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ds is 2.5 and he & i are vegetarian. dh is not. he cooks meat for himself fairly often at home. i admit that i have felt bad saying no the times that ds has asked to taste what dh is eating, i mean of course he wants to do everything like dad!!! dh is completely supportive of ds being a vegetarian, but i think we both agree that when he gets to a certain age how in the heck are we going to keep him vegetarian?!? what i mean is school age, even if we pack his lunch & try to explain things to him, but if he's curious he's going to end up trying it somehow. of course i would never "forbid" him from eating it either. just wondering if anyone has been through this & how it panned out. i was raised a veg. at home, but ate meat "out" and at 17 decided on my own to become one "full-time", then on the flip-side my brother was raised a veg. "full-time" and at 17 decided to become a meat-eater<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>taramoon13</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15382375"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">of course i would never "forbid" him from eating it either.</div>
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i'm saying this kindly, but you already "forbid" him from eating meat by saying no when he asks to try what his dad is eating. do you mean he won't have meat at home, but you won't forbid him from eating it once he's a bit more independent?
 

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You know, I've been thinking a lot about this. I'm fully vegan & right now so is DS (15mos). DH is 95% vegan but eats whatever he wants the other 5% of the time (only out of the house, like family gatherings). I think it's quite realistic to keep him vegan as a toddler but I'm not sure what will happen as he gets older. We're considering homeschooling & that would eliminate that part as an issue, but I'm sure he'd still want to try things when out with friends. I guess I would just encourage him to try a small amount if he's curious but explain to him the reasons that we are vegan & that we will only have this as a 'treat' when we're out. My hope is that after years of eating vegan he will be used to it & enjoy it as much as DH & I do, and that he won't feel overly compelled to eat meat, but everyone's tastes are different... Anyway, I'd be interested to see what others with older veg*n kids have experienced!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Catubodua</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15382394"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">i'm saying this kindly, but you already "forbid" him from eating meat by saying no when he asks to try what his dad is eating. do you mean he won't have meat at home, but you won't forbid him from eating it once he's a bit more independent?</div>
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no offense taken, excellent point. i guess i mean that i won't forbid him from eating it once he's more independent & can at least maybe better understand what meat is and why we are vegetarian and then make the choice for himself.
 

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It seems to me that it might be an uphill battle if he sees his parents are not the same page. You can explain your particular reasons for being vegetarian, but as long as he sees his dad eating meat, how much weight will your arguments hold?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Annie Mac</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15384110"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It seems to me that it might be an uphill battle if he sees his parents are not the same page. You can explain your particular reasons for being vegetarian, but as long as he sees his dad eating meat, how much weight will your arguments hold?</div>
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true, true, true, but i guess i'm just thinking maybe he'll decide on his own that it's gross
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Annie Mac</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15384110"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It seems to me that it might be an uphill battle if he sees his parents are not the same page. You can explain your particular reasons for being vegetarian, but as long as he sees his dad eating meat, how much weight will your arguments hold?</div>
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Pardon my thread crash, as I'm not a veg*n, but I saw this off new posts and this comment stuck out to me. My husband and I don't agree on plenty of things, both philosophical and practical. While I believe that kids seeing parents <i>fighting</i> isn't great, IMO kids seeing parents civilly disagree but still get along, and seeing parents do things differently but still live together gives a great introduction to the world and all its varied people and ideas. "United front" doesn't necessarily mean that the people are exactly the same and handle everything exactly the same. Both the OP and her husband can present their reasons behind not eating meat, or eating meat, and both can be valid...and the kid can decide for himself when he's older. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug">:<br><br>
OP, I think you and your DH should discuss how long you both are OK with you making his food choices (which I'm not bashing, ALL parents do this for their kids when they're young), and when you are comfortable with him hearing the reasons behind each choice and making the decision for himself - to me, that is the place where you need to agree, not necessarily whether he eats meat or not. When my DS was 5, he ate vegetarian at his request for a few weeks, so I think the choice could indeed be your son's in not too long a time. We had age appropriate discussions about meat and where it comes from after he asked a couple questions, and he decided for a little while to not eat it (though there were a couple other issues going on behind the decision, too).<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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The4ofUs...true. You make a good point. Seeing the philosophical discussion carried out rationally is a good learning arena for a child. And even if they were both vegetarian (thus a united front) that's absolutely no guarantee that he will grow up and continue to eat that way.
 

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yep also to the4ofus. i hadn't really looked at it that way as far as us making the decision when ds can be allowed to make his own decision on the matter. and as far as parents having different views on things i completely agree. there's also the fact that there are things that mom & dad might eat/drink (coffee, beer, soda, gum) in front of him that he simply won't be allowed until he's big enough which is something he will just need to understand too.
 

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Just thought I'd throw in my 4 years of experience. I used to be very strict vegan from the time my daughter was a baby until she was about 2.5 or 3 we were vegan. My son was also vegan. Then as my schedule/responsiblities with school and work grew we relaxed into vegetarianism which made many things so much easier. Eventually around 3 my daughter wanted to try meat, and so we introduced some free range organic meats about once a week that she enjoyed. This has basically evolved into a huge landslide of just dumping vegetarianism all together. She is now over 4 years old.<br><br>
Although I am sad about somethings, there are a few things I'd like to point out. My daughter initiated the decision making process. We looked at meat, talked about where it came from, how animals are killed to get the meat. But in the end I always said "Some people eat it, some people don't. You have to decide for yourself".<br>
Now, I always inform her whether food is meat or vegetarian, and let her make that decision. her decision is often different each day (one day she is devastated about killing pigs, the next she could care less to have some chicken). But I also think I am being a good role model by providing her with facts and then stepping back. Furthermore, I think it is good to model that I am not going to criticize her choices.<br>
I think the important part is that she grew up with an diet based almost completely on whole foods. She loves veggies, beans, and whole grains... the basis for good nutrition, and that was cultivated in her through our vegan lifestyle. My son was raised similarly, although we started being lax about the issue much earlier on. He doesn't have the ability to understand ethics yet (he is 2) but needless to say I think he will do well.
 

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Is your partner unwilling to make your household vegetarian? Because like other posters have said, you battle will begin much earlier than school if his dad frequently eats meat in front of him.<br><br>
My 3yo has started asking questions about the meat we see at the grocery & also when his friends are eating it. I will say that it is cow or chicken or pig & explain that some people eat animals & some don't. As soon as I say what animal it is, he never wants to eat it!<br><br>
I will always have a no-meat-in-this-house rule, but what happens at other places will be his choice (as long as he is old enough to make that choice & KNOWS what he is eating- I would hate to think of him being deceived). All I can do is edcuate him & let him take it from there!<br><br>
Their dad & I are not together anymore, but we are both vegetarian, which makes it's sooo much easier in that regard. So many other issues we could NOT agree on, but at least we don't have to worry about that one!
 

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I think this is a great topic, and I completely agree with the PP who pointed out that how you and your partner deal with this issue and discuss it with your little guy will go a long way towards family happiness, regardless of the path your DS takes in the long run.<br><br>
In our family, I am a nearly-lifelong vegetarian, and DH is a big meat-eater. We had many earnest discussions before DS was born about me wanting DS to be a vegetarian, too, but DH always pointed out that while he was in theory comfortable with that, he couldn't see telling DS he wasn't allowed to share in whatever Daddy and other family members - including kids at family gatherings - were eating. The agreement we came to, and ended up sticking with, was that I would *never* cook or serve meat to DS, but that he could eat meat if Daddy was cooking, or in restaurants or at family gatherings, as long as he had full knowledge of what he was eating and made the choice himself.<br><br>
Well, as it turned out, DS LOVES to eat meat. But - I can live with this because he has learned to be inquisitive and ask about where ALL kinds of food comes from, and at the tender age of 5 he is really good about making informed choices. He refuses to eat strawberries if they are not organic, for instance, even though strawberries are his favorite food on the PLANET. Although we had a discussion at a recent family gathering about how it would probably be ok for him to have a few strawberries from the fruit platter even though I didn't think they were organic, he just shook his head and said, "But Mom, if you do that once then you start thinking you can do it all the time, and I don't think that's a good choice!" He's crazy about roast chicken (he loves to hold the drumstick and munch a la Henry VIII), but won't eat his grandmother's because he knows she refuses to spend extra to buy local/organic/free range.<br><br>
I still never cook or serve meat, and DS knows why - and even explains it to his friends when they eat at our house. He's also crazy about vegetables (I think broccoli raab is the only vegetable he won't eat), beans and whole grains, and will snarf salad right out of the bowl if I don't get to the table fast enough. He loves our oatmeal/quinoa pancakes and thinks his uncle's white flour chocolate chip pancakes "taste funny". So, although he didn't make the dietary choice I was hoping he'd make, he's still making good, informed choices, he eats a lot of healthy food, genuinely doesn't enjoy most "junky foods", and he can have an intelligent conversation about what it means to be a vegetarian (even though that is not the path he has chosen).<br><br>
Five years ago when DS was a baby if you had told me how this would work out, I think I would have been sad and disappointed. But from where I sit today, I can honestly say that I feel really good about the way things have turned out. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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I'm in this position too-dd is 3, and she is vegetarian as of now. Ds will also be raised veg, and I am veg as well. However, dp and dsd (who lives with us ~40% of the time) are not veg and I do occasionally cook meat for them or dp brings home lunchmeat/a roast chicken etc. So far, i have just explained to dd that some people eat meat and some don't, and where meat comes from and why i don't like to eat it and she seems okay with it. I think it is especially hard on her when she sees her sister eating it, but she has done great so far understanding what I am saying about why we don't eat animals.<br><br>
The way I look at it, ALL parents "force" their kids to eat a certain way when they are this age, just because the kids (I assume at least) are eating primarily whatever their parents choose to serve them. While I won't be thrilled if dd and ds turn out to be meat-eaters, I will certainly not make a fuss if that is their choice once they are old enough to truly understand their choice. I haven't decided on that age yet, and probably won't until they actually get to that point based on maturity more than age. Dp is (mostly) supportive of this.
 
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