Thursday, April 2, 2015

For Me, Vegan Parenting Means Attempting to Be Consistent Toward Violence

It amazes me how much being a parent has changed me. I have become less selfish, but I have become protective, too, at least in regard toward my children. As with any parent, my wife and I share our values with our little ones. I find it difficult, if not impossible, to trust other people if they do not respect the role I have as a parent to my children. As a vegan, one of the values I hold dear is the philosophy of nonviolence. Those who deliberately attempt to defy this value by feeding my children nonvegan food will not endear themselves to me. In fact, they will bring out an unpleasant side to me. However, I am forgiving to people who do not understand and make mistakes, even if I may not be happy with what happened. Other ways this philosophy of nonviolence comes into play is with spanking. My father spanked me when I was young, and I initially thought it was OK to spank when my son was born more than four years ago. I found spanking gives a physical outlet to anger. I channelled my anger through spanking, and it made me even angrier. It scared me. I decided I would never express anger toward my children through physical violence again. This is no way to raise a child. I will not tolerate people spanking or hitting my children to attempt to correct their behavior. I do not want to train my children to believe that expressing anger through hitting to be OK. Nonviolence also extends to movies and television. This is a hard one and one not many understand. Years ago, I watched the first Iron Man movie, and after expressing enthusiasm about the film, a coworker asked me if it would be OK for his five-year-old son to watch. That really got me thinking. I told my coworker that the movie was quite violent, but he responded by saying that was fine. What he was concerned about was if there was anything sexually suggestive in the film. Killing people or expressing violence toward other people is glamorous as long as it is not too graphic, but the all-too-human dance to create life is not acceptable? I am missing something here. Many of my friends' children are into watching Star Wars or even Harry Potter. We are so desensitized to violence that we do not see the violent elements to these movies. Allowing these movies, of course, is up to the individual parent, and I do not want to judge them. For me, both of these types of films may be enjoyable, but what are they teaching my children about violence? The same goes for many types of cartoons. For now, I consider my children much too young to go there, but one day, I know I will have to deal with this more.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Andrew and Anita! We are a vegan family of four living in Austin. Our children are the only children we know of who don't watch violent films or play games that involve gets a bit lonely. It was nice to hear another parent thinking through this topic. Do you all know other parents? Or do you feel as alone as we do? Tess