helping parents understand
For children and teenagers living with their parents or carers, it can seem impossible going Vegan, because you’re not in control of the food that’s bought and prepared. Since most non-Vegan parents fear change because it disrupts their comfortable daily rhythm, most will do their best to discourage their children from becoming Vegan. Presenting new information to parents, who often like to think they know best, hurts their ego, so is often faced with harsh resistance and defensiveness. It’s important to acknowledge that a lot of their negativity comes from a place of love; they’re worried that Veganism is a harmful, nutrient-deficient diet or that you’ll become an “extremist” like the one they saw on the news once. But parents are just another obstacle, which can be overcome with education, persistence and reassurance. By strengthening the relationship with your parents through quality time it allows you to establish some open, respective dialogue and explain why Veganism is important to you. And equally, you need to listen to their concerns and work out where their resistance comes from. Once you understand this, you can research and address these concerns and help them shift their perspective. If it’s a concern about a specific nutrient, find articles or videos and then prove that you can get enough nutrients through the chron-o-meter website. If they struggle to see animals as individuals, taking them to an animal sanctuary could help undo their early programming, and if that’s not possible, there are lots of Vegan videos and documentaries available. If they’re worried about what food to make or have concerns about the cost of Vegan substitutes, offer to come shopping and show them all the cheap wholefoods available and pay for any extra expensive Vegan products you want. Find good Vegan recipes and make them for your family. Take away the burden from your parents and show them that you being Vegan can make life easier for them rather than harder. It may take a while for the information to sink in, so persistently show them information from videos, books and website until they understand and support you. Some parents are too stubborn, though, and will never be supportive. My dad is an abusive slaughterhouse worker, and will probably never go Vegan, but that didn’t stop me from changing. Blaming parents on an inability to change comes from our fear. No one can physically force us to eat animals, so if parents oppose you, be Vegan regardless of their approval. Make your own meals with basic ingredients like oats, rice, beans, pasta and fruits, stand your ground, and over time they will be forced to accept it. Do your best to empower yourself beyond the control of others around you. Do so from a place of love, not anger. If your intentions are pure, those that tried to control you, will eventually respect you.