When raising vegan children, one of the biggest obstacles you’ll have to overcome will be with the scrutiny people will impart on you for your decision.
Though you likely think it’s radical to eat the flesh and byproducts of a corpse they are used to eating that way, and to them it’s radical to avoid animal products. It’s a good idea to keep their perspective in mind all the time.
And, never forget that people are very sensitive about food decisions and about their personal methods of parenting. When you combine those two into raising vegan children and vegan parenting, you could create an explosive bad temper causing atmosphere.
In most situations it’s best to keep discussions with non-vegan parents neutral and as far away from the food topic as possible. If you make very little fuss, they are much more likely to be accepting and go out of their way to make you (and more importantly, your child/children) feel comfortable in social situations.
Tips for handling questions about how you’re raising a vegan child:
- Have a sense of humor.
Remember what it was like before you learned what you know about plant-based diets,animal rights/ veganism
- Be compassionate, especially to those who think differently than you and might judge you.
- Educate yourself. You have to be armed with information so that anyone who questions you gets a compassionate, educated answer from you right away. If you don’t have a really good example of how your children get plenty of calcium, people will question your ability to take care of your children simply because of one small. That sounds mean but it’s true a lot of people will. If you can say that you understand why it seems so impossible for a child to get plenty of calcium without cow’s milk, but actually your children eat tons of beans and leafy greens that are packed with calcium, you not only defend yourself, but you can help to educate them.
It’s especially important to be educated when you are visiting your children’s pediatrician. If you have a good relationship with your child’s doctor and she/he is open to a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle this might not be as important to deal with. Undoubtedly your child’s numbers are going to speak for themselves since vegan children tend to be so healthy. But it never hurts to be able to provide explanations of the foods you eat and what sources of the “main” (most asked about nutrients) they eat, such as calcium,Vitamin D and protein.
- Make life as easy as possible for your children. And I don’t mean as in no chores,do whatever, no school/ homework get everything they want type of easy.
Some children will be able to handle any possible scrutiny other kids might throw their way, but others may be less likely to know what to say.
In those circumstances, you might consider getting a copy of the lunch menu (if they attend public/charter/non homeschool school)or find out what’s going to be served at the birthday party so you know what the other kids are going to be eating that day.
You can then send food that is the same with your child. Say pizza at a birthday party you can get vegan pizza( cooked from a restaurant /hot food station at Whole Foods type of store or Frozen )or maybe just get a pizza without cheese from a regular pizza place that has vegan Crust like Pizza Hut.
If your children go to daycare, you can talk to the teachers/caretakers and ask what types of foods they’ll be serving and arrange for vegan food for your child.
Sometimes you can supply individual soy/ almond /coconut milk cartons if they are going to be handing out little boxes of cows milk to the other kids.
Check Pinterest for amazing cooking ideas for packing vegan lunches that are so creative and delicious.
When it comes to holidays and special occasions there are many tactics for ensuring your children feel the excitement of the party or event without feeling left out weird or different than the others. Some parents like to offer to bring the desserts, or at least one cupcake/slice of cake for their child. And with so many vegan burgers and veggiwdogs on the market now BBQs and picnics shouldn’t be a problem.
Arm your children with the knowledge that you love them and are feeding them vegan food because you want the best for them. When they truly understand that concept, they will be on board.Most of all, enjoy raising vegan children who will (hopefully!) grow up to choose the same compassionate, kind, and loving in life come adulthood.