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Background: I've been vegetarian since I was 17 and my kids 8(girl) & 4(boy) have been raised veg since birth. Their mother(my wife) has been vegetarian since shortly after I met her. My 8 year old daughter is really pretty proud of the fact that she doesn't eat animals. It makes me smile when I hear her talk about it. We've also taught her that it's a personal choice and to be respectful of others' choices. With that said, I think she's getting old enough for it to be her own decision. I know she will encounter more anti-vegetarian info and people than pro-vegetarian, and I want her to be well informed of both sides. I read the thread about "How do I teach my kids that eating meat is wrong w/o terrifying them" and I think I will order the book 'That's Why We Don't Eat Animals' for her. Any other recommendations?

Thanks,
Nathan
 

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Hi! I was raised vegetarian and there was not a specific point that my parents decided to tell me I had a choice (as far as I remember) it was more of a reactive thing like if I said 'why can't I eat cola bottles?' my mum would say something can't remember the exact words but it was like 'well you can, if you want, but they have animals in them,' and I was like 'never mind I don't want to.' it's natural for children to eventually test what their parents have taught them, but it doesn't sound like your daughter is likely to want to eat meat from how you describe it. I would order that book, it looks really good, there are quite a lot of other books which are kind of veg friendly, (charlotte's web, herb the vegetarian dragon, there are some thanksgiving/ turkey ones). I'm sure vbers who are parents will be able to give you better advice
 

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My children are 7 and 10. We became vegetarian almost 5 years ago. My daughter was only 2 so we chose for her to become veggie as well. My son who was 5 was not interested at all. He enjoyed our meals at home but wanted meat when he was out. We figured that it was best for him to make the desicion himself. We talked about animals a lot over the years and about factory farms. When he was 8 he decided to get rid of meat. We did have a rule during that time about us not paying for his meat, so when we ate out we only bought veg food. He ate meat at other people's homes and at school. At 9, he chose to become vegan. If he decides to dabble in meat again later it will be his choice. I can't force him to stay vegan. I've given them the information on why we eat the way we do and that's all I can do. I think it's unlikely that they will go back to eating animals but I suppose it's possible. I think after kids go to school they should be able to make their own choices about food when not at home. Again, I don't send them out into the world blind, they are well aware of what constitutes healthy food and all the negetive effects of junk food etc. I think it leads to more lasting change if they know that they made the choice and it's not something imposed on them.
 

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I would never let my child make the decision to eat meat, run into traffic, or repetitively poke a kitten in the eye. In my view, parents need to protect their children from making stupid and or cruel decisions.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by delicioso View Post

I would never let my child make the decision to eat meat, run into traffic, or repetitively poke a kitten in the eye. In my view, parents need to protect their children from making stupid and or cruel decisions.
Do you have kids? Because that's how you end up with kids who rebel against you for no other reason than to rebel against you. Kids are people too, and at some point they are capable of making their own decisions. Eventually you're not standing there watching over your kid 24/7 to make sure he/she isn't running into traffic. You raise your kid and inform him/her on what's right and wrong and you let them go, hoping that they make the right choices. Not letting kids make their own choices will leave them ill equipped for adult life.
 

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We teach our daughter where food comes from, all of it. Cows are killed to make hamburgers, chickens make nuggest and tofu from beans. Right now she is an omni with her dad. I hope she makes the switch to veg*n when she knows a bit more about it. I have no problem telling her that animals died for her food, it's the truth. It bugs a lot of my mom friends ("do you have to be so blunt"), but I'm a vegan because I want to know what's in my food and I want my daughter to know what she's eating.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by delicioso View Post

I would never let my child make the decision to eat meat, run into traffic, or repetitively poke a kitten in the eye. In my view, parents need to protect their children from making stupid and or cruel decisions.
Wow, that's how you end up with a meat eating teenager. Realistically you have pretty limited control over your kid once they get out there in the world. Once school starts they will see meat everywhere. I think it's best to encourage, give information etc...but forcing it on a school age child? Recipe for rebellion. Obviously parents guide children and try to set them up for future success but authoratarian parenting is a disaster. You will not win. You will ailenate your child. My kids are happy to be vegan, they feel agency over it. It was a choice they freely made. Those choices tend to be the ones last. The ones that don't are the "my way or the highway" forced choices. You are also setting your child up for a relationship where they keep secrets from you because they know you won't react well. I 'd rather my kid said "I caved into the pressure to eat a burger and I feel bad" then not telling me at all because they knew that I'd lose it with my judgemental "my way is the only way" attitude.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vancityveggie View Post

My children are 7 and 10. We became vegetarian almost 5 years ago. My daughter was only 2 so we chose for her to become veggie as well. My son who was 5 was not interested at all. He enjoyed our meals at home but wanted meat when he was out. We figured that it was best for him to make the desicion himself. We talked about animals a lot over the years and about factory farms. When he was 8 he decided to get rid of meat. We did have a rule during that time about us not paying for his meat, so when we ate out we only bought veg food. He ate meat at other people's homes and at school. At 9, he chose to become vegan. If he decides to dabble in meat again later it will be his choice. I can't force him to stay vegan. I've given them the information on why we eat the way we do and that's all I can do. I think it's unlikely that they will go back to eating animals but I suppose it's possible. I think after kids go to school they should be able to make their own choices about food when not at home. Again, I don't send them out into the world blind, they are well aware of what constitutes healthy food and all the negetive effects of junk food etc. I think it leads to more lasting change if they know that they made the choice and it's not something imposed on them.
I'm doing the same as you, my daughters are vegan, they were vegan for 8 months then fell back into being vegetarian but back to being vegan. You and I seem to have the same style with our children.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by delicioso View Post

I would never let my child make the decision to eat meat, run into traffic, or repetitively poke a kitten in the eye. In my view, parents need to protect their children from making stupid and or cruel decisions.
Do you have any children? If so what age? You can not force anyone and the more you force it they more rebel. Have fun with the teen years!!!
 

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When they're old enough for an allowance, they can spend it on legal things. Although, they will know exactly the truth about it and they'll know how I feel. And they can't bring dead animals into the house.

I think 8 is old enough.
 

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I raised my daughter vegetarian since birth. Once she was school age it was up to her as to whether or not she ate meat at school. I wasn't going to forbid her as it would have only made her eat it. She did ask if it was okay to try it and I told her it was up to her. She did try it and thankfully, didn't like it. She was satisfied at having tried what she saw everyone else eating and had no further interest in it.

She was actually happy eating vegetarian at school because they would make her a grilled cheese and give her an extra serving of fruit. The other kids were actually jealous of her and would ask for what she was having.

Had she liked it, I would not have started serving it to her. She would have had to wait until she was older and bought it herself. Once she was an older teen and was working in a restaurant she did occasionally eat a bite of chicken, but now as an adult she is a vegetarian.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vancityveggie View Post

Wow, that's how you end up with a meat eating teenager. Realistically you have pretty limited control over your kid once they get out there in the world. Once school starts they will see meat everywhere. I think it's best to encourage, give information etc...but forcing it on a school age child? Recipe for rebellion. Obviously parents guide children and try to set them up for future success but authoratarian parenting is a disaster. You will not win. You will ailenate your child. My kids are happy to be vegan, they feel agency over it. It was a choice they freely made. Those choices tend to be the ones last. The ones that don't are the "my way or the highway" forced choices. You are also setting your child up for a relationship where they keep secrets from you because they know you won't react well. I 'd rather my kid said "I caved into the pressure to eat a burger and I feel bad" then not telling me at all because they knew that I'd lose it with my judgemental "my way is the only way" attitude.
I'd rather raise my child(ren) in such a way that they know eating meat is WRONG. My whole family is vegetarian, no backsliders, so the authoritarian thing obviously works sometimes.

My kids will have plenty of choices in life, but whether to eat meat or not, won't be among them.
 

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I understand your position, delicioso, however, that really only works if your children come to as infants and/or are your bio child and/or you don't have shared custody or required visitation with nonveg people. Even then it won't always work because society is extremely anti-animal and your children will be influenced by the outside world.

If we were as strict and uncompromising as you are, we would never have been approved as foster-adoptive parents. That has a lot to do with ignorance of and bias against unconventional lifestyles within "the system", but it's also just due to the fact that life is complicated and real life requires compromise.
 

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Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

If we were as strict and uncompromising as you are, we would never have been approved as foster-adoptive parents. That has a lot to do with ignorance of and bias against unconventional lifestyles within "the system", but it's also just due to the fact that life is complicated and real life requires compromise.
why? did they ask you if you are vegan and what you will feed your kid?

anyways, i think it is a hard issue. on one hand i don't see why it is wrong for people not to allow their kids to eat meat, since everyone should raise their kids according to their worldview, i also think being too strict may have a bad result since the society is so pro meat it may just make the kid think their family is weird and just turn against them
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by delicioso View Post

I'd rather raise my child(ren) in such a way that they know eating meat is WRONG. My whole family is vegetarian, no backsliders, so the authoritarian thing obviously works sometimes.

My kids will have plenty of choices in life, but whether to eat meat or not, won't be among them.
True. The kids of parents who forbid them to have sex before marriage never ever get pregnant, and the abstinence only message is extremely effective.
 

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Ira, it comes up one way or another. We disclosed that detail early-on and publicly, but even if we hadnt, they would have figured it out. Remember, getting approved to become any sort of adoptive parent requires a number of home visits wherein a keen eye might notice the "vegan for life" sign and the 50+ vegan and vegetarian cookbooks in the kitchen. Not to mention, the "choose compassion" bumper sticker on the car and the herbivore shirts in the closet


It's important because some kids are going to come from situations where they have been deprived food. If they are not familiar with veganism then it could feel like they're still being abused/neglected/living in poverty. An adoptive parent needs to consider various strategies for dealing with that kid of thing and more.
If they're coming from fostercare, they've likely been deeply entrenched in the mcdonalds culture and will need some flexible parenting in order to transition away from that towards a healthier diet.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by delicioso View Post

I'd rather raise my child(ren) in such a way that they know eating meat is WRONG. My whole family is vegetarian, no backsliders, so the authoritarian thing obviously works sometimes.

My kids will have plenty of choices in life, but whether to eat meat or not, won't be among them.
Regardless of what you teach them, children do have their own thoughts and feelings about things and they are naturally curious. If they are told they are only allowed to see and feel things from your perspective, they will just be sneaky about what they think you won't approve of. You can forbid them all you want to not eat meat, but at school a bite of their best friends bologna sandwich or the cafeteria pepperoni pizza may be very tempting. Unless you plan to shadow them every second for the rest of their lives you can't stop them from eating meat. Telling them they can't eat it will just make the forbidden fruit that much more tempting.

And if they do like it after the have tried it (at some point they will try it), they won't feel like they can come to you and talk or ask you about it. All they will know is you've told them they can't eat this yummy thing because it came from an animal, and you'll have missed out on the chance to talk to them about why it still isn't okay to eat something just because it tastes good.
 

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From the search listing this thread reads as "At what age did you let your child(ren) make their own". Completely different meaning!
 

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Originally Posted by whisper View Post

Regardless of what you teach them, children do have their own thoughts and feelings about things and they are naturally curious. If they are told they are only allowed to see and feel things from your perspective, they will just be sneaky about what they think you won't approve of. You can forbid them all you want to not eat meat, but at school a bite of their best friends bologna sandwich or the cafeteria pepperoni pizza may be very tempting. Unless you plan to shadow them every second for the rest of their lives you can't stop them from eating meat. Telling them they can't eat it will just make the forbidden fruit that much more tempting.

And if they do like it after the have tried it (at some point they will try it), they won't feel like they can come to you and talk or ask you about it. All they will know is you've told them they can't eat this yummy thing because it came from an animal, and you'll have missed out on the chance to talk to them about why it still isn't okay to eat something just because it tastes good.
It is easy to raise a child not to want to eat meat, to not even see it as food (unless outsiders are allowed to interfere) and that's what happened in my family. All of the kids (14 - 30) are vegetarian, a couple are vegan.

Change is what is difficult, but since it was the parents who made the change, decades ago, the kids don't have to. Now, being veg is the norm.
 

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I suspect those families in which the abstinence only message happens to work also think it's easy and effective.
 
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