When most people talk about children and veganism, the conversation is often about food. However, if you do decide to raise vegan kids, you will realize that there is actually quite a bit more to it.
When it comes to kids, one of your biggest concerns is that they are healthy.
In fact, as time goes on, you will understand that nutrition is the easiest problem to solve!
Don’t worry, though, since you don’t have to tackle these parenting issues by yourself.
To gain some insight into how you can manage this particular project, keep reading below.
Parenting with a Non-Vegan Parent
If both you and your partner are vegans, then your parenting path is a little more straightforward.
The real issue can arise when your partner doesn’t follow the same lifestyle as you do. It is here that you may find yourself at crossroads. So, how can you proceed?
This is actually a good topic to broach before you even start having children. So, if you are planning a family, put this subject on your “must-discuss” list right now.
This way, you have more time to talk things over and decide on a plan that works for both of you.
In case this is something you didn’t have an opportunity to do, there are still some avenues. The first thing to keep in mind is that your partner should have a say in your child’s diet as well as how they are raised.
After all, they are equally responsible for your little one as you. As such, you can’t simply insist that your child should be vegan.
However, it is a good idea to approach the matter of a vegan diet from the right angle with your partner.
While it can be tempting to focus on the moral aspect of this lifestyle, stick to the health facts for now.
For instance, it has been found that kids on a vegan diet are much more likely to consume more nutritious fruit and veggies than other kids.
When you take this line of reasoning, it is unlikely that your partner will disagree with you all that much. In the end, all parents want their kids to eat better.
At the same time, they may request a compromise and want your child to be non-vegan some of the time.
How you respond to this is up to you. Nonetheless, you may find that being flexible now will pay off later on.
So, it could be a good approach to take, even though you are entirely happy with it.
Talking to Your Kids about Veganism
There are some parents who prefer to simply raise their kids on a vegan diet without talking about why they are doing it. This is fine for the first couple of years.
However, when your little one starts interacting with other children, they will quickly realize that their diet is different.
Thus, it is better to often talk to your child about veganism at an early age.
Now, before you do this, you need to remember that you can’t really talk about this lifestyle in the same way that you would an adult.
For one thing, while most adults can listen to horror stories about how animals are treated, a similar experience will probably traumatize a child.
Therefore, you will need to tailor the message to that age group.
For instance, it is best to avoid graphic language. So, stay away from words like “slaughter”, “torture”, “murder”, or even “dead”.
Instead, talk to them about how farm animals are kept in bad living conditions and how they are not happy.
Tell them that you are vegan so that animals can feel safe and happy.
Such concepts are a great deal easier for most kids to grasp.
Of course, you don’t have to hold back as much if your children are teenagers.
At this age, you can even encourage them to do their own research or simply point them in the right direction.
Still, your job is to educate and inform rather than shock and disgust.
Helping Kids with Being Different
It is important for you to comprehend that being vegan will mean that your child will stand out.
They will not be able to eat the same food as most other kids and will probably hold different opinions as well.
Due to this, it is best to teach your little one how to handle being different.
In this instance as well, it is all about keeping it simple. Your child shouldn’t have to memorize a long, righteous speech.
Instead, offer them a short and sweet explanation that they can pass on to their friends.
It can be as clear-cut as “my family doesn’t eat meat because we want to protect animals”.
Still, they are bound to get endless questions on their upbringing so it is a good idea to figure out how to contain this.
One thing you can do is tell your child to get their friends to ask you questions instead of them.
Or, you can speak to the parents of the other children and explain that your little one is vegan and that their kids to be mindful of that.
Your Kids and Their Non-Vegan Friends
At some point or another, you will not be able to supervise everything that your child eats.
They may be offered additional snacks at school or will be invited to playdates where you don’t have any say in the meals.
So, how are you supposed to ensure that your little one doesn’t eat meat, eggs, or dairy?
Well, this is rather tricky. Of course, informing teachers and parents about your kid’s dietary restrictions are a good first step.
Even then, though, you may not be completely in the clear. Teaching your child about the difference between vegan and non-vegan food can help but may also be a limited solution, given their age.
In the end, you have to accept that certain things are beyond your control.
Until your child is old enough to clearly identify what they should and shouldn’t eat, you may need to be a bit flexible.
That said, there are a few ways to reduce the risk of the above scenario happening.
Always make sure that you pack plenty of snacks for your little one. Teach them to eat these instead of other food.
Make sure that they are fun and tasty and make enough for them to share with their friends as well.
This way, they will not feel pressured into eating food that might not necessarily be vegan.
In any case, this is something that you will have to get used to doing when your child’s friends come over to your home.
Take this opportunity to show them that being vegan can actually be pretty cool. Make delicious, healthy treats and even let the kids get in on the fun too!
What If Your Kids Don’t Want to Be Vegan?
When your kids are little, they probably won’t push back on their lifestyle too much. Sure, they may not like certain fruits or veggies but they won’t really object to being a vegan, specifically.
They basically go with the flow and are pretty easy to handle on this front.
As they approach their teen years, though, you may find that your kids start rebelling quite a bit.
They may question certain rules, habits, and anything else that takes their fancy.
So, it is possible that they may question veganism or even whether they want to follow such a lifestyle anymore.
It is then that parents have a rather difficult decision to make. After all, it goes against your very nature to let your child eat dairy, eggs, or meat.
So, can you really tell them that abandoning their lifestyle is “fine”? Probably not.
Despite this, forcing the issue is probably not going to work in your favor. The more that you try to convince teenagers of something, the more likely it is that they will push back.
If you make veganism compulsory, you may find that they abandon this lifestyle altogether when they are older.
It could be that a compromise might be better for everyone involved. For instance, you can still maintain that there will be no meat or animal-derived products brought into your home.
At the same time, you may want to give them the freedom to eat the way that they want outside of the family.
While this can be a tough call to make, it is important to realize that no one forced you to be a vegan.
Rather, you came to this lifestyle on your own volition.
As such, it isn’t necessarily fair to force your viewpoints onto your own children, particularly when you were like them for most of your life.
There is no denying that being a vegan parent can be tough on all fronts.
This is because it can often feel like there are so many different things to focus on or juggle at any given point.
Hopefully, this guide will have made things a little easier for you to manage.
To follow us… Make sure to click on the social media buttons on this page.