As a parent, do you find that choosing a vegan lifestyle for your children is not very respected in society? There have been stories cropping up in the news about how vegan parents have put their children's health at risk due to a lack of nutritious foods, but this shouldn’t cloud the fact that your children can be vegan and healthy. The focus definitely needs to be on health, in the same way that a non-vegan eating plan should also be.
- Vegan Parents: Are They Too Fussy?
Recently on Slate.com, a woman wrote in to the agony aunt and asked for advice about her mother-in-law who doesn’t stick to the vegan principles the woman has set out for her kids. Surprisingly, the answer from the expert was that she should actually thank her mother-in-law for looking after and feeding her kids. The feeling that comes through is that veganism is not serious and more of a fussy choice than anything substantial; that vegan kids can go without veganism and it’s not such a big deal. But what if it’s a big deal for parents? Raising vegan kids is not a “special diet” but rather a way of teaching children important values that they will carry throughout their lives.
- Going Back to Basics
I reckon that there has to be a good reason for parents to put their kids on a vegan diet, and it should be about wanting the best for them. If a parent is forcing their children onto a vegan diet because it’s how they live their lives but it might not be the best thing for the children, then this needs to be reconsidered! There’s also the fact that there are many more temptations available to children that they might not be able to ignore as adults would, from sweets and burgers at their friends’ parties, to the non-vegan desserts family members might whip up to spoil them. Where does a vegan parent find the right balance? On the one hand, you want to keep your kids vegan but on the other, you also don’t want to be a diet dictator! These issues are worth considering if you are eager to set a vegan lifestyle for your children. It also helps to discuss them with your children as they occur, especially as they get a bit older. Perhaps what the expert’s advice to the vegan mom was really about was happiness: you want your children to be happy and this is an important part of being healthy.
Vegan parenting isn’t always easy but you ultimately want to take the focus off your needs and think about what's right for your kids - whether or not this is a vegan lifestyle.
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