Vegan Deli

Vegan Deli  by Jo Stepaniak

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Raising Vegetarian Children
by Jo Stepaniak, M.S.Ed., & Vesanto Melina M.S., R.D.

Raising Vegetarian Children

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Do you have questions about being vegan? Send them to Jo using this easy form. She would be happy to address your individual concerns as well as general inquiries about vegan ethics, philosophy, practical applications, and living compassionately. Jo cannot respond to questions about nutrition or answer questions that have already been addressed in the Archives

Jo will make every attempt to answer each question personally, however, due to her schedule, this may not be possible. If a reply is forthcoming, it could take up to a few weeks, so please be patient. It is also possible that your question will be answered directly in the "Ask Jo!" column rather than an individual response.

If you'd like to view previous questions Jo has answered, visit the Ask Jo! Archives.

Grandparent Woes

My mother has arranged to take my two young children to the circus and purchased the tickets without consulting me first. She said that she views going to the circus as a "rite of passage" for children. The problem is that I am raising my little ones vegan. My mother has always been supportive of my views, but she seems adamant to do this regardless. The children, especially the older one, is extremely upset about this and said she refuses to go to the circus to see animals that are kept in captivity and forced to perform. I don't want to alienate my mother, but I also don't want to go against my beliefs or coerce my children into doing something they are opposed to. What should I do?

Parents have a right and a duty to raise their children with the values and beliefs they hold dear. Other people involved with the children - family members, teachers, and interim caregivers - are obliged to respect these convictions, even if they do not personally subscribe to them. To do otherwise is to betray an unspoken trust, which can threaten the foundation of any relationship and is sufficient grounds for a parent to curb future interactions.

It sounds like you have a good relationship with your mother and that there has been an open understanding about how you wish to raise your children. It also sounds like you have instilled an abiding awareness of vegan values in your children, and that their concern about animals and compassion are securely entrenched. Now is not the time to waver on your principles. Children learn not only from what we tell them but by the example we set. If you were to buckle under the pressure from your mother, you would in essence be stating that it is acceptable to compromise convictions whenever someone else is uncomfortable with them. Is this the message you want to convey?

In order for children to hold firm to their beliefs, they need to witness a steadfast commitment to them by their parents. When parents act hypocritically - say one thing and do another - it confuses, frustrates, and angers young ones and challenges their faith in their parents' guidance.

It would be best for your mother to bite the bullet on this one rather than sacrifice the tenets you have carefully imparted to your children and which they have wholeheartedly embraced. She will recover; your children may not. There are animal-free circuses and many other fun events that your mother can indulge in with her grandchildren, and you can recommend these as acceptable alternatives. Thank her for the generosity and love that inspired her gift, but explain in no uncertain terms that going to the circus is incompatible with vegan values.




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Vegan Vittles:
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Vegan Vittles: Second Helpings by Jo Stepaniak

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The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

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The Food Allergy
Survival Guide

The Food Allergy Survival Guide

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