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This last Thanksgiving, my niece put together the connection between "turkey" the food and "turkey" the animal. She said that she was eating turkey, but not turkey like the animal. Her grandmother informed her that she was in fact eating a turkey. My niece said that's silly because people don't eat animals (and kind of laughed). She said that [family dog] is an animal and we don't eat her. She looked very concerned and sad when she realized her grandmother was serious about the turkey. Her mother saw where this was going and intervened. She said she WILL NOT have a vegetarian child. She explained to her daughter that God put animals on the planet for humans to eat and that it's ok. She said that we eat certain animals, but not others. This made no sense to my 5 year old niece. An animal is an animal in her mind, and she had not realized that people were feeding her animals. Her mother does not want her to be a vegetarian because the rest of her family are heavy meat eaters. She knows that I don't eat animals. I don't advertise it. It is just known. When she asks me about eating animals, what am I supposed to say? I can't NOT answer her questions. I can eat veg food with her without volunteering my point of view just fine, but when she asks about it, I don't know what to say. I don't want to make her mom mad by "brainwashing" her into thinking eating meat is wrong. She's already headed that direction on her own and I want her to decide for herself if eating meat is wrong. I want to give her all of the resources to make her own decision without influencing her. I just wish someone had told me as a child that "chicken" was an actual chicken.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>pasty</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2821104"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
When she asks me about eating animals, what am I supposed to say? I can't NOT answer her questions.</div>
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Sure you can. Simply tell her that you don't eat animals and if she asks anything that her mother doesn't want her to know about or have discussed with her, simply tell her that (your mommy doesn't want me to discuss this with you, speak to her about it.).
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>pasty</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
...She said that we eat certain animals, but not others. This made no sense to my 5 year old niece. <b>An animal is an animal in her mind,</b> and she had not realized that people were feeding her animals.</div>
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It's both beautiful and sad that a 5-year-old child grasps this, yet so many adults don't. You may well wind up being your niece's veggie mentor, even though you weren't responsible for her taking an interest in vegetarianism.<br><br>
I hope her family doesn't try to put the blame on you! My family was animal-friendly, but wasn't vegetarian. It would have been great if I'd had a vegetarian aunt or uncle...<br><br>
I agree with *AHIMSA*'s suggestion if your niece brings it up with you for now. You and your niece are going to be in each other's lives, and she'll be able to see what you're doing.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>pasty</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2821104"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
This last Thanksgiving, my niece put together the connection between "turkey" the food and "turkey" the animal. She said that she was eating turkey, but not turkey like the animal. Her grandmother informed her that she was in fact eating a turkey. My niece said that's silly because people don't eat animals (and kind of laughed). She said that [family dog] is an animal and we don't eat her. She looked very concerned and sad when she realized her grandmother was serious about the turkey.</div>
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Oh wow this was me at her age. I wish I had had another vegetarian in my life then. At least my parents eventually relented and stopped forcing me to eat it.<br><br>
I'd follow *AHIMSA*'s advice as well.
 

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It bothers me that children aren't taught this connection sooner, that the meat on their plate comes from the animal outside. We're very vocal with our child that beef comes from cows. She can make her own choice on what she wants to eat (both her and my partner are omni's), but I want it to be an informed choice.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">When she asks me about eating animals, what am I supposed to say?</div>
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It depends on what kinds of questions. I wouldn't go into slaughter practices with her, but I WOULD tell her that I did not eat animals because I did not want to hurt them (or you can say some supposedly child-friendly crap like, Animals are my friends and I don't eat my friends - even though anyone with the tiniest shred of honesty could admit that eating animals not only hurts them, it kills them). There's a limit to how anyone should have to hide who they are.
 

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Well, it's really tricky because no matter what, if she tries to go vegetarian you will be blamed as a trouble-maker and they will say you "brainwashed" her. It's ridiculous, but there it is.<br><br>
Just be really careful about what exactly you say and keep it very simple, "You asked why I don't eat animals? Well I don't eat animals because animals are my friends." Try not to make people who do eat animals seem like bad people or anything like that, just answer questions honestly in an age-appropriate manner and change the subject so things don't get too complicated. Don't bring up other issues like religion or activism or politics. Be sure to say things like "your mom and dad are really nice people" so she doesn't think that meat-eaters are evil. If you can, try to just make it about trying new, fun healthy foods rather than about anything negative.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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I think you should only answer the questions she asks, you can not lie to her. If they have a problem with her coming to you and asking, it's their problem not hers or yours. Keep it simple, straight to the point. She is lucky to have you that she can come to.
 

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That is a really tough spot to be in. I agree with Ashima's advice. We have had a few of these encounters and they are always awkward. My daughters friends have asked (in front of their parents) and then the parents watch us VERY closely to see what we say.
 

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Why cant everyone be more child like. Childdren see things in black and white.
 

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With all delicate issues simply answer children at their age level as detailed as they ask and in a matter of fact tone. Same with sex questions.<br><br>
I was like your neice and she has a good chance of making up her own mind when she's a bit older likely because of you being involved in her life.<br><br>
So if she asks if you eat meat, you answer no. If she asks why not, you answer, for example if it's for health reasons you say so, or if it's because you think it's cruel, you can say "I don't want to hurt the animals". If she asks if you think she is a bad person or other people who eat meat, you say no and that you love her very much.<br><br>
In time it may be you are the only one she will be able to open up to about this, and perhaps other things. It's so great how caring you are about your neice.
 

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You know what stands out here to me as a Christian I am upset that people are using God put Animals here to be eaten. You know if I am correct Man was put here to take care of the animals and to watch over them not to eat them. It was many years down the road that God said it was ok to eat meat. It was never ever intended to have meat all the day of our lives. I am so upset that whomever told this 5 year old that about God putting animals for us to eat is plan wrong. They are confusing this child and she wants to not eat it.
 

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It's such a shame that her mother would find it an inconvenience, especially as it would only take a little extra effort to adapt the meals. It's also a shame she didn't ask you for advice on what would be an easy way to make her daughter a vegetarian meal. Do you mind me asking if the mother is your sister or your sister in law?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The mother is my stepsister. Yeah, adapting meals would be way too much trouble for her. It's easier to throw the kids a hot dog.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>pasty</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2841520"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
The mother is my stepsister. Yeah, adapting meals would be way too much trouble for her. It's easier to throw the kids a hot dog.</div>
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Obviously, kids that think for themselves are so much work and so not worth it. (What a sad attitude.)
 

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How is "brainwashing" her into becoming a veg any different than her parents brainwashing her with this "God makes some animals for eating and some for other things" crap?<br><br>
As peaceful said, that's not even a factual Christian mindset, so saving her soul isn't a good argument here.
 

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The problem with answering her questions honestly is that her parents may decide she shouldn't see you at all and then she'll have no one to talk to.<br><br>
Definitely let her know that meat-eaters are good people with different opinions than hers and your own. I stick with, "animals are my friends and I don't eat my friends." That usually illicits a giggle out of small children, but gets the point across clearly.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>AndrewFL</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2822329"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Why cant everyone be more child like. Childdren see things in black and white.</div>
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How is that good?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Envy</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2849132"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
How is that good?</div>
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This child saw the animal on her plate and equated it to the animals she loves! Most grown ups cant even do that.
 
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