My 6 yr old son says he doesn't want to eat meat because it's cruel to animals. How to respond?
My sensitive son who loves animals told me that he doesn't want to eat meat anymore b/c it's not nice. I'm proud of him for being so thoughtful and kind, but our family is not vegetarian and I don't want to limit the foods he eats. (This is a kid who also thinks we shouldn't take honey from bees or kill bugs.) How should we respond?
Education. He is six, not sixteen. Start with learning about iron and how the body gets it from various foods. Talk about protein building blocks--both plant and animal--and how growing brains need both. Acknowledge that he may have a child or children in his kindergarten class who are vegetarian, but it may be for religious reasons which is not apparently true for your family. Go for some family recipes that your family treasures and talk about how they were handed down to you and what that means. He may catch on.
Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics