All worked up…

So finally I did come out my dullness and have been having pretty good two days. In case you are then wondering what this post is all about, I need to give you a back story. It all started with me trying to keep Avy occupied yesterday evening. Since he LOVES reading, I have found a way to finally read all the gazillion magazines my ‘oh-sweet-husband’ has been ordering for me. Love him for that!!!

Anyways coming to my scheming ways, I call Avy and say ‘Can we read?”.

He comes so happily and I pull out one of the many magazine strewn around and we start going through page by page, he would read anything written in big capital letters, and while the little one pronounces each alphabet correctly, I would have skimmed through it all and in case he finishes before me, I would politely ask him to read it again and he would do it Oh-so gleefully!!! What the little ones do with a little encouragement. (He he he insert wicked laugh!!)

Anyways, yesterday I picked up a ‘Parenting’ magazine (yes yes you may wonder why, me the ever so great parents needs these magazines…I am like what my dad say ‘textbook parent’…lol..We will come back to that in a separate post soon) and Avy loves it because he can see each page and coo “Babyyyyy”, or “Paaaapaaa”, or “Annnaaa (brother)” or “Akkkkkaa (sister)”. Now I can see a pattern in his identification of the kids…any baby that is sleeping and looks kind of tiny he says – Baby, A kid that sits and in his judgment looks smaller than him is a ‘Paapaa’ and older boys are Anna and older girls are Akka’s. As we were browsing page by page, I came across this interesting poll questions…which, am sure you guessed right, got me ALL WORKED UP…

“Is it cruel to make your preschooler follow a vegetarian diet?” It was not the question that bothered me, it was this poll result…63% of them said YES parents are depriving them and 37% said NO.

I mean, COME ON!!!! The people who voted YES had the following gems as reasons:

“It is almost impossible to make a child eat what he doesn’t like. But unless there is an allergy, I think it is ridiculous to do this to a child”…oh wow…

“I’m a vegetarian, but I believe that becoming a vegetarian should be a matter of choice, never forced”

Whoa, hold on everyone, EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING we do as parents is forcing our likes, beliefs etc on children who as of yet have no reasoning on their own to make a judgment on what is right for them(and in some cases parents persist even after they are old enough to make their own choices). And not just in food. From large topic issues such as religion, God, Food habits, Sleeping habits, TV habits, to which school they should go to, to what dress they should wear, and in some cases even what their career should be. That is what parents do!!!

Coming back to vegetarianism, I was raised a vegetarian primarily due to religious reasons. In Hinduism we are taught to believe Animals are God, they are sacred and should not be killed. However, now at this point in my life I think I am a vegetarian more by choice than by religion. I do not think anyone would frown on me anymore if I do start eating meat, gone are the days when people would ‘sneak’ and eat meat. But now I am a vegetarian by choice I do feel I want to raise my son that way till the day comes when he asks me why he cannot have meat. At that stage I plan to tell him OUR (Ajit and I)  reasoning and OUR basis and even after that if he feels it is okay, I would leave the choice up to him.

I am not anti-meat eaters. I do believe food choices are personal. Just like a meat eating parent would offer meat to their kid….so why is being a vegetarian big deal to so many parents? I mean what if your kid grows up and is disgusted by the fact that you fed him/her meat?????

The most common qualm is we are ‘DEPRIVING’ our kids of all essential nutrients that come from meat.  Here is my response to that. I would rather keep a vegetarian, well rounded, well balanced diet for my kid than feed my kid low quality meat and food loaded with high fructose corn syrup.

I think it is plain wrong to judge parents by what they do on the surface. We have talked so much about the fact that if Avy’s diet becomes very restricted we would not mind if he ate meat to counter balance any of the other deficiencies he may have to face. But we are not there yet!!.

Though even in this country where vegetarianism is gaining momentum I still find online forums, and message boards bombarded with messages like ‘DON’T DEPRIVE YOUR KID’ ETC. I take total umbrage to such statements, how would they feel if I waltz over and say ‘Oh my God are you feeding that cholesterol laden piece of meat to your kid??”.

Whew! There I feel better. This post was not meant to hurt anyone’s feeling but just to point out that parenting decisions are so unique to each situation and no two situations are similar. The fact that these moms are talking about depriving kid of a choice is what is comical. These people I think had it right….

“Parents who serve their kids meat aren’t giving them a choice about that!!”…:p:p

“What is cruel about taking care of your child’s diet? And their colon, and the environment? This question is just stupid”

Talking about Choice, I would like to close with this. We bring up our kids in the way we were brought up at least that is what we try to. I watched the movie ‘3 Idiots’ over the weekend. What a lovely movie, I needed tissues after tissues in many places. I saw that movie and told Ajit, that I hope as parents we will have the courage to let Avy do what he chooses, whether it be MIT or follow a nontraditional path. As kids grow I feel we need to let them have their own individuality and let them make their own choices, but guiding them and helping them understand what all their options are. That is how I was brought up.

I know a lot of cases where parents try to force what they want on their kids and it never works out. I am going to strive to be very understanding and cognizant of my kids’ choices and whether I succeed or not is for time to tell.

p.s Well that poll which was all but half page got all these thoughts going…J So what do you think?

“Is it cruel to make your preschooler follow a vegetarian diet?”

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2 Comments

  1. Nive said,

    June 10, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Agree with you on every single word…you know my response to your poll – NO

  2. Remya said,

    June 11, 2010 at 5:38 am

    Great to read this article which touches emotionally and personally. Thanks Anu for bringing up a topic like this. One thing I would like to share is that it is offending to any parent if he/or she is judged by actions just because it deviates from the majority. Many people concluded that I am a vegetarian just because I fall into the so called category of “Hindus”. It is wrong to judge/conclude on anything unless you are absolutely sure about the reasons and outcomes. The same this is applicable to the health concerns relating to vegetarianism. Who cares if one is a vegetarian or not. The only thing that matters is we lead a healthy life.

    The question everyone should ask is “Do we provide our kids with healthy diet?” Being a vegetarian or not is not relevant if the answer to my question is “YES”


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