My six years old son, whom I’ve tried to raise at least as a vegetarian (I’m vegan and my wife adheres to a vegetarian diet), just told me that he wants to eat meat now. When he told me yesterday that “he can eat whatever he wants”, and he wants to eat chicken, my heart sunk so hard at that moment that I was speechless for a minute. I then calmly reminded him that chickens were raised for just a few months before they are killed as meat, and why do we want to kill chickens just to eat them? He doesn’t have a response and walked away.
I only have myself to blame. I don’t think I’ve been educating him with the correct and effective message for all his life. And what really triggered his desire to eat meat was when a few months ago he accidentally ate a piece of chicken at a regular Thai restaurant during a family vacation. We ordered a tofu bowl for him but the stupid waitress messed up the order and gave him a chicken bowl instead. I should’ve checked it before letting him eating it. The chicken meat were battered and deep fried so at a glance I didn’t detect the difference from fried tofu. By the time I noticed it was strange looking, he already took a bite and loved the taste. I’m still beating myself up for not being dilligent that day.
What can I do now to steer him away from wanting to eat meat? I don’t want to force him to do what he doesn’t want to do or be upset at him. But I’m very heart broken and felt that I’ve been an utter failure as a parent for not guiding him on a path of empathy for all living beings.