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to think that if you tell someone that your child is vegetarian...

(462 Posts)
Tollund Tue 12-Jul-11 12:11:29

that they should respect this and not then try to feed them meat?!

At a birthday party with DS1 who is four and a parent there offered my DS a sausage. DS took one (as he didn't know is it was veggie or not) and I politely said to the man "thank you, but he's vegetarian."

He said "yes, I know, they told me that. But I thought I'd see if he wanted one, and he took one, so let him have it."

I ignored him and told DS not to eat it.

THe man then started on at me about how I should let him make his own choices and to let him eat it which I refused to be drawn into, politely telling him no and then walking away.

He then went up to the mother of the child whose party it was (about 10 feet away from me) and starts banging on about me not letting him eat meat!

I think this man was monumentally ignorant - why does he think he is in a position to make food choices for my four year old child? What if DS was Jewish? Or had allergies? I'm now loathe to let my DS anywhere near this man's child or to go to parties where this man might be - IABU? (I don't think I'm BU in terms of making dietary decisions for my son at this time in his life, but whether am BU in wanting to keep my DS very far away from that tool!)

NewTeacher Tue 12-Jul-11 12:16:34

If its for religious or medical reasons that he's veggie then YANBU. If he's veggie because you want him to be then I feel YABU.

Succubi Tue 12-Jul-11 12:16:55

I think you are being unreasonable. Particularly when you compare an adult choice to not eat meat with a medical allergy.

I agree it is your child and your right to bring up your son as you see fit but having been a vegetarian for over 15 years I would not impose my diet on anyone else particularly a child.

sausagesandmarmelade Tue 12-Jul-11 12:17:10

I agree wholeheartedly with the man at the party. Your son is not old enough to understand all the issues surrounding vegetarianism...and so should be able to eat what he likes...

Entirely different to religious diets and allergies....and I think that you were being rather rude making an issue of this in someone else's home.

ZacharyQuack Tue 12-Jul-11 12:18:40

I think the party man had sausage issues.

CareyHunt Tue 12-Jul-11 12:18:42

YaNOTbu...he was being a cock.

I really really hate the whole 'Let your child make his own choices' crap. That's how these people parent is it? They don't make any choices for their children? Do their children choose what they want to eat, perhaps from a menu? Do they let their children decide when to go to bed, and what they do all day?

I think you were very restained, and are right to keep away from this twunt man.

snailoon Tue 12-Jul-11 12:19:42

He is outrageous, but also very very unusual. I have never had this sort of thing happen (3 vegetarian kids). Your son will probably keep HIMSELF far away from this unpleasant man, but you are certainly not unreasonable to help him.

Tollund Tue 12-Jul-11 12:20:11

I'm veggie for ethical and spiritual reasons - I also do all the shopping and cooking in the house so it's a meat free house. DH isn't veggie but eats meat out and about, which is fine, and if DS wants to do the same when he is older then that is also fine, but I personally don't believe that at 4 years of age he's able to make an informed choice about whether he wants to eat meat or not.

That aside, this man wasn't interested in what the reasons were for him being vegetarian, he just wanted to take the piss because he was narrow minded IMO.

GruffaloMama Tue 12-Jul-11 12:20:38

YANBU. About both things. What a moron.

Our DS is 2.8 and vegequarian, the same as me. DH is veggie. Every time FIL takes us out for lunch he makes a song and dance and suggests he should have chicken/roast dinner etc etc. Every time we say 'no, DS doesn't eat xxx'. When he is old enough to understand what meat is and the implications of eating it then he can make his own decisions. I wouldn't get angry if someone who wasn't aware of the choice we have made for him accidentally gave him meat, but I would be furious if someone knowingly went against our views and/or tried to undermine them in front of DS. It is for this reason that my DB as well as our FIL has never been left to look after DS. It makes me sad but until they grow up (my brother/FIL, not my DS!) that's the way it goes.

Hammy02 Tue 12-Jul-11 12:20:47

How can you have a Jewish child? They are too young to have decided which religion to follow.

iloveroses Tue 12-Jul-11 12:21:04

YANBU. Man is an idiot. Totally agree with Carey.

fluffyanimal Tue 12-Jul-11 12:21:36

I think that whether you agree with them or not, you should respect a parent's decisions about their child's diet. So in that sense I think YANBU. However, I personally don't agree with vegetarians imposing their choice on their children without giving them a choice, so in general my opinion would be that YABU to bring your DS up vegetarian.

But I would never undermine your decision by trying to feed your children meat, however strongly I disagreed with it.

MorticiaAddams Tue 12-Jul-11 12:21:58

YANBU. As for making informed choices, I doubt very much that he has explained in detail the slaughter process to his dc so that they can make an informed decision as to whether they eat meat.

Your ds is fine for now and can make his own choice when he's old enough, the same way other children do.

itisnearlysummer Tue 12-Jul-11 12:22:56

I don't think the OP is being U.

As long as her DS has a well balanced diet that is nutritionally sound, I don't see the problem in it being vegetarian. He has the choice to eat meat when he is older, just as meat eating children have the choice to become vegetarian when they are older.

Whether the man at the party agrees with her dietary choices or not, he doesn't have any place at all in trying to influence the child in going against his mother's wishes.

There are things I don't want my children to eat. I have my reasons for that. Other people might disagree. That does not give them the right to go against my wishes though! I would consider that to be rude, not me having food preferences I expected to be followed in the first place!

worraliberty Tue 12-Jul-11 12:23:18

Whilst I think being veggie for ethical and spiritual reasons is ridiculous in itself, considering the sheer cruelty in dairy farming...

The man was a plank to think he has the right to tell anyone how to raise their child and what to feed them.

Tollund Tue 12-Jul-11 12:23:42

sausages - are you him? I didn't make a fuss, I remained very calm and polite even though I wanted to rip his head off especially when he then started bitching about me right in front of my face!

HeadfirstForHalos Tue 12-Jul-11 12:24:28

YANBU. Our dc are vegetarian as both myself and dh are. Of course we bring our dc up with our personal beliefs, all parents do, be that not eating sweets/aspartame/meat, religious beliefs, not allowing TVs in rooms, allowing or disallowing pets, I could go on for pages.

We bring our dc with our own beliefs until they are at an age to decide for themselves.

The man was being highly disrespectful.

DogsBestFriend Tue 12-Jul-11 12:24:29

I'd have fucking decked him! As arsey as I often come across I'm not at all given to actual violence but I'm unsure I could have stopped myself in this scenario.

No child is able to understand the issues surrounding meat any more than they are able to understand those surrounding vegetarianism. It's no more a choice or "forcing your views upon the child" to give them a veggie/vegan diet than it is to give them a meat one. It's down to the morals of the parent just as it's down to the parent whether or not a child is taught to share toys (some don't agree with this, do they?), or to be a Christian or a million and one things inbetween.

There is NO WAY I would let my child anywhere near that man again... and I wouldn't be able to trust myself to even speak to him, I'd be spitting so many feathers.

DBF - now vegan, formerly veggie, been either/or for over 30 years and mother of 2 teenaged, lifelong vegetarians.

snailoon Tue 12-Jul-11 12:24:29

NewTeacher-- Why on earth are religious reasons more legitimate than ethical, moral, environmental ones? This attitude really makes me angry. Of all the choices we force on our kids, religious ones seem like the most destructive to me.

sausagesandmarmelade Tue 12-Jul-11 12:24:45

You are teaching your 4 year old to fear certain foods....
Immediately taking it from him. If he likes sausages he should be allowed to eat them. You sound rather extremist I think and it could be counter productive in that, when he finally gets to be out of your control he will seek out the foods that you have forbidden throughout his life - really, that can happen.

If you want to control (and controlling it is) what your son eats...then don't send him to parties where food is going to be served.

verylittlecarrot Tue 12-Jul-11 12:25:49


I eat meat, but you are responsible for deciding what your child eats, and I believe a well planned vegetarian diet can be perfectly healthy for a child.

It is no-one else's business. If however you feel that no exceptions must ever occur, you may find that you have to supervise more closely than other parents need to.

My toddler son has an egg allergy and until he outgrows it I have to watch him like a hawk as neither he nor any other adult should take responsibility for controlling his food choices.

sausagesandmarmelade Tue 12-Jul-11 12:26:24

Some of you veggies sound a bit aggressive tbh

hairypotter Tue 12-Jul-11 12:26:24

I think the way this man dealt with it was BU, However I do think that your son should decide for himself if he wants to be veggie. Although I didnt eat meat when my dd was born, I didnt force my beliefs onto her. When she is old enough to decide for herself she is free to eat whatever she chooses.

YABU a bit if it isn't for allergy or religious reasons.

EricNorthmansMistressOfPotions Tue 12-Jul-11 12:26:57

eating meat is as much a choice as not eating it. My son can choose to eat meat when he's old enough to understand that choice. That will not be 4 years old. Sausage man is a twat.

and it bears repeating eating meat is not the default - it's as much as a choice as not eating it

buzzsore Tue 12-Jul-11 12:27:17

It's not the same as an allergy by any means, this is a choice. Your choice for yourself and your child and yes, this man should have respected your choice and not tried to undermine you. He obviously had a bee in his bonnet about it (just as you do, but the other way round).

I think you would be going OTT to avoid the man & his children in future, that wouldn't be fair on your child to limit his social opportunities over one incident.

I do think you should be prepared to let your child try meat if he wants to, however, as later on down the road he is more likely to rebel against your ethics if you make it a massive issue. Maybe not yet, but in a year or two you may need to relax about it a bit.

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