Is anyone raising veg*n children with an omnivore spouse/meat in house? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 01-26-2004, 10:37 PM
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Hey, I am wondering about all of your who are raising veg*n children with an omnivore spouse--I've heard many people say that it works, but they also often say that their spouse agreed to not have meat in the home. Is anyone doing it where there is also meat in the house? How do you explain to your children the obvious differences between your/their lifestyle and your mate's lifestyle? What do you tell your children about why vegetarianism is a good lifestyle while also being supportive of your spouse/other?
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#2 Old 01-26-2004, 11:01 PM
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I am, or I'm trying to lol. My kids are still young 4 1/2 and almost 2, so I haven't talked to them much about not eating meat and the whole vegetarian lifestyle. My husband is supportive of my choices, and eats what I cook at home, but he does still eat meat on his own. We haven't really talked much about the kids diet. Every meal I fix for them (and my son's school lunch) is vegan but if we are out I will allow them to have cheese (such as cheese pizza). My husband will buy meat for himself on occasion (about once a week) with the understanding that he cooks it himself, and I've not said, "don't let the kids have any" so if my son (who ate meat before I went veggie), wants some turkey bacon that his daddy fixed for Sunday breakfast (the only time he cooks for the whole family), I cringe a little, but I don't forbid it at this point. It's a delicate balance really. I want what's best for them, but at the same time, I don't want to be overbearing about it. It's my stance that I will feed them the best diet I can now, and educate them when they are older and able to understand the reasons for being veg*n, they will be able to make choices about it for themselves. I'm also still hoping hubby comes around and goes veggie too and makes my job a little easier.
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#3 Old 01-27-2004, 06:38 AM
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I will be doing this... I'm quite worried about potentially alienating our child from its father... I want to explain things by a certain age but before that there needs to be a simple explanation for why we don't eat meat, and I can't think of anything except things that may imply that my spouse is bad. It's a bit of a concern...
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#4 Old 01-27-2004, 10:39 AM
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I'm not a mom yet, however my spouse is an omni. We plan on having children in a couple years so indeed this is an issue we have discussed.



Mr. monkeyandbunny eats good vegetarian homecooking, he understands that I will not cook meat for him. If the hub wants something meat a tarian, he makes it himself. (or gets carry out)



Personally, I am one of those 'health' vegetarians so the moral issues while important are not the sole reason why I am a vegetarian. Certainly I will point out to my future children why I and others choose to be vegetarian. I also will not object to my children eating meat while out in public or at someones home. They have the freedom to try whatever sounds good to them. They eat vegetarian when mom cooks that's enough for me.



If my husband were a vegetarian, I would be more adamant about raising my children as vegetarians but since I married an omnivore we had to come to a compromise that worked for both of us. For me, finding a vegetarian partner was a 'nicety' and not 'necessity' for many veg*ns having a veg*n partner is an absolute.



We feel that it is important to present a solid, united front to our kids.
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#5 Old 01-27-2004, 01:11 PM
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Hi, thanks for the responses. I am trying to sort out, myself, a little of what you each said. I *want* to present a solid, united front for kids. And, my sig. other is terribly afraid that he will be alienated if the children are vegetarian. However, we both know that I would be unhappy if the children weren't. I've tried to tell him that of course kids would love their father and him eating meat wouldn't change that, but it really is a tricky situation. I guess I am really looking for a way to raise children vegetarian and yet make sure that they would never think that their father was "bad" because he wasn't. Makes my head hurt...
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#6 Old 01-27-2004, 03:33 PM
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I have the whole range in our household - I'm vegan, my partner is omni, one of my kids is omni and the other is vegetarian. Of course, I'd be happier if they were all veg of some description (my youngest does say sometimes that he'd like to be vegan, but honestly, it's just too hard to deal with when he stays at other people's houses etc. It's hard enough explaining vegetarian to many of them).



Everybody respects each other's choices really. Well, if not respect, just don't really mention it. The deal is that everyone eats what they are comfortable with. If they are comfortable eating critters, that's up to them.



But having said that - we don't really have meat in the house very often at all. My oldest may get a few bits of salami for on a pizza or whatever, but that's about as far as it goes.



I do all the cooking, and I only cook veg*n.



xxA
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#7 Old 01-27-2004, 10:58 PM
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I am worried about this also.. I'm a vegetarian-wannabe-vegan while my fiance is an omnivore. Glad to hear that it's working out ok for you all so far. Shewolf and I won't have to worry about this for quite a while, since no one feeds babies any meat til they have a few teeth anyways; and ours are a long way from having teeth!

My baby will not eat any meat..even then. My fiance and I have talked about it a little and agreed that once the baby is a toddler and he starts asking questions about our food differences, then he can listen to both of us and choose for himself. (Hopefully he'll be a momma's boy!) hehe
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#8 Old 01-28-2004, 03:20 PM
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My youngest has never eaten meat - even when he was first going on to solid food he would turn his face away if anything even resembling meat got within range of him. My oldest says he'd like to be a vegetarian "but I just really like chicken". In his own time, I think.



I want them to choose for themselves. Having seen a friend's child, who was not allowed sugar at all ever, hiding sweets in his pockets and sitting in corners gobbling them by the age of 4 (future bulimic anyone?), I decided that my kids could make thier own decisions.



xxA
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#9 Old 01-28-2004, 09:45 PM
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I don't have kids yet, so take what I say with a grain of salt.



I believe that the tastes that a baby gets from breast milk (dependant on what the mother eats while breastfeeding) and the first foods that they are introduced to are very important in developing their tastes. I plan on feeding my kiddos ONLY healthy stuff when they're younger than 3 or so. After that I will feed them healthy stuff with a very positive attitude about how good food is but basically not freak out about things and let them eat what they would like to (chicken nuggets or cake at a party, etc.). We will occasionally have dessert and stuffat home so that they see it as a normal thing to do in moderation and not a BIG DEAL. I will not have strict military rules after an age where I fear that I will make junk food look very enticing otherwise (like in the situations of the kid Ana mentioned).



I will, however, not have meat in my home. I will tell them what it is and they can make their own decisions outside the home and I'm not the type to freak out if they chose to try it or even continue eating it. My husband is an omni and he thinks this is reasonable enough, too.
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#10 Old 01-29-2004, 01:04 AM
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I agree with natural chick.



My mom ate NO sugar during preganancy/breastfeeding me. She did with younger sis. I have no sweet tooth, I love just more FOOD, sis loves soy icecream, cookies, etc.



We were both raised on lots of veggies, whole wheat bread, no candy. I still don't eat candy. We got it at holloween, vday, all those holidays every other month, but not on a daily basis. No sugared cereals unless holiday also. We had homemade cookies/bars as sweets. no coke until we were maybe 8 or 9 and then just at a party or holiday, etc. I can't get over my friend feeding her 4 year old coke in a non-tip cup. If she has to pick soda, at least pick something w/out caffeine. We drank lots of juice. Milk and water too.



I can't eat white bread unless it is a baguette or something.



Both sis and I are veg*ns. Parents aren't although mom eats healthy and likes organic. Dad eats lots of veggies, but also loves meat, eggs, cheese, butter, etc with them. Well, at least he doesn't have omni veggie fear.
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#11 Old 01-29-2004, 09:06 AM
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I agree it's important to start feeding kids healthy food from the start, veggies and cereals to start with even if it means holding back on giving them fruits and juice for a while. Let them get used to the not so sweet foods, then introduce fruits and then only mixed in with cereal. But that's just they way I did it, everyone find what works best for them and the baby, and even every baby is different.
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#12 Old 01-29-2004, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NaturalChick View Post

I believe that the tastes that a baby gets from breast milk (dependant on what the mother eats while breastfeeding) and the first foods that they are introduced to are very important in developing their tastes.



That reminds me of something--in a birthing story I was reading, the midwife said that it's amazing how the amniotic fluid around the baby often holds the smell/essense of food that the mother ate. The midwife said, for example, that when she was helping birth a baby, she could tell that the mother had eaten curry the night before. I was kind of hoping that (someday) I could get baby geared up for all sorts of good food before he/she is born. I was also wondering (and I know this might seem far off, but) if maybe even the taste for meat is acquired somewhat by how much the mother eats during preganancy.
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#13 Old 01-29-2004, 03:03 PM
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I think the love of sugar is innate. Not processed sugar, mind you, but the love of sweet things. It's on the list of traits for the "Universal Culture", the list of traits that every known culture shares. Breast milk is sweet, even if the mother avoids sugar, and so the baby's already attached to that sweetness. I don't think not giving a baby fruits would be anything but mean, and sort of a waste of effort.



Also, some veggies are just too bitter for young palates. Our taste buds dull somewhat as we grow older and we are able to eat foods we didn't like as children for that reason.



I've always liked the idea of serving small portions of dessert as part of a meal instead of waiting til the end, like the meal is just something you have to get through in order to have the SPECIAL YUMMY THING afterward. I want my children to love all food, not just sweets.



And now if you'll excuse me I have some chocolate chip cookies waiting for me in the kitchen.
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#14 Old 01-29-2004, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squirl View Post

I was also wondering (and I know this might seem far off, but) if maybe even the taste for meat is acquired somewhat by how much the mother eats during preganancy.



I don't think this is far off at all! I ate meat when pregnant with my older son and he is the carnivore from hell. If it once had legs, he's in there. I was vegetarian the second time, and my youngest has turned away from meat since the day he was born. He doesn't even like fake meat at all - he likes the saltiness of tvp bacon, but won't go near other substitutes. Tofu all the way for him.



I thought I was the only person who thought this! Plus, how often do you get to experiment?



xxA
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#15 Old 01-29-2004, 07:16 PM
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The omni needs to convert to veg or face family condemnation and disgust. JMO.
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#16 Old 01-29-2004, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mountainvegan View Post

The omni needs to convert to veg or face family condemnation and disgust. JMO.



Let me guess... you're not married, are you? It doesn't work that way, you can't force someone into changing whether it's going veggie or quiting smoking. You know it's best for their health, but until they come to that realization all you can do is love them and try to educate them without being overbearing about it.
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#17 Old 01-30-2004, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by mountainvegan View Post

The omni needs to convert to veg or face family condemnation and disgust. JMO.



Wow, MV, that's the most non-understanding thing I've ever read from you. Women generally don't do things like that, as we've been subjected to that sort of thinking for millennia...
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#18 Old 01-30-2004, 11:23 AM
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It was written mostly tongue-in-cheek - I was in a feisty state of mind when I wrote that. I've been married for almost 15 years now and I realize diplomacy is important if you want to stay together.



For a more serious response, I think gentle persuasion, including education and recommended reading, is the way for at least the omni spouse supporting the process of raising a veg child, if not becoming veg themselves. There are many marriages that work fine when one spouse has strong religious convictions and the other doesn't (not saying veg*nism has anything to do with religion, but it is a strong conviction, at least for me). It can definitely work, but it can be a serious obstacle if the omni spouse is outwardly anti-veg and you have strong convictions about it.



I'm lucky, my wife is strict veg, but as close to vegan as you can get and not call yourself one.
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#19 Old 01-30-2004, 11:37 AM
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I might add, also on a serious note, that regular, specific communication is vital. Small things being ignored over time will eventually get to be a problem. If there are small issues, with either spouse or the kid(s), they need to be dealt with then and there, while it's happening. This is true of any relationship.
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#20 Old 01-30-2004, 05:41 PM
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My situation is a bit different in that I am a recent veg and my daughter decided on her own to go veg as well. She doesn't like that dad is omni but she is learning not to make a bid deal out of it and to respect his choices just as he respects ours.



We don't have any meat in the house. If my hubby wants meat he either has to order it when we eat out or buy it himself and cook it himself (preferably outside on the grill).



The only issue we've really run into here in our home is teaching my daughter that she has to respect someone's right to make choices that are different from ours and not necessarily something we agree with or support on a moral and ethical basis.



Fortunately for us my husband is an amazingly supportive omni who is fine with the no meat in the house rule and who often orders a veg entree even when he could easily order meat. So it is probable that we don't have the same number of issues as other mixed families.

I am the user formerly known as MrsKey
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#21 Old 02-06-2004, 01:54 AM
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Originally Posted by mountainvegan View Post

It was written mostly tongue-in-cheek - I was in a feisty state of mind when I wrote that. I've been married for almost 15 years now and I realize diplomacy is important if you want to stay together.





Whew, I was worried for a bit. You know, smilies help.



I'm just waiting until I get told I'm bad for forcing my kids to not eat meat... then I'm going to turn around and say I don't see the reason to force them to eat meat just because it's socially accepted..
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#22 Old 02-06-2004, 03:36 AM
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I think that if I had a spouse who ate meat in the house while I was trying to raise vegetarian children, I might just bring it up to the children, beginning when they were very little and just starting to watch pop eat, as "That's dada's icky food. We love dada, but we don't want to eat that icky food."



Later, I would just try to handle it like it was a bad habit. Not something that makes their father "bad Keep it light. Silly Daddy!



I think it's amazing what little interest children have in eating flesh unless they acquire a taste for it.
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#23 Old 02-11-2004, 01:17 PM
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Hmmm....im 14 (hahaha) and i definitely DO NOT plan on getting pregnant in the near future. But...i do know that when i am married, and i feel it's the right time, i want to have kids. I plan to go to college, and as soon as i move out of the house to do so, I plan on going vegan. As long as my health does not get worse, and so fourth, i plan on raising my kids vegan. i hope maybe the guy i marry (if he eats meat) at least go vegetarian...if he doesnt, i wont hate him for it, but as long as he respects my opinion. if hes already vegetarian, maybe he will consider going vegan, but hey who knows? Haha dont mean to interrupt the whole experience thing, but i just thought id put in my 2 cent's worth.
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#24 Old 02-11-2004, 03:10 PM
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....For a more serious response, I think gentle persuasion, including education and recommended reading, is the way for at least the omni spouse supporting the process of raising a veg child, if not becoming veg themselves. There are many marriages that work fine when one spouse has strong religious convictions and the other doesn't (not saying veg*nism has anything to do with religion, but it is a strong conviction, at least for me). It can definitely work, but it can be a serious obstacle if the omni spouse is outwardly anti-veg and you have strong convictions about it...



The religion comparison is not far off. It's actually very similiar. Deciding how you will conduct you life (including what you put on the dinner table) as a married couple is a very serious discussion. Honestly, I think more people are facinated with 'getting' married as opposed to 'being' married. Too many people discuss 'being' married after it already happend. All of a sudden reality hits and he/she realizes they have to live with this person for the rest of thier lives. Sometimes that person like an unihabitable desert.



Been there, done that. and guess what he was a vegetarian and a complete jackas$.



I'm lucky that my husband is not anti-veg. He's supportive of my lifestyle and enjoys my cooking. He's allowed meat in the house anytime he wants, if he prepares it himself. After two years of marriage, he's made himself something "meatatarian" 4 times.



Back in the day when I was dating... I met my share of "anti-veg" sentiment. I live central America which is not open to anything that strays from the meat/potatos/protestant/ 'ideal'.
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#25 Old 02-11-2004, 03:22 PM
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ryan and i have nearly agreed to raise the kids vegetarian. when/if we have them. he still thinks that fish is a good idea, i'm a no-go on the fish. we've agreed that ovo-vegetarian is the way to go.



so, in our household, it is likely that you will find three kinds of diets: mom (usually vegan), dad (omni, dairy free), and kids (ovo vegetarian).



the truth is, we'll simply tell the kids why we eat the way that we do. I'll say "i think it is unnecessary for me to eat animals in order to survive and thrive. your father thinks that it is healther to eat meat. we decided to raise you eating eggs and veggies because you can get all of your nutrients from that. If you'd like to eat meat when you're older (or if they ask to try it), then you may.



basicly, just give them your reasoning--on both sides of the issue. that's the only thing that seems to make sense anyway. also, it's ok to say that "people are different and make different decisions about the same topics."
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