Do Vegan Parents Raise More “Ethically Aware” Children?

If someone had asked me this question a few years back, I would have stared at them, wide eyed & confused and said….”huh?… what do you mean?” It is difficult for me to believe, that I was once so completely clueless about something that I am so truly passionate about now.

Veganism has become a way of life for my family, and everything we do in some way or another, reflects on our views of living compassionately. Every dollar we spend, every bite we take and even our words, define our “ethical awareness”.

What is “ethical awareness” exactly? An easy way to describe it would simply be, “knowing what is morally just or unjust in the world around us and feeling a sense of moral obligation to do whatever is in our power to make a difference.”

Back to the question, “do Vegan parents raise more “ethically aware” children? And do our children have a greater feeling of obligation, to help end the immoral treatment of sentient beings on our planet, along with the unthinkable abuse of our beautiful earth?

As a Vegan parent, my answer is yes. Most omnivorous children have absolutely no idea of the pain that animals endure before their meal hits the dinner table. Aside from that, I have not met a child, other than my own & other Vegan children, that have any knowledge of how destructive corporate agriculture is to the planet.

I can not speak for all Vegan parents, and assume that every Vegan child is aware of these issues, but I can speak for many of us. Vegan parents simply want their children to be aware of the “negative”… so we can all begin to make changes for the “positive.”

I think most non-Vegan parents want to shield their children from the unfortunate truth, and do not want their child to feel any guilt over what they eat. I also believe that many non-Vegan parents truly believe that eating meat and other animal products is how it’s meant to be, and there is nothing to feel guilty about.

Until the children of the world become “ethically aware”, our next generation will continue follow in our cruel and immoral footsteps. We must open the eyes of today’s young people and make them understand that the selfish & unethical behavior of mankind cannot go on forever.

As Gandhi said “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”

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10 responses

  1. Hey so this is not directly related to your post but I thought I would ask. I am a new mother, I have been vegan for 3 years and vegetarian my whole life. We eat a very healthy and well balanced diet, but I continue to see overwhelming statistics about how “unhealthy” a vegan diet is for infants and children. My son is now 9 months I plan to breast feed until he is about 2, he super healthy and is incredibly advanced in almost every category (not just my bias mother opinion, ped agrees) I am wondering if you raised your children vegan from birth, if you have any tips about weaning, a high fat content milk preferably not soy, and any supportive informative resources for mothers raising vegan children? I have done my share of internet searching but have found little about weaning and how to raise a healthy vegan babe without a lot of soy in the diet. Also I love your blog thanks for all that you do. Oh and btw I train in Muay Thai too, was excited to see you do as well. Thanks for you help
    ~Dakota

  2. http://www.pcrm.org/health/veginfo/veg_diets_for_children.html

    Hi Dakota,

    Thanks for the feedback & question! So nice to hear that you have always been meat free! I wish I could say the same.
    I am also thrilled that you will be raising your child Vegan from the start!
    Please don’t let anyone tell you that Vegan toddlers & children can not thrive without animal products! It is simply not true!! Obviously your baby is showing you that he is thriving now!!! :)

    My family has only been Vegan for 2 years, so I can’t speak from experience. But I hear that oat milk & almond milk can be wonderful for Vegan toddlers. Your baby does not NEED to drink any milk at all though, when he is no longer breast feeding, as long as he is eating a balanced whole foods diet. He will get plenty of calcium through dark leafy greens, and his body will more readily absorb the calcium from these foods.

    I too, try to limit processed soy!

    Check out http://www.thekindlife.com Alicia Silverstone has been posting lots of great baby info lately. And PCRM are the smartest, Vegan doctors on the planet, so check them out!!

    Good luck! And nice to hear that you train in Muay Thai! What rank are you?

    Lisa

  3. I’m a vegan American,living in Denmark,a country that is quite far behind in the vegetarian world,and even further when coming to veganism. I am also a soon-to-be mom! The idea of others accepting me and my family’s decision to be veg (my husband’s vegetarian,our child will be raised as vegan as possible) is quite unnerving. I hope that we will be able to deal with all of the comments. One good sign,though,that Denmark might actually be moving towards accepting vegetarianism as a lifestyle came about this past weekend-my husband and I were at his 12-year old cousin’s confirmation party. When he (my husband) walked by her table,she stopped him and started asking if both him and I were really vegetarian. He said yes,we were,and that in fact I was vegan. She looked at him and said-“I think vegetarians are cool”. We really don’t know how her father,who was sitting right there,felt about that,but we were both really elated to have her say that! Really gives me hope that,by the time my baby is in school,there won’t be the problems I went through,through the early 90’s and on. It’s just so wonderful to know that our lifestyle is becoming less unusual,even all the way over here,in Denmark.

    • Hi Meagan,

      Thanks for stopping by my blog and taking the time to comment. Sorry to hear that Denmark is a bit behind in the world of vegetarianism & veganism, but I’m glad you are there to lead the way!! Your child will be fine socially I’m sure. Make him or her feel proud of “her” lifestyle, and other kids will feel admiration. Some may want to become a vegetarian. My son has lots of friends that have made the change to vegetarian/Vegan because he made it so “cool”. :)
      Good luck!!

  4. I am not a mom and I am also not vegan, but a pretty strict vegetarian who occasionally loves stinky cheese and yogurt. I hope to have children one day and I love the idea of raising them vegetarian and educating them on the social, ethical, and health benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle. I wanted to know how you handle situations at school when you are not present, for instance, it’s another kid’s birthday and their parent brings in a plate of cupcakes…or, for “field day” they grill hot dogs and hamburgers. How do you handle those situations without having your little one feel confused or the odd-man-out?

    • Hi Caiti,

      I try very hard to prepare for parties, field day, picnics etc.., ahead of time. My kids are known to bring their own small cake to a birthday party, or Vegan cookies to a school function. I also bring our own boca burgers & tofu dogs to picnics. Last night my son graduated from elementary school and there was a pizza party. I had emailed the person ordering the pizza beforehand, and we had our own cheese-less pizza! :-)
      Of course there will always we situations where my child is surrounded by burgers or cookies and I am not around to hand them something Vegan. They know that as soon as they get home I will take them out for something special or bake sweets for them.
      The most important thing is to prepare your child for these situations and they won’t be as upset as you may think. Kids are stronger than we often give them credit for!

  5. I recently became vegan. I have not raised my children this way, nor was I vegan when I met my husband. Now I’m wondering if I can get my older children to eat less meat and dairy without ,making them feel guilty or showint them horrific peta movies, etc. Feel guilty not cooking meat for them when they want it.

    • Hi Lisa,
      PLEASE don’t ever feel guilty not cooking meat for your kids! You would not feel guilty for holding back excessive antibiotics, steroids or pesticides from their growing bodies. And this is what you are doing when you stop feeding them animal products. You don’t need to show them PETA videos, but how about Food Inc. or Forks Over Knives. Both are good documentaries without graphic abuse footage. It is not easy to go Vegan for most kids. But it is possible. Hope you can do Vegan meals a few times a week to start… Good luck!

  6. It is definitely a big and daily effort. Especially when one parent is vegan and the other is not. I am the only cook in the house, so at home we eat vegan. I am struggling to make my 4 year old more aware, but he doesn’t quite get it yet. I aim to educate, letting him know that the ‘chicken nugget’ on that menu used to be a chicken. My son says things, like I like eating animals… but he hasn’t made the connection yet. I figure all I can do is feed him good plant-based food at home, and educate him when he sees other people eating meat and drinking milk. When people offer him food, he always asks ‘does it have cows milk in it? because if it has cows milk my bum will explode’…LOL not quite what I told him, but it works and I am proud he is questioning what is in his food at his young age.

  7. I think we do. Whilst we cannot be sure what path our children will take in the future there is no doubt that they will more aware. So many parents are not ethically aware and so they cannot pass that onto their children.
    In my own life it wasn’t until I was given an English assignment on animal testing that I really stopped to think and went vegetarian and then vegan a short time later (19 years ago now). It was a real eye opener as my English teacher had given us a list of organisations to write to and I wrote to them all and as soon as the replies rolled in I knew I wanted to change.
    So many children and adults are still in the same position where they simple are never made aware of the facts

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