Nowadays if you give an opinion about anything to do with parenting you might be accused of being judgemental. It’s not socially acceptable to judge parents for their choices, and rightly so most of the time. But there are still some things that it’s seen as OK to judge parents for, including raising kids vegan.
We are told we are forcing our lifestyle on our kids, which will make them feel left out and that they have an inadequate diet. We have to deal with family, friends and even strangers who are “concerned” about our kids not getting enough protein, iron or whatever else, even when we tell them that most dieticians say it’s perfectly fine to raise kids vegan. I don’t mind so much if people are genuinely worried, but some people actually say we are bad parents, neglecting our kids.
Unless you have a nutrition degree then your opinion of our kids’ diets doesn’t really matter. We don’t have to justify how we raise our kids to anyone. They are our kids and the experts say it’s OK to raise them vegan so it’s nobody else’s business.
Contrary to popular belief, not all vegans judge people for feeding their kids animal products. We might not agree with their actions, but we don’t think they are bad parents or bad people. But almost all of us vegans have been judged for our parenting at some stage, and for no real reason. Yes, some vegans can be judgemental too and I don’t agree with that either, but most of us aren’t like that.
I’ve been lucky enough that no real-life people have criticised me about raising my kids vegan, at least not to my face. My family and friends seem to be fairly supportive and accepting of it. I think it helps that I photograph so much of what we eat and they can see how nutritious it is. And that I have been vegan for over 12 years and haven’t dropped dead yet! I’d like to think that a lot of people are respectful of vegans’ choices.
But I’ve had people online accusing me of child abuse and saying my kids should be taken off me. Parents can feed their kid McDonald’s every day and probably get judged less than that. I don’t care if parents feed their kid junk food sometimes, we do that too some days. I don’t care how parents raise their kids as long as it isn’t neglectful or abusive. And I appreciate it when other people treat me with the same respect.
I’ve heard many other vegan parents saying that they constantly get criticised by friends and family about raising their kids vegan. People even going as far as sneaking their kids animal products when their parents’ aren’t looking, which is a major betrayal to a vegan parent. It frustrates me that my vegan friends have to deal with this when they’re just trying to do what they believe is right.
The truth is that most vegan parents put effort into making sure their kids eat healthily, which any parent knows can be hard work sometimes. Vegans are often interested in nutrition and research it well. Once you know a bit about healthy eating, it’s quite easy to plan balanced vegan meals. Vegans often have very healthy diets and so do our kids.
Yet we constantly feel like we have to defend what we eat and prove to people that our kids eat well. They are our kids and we can feed them what we want as long as it’s nutritionally adequate and not hurting anyone. We don’t have to prove that it’s healthy. The proof is our thriving vegan kids.
At the end of the day we’ll put up with people judging us, even though it can be upsetting. It’s the animals that we care about since they have it much worse than us. We are just trying to do what we think is right and to do as little harm as possible. We shouldn’t have to deal with people saying we’re bad parents for it.
So please don’t judge us for raising our kids vegan. Parents get judged for enough as it is.