Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
A vegan mother has sparked a discussion online after asking if it would be okay to feed her son meat against her husband’s wishes.
Yep, it’s all going down on Reddit after one mother put her dilemma to fellow parents, saying that despite her own plant-based lifestyle she didn’t want her seven-year-old veggie child to feel “denied” meat, or to have his own personal choices “belittled”.
“For context I am a vegan… I have been for just over a decade now, and my partner is a vegetarian. We are raising our son as a vegetarian and will do with our one year old daughter too,” she said.
“Up until last year our son took a packed lunch to school however this year he requested to move to school dinners. While I’m not exactly thrilled with the idea he is old enough now to make his own decisions, I had to tell myself they won’t be serving him poison and he eats very well at home, so we agreed.
“Last night he approached us very sheepishly and told us that he would like to switch to having the meat options. We were both shocked as we have never seen him show any interest in meat before nor did we think he’d ever really had more than a bite from a relatives fork to try, but he revealed a friend of his had been sharing his dinners with him and he began to enjoy meat.”
The mum said that whilst her husband is “furious” at the revelation, she is trying to be more understanding.
“As a child I always wanted to be a vegetarian and was constantly denied and belittled by my parents, I never want to put my children through that trauma as I developed a toxic relationship with food as a result,” she said.
“My husband…wants to sue the school for negligence and wants to go after the little boys parents for raising a ‘meat pusher’.
“While I am also deeply hurt and upset, I can accept that there’s no real way to monitor the kids 24/7 and that at this age there’s no real understanding of what he’s asking for.
“I’m wanting to let him go on the meat option for the last term and then we can talk to him about it properly in the summer holidays, [but my] husband wants to deny him the meat option completely.”
The woman took to the forum to ask people what they thought was the correct approach, and whether she should let her son eat meat without her husband’s consent.
“His main issue is that this happened unsupervised and is a result of peer pressure as opposed to genuine curiosity,” she added. “He doesn’t want to encourage it and is comparing it to the kids that have started vaping at early ages because of their friends in school.
“I don’t want to be dismissive of my husbands concerns, but I also don’t want to do to my son what was done to me with my diet preference.”
Taking to the comments, it seems that the bulk of respondents were on the woman’s side.
“Let your kid have meat if he wants it,” said one. “Your post says his friends SHARED his meals with him, not that he pressured him to try it. I remember constantly sharing and trading food with my friends at school back in the day. Kids have done it for eons and will continue to.”
Whilst another added: “Your son tried dinners from his friend’s dish because they looked interesting and obviously tasted good to him. There was no peer pressure there, but there seems to be peer pressure at home.”
“You’re handling this really well,” reassured a fourth, suggesting that the mother should indeed let her son explore meat. “If your husband gets his way meat will turn into a forbidden fruit that he’s going to sneak in anyway. Comparing it to vaping is utterly ridiculous and he’s acting hysterical.”
The mother was also told that she needed to encourage her husband to change his way of thinking.
“It seems like your husband really only planned to respect your son’s choice as long it was the choice he wanted him to make,” one person said.
“We won’t force him with anything, it’s largely about him understanding where his food is coming from and not taking things for granted,” the mum said, in response to concerned respondants.
“If he wants to eat meat that’s fine, but we want him to be aware of the different ways it ends up on his plate and start looking out for the ethical and environmental impact of his food.”
Sounds reasonable, right? Here’s hoping this family manage to work it out soon…