with Thanksgiving coming up, i found myself in need of some advice on the topic in the title.
my story short: ds is 4, has been vegetarian all his life, his father and myself are also. We've never had any traditional thanksgiving dinners before, im not american and hadn't had much of interest in the holiday based on turkey slaughter, so to say. Now, we've recently moved to a house with other families and kids, non of them here are vegetarian, and they are planning big on the turkey feast. I feel like I would like to be at the event and that would be nice community dinner, but really don't see how i would be explaining my ds about this dead bird our friends are cooking. i hope this does not sounds weird. This is just really first time we live in a non-vegetarian environment. My ds knows all about why we don't eat meat, about cruelty towards animals, he believes that animals are friends for us and not for us killing and eating them, that is what i told him when he was asking his questions why we don't eat meat, so that is what he knows. so
any experiences and advices you could share on this particular topic - vegetarian kids in non-veg. environment would be good to hear.
i am editing this after reading previous threads that are close on the subject, to be more specific: i do not segregate ds from the meat eaters whatsoever. of course we have been at the table where people would have meat on their plates, and that's when questions started, and i had all the answers for him.
i guess this thanksgiving dinner tradition is a bit scary for me. as i said, i have only approximate idea what thanksgiving dinners are like, but having this picture of that's it's all about the roasted turkey in the middle of the table as the main dish, and strongly feeling about turkeys genocide around this holiday, i just have hard time deciding whether it is better to avoid this dinner all together, without any regret that my son won't learn the tradition, or try to take it easy somehow and just explain to ds something, without being judgmental, but what?
Why not go and offer up some side dishes that others might not think about to give them a different perspective? We're not veg, but DD has food sensitivities so no dairy/soy/gluten/oats, and I'm sensitive to the first 3 as well. So to avoid conflict we offered to cook for thanksgiving and I've been testing out recipes that avoid these things (many of them paleo because of the need to avoid soy in the veggie dishes and a desire to keep the sugar at a minimum). I wanted to be sure there was "familiar" food for everyone but with a healthier spin, especially with DD being only 2. It's hard to tell a toddler they can't eat a particular food on the table because they have food issues they don't yet understand. It's a yearly thing that will keep coming up - you have he option of skipping it altogether which may alienate you and your family, or just take it as it is supposed to be, a time to be thankful regardless of what foods are served and just teach your so that different people do different things.
So my son is only 8 months and I don't have experience as the parent, but I was raised vegan and was around many many meat eaters in my childhood. It was never really an issue for me that others were eating it, I knew that it was not something that we ate in my family and we always had our own options. I think you might be overthinking it a little bit. Kids will be kids, so if you are worried about them challenging friends or family about why they eat meat, that is possible - but not something my two brothers or I ever did.
We had thanksgiving at my grandma's house every year, and she would cook turkey, mac and cheese, etc. All things that we did not eat. We would just bring our own tofu lasagna and whatever else we would be eating and there was never anything weird around it.
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