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Vegan Mum, needing help with preschooler choosing vegan.

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Treehug Treehug VIC Posts: 4
1 18 Dec 2012
Hello everyone,

I'm a vegan of about 6 years and have never been happier since.
I'm a 26 year old mum with a very bright healthy little 3.5 year old to whom I have raised with my partner as a vegetarian when out and about (for the sake of being able to participate in social situations) and mainly vegan at home (I only cook vegan food but my amazing partner is vegetarian).

Our little guy has been raised knowing (in simple terms) that when he is old enough, he can choose to eat whatever he likes as long as he knows where it comes from.

He's chosen not to eat meat, tells everyone about his grandparents not eating meat either and tries to convert anyone who will listen (that ensuing talk about influencing not by bullying and force but leading by example and sharing yummy veg food makes for some odd playgroup lunches, "This doesn't have any animals in it!").

Today he wanted to know the ingredients of the biscuit he was eating (yes, he wants ingredient labels read and always asks someone before he eats anything, it's surreal).
I told him flour, custard powder, likely egg, sugar, butter. He stopped eating it and was upset, saying he didn't want to eat animals, at which I tried to explain about eggs. He threw his biscuit in the bin. "I want to be like you Mummy"..
Vegan? Yes, he wants to be vegan, no cow milk he says, no honey. He knows where they come from, he knows no matter what, I'll always love him.

Now you may think what part of me thought, which is, "AWESOME!, but my partner and I are worried what this means for his social future.
I've tried to convince him, "You could be vegetarian, just like Daddy, he doesn't eat meat!", but he knows the difference and knowing him, won't go back on it.
"You might have to miss out on cake at parties and go without sometimes.", didn't sway him either.

This forum seems to be full of lovely young budding vegans and vegetarians, do you have any advice for me as to how I can help him fit in at school later on, even kinder or childcare?

I only went vegan as an adult and copped enough grief about what I chose to put in my body and kids can be so cruel.
It's hard enough with bring-a-plate parties trying to figure out if the fairy bread has gelatine sprinkles, let alone moving on to the butter and bread, eep.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilledand so very proud that our little saviour-of-butterflies is passionate about animals, but am scared he'll be subject to exclusion, bullying and the heartbreak of realising that spring roll wasn't vegetarian a little too late (ewwwww).

Any advice on how to get kids through without exclusion?
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Jordana Jordana VIC Posts: 37
2 18 Dec 2012
Just writing to say I think it is amazing that you are raising your child with such good values and support. So many kids are brainwashed into carnism. Knowing there are people out there nurturing that compassion and understanding from such a young age is refreshing.

As for your worries about him being excluded, I don't have any personal experience advice but I'd imagine the best ways to stop such occurrences would be to talk to other children's parents prior to sleepovers and parties.

Just explain his lifestyle/diet and the foods he doesn't eat (as some people get confused). Maybe even suggest vegan ingredient alternatives to dairy, egg, etc that will help him stay included or just offer to bring some vegan dishes over for your boy and to share with everyone else.
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Casper.s2 Casper.s2 SA Posts: 1640
3 18 Dec 2012
Ah Yes, this is a Classic sign... It means he will be a Loner, have no friendly friends, as the nicest people all eat what ever the adverts say is good.

And will likely sit alone at home, on Vegan forums, dreaming about a better world. While you're out fighting with machines.
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Kelsey1 MsDrago Kelsey1 MsDrago United States Posts: 818
4 19 Dec 2012
Casper.s2 said:
Ah Yes, this is a Classic sign... It means he will be a Loner, have no friendly friends, as the nicest people all eat what ever the adverts say is good.

And will likely sit alone at home, on Vegan forums, dreaming about a better world. While you're out fighting with machines.
Please tell me your'e being sarcastic.
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Kelsey1 MsDrago Kelsey1 MsDrago United States Posts: 818
5 19 Dec 2012
I'm in 7th grade right now, and it's not phenomenally hard to be a veggie in school. Most kids are really interested in what i eat, usually negatively, but interested nothing less. it might be kind of hard to explain why you don't eat animals, however.
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Kelsey1 MsDrago Kelsey1 MsDrago United States Posts: 818
6 19 Dec 2012
Treehug said:
This forum seems to be full of lovely young budding vegans and vegetarians, do you have any advice for me as to how I can help him fit in at school later on, even kinder or childcare?

I only went vegan as an adult and copped enough grief about what I chose to put in my body and kids can be so cruel.
It's hard enough with bring-a-plate parties trying to figure out if the fairy bread has gelatine sprinkles, let alone moving on to the butter and bread, eep.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilledand so very proud that our little saviour-of-butterflies is passionate about animals, but am scared he'll be subject to exclusion, bullying and the heartbreak of realising that spring roll wasn't vegetarian a little too late (ewwwww).

Any advice on how to get kids through without exclusion?
I don't think he will be harassed about vegainsm if you teach him to be assertive and how to explain is beliefs to other kids. The only reason i'm sometimes criticized is i'm not at all assertive.
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sophxx sophxx NSW Posts: 169
7 19 Dec 2012
I'm vegan and I'm fifteen. I wasn't raised this way but I've been vegan for two years, so I might be able to help. In social situations, be sure to bring a plate of something tasty to share. That way there is always something he can have. Because he is so young, you can ask at birthday parties what will be served and bring a vegan version for your son - white bread sandwiches, cupcakes with green icing, etc. And maybe also carry around snacks he can eat (nuts, fruit, those Rafferty's garden baby food packs, etc) so there is always something he can have if he is hungry and there aren't any options available.
Teach him the old standby: "I don't eat animals because I don't want to hurt them. I don't tease you for what you eat so please leave me alone."
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KirstyGirl KirstyGirl TAS Posts: 754
8 19 Dec 2012
I think that's great. It's wonderful that your son wants to live a life of compassion. The fact is you're not forcing it in anyway which means that as far as social situations go, if he feels pressured in anyway by others or ostracised then of course he can join in because he knows that it's still ok with you. You're doing a wonderful job!
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Janine Janine NSW Posts: 232
9 19 Dec 2012
I think it sounds like you are doing an amazing job as parents and raising your child.
I have had this concern myself for my future children but my worries mainly consist about how my child would feel missing out on certain foods (as you mentioned) but if your child is choosing not to eat it - well that is just fantastic.
It sounds like he can already make decisions for himself and can back them up. So long as he can stand up for his beliefs i'm sure he will be fine.
We can't worry about them being excluded because in the end, people who want to bully or exclude others will find anything to pick on - not just what we eat.
My fiance is vegetarian and I am vegan (so same boat as you) but I will definitely choose to raise my children vegan as I believe it is not only better for their health, the animals, the world and I will ensure my children know the facts and know how to defend themselves when others ask questions. happy
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ForTheVoiceless ForTheVoiceless NSW Posts: 22
10 19 Dec 2012
It sounds like you're doing an absolutely incredible job with your little one! As a young woman who would love to be a vegan mumma herself within the next couple years do you have any pointers? happy Keep up the amazing work!
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