Your Thoughts Thursday: Vegan Kids

June 10, 2010 by Keri

When it comes to children, new parents quickly realize it’s more than just bringing a new family member into their lives.  There are so many decisions to be made- schools of thought on how do everything from diapering to sleeping, schooling to diet, and everything in between.  Some tirelessly research every possible option, while others just wing it or go with what comes naturally.  No matter what decision any parent makes, there seems to be someone (or many someones) who think it’s the wrong one.  One thought provoking question I’ve seen brought up countless times among vegans and nonvegans alike is, why do so many vegans choose not to raise their children vegan?  Sure, kids are going to develop a will of their own, but for a few years, parents are in charge of what goes on their plates, into their bodies, and into their minds. So my question is, Will you raise your children vegan?

  • If you have children, do you maintain your vegan diet with them or do you feed them a more mainstream diet?
  • Why did you make the decision you did?
  • Do you think it’s important to let children participate in social events revolving around food- pizza parties, ice cream socials, birthday cake?
  • Do relatives and friends have concerns about how you choose to feed your children?
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I Eat Trees is a blog featuring my adventures in all things vegan. My favorite recipes, snack food finds, and restaurant trials are all on the menu so enjoy!

Comments

  1. Strubelmayer says:

    When my kids were little we were omnivores. Then I went vegetarian, and later vegan. My children have been told where meat and dairy come from and my daughter has decided not to eat milk or cheese, she even says no to gummy bears. My son does not eat meat but he can’t say no to anything else that’s tasty, like milk chocolate and gummy bears. (he gets neither from me).
    At home they eat the same vegan diet my husband and I eat, except on occasion, I cook them eggs, which I buy from a friend who has just a few chickens and truly cares for them. But neither would ever dream of eating meat.
    Sure I’d love it if they chose to be vegan, but they are old enough where I cannot control what they do outside the home. I feel if I force veganism on them they will eventually reject it. All I can do is educate them, inform them and let them know where their food comes from and hope that they grow up to be kind to all animals.

  2. Sydney says:

    Such a hard decision for sure. I was thinking I will probably feed my children whatever I eat (which would be vegan). However, once they become old enough and start getting exposed to meat, dairy, and eggs, I am not going to stop them if they want to eat it. I WILL however, explain where all that stuff comes from and why I choose not to eat it. I will also tell them that I think it’s healthier to follow a vegan diet.

    That being said, it will definitely complicate things if my husband turns out to be a meat-eater! I guess that’s something we’ll have to discuss when the time comes (if it ever does!)

  3. Woz says:

    I think this is a great topic and I thank you for bringing it up. This is one subject that my sweetie and I have talked about recently since children may very well be in the cards for us.

    I think I would subscribe to Sydney’s train of thought. While they are growing up, they would eat what we eat (just like I did when I was a little girl with family). And just like we were able to make choices to change our lifestyles, we will allow them to make their own decisions when they are old enough to do so (I’m not sure what age that will be!) because we do want to respect their process in figuring out things on their own. They’ll have all the information and we can only hope that we’ve raised children that will make the compassionate choices that we’ve made for them in their developmental years. I think that’s all we can really ask for at the end of the day, ya know?

  4. Renée says:

    We’re raising our daughter vegan. We have friends with older kids we met through veg societies, and they have explained veganism over the years, and it seems a common story that around the age of 10, the kids say “I want to be vegan.” Good to hear! Teen rebellion doesn’t seem common… Perhaps vegan parents are less authoritarian somehow? Despite how obnoxiously opinionated and morally superior we can be otherwise. 😉

    Our families did have concerns and repeated the same tired fears about protein, stunted growth, iron, etc, and a new one about kids needing saturated fat or they’ll have strokes(!!) heard from a doctor friend (ahh, doctors…when will they catch up? lol). However! Our better health was apparently not clear enough, so we are lucky with our daughter: she’s well ahead of the curve in height and language ability and never gets ill! It seems a diet with more plants has suddenly become more popular in our family circles…

  5. Lauren says:

    I am without a doubt going to raise my children vegan. It’s easy to do in a nutritious way, and I just don’t think I could stand to see my babies eating the milk make for other babies or eggs, knowing the origin. Though this may have its rough patches, kids are always going to tease other kids, and secondly, I think that maintaining a vegan family will help to normalize veganism.

  6. Veronica @ lifewithnature says:

    I don’t have kids yet, but I would certainly give them the best diet possible. Im my terms, this would be the same diet as I have. This wouldn’t mean that I would be super strick and forbid certain foods. I have seen too many kids expressing their own will against their parents recommendations. I often heard the argument that we can’t raise a healthy child with a vegan/vegetarian diet. Some of my friends (in their 30’s now) have been vegan since they were born and let my assure you that they thrive.

  7. Vegmom says:

    My Young one was Vegan his first year for certain. Between My Milk, then fruits, veggies and grains, there really wasn’t anything else he needed that first year.

    My opinion was, when he was old enough to make his own decisions, I would let him.. His Dad ate Animal products as did everyone in our family, so I knew it wouldn’t be long before he wanted to try stuff. And he did.

    Now that he is 7, he’ll choose Tofu over Chicken any day. And never asks for the desserts at parties, we just bring his own.

    I’m not sure he’ll rebel as a Teen, but at least he has a good foundation, and since it is his choice, I hope he won’t rebel to badly. At least on this topic 🙂

    AND YES, family absolutely had their input of negativeness… Still do. But I look at their health and ours, then don’t worry. I know that I’m doing the right things for health and environment. So its a great feeling.