The following was syndicated from Quora for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at [email protected].
Is it wrong to want to raise my children vegetarian like myself, then let them decide when they are old to know choice if they want to eat meat?
No, it’s not wrong to raise your child vegetarian. It’s not always easy on the kid, but that can be a good thing. I was raised a vegetarian, and have been a vegetarian my whole life.
The best thing about being raised a vegetarian, is that it taught me from a young age to withstand peer pressure. By the time I got to high school and college, it was easy for me to say no to drugs and alcohol. I had no problem being the only one not drinking — because I’ve been used to it my whole life.
Also, if I chose to diet, and take it seriously, it’s easy for me to cut out specific foods. And once I cut something out, I don’t cheat. My willpower and ability to withstand peer pressure are high, and I attribute that to years and years of practice as a child.
When I was growing up, it was hard being a vegetarian – but being a kid is hard, especially when you are doing something different from the other kids. The bigger problems were usually with the Parents of other kids, not really the other kids themselves.
When I was young, birthday & summer BBQ parties were difficult. I ate a lot of hamburger and hot dog buns with heaps of vegetables and condiments. I can’t remember one party with a veggie-burger. This was before there were many good Vegetable Burger Recipes and before people knew how to make Vegetable Burger.
A lot of parents didn’t understand why a kid would be vegetarian, and often tried to make me eat meat. Some even argued with me. This was uncomfortable. But I learned at a young age how to say no and to stick up to people when they tried to make me feel bad.
Now that I’m an adult, I still eat vegetarian and don’t think it was wrong for my parents to raise me this way. It was their choice, and now it is mine. My husband, is a meat eater, and it’s no problem. He likes to cook and makes great vegetarian food. Thankfully he never bothers me about being a vegetarian. It’s never been an issue. It’s not easy to control me, and I wouldn’t have married someone who tried to make me eat meat – or do anything I don’t want to do for that matter.
Since I’ve been vegetarian my whole life, I rarely think about it. Meat does not tempt me. Rarely these days do I get strange looks when I tell people I’m a vegetarian. The only time I ever feel uncomfortable is around Thanksgiving or another holiday when someone has put a lot of effort into their meat dish. I don’t like to decline and am afraid to offend someone who put hours into their turkey.
I don’t care if friends eat meat around me. The smell or sight doesn’t make me sick. When I discover someone else is a vegetarian, I feel a kinship with them. All of my childhood friends know and remember I’m vegetarian. It was a defining, perhaps the defining characteristic of my grade school self. However, now it’s not that big of a deal, especially in California. I’ve been healthy my whole life, and don’t think that there is anything wrong with my parents raising me this way.
Mira Zaslove is a writer. Read more from Quora below: