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Being Accepted by Peers

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How can I help my child be accepted by his peers?

Being Accepted by Peers

Raising vegetarian children can be tough on you and them. Being "different" from classmates and friends can be a strain on youngsters who just want to fit in. One of the best ways to help your child's peers accept a vegetarian lifestyle is through birthday or holiday parties, either at home or at school. This provides a chance for kids to sample vegetarian food in a fun, relaxed atmosphere, and can help take the mystery out of your child's eating habits.



7/5/2009 4:17:22 PM
Angie said:

This is a very tricky subject and I sympathise with any parent/guardian who has to manage the situation. Many years ago I had a friend who was a strict vegan (no animal products eaten or consumed, used or worn)and upon having her first daughter naturally felt she would raise her as a vegan. When "R" started school, she was subjected to horrendous bullying both physical and verbal from her classmates who had never had experience of non meat eaters. Eventually, my friend felt it necessary to take "R" out of school and educate her at home. I'm happy to say that "R" is now a happy, healthy and vibrant 17 year old and enjoys her vegetarian diet still along with her two sisters and brother. What a sad way to experience the harshness of ignorance though. Personally I see several options to the dilemma for veggie/vegan parents:
1)From the school of thought that children should have choices:allow your child to eat what they wish (within reason!) i.e if they wish to try meat or eat dairy let them. Put aside your own beliefs and preferences and cook them what they want to eat. Let them come to their own decisions about what they eat but always explain to them the importance of a good, balanced and nutritious diet.
2)Make an allowance that if they want to eat meat at school they may but at home they eat vegetarian like the rest of the family.
3)Talk to the school and get involved in raising awareness and encouraging acceptance of other diets. Maybe the school can have one day a week where lunch is totally vegetarian or more participation in encouraging children to cook vegetarian dishes in domestic science lessons.
Finally, I think it's important to remember that there will always be a certain amount of teasing with any child who is "different" as children tend to want to be like their friends mainly. Trying to find a balance by keeping an open dialogue with your children, their school, their friends and friends' parents and you is surely a better way of managing seems to me to be the only way to go. Best of luck!

8/14/2011 2:50:18 PM
Louise said:

My children decided to go veggie at a very young age, even thought my husband and I were both meat eaters at the time. Some kids at school have teased them, but because they believe in what they are doing they seem to cope with it ok most of the time. Others are just interested and because my kids are pretty well informed they end up answering all sorts of questions about vegetarianism, which can only be a good thing! I think the idea of inviting other children over to show them that veggie food isn't necessarily 'weird' is a good one.


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