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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have 3-year-old twins who I am raising vegetarian. They've always been very verbal, and we talk a lot in our family. Until recently, whenever they would ask why they couldn't have a bite of something that a friend or relative was eating that had meat in it, I would just say "You can't have that, because you'r a vegetarian and vegetarians don't eat meat." But just recently, I've started going into a little more detail, and I'm wondering if it's too much. They're 3 and a half now. We were reading a book the other day that talks about different "foods" including roast beef. They asked me about the roast beef, and I said "Some people eat roast beef, but we don't, because it's dead cow, and we're vegetarians, so we don't eat animals." And then they asked about other things the book mentioned, like fresh fish, saying "Is that dead fish?" And I said, "Yes, all meat is dead animals."<br><br><br><br>
I can't tell if this is horrible of me to do or right. I feel like they're old enough so that they could (maybe) relate to my reasoning for raising them veg, which I think is my intention when saying these things. Like maybe they could understand WHY we eat the way we do. But is telling them this going to traumatize them, or make them confused as to why other people would do such a thing? I don't know.
 

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No real advice, we are going through the exact same thing. I have been just giving little bits of information out as my kids ask me about it. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer, you know your kids best and what they are able to handle. Oddly enough, my kids handle things better than I do sometimes...lol
 

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I believe the truth is best, but I think I would have a hard time telling them. Unless you simply say that hamburger comes from cows, and in order to do that, someone has to kill the cow. We love cows and don't want to see them get hurt, so we don't eat anything that comes from cows....something like that maybe?
 

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I don't think it's wrong to tell them.<br><br><br><br>
I'd be offended if someone other than the parent came up and told them.<br><br><br><br>
But then again I wish someone had told me that the Bully Sticks dog chews were stretched out dried bull penises before I had bought one.
 

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Just an idea for you. I have a hard time talking about difficult subjects like this with my boys too. I use books and movies to bring hard topics up for me. Tonight we watched The Fox and the Hound and it was about hunters and showed some of the pretty rotten things they do. It brought up the topic and we discussed it here and there during the movie. There is also a chicken movie (can't think of the name right at the minute) but the premis was that there was a chicken pot pie factory and the chickens didn't want to be pie. It might be a good one...was it Chicken Run???? I have just been staying firm that "I" don't want to eat meat and they have asked a few questions here and there. This week, without any coaching, each one of my boys has said, "I don't think I want to eat meat either." I told them that each person must make their own choice about this, but that I feel really good about my choice. I think it will only be a matter of time that they will make the decision for themselves. I think baby steps is the best way to approach things like this, couriosity on their part will take care of the rest.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>kpick</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I wish someone had told me that the Bully Sticks dog chews were stretched out dried bull penises before I had bought one.</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
I just do NOT know what to tell you there...<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/surprised.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":surprised"><br><br><br><br>
As for the original question:<br><br><br><br>
I've told my kids from birth the reasons why I don't eat animals and never thought a thing about it. Why are we so worried about telling kids the truth?<br><br><br><br>
I wasn't graphic, didn't try to shock them, just kept it simple, starting out with something like: "<i>Because meat is from dead animals. I like animals and don't want to see them dead</i>" but I gave more details as they got older if they were interested or asked.
 

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I agree with what everyone has said about telling the truth. If you decide NOT to tell them the truth, they are still going to ask, and you are going to have to tell them a lie. How can THAT be any more "right"?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>kpickell</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I don't think it's wrong to tell them.<br><br><br><br>
I'd be offended if someone other than the parent came up and told them.<br><br><br><br>
But then again I wish someone had told me that the Bully Sticks dog chews were stretched out dried bull penises before I had bought one.</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
Eww!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
To be clear, I would never even consider telling them anything untrue. I'm a compulsively honest person, and I don't lie to my kids. My only question was if I had said too much too soon. I could have answered their questions honestly (by sticking to the old "Roast beef is meat, and we don't eat meat, because we're vegetarians" way of saying it), rather than offering up the "it's dead cow" part. But they are starting to ask questions, and even if I hadn't said it this time, the question of "What IS meat?" or "Why don't we eat meat?" would surely come up soon. I'm pretty comfortable with what I've told them so far - I just started to worry. You know, sometimes you need an outside perspective to know for sure that your take on the matter is solid. I feel better after reading these posts.<br><br><br><br>
Someone posted that they would be upset if someone other than the parent came up and told them. That's one fear I'm having - that I'm going to hear it from a parent of one of the kids at their school (they go to preschool) "Your kid told my kid he was eating dead animal!" But I guess my response to that would have to be "He is!" I guess this kind of issue comes up for any parent raising a child in an environment where people have diverse ideas about what's right and wrong. Which brings up the inevitable issue I'll also have to deal with of explaining to my kids how we can at once believe eating meat is wrong and at the same time love and respect people in our lives who do eat meat. I guess that will just be an opportunity to teach them that it's not their job to judge others, that what they need to worry about is that they are doing what is right.<br><br><br><br>
:sigh: Parenting is complicated.
 

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I think if it were me, I'd probably say that animals must be hurt to make meat. Not leave out the dead part, but death is a big abstract. I agree that animal movies like Chicken Run might be a good way to discuss it, it might also be an opportunity to discuss real and pretend and how the movie is pretend, but some of the ideas in the movie are real.
 

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I handle this as TNS and others have said, I am honest but not graphic, i have to tread lightly because daddy is omni and they see him eat meat.....out of the home mostly when out to eat and such. so i dont get graphic and horrific, i just simply state where chicken comes from and why i dont eat it.<br><br>
i dont really think a 3 yo will understand completely anyway, they dont get the concept of death and the permanance of it yet.
 

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Yeah, my kids' dad is omni too, and we were together when the kids were at their "questioning" age...so I was careful and respectful when the subject came up - he was OK with my explanations though.<br><br><br><br>
And to clarify to the OP, I wasn't saying you weren't telling your kids the truth, sorry if I made it sound that way. It sounds lke you're doing a great job!
 

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I've always been honest with my children about meat, and told them we don't eat meat because it is dead animals. Children have a greater capacity for understanding and assimilating information than they are often given credit for. I think all children should know what "meat" actually is - I'm sure many more would refuse to eat it if they knew it was actually those cute animals they see in the fields, but meat-eating parents don't like them to make the connection.<br><br><br><br>
When my eldest daughter was about 2 years old I was shopping with my mum in a local supermarket. My daughter was with my mum, who eats meat, and I was at the other end of the supermarket, when I heard my daughter say out loud "Yucky meat". I think my mum was a bit embarassed, but I thought it was funny!
 

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I'm in the same boat. My daughter is 3 1/2 and has shown some interest in eating meat. I think it's especially confusing because she can't have chicken nuggets but she knows she eats chik'n nuggets. Her daddy is an onmi, so I also don't want her to think he is bad for eating meat. For now, I just tell her that we don't eat meat, and neither does her sister. I just tell her some people eat meat and some people don't. Eventually I will tell her more details, but not until it's necessary.
 

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You did great. Kids should know the truth about where their food comes from and should be taught from an early age to correctly interpret all the information coming their way through their formative years (advertising, etc.).
 
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