My husband and I recently (in the past year) made the switch to go vegan. We have children and are wondering what to tell our kids about our lifestyle. Our oldest is 4 and we recently decided to discuss with her that we don't eat meat anymore and why. Before this discussion, she didn't know that chicken was actually a chicken, hamburger was a cow, etc. We just told her that meat is actually animals that had to die so that we can eat it, and animals are for loving, not eating. She is such a sensitive little soul and since the discussion has said many times how she is so relieved we don't eat animals anymore. The wheels are really turning in her little mind- she brings it up often. We know no other vegetarians, so I told her that when we see people eating meat, we don't have to comment or say why we don't eat it. If someone offers it to you, you can politely say "no, thank you" without further discussion. I've heard her comment to other kids or guests at our house (meat eaters), though, "I don't think eating animals is very healthy for you. Animals are to look at. I used to eat animals but now I don't because..., etc" I'm wondering how to handle this... We are so glad that she is so compassionate, but I am worried that she will be teased or left out in school or amongst her friends, or confronted with omnivore's arguments to which she won't have an answer and feel defeated. I am wondering how raising vegetarian or vegan kiddos has worked in other families.
I don't have kids, so not much advice, but your daughter sounds awesome! :o) I think kids that are young are much more open to different things. I don't know that the kids will have a problem with it, but their parents might if her friends start coming home and asking questions. There are so many kids with different allergies and eating habits these days, hopefully they will accept her regardless. I just think it sounds so cute, a 4 year-old expressing her views on animal issues. You need a video to post here of that, it would be adorable! Haha. Love it.
Your daughter sounds lovely. And it sounds like she is not worried about speaking her mind, so she may be resilient to any teasing if it happens. But, you might want to check out the book "That's Why We Don't Eat Animals" by Ruby Roth. It is beautifully illustrated, and written for a young audience. It gives toned down explainations about the environment, factory farming and compassion. Reading something like that occasionally might help her to develop age appropriate responses to any teasing or questions she will encounter down the road.
Good luck, and congratulations on raising such a kind little girl. Kim.
I love to hear some one else with the same experiences. My daughter is four and has been vegan for over a year. She is by far the biggest activist in our family. We have alot of meat eating family who do recieve the occasional comment. We have been worried about her coming across as closed minded and have really stressed with her the right for everyone to make choices. That being said my little brother who is eight is very aware of vegetarianism and tries to make those choices on his own because of her enthusiasm even though my parents are unsupportive. And my nephew who comes from a backwoods hunting father will only eat veg at our house because she is so open about her opinions, he seems to look up to her for it even though he is older. I do talk to her about other people not being open to her lifestyle and in the past six months she has really changed to having pride for who she is instead of cutting down their lifestyle. I think after they are used to the change it will become less of a topic of conversation. Hope that
helps. i believe if you are truly commited to this cause that your confidence will show your children that there is nothing to be ashamed of. And teach them that like we love all animals we love all people and accept them regardess of their eating habits!
Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts and kind words about my daughter. It is so beautiful how it is so simple and easy for her to understand why we should be kind to animals. Somewhere along the way it gets complicated for adults. Chelsea, LOVE what you said about confidence being passed on to her. Because this is new to us, it is a challenge for me to let her say what she believes when she wants to. This is what she said yesterday, "I think I'm going to tell ___ that I don't eat animals when I go to her house... is that ok?" and I said, "Sure! You can always say that if you want." and she said "Well, I don't want her to feel sad" (she knows this friend is a meateater). I used exactly what you all said- that everyone has a choice and we love everyone regardless of what they choose to eat. It's still hard for her though, when it is so clear to her what is the right thing to do, that people she loves would choose otherwise. Sigh. Anyway, thanks everyone!
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