Grandparents not honoring vegetarian child?? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 17 Old 03-07-2011, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 6-year-old daughter is a VERY staunch vegetarian. She started realizing around the age of 3/4 that the meat we eat is actually animals. Finally, she decided on her own (trust me, I did not push this on her) that she was no longer going to eat meat.

 

She has stuck by it...I've watched her bypass bacon and pepperoni...things I know she loved because she believes it isn't right. My husband and I are not huge meat eaters anyway and we totally honor her wishes and lifestyle. I'd say the husband and I are vegetarian 90-95% of the time...possibly even more.

 

My parents are HUGE meat eaters. MASSIVE. If there's not meat on the table, it isn't a meal type people. We've explained 100 times that my child does not eat meat and that we really don't eat much, either. EVERY time we go over to eat, they promise she'll have food. This weekend? Ranch style beans and toast. Wow. A really healthy meal there!!!!!

 

Today while we were all out with out of town visitors, we decided to go out to eat. They wanted to go to a hot dog stand. (Eye roll.) I asked what the heck she was going to eat at a hot dog stand and I'm dead serious, they told me she could eat fries for lunch. Fries? That's it???? They then began to argue with me about how she ate a hot dog with them and she liked it and kept insinuating that I'M the one who is not letting her eat meat.

 

We get to the hot dog stand and she sees chili on the menu. I ask and its full of meat. My Mom gets some and says, "well, there's not really a lot of meat in here." IT'S NOT THE POINT! She isn't veggie because she's picky; she's veggie because she believes in animal rights.

 

My daughter then tells me how, when she was at their house, they placed a hot dog in front of her at dinner and told her she could not leave the table until she took a bite of it. FIRST: I HATE THAT RULE! We don't abide by it. All it does is create a huge standoff.

 

Second...why would you force a child to eat against her morals? Would they force someone who is Kosher to "just try" some Jell-O??

 

Our distorted relationship goes far past all this...but I'm really taking issue when they're aren't respecting my child. I've already told them this...that it involves RESPECTING her and treating her like a human. They don't care.

 

I've had it up to *HERE* and I don't know what to do. Has anyone ever had grandparents not agree with something like this?? What did you do?


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#2 of 17 Old 03-07-2011, 09:24 PM
 
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*Hugs* My mom's okay with my 6 year old being vegetarian, but she's constantly inconsiderate of her choice to be vegan.

 

With my mom, I try to prepare for contingencies, I keep sorbet bars in the fridge at her house, so that my daughter doesn't feel left out when the ice cream comes out, and I'll often just send her with meals I make at home rather than trust my mom to read labels.  After that stunt with the hot dog, though, I'd hesitate to allow unsupervised visits.

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#3 of 17 Old 03-07-2011, 09:39 PM
 
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  After that stunt with the hot dog, though, I'd hesitate to allow unsupervised visits.



I totally agree with this. If they cant even respect HER choices while she is right there with them, Id be almost sure they arent respecting your choices since you arent even there to have to answer to.


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#4 of 17 Old 03-08-2011, 10:33 AM
 
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My DD is 11 and has been veg for about a year. I just make sure that I bring something for her when we go to family & friends' houses, although most everyone is at least somewhat veg friendly. I agree that in your situation they are being disrespectful in a way that goes beyond the veg issue. I would probably go with her on visits to their house.


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#5 of 17 Old 03-08-2011, 11:21 AM
 
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*Hugs* My mom's okay with my 6 year old being vegetarian, but she's constantly inconsiderate of her choice to be vegan.

 

With my mom, I try to prepare for contingencies, I keep sorbet bars in the fridge at her house, so that my daughter doesn't feel left out when the ice cream comes out, and I'll often just send her with meals I make at home rather than trust my mom to read labels.  After that stunt with the hot dog, though, I'd hesitate to allow unsupervised visits.


Are you sure your mom really understands what it means to be vegan?

I think, this board aside, that the majority of people don't understand it. Many don't even understand vegetarianism - ESP when you get into ova-lacto vs pescatarians, etc

However the OP's parents would be getting supervised visits in my book. Forcing a hot dog on a vegetarian is a no-brainer wrong.

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#6 of 17 Old 03-08-2011, 01:46 PM
 
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Wow.  As an omnivore that eats meat regularly, I find that story horrifying.  There's no way I would let my child have unsupervised visits with them, and I would ALWAYS bring her food along for any supervised visits since you obviously can't count on them to provide for her.  Forcing a child to violate her personal beliefs is just cruel.

 

One thing that jumps out at me is that they aren't just disrespecting your child and her wishes.  They are completely disrespecting you as a parent.  You've made it clear that your wish is to raise her vegetarian because it's important to her, and they have disregarded that.  And as far as your parents trying to blame you and saying you are forcing her to eat that way....so what if you were?  YOU ARE HER PARENT.  That's your call to make.  They don't respect her and they don't respect you.

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#7 of 17 Old 03-08-2011, 05:12 PM
 
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After that stunt with the hot dog, though, I'd hesitate to allow unsupervised visits.


This, 100%.

My 2yo DS has been vegan from birth (obviously DH & my choice at this point, not his) and I cannot imagine any of our friends or relatives doing something like that to him... Sure there are some people who don't fully understand what vegan means, but everyone has made every effort to honor our choices DESPITE THE FACT THAT THEY DON'T AGREE WITH IT. Unfortunately I don't allow them unsupervised visits anyway, for other reasons...

That being said, if you choose to continue to allow her to spend time there, you might consider packing her food, keeping some easy-to-prepare veggie food at their house, etc. Perhaps give them some ideas of things she'd like that are quick & simple. Maybe they are just clueless (although TBH that doesn't seem to be the case...) In the case of the hot dog stand, I would have either suggested another place to go, or grabbed some carrot sticks & hummus (or PB sandwich or whatever your go-to food is) from the fridge for her to eat along with/instead of the fries.

It's hard living in a meat-eating world, and I was 12 when I went veg, so it was easier for me than perhaps it is for your DD. But you could use this as a learning experience too, because if she chooses to remain veg long-term, she will need to learn to navigate the meat-eating world, so maybe the two of you can brainstorm how she can deal with situations like this.

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#8 of 17 Old 03-08-2011, 10:59 PM
 
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Are you sure your mom really understands what it means to be vegan?

 


 

She understands, she just really thinks that milk is a necessary part of the diet, that living without cheese is a fate worse than death, and she doesn't bother to read labels, and when she does, she just skims it and misses stuff almost every time.

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#9 of 17 Old 03-09-2011, 09:40 AM
 
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She understands, she just really thinks that milk is a necessary part of the diet, that living without cheese is a fate worse than death, and she doesn't bother to read labels, and when she does, she just skims it and misses stuff almost every time.


Then that is just wrong too. What is up with these grandparents? I cannot imagine!

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#10 of 17 Old 03-11-2011, 08:57 AM
 
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Geez, the issue really is all about respect. I am now vegan, but several years ago when DH and I were hardcore omnis we were roommates with our good friends who were/are vegans, and their 2 small children. We disagreed with each others diets by default, we never debated or even really discussed it...but we ALWAYS respected their decision. When I cooked communal meals for us, I was an avid label reader. Sure, at the time I thought they should at least give their kids eggs and dairy, but I would never dream of disrespecting them and giving it to their kids or even forcing the issue. They, too had one set of grandparents who would deliberately feed their BABIES (like 1 yr old) omni foods =(. They, too had a bad relationship with them to begin with so the vegan issue was just an extension of that. I'll never understand this level of disrespect.


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#11 of 17 Old 03-11-2011, 05:10 PM
 
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My daughter then tells me how, when she was at their house, they placed a hot dog in front of her at dinner and told her she could not leave the table until she took a bite of it.

Wow.  Just wow.  Have you confronted your family about this?  Were they ribbing/joking with her or serious?  Of course even if they thought they were "just messing" with her (like my family would do), a 6yo might still take them seriously.  I thought my family was bad, but WOW.  I'm so sorry. 
 

 

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#12 of 17 Old 03-11-2011, 05:34 PM
 
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I'd eat before going to their house, even if it's supposedly for dinner. And I'd tell them flat out that they are not to ever tell my kid she is has to eat something or she can't leave the table. In fact I'd totally limit them having her during meal times because of that rule alone.

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#13 of 17 Old 03-14-2011, 07:02 PM
 
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I agree that you should probably not do unsupervised meals at their house. They've shown that they can't respectfully handle that. I'd also suggest always bringing something with you that she can eat when you go. I regularly do this as an adult, just for myself, if I know I've been invited to share a meal where there won't be anything for me to eat. If it's a situation where bringing my own food would be seen as rude I always eat beforehand.

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#14 of 17 Old 03-15-2011, 09:44 AM
 
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She understands, she just really thinks that milk is a necessary part of the diet, that living without cheese is a fate worse than death, and she doesn't bother to read labels, and when she does, she just skims it and misses stuff almost every time.



lol... Our family is vegan as well, and I swear, that is people's number one concern.  "OMG!  How do you live without cheese?!?!?"

 

 


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#15 of 17 Old 03-21-2011, 06:20 AM
 
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How does your daughter feel about continuing to visit them on her own? Does she feel intimdated and want you to accompany her or does she feel like she can handle it. I personally find your parents behavior apalling and can't imagine sending my child into their home alone. But I was just wandering what your dd's take on the situation was? would also bring food with me when visiting them as they apparently not willing to provide viable options for her.


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#16 of 17 Old 03-21-2011, 09:54 AM
 
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After that stunt with the hot dog, though, I'd hesitate to allow unsupervised visits.

 

Another vote for "YUP" on that one.  It was an unethical and cruel thing to do.  Why do grandparents risk access to their kids by doing stuff like that?  My in-laws knew our nephew was allergic to milk protein, but MIL routinely gave him milk behind BIL and SIL's backs (and lied about it) because she thought he "needed it."  And do you think I will be letting her watch our almost-1-year old?  Nope.  Is it already an issue?  You bet...I've probably told her 30 times "Nope, no babysitting."  I don't explain why and don't feel the need to defend my decision (and hope that DH will continue to back this up as time goes by...he doesn't think it's as serious as I do but is willing to go along with my decision on this one now).  She lives close, though, so you know she will continue to ask.  Sorry for the MIL rant, but you understand how upsetting it can be!

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#17 of 17 Old 03-22-2011, 02:51 PM
 
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I'm a meat eater, but wanted to reply. 

 

I don't care if your vegan or not, everyone in the world knows a hot dog, hamburger or veal chop is meat. No excuse there! Telling a vegan they have to eat a hot dog is just disrespectful on so many levels. 

 

However, labels - I think a lot of non-vegetarians are not aware of how much meat products are in things we would not consider meat. Especially pre-processed, packaged foods. Growing up my best friend was vegan, and I'd invite her over and not get it half the time. "That's soup, not meat!" I would say. She was very nice about it - "it has beef bullion in it - that is made of beef." OK, I understood it then, but it really took explaining, and sometimes more than once. And it's even harder now - brand owners do not write "pigs feet" on the ingredients list, they write XYZ-A17, which means pigs feet, but sounds so much better. But people don't know what the words really mean.

 

Also, as a kid we would order a pepperoni pizza and my mom would just take the pepperoni off for the vegetarians. She really was not trying to be disrespectful, she just did not understand what vegetarian really meant.  

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