This topic is important to me because my husband and I have made the decision to raise our currently 14 month old son vegetarian. Since making this decision we have done a lot of talking (and some heated debating) regarding what this decision means for our family. Food plays a huge role in our lives and we have had to think and talk about situations that omnivore families probably would not have to think of.
If you are thinking about raising your children vegetarian/vegan here are my top three statements to explore with yourself and your partner.
1. Why are you vegan/vegetarian?
Are you veggie because of the animals, health, the environment, or a combination of the three? If you do not have a clear understanding of why you are veggie, then how are you going to pass on those ideas and feelings to your child?
2. Are you living your life consistent with your beliefs?
“Do as I say not as I do” is not going to work when teaching your children to live a veggie lifestyle. If you are vegan because of the numerous abuses that animals face when raised for food, but you still wear leather or go to the zoo, then how are you going to explain that to your child?
3. Explain your decision to your family and friends.
This step is also essential if your family or friends will be babysitting your children. You will want to make sure they are on the same page as you regarding the dietary decisions (and entertainment decisions if you refrain from any activity that uses animals as well) that you choose.
Deciding to raise you child vegan/vegetarian is wonderful decision. Just be open and honest with yourself, partner, and child and continue to have conversations and discussions regarding your animal free lifestyle as your child gets older. Educate yourself on veggie nutrition and develop friendships with other veggie families in your community.
As your child gets older allow them to experiment with how big (if at all) a role vegetarianism will play in their life. Hopefully if you set a strong healthy foundation, they will continue living a cruelty free lifestyle throughout their life.
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