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potatopie 08-21-2004 04:01 PM

First, let me say that I don't have children, but alot of my friends have started having children so I've been thinking a bit about the issues involved in bringing up veg children.

The thing I keep coming back to is bullying.We all know that growing up can be a difficult process at times and children can be extremely cruel to anyone who is even slightly different so are we simply adding unnecessary problems to their lives by enforcing our views on them?Views which in time they may well come to disagree with.

Like I say, I have no personal experience in this area so feel free to give me a swift kick in the balls if ya think I'm way off.

Tame 08-21-2004 04:05 PM

No more so than by any other parenting decision that veg*n parents would make.

If you don't let your kid dress a certain way, some one may single him/her out as a target.

Same for other lifestyle choices.

As a parent, you can't worry about that. You raise your child the best you can, do what you think is right, and hopefully raise them to be able to stand up for themselves.

clickman 08-21-2004 04:57 PM

Tell the frickin' kid to suck it up.

(I'd make a great parent.)

Thalia 08-21-2004 07:06 PM

I think raising a confident and sociable child has way more influence. A loner kid with fear in his eye will be the target of bullies regardless of dress, or anything else. There were always kids in my school who might have been poor or bad at sports but their personalities kept them from being the targets of taunts. On the other hand there were kids who no matter what they wore or how good at sports they were or how pretty, if they carried themselves poorly they were picked on.

And please don't think I mean to say they deserve it. It's just that kids prey on the 'weak'. I think bullies and the bullied are two manifestations of similar social problems.

Pugvet 08-21-2004 07:13 PM

I'm with Thalia. Kids can be very cruel to one another....and if itsn't one's another.

My husband and I have been talking about how to raise our 8 month-old son. I am recently veggie...and hubbie is an omni- (who won't eat beef or pork). He feels that raising our son veggie may be setting him up for some extra taunting...but I disagree. I think kid's will pick on each other no matter what. Plus..if you give the child a firm reason for why you eat the way you do, so that they can understand fully, they will be much better at defending themselves.

P.S.--I don't think "suck-it-up" is good advice.

beth 08-21-2004 07:52 PM

It's a parent's job to impose their views on their kids. That's what we're here for. Eventually they'll have to make their own decision, and they may or may not agree with you. But until then, you teach them what you think is right.

Gnarly 08-21-2004 11:30 PM

Originally Posted by clickman View Post

Tell the frickin' kid to suck it up.

That was basically my mother's attitude when I went through school

I don't think being veggie will affect a kid's life too significantly. They might get picked on for it, but they might get picked on without it too. If they're the type of kid who seems to get bullied, or there are bullies looking around for someone to pick on, I don't think it matters. They'll find *something* to make fun of.

I also think a lot of it is the parent's attidue. Not only teaching the kid how to 'present' themselves so they're less likely to be singled out for negative attention, but also in dealing with that if it does happen.

mike 08-21-2004 11:58 PM

trust me i no from years of experinace that vegeatarian kids will probally get tuanted and beat unless the most popular kid is vegatarian wich is doutful trust me i no from experiance that one miner diference will or can cause years of abuse and chances r when they get older they wont even tell u and if this kid trys to be the same after people thinks he is differant the kid will get tuanted and beat more i no this from expeince and iv witnessed it

misq17 08-22-2004 03:56 PM

A lot of people know I'm veg (and I have been sine I was 8 or 9) but I was rarely bullyed/teased for my decision (only once or twice but it was from my friends and all in good fun).

I agree with Thalia, it's not so much what a kid does or doesn't do that will get them teased, it's how they act about it. I have a friend who came in on his first day of school (in 7th grade) in a spongebob tshirt. He was stared at a bit the first day, but once people got to know him, they realized that he's really cool and dressing/acting a little differently is part of his personality. He can now wear a home-made kilt to school and everyone will think it's really awesome.

It's really important to teach your kids social skills, a person with a good personality won't get teased or bullied, just because everyone will like them.

Thalia 08-22-2004 04:27 PM

Like my brother was friends with a kid with no fingers, only a thumb on one hand and no one even cared. He was really popular. I had a girl who was Jehova's witness and was singled out whenever there was a birthday or Christmas pagent and she was really popular. There were also kids with nothing about them different (except having low self-esteem and poor social skills) who were picked on merely because bullies knew they could.

soilman 08-22-2004 06:01 PM

If you think blending in will protect children from bullying, you are mistaken. Being "different" is far from the only pretext for bullying. You have to teach children to fight back. If they are small or physically weak, you need to give them tools that help equalize them. Mental tools. And physical tools, for example, firearms.

colorful 08-22-2004 08:09 PM

I've worried about this issue myself. We are raising our son vegetarian, and we also chose not to circumcize him when he was born. Sometimes I ask myself if we are setting him up for bullying. But I am also very confident that we have made the right decisions on both of these issues.

On the plus side, he has always been in the 95th percentile for his height and is well-proportioned. My husband is 6'4" so I would guess that our son will not be a scrawny kid.

It's a hard subject to think about. My boy is only 12 months old and the thought of anybody laying a finger on him makes me want to cry. Bullying makes me incredibly, incredibly sad.

I think it is our responsibility, as parents, to work hard to instill confidence in our children, and it is equally important to teach them to respect others. I don't want my child bullied, but I really don't want him to become a bully himself!

GhostUser 08-23-2004 06:31 AM

bullying to raise a veg child?

I do think about it a lot. BUT always come to the conclusion that if we raise a very confident and secure child then bullying will not be an issue with him. And so far, that's just what we're doing.

So, I think that if one is secure in their parenting of that veg child they will not have to worry about bullying over his chosen diet.

Just my 2cents.

PLUS- I can cook!!!! And I will WOW his questioning schoolmates w/ good food!

I've been veg since I was about 8yrs old. I never was bullyed about it- not once ever, while in Elem. School, HS or college. And I was pretty much the only veg (dare I say ONLY) one in my elem. and HS.

frenchie 08-23-2004 10:44 PM

We are going to homeschool our son, so this will be a non-issue for us. Vegetarianism has no weight in our decision to homeschool though, niether do bullies.

veggiewriter 08-24-2004 04:55 PM

Whoa, wait a sec, Frenchie, homeschooling will NOT stop bullying unless you're planning to homeschool the kid(s) in the middle of the woods where no visitors ever travel.

I was homeschooled. Technically, I was never bullied, but my little brother was TERRORIZED by the neighborhood boys. They picked on him because he was shy and would run when they chased. They trashed his bike b/c he would ride it all day long while they had to be at school. They picked on him b/c they though our family was wierd (which, when I look back, we may have been). They picked on him b/c he was around.

One of my most shamefilled memories is of standing next to my brother (I must have been around 8, he nearly 7) while a neighborhood boy kneed him in the groin (this was before I knew what getting kneed in the groin did to boys). He crumpled to the ground, the boy laughed, and I just stood there scared to death with no idea what to do.

Teach your kids to stand up for themselves and their siblings. Let them know that sometimes you need to take action to protect yourself. My parents were the 'tell a grown-up' breed, and sometimes a grown-up just isn't around when you need 'em.

frenchie 08-24-2004 07:09 PM

I was a shy child and bullied as well. I'm not assuming that my child won't be bullied because he's homeschooled. What I was trying to say, is that he won't be bullied at school because he's vegetarian....because he won't be at school. Reading my post again.....I think I was a vague....LOL. Does that make sense?

peace 08-24-2004 08:24 PM

It really depends on where you live, too. If you live in a diverse area where young people have to deal with a variety of ethnicities/religions/beliefs, etc. etc., they will be more accepting of others because this is essential to social survival.

I went to high school in a community that was overwhelmingly white, religiously homogenous, and full of hunters. Needless to say, there were quite a few incidents in which I was singled out, despite being a rather 'quiet' vegetarian--trying hard not to broadcast my views.

I've spoken to people in other parts of the country who had absolutely no problems however.

colorful 08-24-2004 10:04 PM

Originally Posted by peace View Post

It really depends on where you live, too. If you live in a diverse area where young people have to deal with a variety of ethnicities/religions/beliefs, etc. etc., they will be more accepting of others because this is essential to social survival.

I agree. I live in Seattle and I think this is an exceptionally easy place to be vegetarian. There is a lot of diversity here, and most people here are very respectful of different cultures/religions/lifestyles. Makes me reluctant to move!

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