We often hear about young adults making the decision to become a vegetarian. However, it is also very common for children and teenagers to also opt for a vegetarian lifestyle. There are several reasons that a child or teenager may decide to become a vegetarian. For example, some children simply do not like the taste of meat. Others feel as though they are killing animals by eating meat. No matter what the case is, there are a number of things that you can do in order to accept your child’s decision to become a vegetarian.
Avoid Showing Anger About the Decision
Although you may not think that your child has made the right decision, the worst thing that you can do is show any type of anger about his or her decision. Think of it this way: while your child probably finds eating meat entirely repulsive, there is a good chance that he or she does not show any anger towards you for eating meat. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, even when it comes to food. Most people feel that the older a child is, the more responsible he will be about making decisions. However, if a child does not like meat, a child does not like meat. Showing anger about your child’s decision to become a vegetarian is unlikely to change his or her mind.
Don’t Encourage Your Child to Eat Meat
Parents often think that they need to change their child’s mind about eating meat. Although a vegetarian lifestyle may be a phase for some children, there are others who will remain a vegetarian their entire lives. In any case, the worst thing that you can do is encourage your child to eat meat. All that this shows your child is that you do not support their lifestyle. Encouraging your child to eat healthy food is one thing, but the worst thing that you can do if you want to accept your child’s decision to become a vegetarian is encourage him or her to eat meat.
Help Your Child Find Meat Substitutions
A lot of children really enjoy veggie burgers, hot dogs or other products. Keep in mind that some children enjoy meat substitutions, while others do not. While meat substitutions may not sound the most appealing to you, this does not mean that they won’t appeal to your child. You should also keep in mind that there are other types of protein that your child can enjoy, such as nuts, beans or eggs, if he or she has decided to eat animal byproducts. Helping your child find meat substitutions is a great way to show that you accept his or her vegetarian lifestyle.
Provide Vegetarian-Friendly Meals
It is often very easy to turn a meal that’s meant for meat eaters into a meal that is vegetarian-friendly. Keep in mind that you do not need to give up meat yourself in order to provide your child with meals that are vegetarian-friendly. In some cases, all that you may need to do is use two pots to cook certain foods, such as spaghetti sauce. If you plan to have meatballs, you can make them in your usual pot and then separate some of the sauce into another pot for your vegetarian child.
While there is so much more that you can do as a parent to show your child that you are supportive of his or her decision to become a vegetarian, these are just some of the very basic, yet very important, things that you can do.