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Unhappy Vegan Daughter

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Jerilynn H.
user 13689116
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 2
I posted this on the Sacramento Vegan Meetup Group page and I'm reposting it here to get more opinions.

Out of the blue, my 7 daughter told me she doesn't want to be vegan anymore. She was so angry that she couldn't just have one egg mcmuffin (her most missed food) - she had so much animosity about it. I asked her about how she feels that an animal dies for that egg mcmuffin and she said she doesn't like it but she still wants to eat it. It was an upsetting conversation for me. Not because she doesn't want to be vegan, but because she feels (and told me) I chose this lifestyle and didn't give her a choice. She used to be so passionate about it. She could express her opinion and would happily declare "is it vegan? Because we're vegan." Now all of the sudden, she hates it, hates all the food we eat (which she scarfs down and says she loves at the time), and is mad at me for choosing it. My mom had a good conversation with her about being a leader and about unhealthy family members who died so young. I tried to tell her that I miss things too - I didn't give up animal products because of the taste.

I'm wondering if any parents have gone through this and have any advice. I won't go back and I've told her that she will not be getting an egg mcmuffin or any other animal product as long as I am buying the food. But we can continue to try to re-create vegan versions at home (she didn't like this idea). We eat well - healthy, good tasting food that often times closely resembles the food I ate as a kid. She honestly isn't missing all that much as a vegan kid. And what she is missing will only shorten her life span so I have no moral issue about "depriving" her of this food. But I still don't understand her out of the blue frustration about this. I suspect it might be her father. He claims he's tried to be accomodating. He doesn't see her often (maybe twice a year even though he's close) but I'm wondering if on her visit 2 weeks ago, she had to sit with her vegan food and watch everyone else eat other food and felt left out. She said he expressed an interest in veganism and it made her sad because she wanted to eat what he was eating... I strongly regret not figuring this out before she was old enough to remember McDonalds and other non-vegan food but I can't change the past.

I realize it may be a phase and she may choose differently when she gets older. But I have a friend who was raised much like my daughter is being raised and he is STILL mad at his mom for it, even though he agrees that it isn't entirely logical. I think what's at the core of this issue is her feeling like she didn't choose it. I'd appreciate any input or advice you all might have. Thanks
Linda M.
Group Organizer
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 223
Hi Jeryilyn,
She is probably upset feeling different from so many kids. I think you need to go to the family and kids events that we are starting. We were going to have one at Emily's home but her husband got sick. Megan G said she would like to have kids and parents activities and Melodie also...this might help. Also, ask Emily Barth Webber for advice as she has experience with young kids and eating vegan...Also, look up Annie Hudson...she has two darling girls who are vegan and who go to the Farm Sanctuary for events every year...

Be sure and go to the Farm Sanctuary whenever possible so she can meet the animals....

Best Wishes,
A former member
Post #: 80
Jerilynn, I am sympathetic to your situation and I agree with Linda. As soon as we move, I will host more events (we have an offer on a house). My daughter is 6 years old, and we also have 2 and 4 year old little kids. Mine were born vegan, but still we talk about it almost daily. My daughter Siobhan, is starting to feel the pains of being excluded from certain cooking and crafts activities at school. She sees the other kids with yummy looking hot lunches in the school cafeteria. It is hard to be so "different" at a time when kids can be so insecure and worried about not fitting in. It is also sometimes difficult for them to understand the big difference between our "bologna" sandwiches and those of other kids -- they look the same, and there's no bloody, screaming animal on the other kids' bread. We have some pro-vegan books which help the kids, and we also talk a lot about kindness and pride in being kind to animals. We talk a lot about the poor piggy in the commercial who died for that honey-baked ham. We talk about how good we feel in being conscientious despite the "sacrifices" that we sometimes make in not eating certain things and not participating in certain activities. I think that Linda is right, that these kids need support. They need a group of peers like themselves to reinforce the "normality" of their beliefs. I don't think in terms of indoctrination, but we do need to focus on how it is a kind choice that we make -- we try to focus on the positive, and how the world is changing, and how we are just a little ahead of our time. In our family, it's not so much about what we "can't have" and more about why we choose not to have meats and choose compassion instead. I hope that this might help, and I would love to get together with you. My 6 year old Siobhan would love to have another veggie friend!! Please feel free to send an email, and even short of group activities, we could get together for a play date. Best wishes with this issue and happy holidays!!
Michelle K.
user 9243253
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 44
Maam, please show your daughter the MCDonald's website which now (by law) has to display its nutrition contents­
Please scroll over her "favorite" items and be prepare to be utterly shocked. Ask your teen daughter to decide whether she wants to ruin her health with such stuff as the "egg McMuffin" which contains 12 grams of saturated fat 820 mg of sodium! Food like this will certainly make her fat as well as give her bad skin with zits and acne. Remember this is stuff McDonald's for years has not wanted its costumers it markets to, especially children and teens, to not know.
Meanwhile have your daughter budget her own food allowance, and have her do research on picking out on what are the most healthiest items to eat on about a $4 a day budget. She can also learn to suppliment her diet with a backyard garden or planter boxes, or else get involved with a local community gardening project
Jerilynn H.
user 13689116
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 3
I wanted to thank you for the replies! I got caught up in life and forgot to send my appreciation. I thought about it today because the issue came up again, last night. I realize the reason why she says she doesn't want to be vegan anymore is because she sees people eating junk and wants what they have; I suppose there is an element of feeling excluded and also resentful of not being in control. That confuses me because there is plenty of vegan "junk" and she gets treats from time to time. She admits that we eat good food, but because she can't eat goldfish crackers, cheez-its or an egg McMuffin, she gets resentful. So I'm going to try harder to get involved with the meetup group, particularly the parents meetups. I woud love to get her together with another veggie kid but I hope she doesn't complain too much about being vegan to them...

I won't go back but I feel bad that she feels deprived. I told her that there are a lot of things people have that she doesn't and she seems to be fine with that. Hopefully getting her around other vegan kids and taking her to a sanctuary will help her. She knows a lot about health so talking about what is in the food won't do any good. She even said "I don't want the animal to die, I just want to eat it." I reminded her that there is no way for the animal to be eaten without dying and that eating something because it tastes good just isn't a good enough excuse. I hope I can appeal to her good nature because she has such a big heart. I know she may choose a different path one day but I don't want her to grow up with resentment because of a compassionate choice I've made. Hopefully we'll get through it - and sooner, rather than later!
user 12389010
Folsom, CA
Post #: 16
Maybe it would be better not to tell our young children we are vegan. What does that word mean to them? It's a label, and children want to fit in, they don't want to be labeled. But they understand when we explain that eating meat and drinking milk is unhealthy, and hurts the animals and our environment. It could make them proud, to know that they are doing something to stay healthy, to help the animals and the planet.
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