fitday for two months (long enough that they won't be able to resist falling back on their usual habits of bad food). Then agree to both go to a nutritionist with your logs of diet and if the nutritionist says your parents are eating better than you, and if their blood work is better than yours, then you'll eat meat.



You have nothing to worry about because first, they'll never agree to it, and if they did, once they see you are meeting all your nutrients and they are getting excess fat, not enough fiber, not enough vegetables, for example, they will get angry and refuse to continue. If they actually get to compare their labs to yours, well then they will really have a fit because I guarentee they will have worse cholesterol, higher heart rate from lack of exercise, etc. (ah- that gives me an idea, say you'll eat meat if they can run a mile faster than you!!)



They just don't want you being veg*n, never mind if they have good reasons. You looking ill is all in their heads. Ask them for some actual evidence that you are ill.



You say you are worried about ruining your relationship with them. Sorry to say, but there is a good chance they are going to keep using this manipulation technique on you the rest of your life. Don't set a pattern of giving in.



OTOH, if you really can't take the complaining and give in, know that as soon as you are away from them you'll go back. And you know the sad thing about this? They may get you to eat meat for a couple of years, but in exchange for damaging their relationship with you for many more years in the process. (and yes, they are the ones damaging the relationship)
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#25 Old 08-26-2007, 04:58 PM
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well to there defense if your skin has a "yellowish tint" to it your liver could be failing. but that doesnt have much to do with veganism...
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#26 Old 08-26-2007, 06:37 PM
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I think your parents are trying to manipulate you with guilt which is pretty ****ty, IMO. As with the lusty boy example above, what are they teaching you about self-respect in your interactions with other's? That you should let your future boyfriends manipulate you with guilt as opposed to working things out in an open and honest manner?



How about this- agree to eat meat again if you, and both your parents agree to log all of your food on fitday for two months (long enough that they won't be able to resist falling back on their usual habits of bad food). Then agree to both go to a nutritionist with your logs of diet and if the nutritionist says your parents are eating better than you, and if their blood work is better than yours, then you'll eat meat.



You have nothing to worry about because first, they'll never agree to it, and if they did, once they see you are meeting all your nutrients and they are getting excess fat, not enough fiber, not enough vegetables, for example, they will get angry and refuse to continue. If they actually get to compare their labs to yours, well then they will really have a fit because I guarentee they will have worse cholesterol, higher heart rate from lack of exercise, etc. (ah- that gives me an idea, say you'll eat meat if they can run a mile faster than you!!)



They just don't want you being veg*n, never mind if they have good reasons. You looking ill is all in their heads. Ask them for some actual evidence that you are ill.



You say you are worried about ruining your relationship with them. Sorry to say, but there is a good chance they are going to keep using this manipulation technique on you the rest of your life. Don't set a pattern of giving in.



OTOH, if you really can't take the complaining and give in, know that as soon as you are away from them you'll go back. And you know the sad thing about this? They may get you to eat meat for a couple of years, but in exchange for damaging their relationship with you for many more years in the process. (and yes, they are the ones damaging the relationship)







i second this!!!



esp about you "looking ill"... so many people think its "normal" or "healthy" to be plump, much less fat these days.

little do people realize is that you can be overweight and still be malnourished.

clearly your blood work should be enough to quiet them!!
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#27 Old 08-26-2007, 06:39 PM
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well to there defense if your skin has a "yellowish tint" to it your liver could be failing. but that doesnt have much to do with veganism...



i would think that the blood tests would have signaled something was up w/ the liver.
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#28 Old 08-27-2007, 10:07 AM
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Well, on the note of yellow tinted skin my skin and my mom's has always had a slight yellow tint, so it's definitely not our liver failing or we'd both be dead by now. I've also always tended to have a pale complexion and I don't tan very well, I really have to try to get a tan if I want one.



I feel really sorry for you, that'd be a terrible situation to be in. I don't see why your parents would feel that you're unhealthy if your blood work is good and you feel fine... unless they think you're lying. Maybe ask them what it would take to convince them that you are healthy? If there's something that could help them believe you such as fitday which was suggested already or, maybe, some other, more thorough health examination.
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#29 Old 08-27-2007, 06:02 PM
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DO NOT GIVE IN!



You have nothing to compromise, what they are asking of is not compromise, its them trying to force their {completely narrow minded and terribly uneducated btw} beliefs on you. Even if their hearts are in the right place, this is still wrong.



Stick to your beliefs and stand up for yourself, for the love of god. If your family is going to stop loving you because you dont eat meat they never really loved you in the first place. They will just have to accept this. Dont give in no matter what. I think the fact they are trying to make you change your beliefs is really gross. Just refuse, no matter what. You may not want to but thats just my opinion and what I would do. They cant force it down your throat and if they try, fight!



I find this thread upsetting.
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#30 Old 08-27-2007, 06:22 PM
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DO NOT GIVE IN!





I find this thread upsetting.



i agree starseed. i cant believe parents can act this way.

whatever happened to raising your children to be strong and stand up for themselves and their convictions? if they cant do it in their own home, where then?

what if you were being sexually harassed? or teased at school? would you want your child to not stand up for themselves??



it really IS upsetting.
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