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Hi I am new here. My name is April 27 (lacto-veg since age 3) my son Aidan is 4 (lacto-ovo veg since conception) and dh Stephen (meat an taters man for 36 years). Two step-children Megan and Katelyn 9, 11, meat an taters girls- too many pets to name.<br><br>
DH is very supportive for raising Aidan veg and I have no control over the girls. Aidan is a very caring and understanding about why we don't eat our friends. He has never had a problem before. He is healthy, happy and extremely smart. He loves all living things and is very gentle.<br><br>
here is the problem- lately when the girls want meat for dinner or whatever Aidan decides he wants exactly what they want.. He will eventually decide after I explain what they are eating, that he wants a similar veg. option. He just seems to get his little feelers hurt and does not understand why they eat meat. I have told them everyone is different and they like meat, and that his and my responsibility here is to protect the animals and take care of them w/o eating them. He seems to buy that and will drop it but as soon as he sees someone else eating meat it starts again. I have given it to him and usually he puts it in the trash (but once he tasted a chicken nugget and spit it out) . I want to let him feel he has a choice. Does anyone have something simialr to share, and ways to talk to very young children about vegetarianism.<br><br>
This is new to me -he is my first- and as strange as it sounds - i converted myself younger than he is. I was given a chick in my easter basket at age 3 and when I found out that is a chicken and that stuff on my plate was a chicken I has mortified. (The chicken lived to be 14 (henny penny) and she started my life long quest to not eat my friends!
 

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(Cute "Henny Penny" story)<br><br><br><br>
I sort-of run into this in my home... my oldest is an on-again-off-again vegetarian according to the influences of her Dad, peers and personal teenage whims.<br><br><br><br>
My middle child is decidedly vegetarian, NOTHING would sway her, EVER.<br><br><br><br>
But my youngest (6 years) always wants to try what her oldest sister is having. I don't fix meat for oldest sister, but she will bring it home from Dads or School sometimes, or order it when we're out (those are my compromises, don't fault me for them).<br><br><br><br>
My youngest "understands" and will preach to anyone in ear shot about how we take care of our animal friends and we don't eat them or make them uncomfortable. BUT sometimes she STILL wants to be like big sister and have a chicken nugget...<br><br><br><br>
I usually let her make the choice, but gently let her know she's eating a real chicken (or whatever) and she'll usually take a bite or two and think about it and throw the rest away... maybe that's not the best choice?<br><br><br><br>
Maybe I should keep her from the stuff entirely, I don't know, but it seems that limiting her is just going to make her want to try the stuff more. Thank goodness, at this point, she hasn't encountered any NON-veg item she actually likes BETTER than the vegetarian choices. I do wonder what my approach will be if that happens.<br><br><br><br>
And I do try to intervene and say "Remember when you tried sister's hamburger and you didn't LIKE it? You said it was nasty?" This usually keeps her from trying things again. Plus middle sister's loud, theatrical protests usually help a little ..."Oh no, you're going to touch dead cow? Please don't breathe dead cow germs on me. How can you EAT someting that once had cute brown eyes and soft furry ears..." (OK, a bit dramatic if I said it, but it seems to be accepted very well from sister)<br><br><br><br>
Vegetarian items that she loves and is familiar with, will usually win hands down anyway, when I say "Sister is having a cow hot dog, do you want a cow hot dog or a vegetarian one?"<br><br><br><br>
I think wanting to be just like older siblings is something you can't control, but you CAN control what other food items you have in the house, and that your child can have instead...<br><br><br><br>
Yeah, mostly rambling off the top of my head, but you get the idea...
 

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I have a mentally disabled child who's very favorite meal in the whole world is a "chicken" sandwich and french fries. Of course, at home the sandwich is a boca brand, and the fries are most definitely vegetarian. But Kelly can't comprehend why it is okay to eat a chicken sandwich at home and not one at school on the one day a week she's allowed to buy lunch! So I just hope that maybe one day the powers that be will get wise and substitute boca brand chicken sandwiches for Perdue brand in the Chesterfield County School system, but I'm not holding my breath!<br><br><br><br>
What I mean by that rambling is you can only do so much, and you can only control so much. Your overall relationship with you child is so much more important that what he eats at any given meal. If you stay firm in your convictions, and make it easy to make kind choices, he will pick up on your values. And while he may not do exactly as you do at every meal, your choices will influence him.<br><br><br><br>
Also, you may want to try to make as many vegetarian meals as possible for the whole gang. Use the excuse that you don't want the little brother to feel left out, and so you ALL are having veggie lasagna or tacos or whatever. The girls are probably so in love with Aidan that they won't want him to have his feelings hurt.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thnaks Tofu-n-Sprouts and Poppy! Both of your views seem to be pretty similar to mine. I try to cook vegetarian for my whole family when we have the girls- but they were raised to expect and demand meat at EVERY meal. Sometimes they even try and upset Aidan by teasing remarks like "I am earting a poor little cow baby" he gets pretty upset. DH tries to keep the peace but of course like all of you step-parents know the kiddos that don't live in the house seem to always get to act anyway they want when they are here. Hmmm, maybe they have just been taught that I am a "wierdo" by their mother too long. (She cannot comprehend not eating animals-"That is why the sweet lord put them here right??) Ah -the blessings of mixed families. Gives me an idea for a new thread....
 

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My son has a whole relationship with pepperoni that makes me gag. He's 4. At home he of course has veg but we were out at a restraunt yesterday and he totally chose the real pepperoni. We had a long talk about it about it but he still made the choice. My daughter went through the same phase. And it passed. Even though it was hard to watch I had to let them make that choice. It's different for every family and I think it just depends on your comfort level. I think its great that your trying your hardest to introduce vegetarian eating to your step kids. No matter what it will have a lasting impresssion on them.
 
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