or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Thoughts on raising one child veg and one not...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Thoughts on raising one child veg and one not...

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I stopped eating meat when dd was 5. DH still eats meat and I didn't think it would be right to force my dd to change her diet just because I did. I don't like that she eats it, but I know it would be hard on her to be a vegetarian since she goes to public school and I didn't exactly encourage healthy eating habits when she was younger. By that I mean, she's had lots of Happy Meals and lots of Bagel Bites in her short life. She wouldn't eat a seitan sandwich if I paid her. She's 7 now. She does love animals enough that I really think she might make the decision to quit eating meat when she's a teenager. I hope!
On to child #2. I have no intention of ever feeding him meat.

So, my issue isn't so much about food, it's about raising one child one way and another child a different way. Is it wrong? I know it will be difficult, being vegetarian in this society already is. Is having a family divided at dinnertime going to cause problems I'm not anticipating? What should I expect? What would be the right thing to do when ds wants a hotdog at a restaurant just because big sister is getting one? Do I tell her she can't have it? Or tell him he can't? That doesn't seem right. But I don't want him eating meat. I don't want dh or dd eating it either, but I can't make that decision for them.

I would love to get some insight from anybody and everybody.

I also should add that I'm having the same thoughts about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the ToothFairy. I don't want to start those things with ds. I no longer think it's right. I'm still doing them for dd, though.

Boiling it all down, is it wrong to raise one child one way and another child another way at the same time?

Also, could we PULEEZ not turn this into veggies vs. meateaters? It's not about that at all. Many thanks!
post #2 of 20
Wow, this is an interesting question.

When faced with questions regaring lifestyle choices I like to imagine askign the same question using something similar but not the same. For example, would you raise one child Christian and one child Muslim? Or one child Kosher and the other child non-kosher. Would you have one child take your husband's last name and the other take your maiden name? I think raising one child veg and one non-veg is probably similar.

I think it will be tough to keep your second child veg if his dad and big sister eat meat. Not impossible, just really tough. How will you answer questions like, "How come big sis gets to eat a hamburger but I can't?" It's hard enough to answer those questions about extended family, but members of the nuclear family... wow... really tough.

I think it's about setting examples and being a model for your beliefs. I can see raising veg kids if your hubby is a meat eater but you're veg. But dividing the kids... I'm not so sure that's a good idea.

If I were in your situation I would probably set some guidelines like eating veg at home but they can eat whatever they want when they are out. Or try getting your daughter interested in more veggie foods and slowly bring your family to a place of happy medium. Like free range eggs and non-hormone-laden meat, etc. At least, if you're going to allow them to eat meat, make it as healthy as possible and nix the whole McDonald's Happy Meal thing.

I don't know. Interesting situation though.
post #3 of 20
We have one vegetarian child and one omnivorous. It is doable. I cook one piece of meat for the omnivorous child- and he eats that for several days until its gone and the rest of us eat the vegetarian meals I cook.
post #4 of 20
That is an interesting question.

Is your husband at all interested in going veg? If not then I don't suppose there is any way that you could convince your dd to go veg. IMO if 2 people in the house are eating meat I wouldn't be able to stop the baby from eating it. I would encourage the baby to be veg, and force him to be veg as long as I was picking his food, but once he's big enough to have a choice I would have to let him choose what he wanted, with strong encouragement to eat veg. personally I'd be working on my dh to get him to join me.

the thing that concerns me even more is the easter bunny, santa thing. Have you considered stopping those customs with your dd? It might be easier than you think if you replace them with something you are more comfortable with. There is no way on earth I could let one child enjoy playing santa and easter bunny while forbidding the other child from participating. Especially considering how old your dd is, do you think you could just phase those characters you aren't comfortable with out during the next year? there are lots of alternatives you could find or come up with.

that is a really interesting situation. If I were in your shoes my main focus would be educating dh and dd like crazy until the baby is of eating age and trying to get them to see the benefit in going veg, but then once baby is big enough to decide I would let him have the same choice as dd.

Good luck.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
I will absolutely phase out those traditions. I couldn't do it for her and not for him at the same time. With those things, it's more about not doing for him what I've done for her for so many years.

DH is not the least bit interested in giving up his meat.
post #6 of 20
We have one veg child, and one meat eater.
My dd became a vegetarian at age 3, and my son loves his meat. It's doable, especially if you do most of the cooking vegetarian anyway.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
I will absolutely phase out those traditions. I couldn't do it for her and not for him at the same time. With those things, it's more about not doing for him what I've done for her for so many years.
Oh, I see.
post #8 of 20
Interesting dilemma. How old is your DD?

I'm a single mom with one child and we are both Vegetarians for various reasons.

My advice is to feed your DD what your younger child is eating for the most part, and then when your youngest is older, like 4yo, he can maybe make his own choice. If DD is old enough to understand, tell her you are stopping the holiday. I hope you won't feel bad for not doing the holiday with your youngest child. You can make memories and give gifts any time at all.
post #9 of 20
I'm a vegetarian and have been since age 17, but DH is not; however, he eats very little meat. Just the occasional ham and bacon. I don't cook it, though. If he wants to eat meat, he's got to make it himself.

In that respect it is very easy to raise my DS and DD +as vegetarians. All the food I cook is meatless. I think that would probably be an easy way to phase in more vegetarian food and less meat in your family - simply prepare vegetarian food.

Edited to add: this is not about telling your DD she cannot eat meat. Obviously she should have the choice if she has been eating meat since she was a baby. This is more along the lines of not serving it all the time...I hope I am making sense..
post #10 of 20
Well, *I* certainly understood I have similar thoughts.
post #11 of 20
I don't think that it would be fair to your children to force one to follow your diet restrictions, but allow the other to eat foods that would be off limits to the other. And I'm a vegetarian, so I have no issues with meat-free living.

My house is similar, I'm veggie, DH is not. We simply don't eat meat at home. DH and the kids are free to make their own decisions when it comes to eating meat when we go out to eat. And although I prefer that my kids don't eat meat at all, I can't imagine ever allowing one to eat meat, but not allowing the other. That would be quite unfair. Not to mention, there's no WAY my kids would abide by that- they quibble when anything is slightly unfair. I'm sure a big fight would ensue if there were different rules applied to their food choices. (Can you imagine raising one child chocolate free, while the other is allowed to eat chocolate- or fruit, or whatever?) I understand that sometimes families have to make different food choices for the children based on allergies, but this is different.

As for the holidays, I think that gradually phasing out commercial holidays will work just fine. Your older child is getting to the age where she is old enough to understand that Santa, etc. are just make believe.
post #12 of 20
I second what annethcz posted.
post #13 of 20
If the overall question is really "Can I raise dc#2 differently than I did dc#1 because I have different ideas now, and I think some of what I've done was a mistake?" My answer is ABSOLUTELY!! There are lots of things I did with #1 that I didn't do with #2, and things I did with #3 that I didn't do with any others.
We all grow and change, we see our mistakes and don't want to re-do them. I actually commend you for re thinking some of your moves. Not everyone does, sometimes people just keep doing things because making changes is hard.
I do agree with some of the others though that you need to be careful not to make it a war between the kids. From what you've written though it sounds like you are aiming to phase things out with dd that you never intend to introduce ds to. I think you can definately do it!
post #14 of 20
Since when is eating meat so great that the op's ds is going to feel left out? Why is being vegetarian a restrictive diet that you have to force children to participate in? Let the 7 year old make choices, but I expect neither child would choose meat and instead opt for sweets. Really, as a parent, you control what is being purchased, cooked, and served. If you cooked a wonderful veggie risotto or curry with rice and chapatis, would your dd realize she was not eating meat? Would she complain?

Just to be clear, many of us vegetarians don't feel meat is a special treat- especially not equatable to a holiday.
post #15 of 20
This is really interesting to me, as I'm vegan and dh is not. In my ideal scenario, we would keep a vegan home, but allow our kids to make their own choices when they're old enough and not at home. In the event that dh does decide to bring any meat or dairy into the house (he never stores any meat at home, will occasionally order in a turkey burger or sushi, and very occasionally gets cheese from the farmer's market--but that's about it), I would ask that it be organic, hormone-free, free-range, etc.

But, as the PPs said, if you're doing the cooking, then it's not that much of a problem--cook what you want to cook! I think the fact that there's a significant age gap between your kids also helps--your dd will is old enough to understand why you're making veggie dinners and also old enough to make her own choices outside of the house. I think it's fair to tell her that you eat veggie at home, because that's what mom believes is best/ethical/healthier/whatever (I don't know why you became veggie), but she can make her own choices at school/friends/etc. I don't know your daughter, obviously, but I think this would make her less likely to rebel against the new "rules". Honestly, as long as you're cooking tasty dinners that she likes, she may hardly notice.

BTW, I think my parents made MAJOR changes in their parenting styles as they went along. We all adapted (all 5 of us!).
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by melissa17s
Just to be clear, many of us vegetarians don't feel meat is a special treat- especially not equatable to a holiday.
I second that statement.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by melissa17s
Just to be clear, many of us vegetarians don't feel meat is a special treat- especially not equatable to a holiday.
Perhaps not, but the OP's husband—you know, the CHILD'S FATHER—is NOT a vegetarian. He eats meat, along with the 7yo. It would not be fair to the child to restrict her to the mother's eating choices while the father eats meat whenever he wants. Yes, adults get to make choices for themselves while children don't. However, we are talking about FOOD here. The 7yo has been eating meat with her father her whole life... why should the mother get to suddenly override that? If the OP doesn't want to prepare any meat, that's fine. Maybe the father can cook meat for himself and the 7yo at dinnertime, because I don't see why the mother gets to make the final decision over the father on whether the child eats meat.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corvus
Perhaps not, but the OP's husband—you know, the CHILD'S FATHER—is NOT a vegetarian. He eats meat, along with the 7yo. It would not be fair to the child to restrict her to the mother's eating choices while the father eats meat whenever he wants. Yes, adults get to make choices for themselves while children don't. However, we are talking about FOOD here. The 7yo has been eating meat with her father her whole life... why should the mother get to suddenly override that? If the OP doesn't want to prepare any meat, that's fine. Maybe the father can cook meat for himself and the 7yo at dinnertime, because I don't see why the mother gets to make the final decision over the father on whether the child eats meat.
The op made it clear that the father ate meat, but her question was whether or not to raise her ds veggie, not her dh. VEGETABLES ARE FOOD. (I can do capts, too) I don't get why her ds would be deprived if he had a veggie diet. I did not even imply that she should change her dd's diet, just that good veggie food is not a punishment. But really when I rethink the issue, I do not see why a child's diet can not change just because they have been eating an item for all of 7 years. If we were talking about sugar instead of meat, would it be acceptable to take it out of the diet? Why can't she decide no more " happy meals "? If she feels that her daughter would be healthy veggie, why not look out for her dd's better interests?
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by melissa17s
Why can't she decide no more " happy meals "? If she feels that her daughter would be healthy veggie, why not look out for her dd's better interests?
Because her husband, the child's father, thinks that meat is an acceptable food, and he has been eating it with his daughter for 7 years (and with his wife, up until 2 years ago). Why does the father not get any input in the decision-making here? Why is the mother the only one who gets to decide?
post #20 of 20
Corvus, since the mother made the post I was addressing her. I make no assumptions about her family dynamic. Whether or not the father plays a role in food decisions is totally up to the op, and not my look out. I was just responding to the thread.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Parenting
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Thoughts on raising one child veg and one not...