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Old 02-08-2018, 11:10 AM
Location: Las Vegas
14,229 posts, read 30,028,651 times
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I have a friend who did this successfully. She did lead by example and spent a lot of time explaining why they did not eat meat, anything with a face was how she explained it. She told them a lot about animal cruelty and they went to farms/petting zoos to see real living animals. However if her kids really wanted to try something, they did. If there was a birthday party at McDonalds she left it up to them to decide what to eat. To me, her approach made sense. Her kids were going to live in a world where they would have to make their own choices. You can guide them and offer information but you can't decide for them.

I watched her kids grow up. They tried a lot of things and still do occasionally but they are both pretty solid vegetarians. I believe they will be vegetarians for life. And she still managed to let them be kids and learn for themselves.
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:53 PM
Location: Here and now.
11,904 posts, read 5,585,357 times
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Originally Posted by English Ivy View Post
No, I didn't drop her off and leave her at the party, but a couple other parents did with their kids. In this example, I didn't know the host - nor have any idea what was to be served ahead of time. Bringing food for her would be a good idea. Something crowd-pleasing that she can share with others. I don't feel it's appropriate to request the host to make accommodations for her.

Maybe other kids could be taught to say, "I don't like it", and yes kids can be picky, but mine is curious and wants to try new things, especially if she sees everyone else is having it. I felt put on the spot at the party - because if I didn't allow her to try the hot dog, she wouldn't have understood why it's ok for everyone else to have it except her (since we haven't had the discussion about it). She would have interpreted it as not being loved/being deprived. But giving her the hot dog also seems hypocritical.
I am neither a parent nor a vegetarian, so please forgive me if I am speaking out of turn.

I think you are on the right track. If she is invited to a party, I think it would be fine to let the hosts know that you are vegetarian. Some people will immediately offer to make sure there is food she can eat (I would - although I am an omnivore, there are many vegetarian/vegan dishes that I like very much.) Others may be indifferent, and in that case, I think offering to bring a vegetarian dish or two to share would be a gracious gesture. Sadly, you may come across some people who mock or belittle your wishes. I think I would avoid parties hosted by such people, not so much because of the food, but because that's just mean-spirited and disrespectful, and why would you want your child around that?

As for her desire to try new things...I am not sure what to tell you. Could you take a veggie dog or two to the party, just for her? That would allow her to have what the others are having without violating your principles. On the other hand, allowing her to taste a regular hotdog is not the same thing as serving them yourself. That would be hypocritical. The choice is yours, but this may be a case of the forbidden being more tempting, and you are not always going to be there by her side. If she has an independent nature and you make a big deal of it, it may make her even more curious about those forbidden items. Then again, it might not. You know your child, and I don't. I do know that when I was a kid, if I heard something was awful, I always wanted to see for myself. That's how I discovered Brussels sprouts, years before they became trendy.

I don't really know how you should approach the discussion. Explaining that some people eat animals and some do not seems like a good idea, but it's also pretty easy for me to imagine a child that young being a bit traumatized by that, and possibly concluding that all people who eat meat are mean and horrible, and nothing you have said indicates that you want to foster that attitude.

I don't know if you will find any of this helpful, but I thought I would offer a few thoughts from an omnivore, just for your consideration.
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