Helping a child be less self-concious - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-06-2006, 07:05 AM
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Hello, everyone. I'm new to this board, vegan since August and plan on staying this way. However, I have a question for vegetarian or vegan parents out there. I have three children, 2 of which go to school. The school being non-vegan friendly, I pack them a lunch everyday. They're also active in girl and boy scouts and we attend many events, parties, etc where we bring our own snacks/food to make sure we got stuff to nibble on.



Okay, so now the question...how do you help your children not feel so self-conscious about being vegan (or vegetarian)? My girls (oldest & youngest) don't seem to let this affect them. My oldest will tell people proudly, refuses treats when offered, and is pretty much unaffected. The youngest is not at school so it doesn't seem to affect her either. My son, though, is so sensitive. It's in his nature, so it's really not just a vegan thing. He feels like he's the only vegan boy at school (probably so) and is very aware of what others around him may or may not think of this. To be truthful, there is no picking on him, no one staring...he's just very self-concious about everything. I can deal with it when it comes to other issues, but food. I make sure he eats a full meal before we go to a party, event, etc because of the lack of vegan foods where we go. I take snacks for him to munch on. He will not eat his snack there. He waits until we get in the car.



Okay, so I know this got long. Basically, how can I help him know there are other vegan children...especially boys...out there? Like I said, with the other things he's self-concious about, we can handle those. But when it comes to food, I don't want him to feel like an outcast. As I mentioned, it's never come to a situation where he's gone hungry. This only happens at events, parties, meetings. At home or at friends' or relatives' homes he's fine. Thanks for letting me ramble on. Any advice would be most appreciated
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#2 Old 11-06-2006, 09:26 AM
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my ds is 3 1/2. His first day of pre-school he was given a ham sandwhich for snack (even though VEGETARIAN was written all over EVERY form I submitted). Ds pulled the meat out and ate the cheese sandwhich. I found out he even offered it to his friend seated next to him stating "... I don't eat pigs... do you want this meat for your sandwhich?".



I don't know, we've always told him we're vegetarian and why. He seems to understand all this in his own pre-schoolian way and takes pride in asking people WHAT they're feeding him...



He plays w/ meat-eating toys. He even pretends to be a meat-eating dinasour from time to time. It's not like we're raising him to be a "wimp" just because he's a vegetarian... he's still a boy and a kid. He enjoys people and knows that not everyone cares about animals the way he does/we do.
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#3 Old 11-06-2006, 09:28 AM
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my ds is 3 1/2. His first day of pre-school he was given a ham sandwhich for snack (even though VEGETARIAN was written all over EVERY form I submitted). Ds pulled the meat out and ate the cheese sandwhich. I found out he even offered it to his friend seated next to him stating "... I don't eat pigs... do you want this meat for your sandwhich?".



I don't know, we've always told him we're vegetarian and why. He seems to understand all this in his own pre-schoolian way and takes pride in asking people WHAT they're feeding him...



He plays w/ meat-eating toys. He even pretends to be a meat-eating dinasour from time to time. It's not like we're raising him to be a "wimp" just because he's a vegetarian... he's still a boy and a kid. He enjoys people and knows that not everyone cares about animals the way he does/we do.





also, just remember to let his friends' parent know (for bday parties or whatever) that you're veg*n. If they'll be nothing there for him to eat make sure to gladly offer to bring a veg*n dish that everyone will enjoy trying too!
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#4 Old 11-06-2006, 10:55 AM
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Thank you for replying. Whenever we go somewhere, friends' parents, we tell them. They know and sometimes even offer to accomodate us. The problem lies mainly with when it comes time to eat. Other than that, he is like other boys, plays outside, loves the scouts, video games. It's just when it comes time to eat. I've asked my husband to help out (maybe it's a guy thing) to help him feel proud of your lifestyle. Unfortunately, i think it's not that easy since my husband is an omni (vegan at home, omni out) and doesn't feel a vegan diet is very "manly". I know it's all new to him, my son that is, so it may just take some time. But I was wondering if anyone had the same issues when they first went vegan/vegetarian. He understands the why, but just doesn't like to "stand out" in a crowd. Thanks again.
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#5 Old 11-06-2006, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by pixiexxs View Post

Thank you for replying. Whenever we go somewhere, friends' parents, we tell them. They know and sometimes even offer to accomodate us. The problem lies mainly with when it comes time to eat. Other than that, he is like other boys, plays outside, loves the scouts, video games. It's just when it comes time to eat. I've asked my husband to help out (maybe it's a guy thing) to help him feel proud of your lifestyle. Unfortunately, i think it's not that easy since my husband is an omni (vegan at home, omni out) and doesn't feel a vegan diet is very "manly". I know it's all new to him, my son that is, so it may just take some time. But I was wondering if anyone had the same issues when they first went vegan/vegetarian. He understands the why, but just doesn't like to "stand out" in a crowd. Thanks again.





My dh is a builder. He is 6foot5inches and 210 lbs. he's a vegetarian and a manly one! ))))) LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
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#6 Old 11-06-2006, 12:48 PM
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Unfortunately, i think it's not that easy since my husband is an omni (vegan at home, omni out) and doesn't feel a vegan diet is very "manly".



Oh gosh! I didn't mean to imply that is the way I think. I know better. Usually my husband does, too. But I just think that they (him & his male friends/coworkers) have this warped sense of reality where all vegans/vegetarians are stick figures or not very manly men. I don't know if this has subconciously affected my son.



On another note...I do love how I am starting to see more and more vegetarians represented on children's shows. One of my kids' fav shows is That's so Raven and one of the characters is a vegetarian/animal rights activist. They like her character a lot.



Again, sorry for any misunderstanding about not being manly. I just want my son to know it's cool, it's fine, and okay to be a little different.
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#7 Old 11-06-2006, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by pixiexxs View Post

Thank you for replying. Whenever we go somewhere, friends' parents, we tell them. They know and sometimes even offer to accomodate us. The problem lies mainly with when it comes time to eat. Other than that, he is like other boys, plays outside, loves the scouts, video games. It's just when it comes time to eat. I've asked my husband to help out (maybe it's a guy thing) to help him feel proud of your lifestyle. Unfortunately, i think it's not that easy since my husband is an omni (vegan at home, omni out) and doesn't feel a vegan diet is very "manly". I know it's all new to him, my son that is, so it may just take some time. But I was wondering if anyone had the same issues when they first went vegan/vegetarian. He understands the why, but just doesn't like to "stand out" in a crowd. Thanks again.

'Manly' he says...hmmmmmmmm

yeah I have this guy a tthe gym that likes to say 'tofu' to me in front of others in a girly voice...then I challenge him to ANY event, running, lifting, golf, wrestling, basketball, ANYTHING...the biggy being, 'Hey would you like to workout with me for a 1/2 hour?"..to all of them he quietly backs off.

to your son..he should be proud..maybe he needs to know how many animals he and is family is asving each year by not eating meat/dairy. Just a suggestion....maybe let him know it is also about being the healthiest he can be and feeding him animal products is just not good. Something like, 'You remember when the Doctors told grandpa (example) to stop eating meat? They told him that because it was hurting his heart".



As for your husband......you know the 'manly omni' (just messing around)..show him this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O3vPKpjXOo



good luck and good job with your vegan family!
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#8 Old 11-06-2006, 12:58 PM
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'Manly' he says...hmmmmmmmm

yeah I have this guy a tthe gym that likes to say 'tofu' to me in front of others in a girly voice...then I challenge him to ANY event, running, lifting, golf, wrestling, basketball, ANYTHING...the biggy being, 'Hey would you like to workout with me for a 1/2 hour?"..to all of them he quietly backs off.

to your son..he should be proud..maybe he needs to know how many animals he and is family is asving each year by not eating meat/dairy. Just a suggestion....maybe let him know it is also about being the healthiest he can be and feeding him animal products is just not good. Something like, 'You remember when the Doctors told grandpa (example) to stop eating meat? They told him that because it was hurting his heart".



As for your husband......you know the 'manly omni' (just messing around)..show him this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O3vPKpjXOo



good luck and good job with your vegan family!



maybe show your son also..
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#9 Old 11-06-2006, 02:06 PM
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i think some kids just feel a little more insecure about some things than others... i know i even now as a grown up, i feel a little uncomfortable about eating out in groups when i know that my meal is very different looking to everyone elses, and that i'm going to have to say something or stand out in order to get it, and get a few questions from others, just for being me- but i also i have friends who wouldn't bat an eyelid about doing the same thing, but who would die of embarrassment or dread in situations that don't phaze me at all.



have you talked to your son about how lots of different people eat and don't eat lots of different things, and that while he might feel different to the kids on his street, he really isn't that different to lots of other kids in his city?



you could explain that lots of children don't eat seafood and pork because they're jewish, or other meats cos they follow other religions. that lots of kids don't eat peanuts and eggs and milk and lots of other foods cos they make them very ill, and lots of kids don't eat animals because they feel that its not nice to do (like you). lots of kids don't eat lots of things just cos they think they taste horrible, too! lots of children from different backgrounds eat very different foods to him all over the world, every day- (eg: kids from different backgrounds living really near to him might eat mainly jamaican, indian, or thai foods etc... he'd think their dinners looked very mysterious, and they'd find his friends dinners to be funny looking too) and while they're all around him, he probably just doesn't notice, cos he's worrying about his own dinner looking different (just like some of them are!).



with parties and stuff... a lot of my embarrassment is in standing out... maybe your son is the same, it sounds like it if he's eating his snacks out of sight, before and afterward the parties. some kids respond well to embracing their specialness and saying 'hey, i'm different, and i should be proud', and some don't find it so easy. i found it hard to be different sometimes too, lol.



as a sneaky tactic, could you maybe have a chat with parents some time before they host each party, and explain that your son doesn't eat some things, and that he gets a little shy about being different, and doesn't like a fuss (so that they wont fuss over him more!), and that you'd like him to not feel too different, and ask if you can help by bringing some food that he can have - not for him, but for 'the party' - by providing a few plates of 'non weird' but still vegan party foods that your son knows are 'safe', but which the other kids'll also eat without noticing they're vegan- he might feel a little more like he fits in.



I'm sure many mums and dads planning a birthday party would understand this approach (i'm sure they can relate, as most mums have a 'picky' kid, which while a different thing, often raises similar issues around food) and if they're handling a party, they would probably be really greatful for the help with the food.



it might cost you a few bucks, but if you were willing to provide some peanut butter and jam/jelly sandwiches, some fruit on stick style things, some oreos (not exactly healthy, but vegan in most areas!) and some vegan but 'normal looking' chips- or even some tofu dogs (i bet many kids wouldnt notice the difference) and goldfish style crackers, etc, then he could eat some things that looked the same as everyone elses food, and share it with everyone else- and knowing how hyper kids are at parties, they most likely wouldnt even notice that he wasn't eating everything on offer.



if these thins were bought to the party subtly and discretely, and served with the rest of the food (maybe put on display on plates that were a different colour, so they're easy for your son to pick out, with a subtle parent/organiser available to just remind him 'hey, you'll like the things on the blue plates- wink wink!') then i think he'd maybe relax a bit, especially if he sees that he's eating the same stuff as lots of other kids, and that he can still share this part of celebrating with them.



just an idea.
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#10 Old 11-06-2006, 03:21 PM
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Sounds like the kid wants to fit in with others and/or does not like being "different" -- perhaps feels ashamed of it in some way.



Also, he could want to be like dad, but is being told that he cannot, and that could lead to feelings of inadequacy ("why aren't I good enough to eat what dad eats?").



I'm just guessing, but these might be things to consider. He sounds like a pretty sensitive kid; I'd look at things from a perspective of wanting to belong or feel good enough/special enough to do something that others "get" to do.
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#11 Old 11-09-2006, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by pixiexxs View Post

Hello, everyone. I'm new to this board, vegan since August and plan on staying this way. However, I have a question for vegetarian or vegan parents out there. I have three children, 2 of which go to school. The school being non-vegan friendly, I pack them a lunch everyday. They're also active in girl and boy scouts and we attend many events, parties, etc where we bring our own snacks/food to make sure we got stuff to nibble on.



Okay, so now the question...how do you help your children not feel so self-conscious about being vegan (or vegetarian)? My girls (oldest & youngest) don't seem to let this affect them. My oldest will tell people proudly, refuses treats when offered, and is pretty much unaffected. The youngest is not at school so it doesn't seem to affect her either. My son, though, is so sensitive. It's in his nature, so it's really not just a vegan thing. He feels like he's the only vegan boy at school (probably so) and is very aware of what others around him may or may not think of this. To be truthful, there is no picking on him, no one staring...he's just very self-concious about everything. I can deal with it when it comes to other issues, but food. I make sure he eats a full meal before we go to a party, event, etc because of the lack of vegan foods where we go. I take snacks for him to munch on. He will not eat his snack there. He waits until we get in the car.



Okay, so I know this got long. Basically, how can I help him know there are other vegan children...especially boys...out there? Like I said, with the other things he's self-concious about, we can handle those. But when it comes to food, I don't want him to feel like an outcast. As I mentioned, it's never come to a situation where he's gone hungry. This only happens at events, parties, meetings. At home or at friends' or relatives' homes he's fine. Thanks for letting me ramble on. Any advice would be most appreciated

Hi there...

curious as to how you are making out with your situation.

Hopefully all is well
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#12 Old 11-09-2006, 07:04 PM
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Sorry I hadn't come back to reply. Thank you everyone for the advice. My son is 6 and as I was reviewing the clip from youtube he came up behind me and saw me watching it. So I explained and we watched it together. He gets this cute little grin (when he's really happy or just been let in on a secret) and said "he's really vegan". Too cute.



I got 3 cooking books at the library yesterday and he flipped through them with me and became excited about trying out the new recipes. We even tried out a new one tonight. Also the leader of his cub scout troop has now implemented a new "healthy snack policy" for meetings. All I've seen brought in this school year are cupcakes, brownies, etc and of course he'd been unable to eat them (not that I'd let him, right before bed). She came up to me and asked if my son had an allergy because he always refused and the parents were a little concerned and I mentioned to her we were vegan. She smiled and said that was great and that she'd try to do better with snacks. Then this week we have this new policy. Now, I know it wasn't just our situation and we won't always be able to partake in the offered snack, but I think it's fantastic that a change was made. My son upon hearing the news said "really, cool" which is his way of saying "good, now I won't look so weird bringing in my snack"...I know him too well.



Thanks again to everyone who offered their suggestions, help, advice. I've just always had a I don't care what someone else thinks about me. As long as I'm not harming anyone it's not your business what I dress like, look like, or what I eat. I have to remind myself my children are different little people than me with their own personalities. Thanks again!
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#13 Old 11-09-2006, 07:30 PM
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Sorry I hadn't come back to reply. Thank you everyone for the advice. My son is 6 and as I was reviewing the clip from youtube he came up behind me and saw me watching it. So I explained and we watched it together.
Quote:
He gets this cute little grin (when he's really happy or just been let in on a secret) and said "he's really vegan

". Too cute.



I got 3 cooking books at the library yesterday and he flipped through them with me and became excited about trying out the new recipes. We even tried out a new one tonight. Also the leader of his cub scout troop has now implemented a new "healthy snack policy" for meetings. All I've seen brought in this school year are cupcakes, brownies, etc and of course he'd been unable to eat them (not that I'd let him, right before bed). She came up to me and asked if my son had an allergy because he always refused and the parents were a little concerned and I mentioned to her we were vegan. She smiled and said that was great and that she'd try to do better with snacks. Then this week we have this new policy. Now, I know it wasn't just our situation and we won't always be able to partake in the offered snack, but I think it's fantastic that a change was made. My son upon hearing the news said "really, cool" which is his way of saying "good, now I won't look so weird bringing in my snack"...I know him too well.



Thanks again to everyone who offered their suggestions, help, advice. I've just always had a I don't care what someone else thinks about me. As long as I'm not harming anyone it's not your business what I dress like, look like, or what I eat. I have to remind myself my children are different little people than me with their own personalities. Thanks again!

Too Funny!

Here's why...

I have the same clip in Windows Media Movie Maker (the file is acceptable by You Tube so it is not up ;( )

and I have it edited with little sayings here and there at certain points during the clip. When I am doing the push-up son the ball it pops up and says, 'No Way! A vegan could not do that!" LOL

Others:

'He doesn't have long hair. He's no Vegan!"

In the beginning 'He's Vegan?'

I also put up a few websites INCLUDING www.veggieboards.com (your welcome Mike!)



I really need to figure that out...

but anyway.....keep up the good work MOM..it willbe well worth it inthe long run for you, your children and your grandchildren....on and on and on
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#14 Old 11-10-2006, 08:59 AM
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I feel sorry for you and your son. Veg*nism is seen as feminine in this society, largely because hyperconsumption of meat is seen as a masculine act. It only harms men's lives with disease, obesity, and so on if they (as most do) buy into it.



All I can say is that I'm a vegetarian and I'm very masculine. I like playing and watching baseball and basketball, playing video games, mathematics and so on.
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#15 Old 11-18-2006, 02:47 PM
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For your husban: Vegans are sexy. He should be proud. -

For your son: Yay for being in scouts! (I'm a girl guide leader!! )
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#16 Old 11-25-2006, 10:50 AM
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I am somewhat crashing you thread because I am not a vegan mom, I am a person who had a vegan mom. As someone who was raised vegetarian, for me and my brother and cousions we all had a phase where we were selfconconcious of it, an we all got over it. My mom tought us little lines to tell people when they questioned us about beign vegetarian, such as, why are you a vegetarian, we whould answer "because I love the cute animals" and a few years later when people ask the series of questions, so you dont eat chicken, or beef we would answer " I dont eat anything with a face." I dont know if that could help your son, but maby you could try. But dont feel bad I and my brother and cousions who all grew up vegetarian are thankful that we were raised vegetarian. We are all now more intreseted in it then our parents, and stricter.
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#17 Old 11-26-2006, 11:02 AM
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Thank you, littlegreenkat. It's nice to hear from the other side on this discussion. I appreciate your honesty and it makes me feel more optimistic about how I'm handling it.
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#18 Old 12-02-2006, 09:30 PM
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Why don't you try and make the food he eats in public look just like norma food. There are "lunch meats", hot dogs, hamburgers ect. that are vegetarian and look just like the real meaty thing.
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