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Uh, what do I do now? ? ?

:'(


My children just returned from a visit with their father--hadn't seen him but briefly more than a year ago, and a while before that. These are the ones that started this whole vegan thing in our family, and now they 'aren't sure this is something we should keep doing'. I do believe they do believe strongly in it--but his influence is so ugly and powerful! He lied to my younger ones and told them he was giving them "soy fake stuff" and fed them actual meat, eggs, cheese. . .they really believed it was fake until my older children confirmed it was real. Suddenly they don't think it's that big of a deal! How do I get them back?

You don't. You educate your children as much as you can, without pressuring them. You tell them the reasons why you want them to be in this lifestyle, because it's healthy for the entire world. And they will make their choices from there.

You can't force anyone to be vegetarian, unfortunately. Children will always make up their own minds. Gawd knows my folks didn't want me to be a vegetarian, but it's a choice I made, that wasn't forced on me, and I'm happy with myself.

If your children do decide that they don't want to be vegetarian, however, I don't think you're obliged to buy them meat.  You can still provide good, delicious and healthy vegan meals for them but by all means, you don't have to cook meat for your kids.

Your ex... he's a bit of a dick, IMO.

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Aww, 7, so sorry for you.  Blackdaisies said very well what I was thinking as I read your post.  How are your kids handling the fact that their father LIED to them?  Or have they thought about that part yet?  And that creep is more than "a bit of a dick" as Blaskdaisies said.  I could make a sailor blush if I typed the words going through my mind right now!

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I agree with the other posters...don't make a confrontation of it, but do make it kindly clear that there will be no change in the way you shop and cook. And that you're still the one in charge at your place. (Without of course using my father's favourite gambit: "As long as you put your feet under MY table...")What your ex does is up to him, but you don't have to go along with it. Ahhh yes, the old "let's make the kids pawns in this power game" ploy.  >:( Sigh.
(((7)))

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You said they were the ones that first started the whole vegan lifestyle, right? Maybe they just need a reminder as to why they're choosing to live free of animal cruelty. There might be something else going on, though... such a sudden change to "no big deal?" I'd talk to them in that regards.

As for choosing to return to non-vegan food, I'd respect their choice either way, but not without a few stipulations.
- I'd ask them to eat completely vegan for as long as they ate non-vegan at their fathers (in case that's not clear, if they were at their fathers for a week, eat vegan for a week). After that time is up, don't announce it. Kids have a lot of pride, and if you bring up something they'd rather forget, sometimes they'll stick with that choice, whether they still want it or not, so they aren't proven "wrong." If your kids remember it's the end of the week, then that's another story.
- I'm not sure how old your kids are, but either way, I -would- buy the food for them, because I'd rather support cruelty free products - if it's possible, I'd buy directly from a farm.
- Finally, they would have to handle the meat - if they want to eat it, they would have to cook it. Young ones can still form hamburger patties or crumble up ground meat for tacos, and your older ones could actually cook it. Just don't let them forget what they're actually eating - that's not that hard to do when it's served to you already cooked.

Good luck. (((7)))

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Ya....I let my brother and his wife watch my son when he was around a year old.  They went to the fair and fed him meat thinking it was funny.  Only later when a mutal friend told me did I find out.  The only advice I can give you is to quietly continue making veg*n meals w/o too much fanfare.  Good Luck.

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7, I'm so sorry that their father has put you, and even moreso sorry for the children, through this form of manipulation.  The ages of your children would affect how I would handle it, if I were in your position.
    As  TKitty pointed out, I would quietly and calmly point out to the children that their father chose to lie to them about something  that has a huge affect on their lives (their health) along with the world (animal cruelty, environment) simply because he does not wish to practice the same conscientiousness and goes a long with the mass because it's more convenient and easy.
    I would suggest not concentrating on the "lie" other than to let them be aware of it, then give them their own time to comprehend the gravity and enormity of what his action really means.  Kids are smart, as we all know.  If they're around the teenage years they may not admit, openly, how they feel about his lie, but they will know what it means.
    I agree with Blackdaisies about not being able to force them to be vegetarians, but also not to cook meat in your house or provide it for them.  They can eat how they wish elsewhere, obviously, but to me, it would be comparable to buying cigarettes for your child (or anyone for that matter).   
  And just as Silent Cricket said, I would gently remind them of the reasons they chose to become vegetarians while hitting on the environmental, health, and of course animal benefits the choice provides.   

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Thanks. Just reading some of these comments allowed me to let out a very big sigh. It's hard to figure out what to do with this kind of anger. The younger children (single-digit ages) are still quite committed, it's the teenagers that laid this burden of informed compassion on me in the first place, that are turned aside. I really think their beliefs are okay, just that there's something stronger in their search for an approving father which they are NOT going to find. This is the guy that told them vegans smell funny. Amazing how such a one as this can get intelligent, convicted, bold young women to give up so much of what they believe in. It's scary really, who will they end up married to ? But I could rant for hours about his evils, thanks for your support.

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Hi. I have a slightly different view than the other posters.  I personally believe that the kind of diet your children follow is a decision the parents make, just like any other decision you would make for them--what religion you should raise them, where they should go to school, etc. You get my drift.  The decision to feed your children meat is an actual decision the same as the decision to be veg. I am mostly reacting to the view that you can't force vegetarianism on anyone, which isn't something people say about being omni. You CAN force children to be veg, the same way you teach them to use the potty and pick up their toys.  That's what parents are for--to teach values and supervise the caretaking and upbringing of their children.

However, my kids are considerably younger than yours (my oldest is only 7).  Frankly, I have NO IDEA what to do with teenagers and I would imagine that it is pretty impossible to try to restrict what they do outside your home. I would treat this as any other decision I would make about sensitive/worrisome topics--drinking, drugs, smoking, sex--I'm sure you have rules about those and I would just make rules about this as well.

And I agree that their father sounds like a total jerk.

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Thankyou jkl, that's very encouraging. As I see it, it has become an issue of morality in our home, and I do have to teach it (which I decided to do), then I have to wait on my children to learn it. If I don't make a stand about this (and so many other things that need standing up against their father about) then I would be enabling them to become the abused adult I had been. Whoever the man person, if that person succeeds in taking away a part of you--you HAVE to get it back. I want to teach my children not to conform or bow to anyone. . .it's just kinda hard in that they aren't too fond of me at this moment (a teeny bit of the aforementioned anger slipped out-not out of control or anything like that, they just saw what they probably needed to see, and didn't want it). If I could just find ONE good quality in him. . .

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Kudos 7 for looking for the positive in spite of what sounds like a very negative breakup (not to mention what went before.) The most positive thing about this--human male--is perhaps that he helped you bring your beautiful kids into the world. And now you have these wonderful beings to love and educate and help discover the world they came into.

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Amazing how such a one as this can get intelligent, convicted, bold young women to give up so much of what they believe in. It's scary really, who will they end up married to ?

I had a very close & dear friend who was a fine Christian woman - smart, kind hearted, non-judgemental. She never tried to convert me when she found out I don't beleive, she simply inquired as to why & let it go. And of all my friends, she was the most curious & accepting of my veggieness.

As she got older I think she started to feel her reproductive clock ticking, & in my opinion, she made a very bad choice for a husband. He is a mean spirited, bigoted, small minded zealot -- the kind that I think give Christians a bad name. She had a very difficult time conceiving & when I asked if they considered adopting, she said, no, they were worried they might adopt a homosexual baby. ~GASP!! That comment was so unlike her I still cannot believe I heard it come from her mouth.

It's been a few years since we've spoken. They share an email account, & I suspect he deletes my emails to her because it is just not like her to not respond at all. I am still sad when I think of our lost friendship.

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If I could just find ONE good quality in him. . .

Please try.  As a child of a really really ugly break up, I believe that you taking the high road will stick with your children (esp. the teens) far longer than any experiment in dinner with Dad.  Parenting is difficult even when both parents agree on the topic and approach.  I think that if you make a production out of being angry and feeling deceived you will set yourself up for more in the future.  Let's just say if I were a teen ticked off at mom and I knew what would push her buttons....And labeling him as the bad guy will not help you at all, even if he is the bad guy.  Remember this point is eating animals, something your ex and a lot of other people do.  Associating him with "normal" is not where you want to go.
What would you have done if they had eaten McDee's on a school field trip?  You wouldn't be nearly as angry, I suspect.  I know this is different than a ex deliberately going against your wishes and lying to his children, but you can take that power from him by not attacking him directly.  It's not *him* that you are angry with, it's the deception, right? 
Talk to your kids about how they felt when he lied to them.  Talk to your kids about the mound of research showing the dangers of a meat-based diet.  Talk to you kids about the cruelty in the foods that they ate with their father.  Don't talk to them about what a jerk their dad is.  (but you can talk to us about it, venting is encouraged)
Good luck to you, you are doing a wonderful job!

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[ It's not *him* that you are angry with, it's the deception, right? 

Yeah, the deception makes me angry, but I am angry with him.

Thankyou for the further encouragement. I don't tell my children what a jerk he is, and I have a friend who is a therapist who has scolded me quite a bit for that. Not that I should use terms such as "jerk", but that I need to be factual with them about what he is for their own protection, which is hard, because what he is , well, you got a glimpse of what he is. The more I think on it, I really believe that they are just trying to cover for him, and that maybe they're being 'difficult' (for lack of a better word) as a distraction from him. Actually, when I kinda "lost it" the other night, I don't think I even mentioned him at all. I just went on (loudly) a bit about how wrong it is to lie, to manipulate, to violate other people's bodies and beliefs. . .that kinda stuff. The point of him being the one who did all of these wrong things was a point they would have had to gathered themselves (not too hard to do), but, I think it's just hard to take : that he simply is what he is, so they're trying to hide it (from themselves).

So, I'm quite glad to hear that venting is encouraged here, but I'm kinda afraid to even start--when would I end?

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My mother was fond of using this quote in times like these:  "My children don't come from a broken home.  I fixed it."

I would imagine that you'll have your hands full for the next few years whether your ex is in the picture or not.  I will say that I think almost every child "figures it out" at some point.  I don't think enough credit is given to kids' (in general) ability to smell BS.
Perhaps you could invite the ex over for a vegan dinner?  might freak him out and give the kids some over-exposure ;)?  Invite an older brother for back up...maybe...or your Dad...or someone who he won't be comfortable around.  sorry.  :-X

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7 said:

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So, I'm quite glad to hear that venting is encouraged here, but I'm kinda afraid to even start--when would I end?

;)  :D  ;D    I hear you, friend!!

NutDragon said:

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Talk to your kids about how they felt when he lied to them.  Talk to your kids about the mound of research showing the dangers of a meat-based diet.  Talk to you kids about the cruelty in the foods that they ate with their father.  Don't talk to them about what a jerk their dad is.  (but you can talk to us about it, venting is encouraged)
Good luck to you, you are doing a wonderful job!

and this:

Quote:
My mother was fond of using this quote in times like these:  "My children don't come from a broken home.  I fixed it."

I would imagine that you'll have your hands full for the next few years whether your ex is in the picture or not.  I will say that I think almost every child "figures it out" at some point.  I don't think enough credit is given to kids' (in general) ability to smell BS.
Perhaps you could invite the ex over for a vegan dinner?  might freak him out and give the kids some over-exposure ?  Invite an older brother for back up...maybe...or your Dad...or someone who he won't be comfortable around.  sorry. 

NutDragon, you are a wise one. I have learned much in the past from other wise ones & am always opening to learning more.

8)

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NutDragon said:

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Perhaps you could invite the ex over for a vegan dinner?  might freak him out and give the kids some over-exposure ?  Invite an older brother for back up...maybe...or your Dad...or someone who he won't be comfortable around.     

I have MANY people who would love to play that "back-up" part, but, unfortunately, he has a court order to stay away from me for a couple of years. (His evil goes much deeper that what you've heard here). Aside from that, it wouldn't be that big of a deal for him, he'd eat and he'd like it too, I'm certain. It's not about any of that stuff--it's power--a creepy kind of power.

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