This is a topic I feel strongly about and there is no simple answer to this, but I will do my best to summarise the things to consider and make some suggestions.
Fortunately for me, this was easy as my son was the whole reason I went vegan in the first place but times do come up every now and again where he is tempted to want non-vegan things. Not meat, he doesn’t want that, but sometimes marshmallow (when it comes with his soy hot choccy) or ice cream when the kids at school are having some.
So, the answer to this firstly depends on where you are with your vegan journey. If you are working towards becoming vegan or just thinking about it, and kids seems like an obstacle; First up, ask yourself if you are using the kids as a scapegoat? (Our minds are great at trying to stop us changing, this is called the human shield)
After that, consider, how can this be easy to do together? How can you make it into a family thing to do? How can they learn from what you are doing and the thoughts about this you are having? And go from that place. Kids are super smart and compassionate (especially when they are little) so get them on board and use their creativity!
If you are vegan already, and transitioning kids. I would like to ask you this – why wouldn’t you raise them vegan? You came to this choice, probably because of compassion for the animals, or the health benefits or the impact on the environment or spiritual reasons. So, my question is, if being omni isn’t OK for you – why would it be OK for your kids? The most important people in the world?
There may be initial responses like ‘but they love X (insert non-vegan food here) they are such picky eaters, their grandma cooks for them once a week, kids at school can be so mean, how do I explain this stuff to them?!…
What I would like to invite you to connect you with what is the deeper reason you feel transitioning them to veganism may be an issue? Likely, ‘they will whine about it and kick up a fuss, and I’ll have to deal with it’ and let’s face it, it’s a lot of the reason we make a lot of choices as a parent. (No judgement! This is my approach to a lot of things too!! P.s I’m not a parenting coach for a reason LOL!)
I also invite you to connect to your bigger vision for going vegan, my guess is its to make the world a kinder place. If this is your goal. The only logical thing to do is raise your kids vegan. They are the next generation, nothing will change if we just continue everything just as it is now. The patterns will continue and the animals will continue to suffer. If we want to make the world a better place, we must be different and raise our kids differently.
The animals need brave people like you and your kids so speak up for them.
So, once you have identified the real reason and what that is for you along with your motivation for being vegan in the first place. Consider what needs to be true for you to make this transition as easy?
Here are a few suggestions:
· Show them some kids vegan youtube videos (Bite size vegan has a great kids series)
· Google vegan kids recipes
· Get them involved in prep
· Veganise their fave dishes
· Explain (repeatedly) about the animals and reaffirm we do this so as not to hurt animals.
· Create space in your head, life and kitchen to prioritise finding recipes and creating new dishes.
So, what to do if they are on board, but tempted by some items like ice-cream or marshmallows? Honesty is always the best policy, at any age, explain how it hurts the animals. I tell my son, it hurts the animals when we have stuff like that, or the animals died for that marshmallow and he doesn’t want it anymore. We don’t have to give in to them and it’s in no way being cruel to the kid, it’s showing them to stand up for what they believe in, even when they are in the minority and to speak their truth. This is so empowering for them!
Also, there are so many vegan versions of things now, so you can get pretty much anything vegan, so you can always get/make them a vegan version of whatever it is.
I really hope this is helpful, let me know in the comments your thoughts and how you plan to do this! (or how you did it if you have already)
I am going to guess that for some of you, the biggest barrier to transitioning your kids is your partner. What then? Well, that’s a whole different topic! Watch this space!
In love and compassion
Sally The Natural Coach