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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i was just reading this week's mothering newsletter, and one of the answers from the experts kind of stuck out. Especially this part:<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">You can use my example and tell her that you don't eat animals because it's not nice or because it hurts them. Even at a young age children have the capacity to understand being nice versus being mean.</td>
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<a href="http://www.mothering.com/experts/pavlina-archive.shtml#veg-daycare" target="_blank">http://www.mothering.com/experts/pav...ml#veg-daycare</a><br><br><br>
We are not vegetarians. I have family members who are vegetarians, and i have been a vegetarian in the past. There are lots of vegetarians in our community and ds will probably go to school with vegetarian kids in the future and he has vegetarian cousins now. I would be really sad and disappointed if his vegetarian peers judged him as being "mean" or "not nice" because he eats meat. The meat and eggs that we eat are locally and humanely raised.<br><br>
So, anyways...back to my question...is there another way of explaining vegetarianism to kids that isnt judgemental? Also, is there a non-judgemental way of explaining to omni kids why some their peers dont eat meat?<br><br>
And if possible could we try to discuss this without getting into the whole veggie vs omni philosophy debate?
 

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we are the only vegetarians in our close family and friends circle.. at first she would make comments all the time about eating animals to her little friends... and i sat her down and explained that there are different ppl who eat different ways... some eat meat and some dont... some are one race and others are another race... then we got the book Herb the vegetarian dragon and it was good cuz it explains that all kinds of ppl who eat differently can still be friends...<br><br>
i dont tell her ppl who eat meat are mean etc.. cuz then i would be attacking the ppl that she loves.. and that isnt right in my eyes... since she adores grandma, and grandpa, and etc...<br><br>
for now this seems to work.. altho she will tell a few ppl every once in a while if they know they are eating meat etc.. or will say without thinking..ewww animals or how sad.... shes getting better but she is only 5 and hasnt learned tact... :LOL
 

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Our ds knows that "We don't eat animals" and he will point to pictures of burgers and such and tell people that we don't eat that because its a dead animal. I don't know exactly where he got that from as it is not something we have "taught" him. I don't know if you would consider that judgemental? They ARE animals, they ARE dead, and we DON'T eat them. I have just considered it as stating the facts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thx for the replies.<br><br>
Mama Lori~i like that approach. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
akirasmama~nope, i dont consider that to be judgemental at all.<br><br>
tricia80~thx for the book recc. Doesnt look like our library has it, but i'll ask them to bring it in for us. i like the 'we can all be friends' message a lot! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br><br>
here's a link to the amazon review if anyone else is interested:<br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fexec%2Fobidos%2Ftg%2Fdetail%2F-%2F1902283368%2Fqid%3D1083640542%2Fsr%3D1-2%2Fref%3Dsr_1_2%2F103-0760921-2612617%3Fv%3Dglance%26s%3Dbooks" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=books</a>
 

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A tricky one. A simple explanation about vegetarians choosing not to eat meat might satisfy a very young child, but pretty soon they will want to know more. My 4.5 year old daughter has been given very basic information about why she is a vegan but she already makes her own judgements about eating meat ‘not being kind’. That doesn’t affect how she gets on with meat eaters, though.<br><br>
At the end of the day, all parents bring up their kids according to their own beliefs, and it’s pretty difficult to be neutral about what we believe in. How would you explain to your child not to hit without making a judgement about hitting? And if it’s o.k. to say hitting isn’t kind, is there anything wrong with saying eating meat isn’t kind to the animal? The judgement is about the act, not the perpetrator.
 

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Hello,<br><br>
I'm the person who answered the Mothering question for the panel, and I just wanted to clarify one thing.<br><br>
Like Fiona said, I meant that eating meat is not kind to the animal. I would never teach my child that people who eat meat are cruel because all of her extended family are meat eaters. I teach my child tolerance for people who eat differently than we do, much as someone who is, say Kosher, might explain to their child why they eat differently than some of their peers.<br><br>
I think there is also a different perspective that vegans have that vegetarians don't always have. Being vegan isn't just about a person's diet, it is definitely also about the cruelty to the animal. So vegan parents will probably want to teach their children that it is cruel to eat animals. Vegetarian parents may be vegetarian for health reasons and not consider the cruelty aspect, which is fine too.<br><br>
My daughter has asked me some hard to answer questions like, "Why does grandma eat animals?" and "How come the kids at school eat animals?" I've had to say that they don't agree with our way of eating, but someday I hope they will change their minds. In the meantime, we need to be tolerant of their actions and live by example.<br><br>
I think it's similiar to how we teach our children about other things we don't agree with. For example War. We tell our children that war is bad, but that the soldiers fighting our wars deserve our support and love, and we can hope one day that War will not be necessary.<br><br>
So, yeah, like Fiona said, the judgement is about the act, not the perpetrator.
 

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for us as we're so passionate about being and living in a vegetarian way. We will explain it to Bay as we choose to protect animals. It's our cause. Eating meat causes the animal to die and we don't do that. It's our job to protect the animals. Where as Nana and Aunt and Uncle (whoever) have other "causes". Like Nana protects poor people... That's our latest plan anyway. Something better may come up.<br><br>
If he wants to try meat he will be told how the process goes to get to his plate. If he still wants to try it he can accompany my father on his way to the slaughter house. If he still wants to eat it he can get a job!<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Kimberley
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Fiona2</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">How would you explain to your child not to hit without making a judgement about hitting? And if it’s o.k. to say hitting isn’t kind, is there anything wrong with saying eating meat isn’t kind to the animal? The judgement is about the act, not the perpetrator.</div>
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I phrase it differently now. i used to say that it wasnt 'nice' to hit. Now i say hitting hurts people. People dont like to be hit. When i used to say that it wasnt nice to hit, i felt uncomfortable about it, because there is a judgment that if the person does something that is perceived to be mean or not nice or whatever, that those attributes also belong to the person. Most kids hit for other reasons anyways, not because they want to be mean or whatever. I guess that's why i'm feeling uncomfortable with the judgemental tone of erin's reply. If i as an adult find it difficult to separate judging the act from judging the person, then i think that a child would probably also find it difficult to separate those concepts as well. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug">:
 

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That is a tough one & I don't know if I have totally taken the "right" approach. I have been vegan for a bit over 15 yrs & my 2 girls (ages 5 1/2 & 3 1/2) have been vegetarian all of their lives. My husband (dad to them!) is not vegetarian. The kids are mostly vegan at home, but eat some dairy & eggs products outside of the home.<br><br>
We are in a difficult place b/c we live in cattle country & my older dd is the first vegetarian child that her kindergarten teacher has had in 27 yrs of teaching. They do a number of projects that I think are disrespectful of our family values - learning about cowboys & cutting out pictures of pigs & gluing them to plates to represent the pork that they ate, etc. Her teacher has been very stern with Angelina telling her not to speak about why she is vegetarian, but has said nothing to the kids who tell her that she needs meat to be healthy & that God wants her to eat meat.<br><br>
I think, somewhat in reaction to this, & b/c my dd has asked why she is the "only" vegetarian, I have told her that we don't eat animals b/c they have feelings just like we do & they don't want to be hurt & killed. She views eating a cow just like eating her dog &, I admit, I do the same.<br><br>
This said, I don't know that this outlook has helped her much b/c she doesn't understand why her friends & family members would be willing to kill something that she loves. If I had another way to explain it to my girls that would still encourage them to want to continue to be veg*n without making them think that others were callous, I would definately be open to it!
 

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<span>I think you've done a wonderful job. It's a tough one for sure. And to be honest, I myself don't understand why family members and friends choose to kill and eat other lives- so it sure is even more of a quandry for a child to figure out!</span>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ChristaN</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">That is a tough one & I don't know if I have totally taken the "right" approach. I have been vegan for a bit over 15 yrs & my 2 girls (ages 5 1/2 & 3 1/2) have been vegetarian all of their lives. My husband (dad to them!) is not vegetarian. The kids are mostly vegan at home, but eat some dairy & eggs products outside of the home.<br><br>
We are in a difficult place b/c we live in cattle country & my older dd is the first vegetarian child that her kindergarten teacher has had in 27 yrs of teaching. They do a number of projects that I think are disrespectful of our family values - learning about cowboys & cutting out pictures of pigs & gluing them to plates to represent the pork that they ate, etc. Her teacher has been very stern with Angelina telling her not to speak about why she is vegetarian, but has said nothing to the kids who tell her that she needs meat to be healthy & that God wants her to eat meat.<br><br>
I think, somewhat in reaction to this, & b/c my dd has asked why she is the "only" vegetarian, I have told her that we don't eat animals b/c they have feelings just like we do & they don't want to be hurt & killed. She views eating a cow just like eating her dog &, I admit, I do the same.<br><br>
This said, I don't know that this outlook has helped her much b/c she doesn't understand why her friends & family members would be willing to kill something that she loves. If I had another way to explain it to my girls that would still encourage them to want to continue to be veg*n without making them think that others were callous, I would definately be open to it!</div>
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