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My Vegetarian Son Was Served Hot Dogs

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And I'm mad as hell!

boy getting hot dog

Guest blogger Gina: Even though I am always very clear that my son does not eat red meat, he was served a beef hot dog on a play date.

When his friend's mom made him the hot dog, my 6-year-old said, "I'm not allowed to eat meat. I only eat veggie dogs."

What was the mom's response? "Just try it ... you'll like it!"

I am thankful he didn't have a reaction ... after all, he's never eaten meat in his life and his little stomach is not used to digesting it.

I haven't said anything to the parents yet and don't know if I should or not. After all, I can't turn back time. But, to me, this is almost as bad as serving a kid with a peanut allergy a PB & J. I always ask parents before a play date if their kids have any dietary restrictions or allergies and am very mindful of that. Why can't other parents show me the same courtesy? Maybe this wasn't a big deal to my son's friend's parents, but it's a VERY big deal to me.

What would you do in my shoes?

next: Healthy Thanksgiving Day Alternatives
92 comments so far | Post a comment now
Nancy November 20, 2008, 11:00 PM


I feel your pain. I really do. I have been raising my vegetarian kids for 20 years. This has happened to me many times. Each time, I have been very upset as well.

How you should handle it really depends on the motives of the other Mother. Did she think he only ate that way out of squeamishness or pickiness? If so, maybe she didn’t deliberately mean to offend.

When my oldest son was 2, my sister pressured my son to eat meat because she felt she knew better to raise him than I did. I was livid when I returned! This same sister forcefed my tiny niece cake even though my brother was adament he was avoiding wheat until she was much older, and he could introduce it gradually in her diet. With her, it was sheer arrogance and lack of respect, and I think she deserved the fury she found from us.

Modeling compassion for humans is as important for modeling it for animals, in my humble opinion. Before freaking out, calmly ask the other Mom why she did what she did. Don’t let your son see you gossip about her or speak angrily toward her. Handle it Mom to Mom, assertively, calmly, and rationally. If you feel she did what she did for reasons similar to my sisters, you have the choice over whether or not this person is ever to be trusted again.

Good luck.

Veggie Mom since 1989.

Crystal November 20, 2008, 11:04 PM

Just because YOU choose not to eat red meat, why does your son have to suffer. I don’t eat seafood, but my son loves shrimp. SO FRIGGIN WHAT. You’re just an arsehole.

Karen November 21, 2008, 1:29 PM

I agree that feeding meat to a vegetarian kid is not on the same level as allergies, but what was that mom thinking? The only thing I can hope for is that maybe your son only *meant* to say that he didn’t eat meat, and there was some misunderstanding. But if this mom pressured your kid to eat meat after he had expressly said he wasn’t supposed to, she is a see-you-next-Tuesday and, really, a bit of a bully to your kid. Is it that hard to stick some cheese in that hot-dog bun instead? I mean, how would *she* feel if at your next play date, you screened a video from PETA showing cows being slaughtered? A lesser person might try to find out, but you should try to rise above. Next time you see her, thank her for hosting the playdate, but say, “Please don’t feed Kyle meat. I can pack a sandwich next time if you’d like.”

VeggieMom November 21, 2008, 6:31 PM

I cannot believe the nerve of some people. As a mother of two vegetarian children I feel your pain. I would bring up the situation to the mom. And FYI to the people that think this is stupid, some people don’t eat meat for religious reasons(like myself). Did you ever think of that? How would you feel if your child was asked to participate in a religious practice you disagreed with? Just something to think about.

Charles James November 21, 2008, 8:20 PM

O.M.G., Little (current popular baby name) ate a hot dog. Nobody abused him, nobody neglected him. He was offered a very common American food, he ate it, he apparenty liked it. Trendy, Veggie-Chic mom is angry. Why, because the kid ate meat, or because the kid found out he likes meat? Unless grounded on religious beliefs, vegetarianism is a lifestyle choice and nothing more, a choice and commitment the young hot dog lover is far too young to make. Let’s all hope that eating hotdogs or burgers and fries with his buddies is the most rebbelious behavior that “Junior” takes-up when he acts-out as a teenager. High maintainance mom is annoyed that her own attention seeking demands were not obeyed in her absence. HINT, HINT, Lady, they love your kid, it’s YOU they can’t stomach.

Theresa November 21, 2008, 8:49 PM

People who are being jerks on here should just mind their own business. It’s her choice to eat meat, and her choice if her son does or not. IF you like meat, fine, but some of us, including myself, Don’t!

Anna November 21, 2008, 11:53 PM

Charles James, it can be considered a “religious choice”, if you find the slaughtering and factory farming disgusting. It may be this mother’s beliefs that this is cruel- not that it matters what her reasoning is, the other parent went behind her back and let her son do something she did not want him to do. how would you like it if someone told your 2 year old graphic details on where babies come from? Is waiting until they are old just a lifechoice? Yes, but it is a common curtousy for parents not to interfere with another parents parenting. Its a taboo, and rightfully so.

Beverly November 22, 2008, 12:01 AM

I am not yet a mom or a vegetarian but I would be upset and would at speak with her about it. What we put in our bodies is a very big deal. If you chose not to pollute your child’s body with animal products, your wishes should be respected. I am surprised that he didn’t have stomach problems later that day. Meat is pretty harsh on a system that isn’t used to it.

Lin November 22, 2008, 3:05 PM

Well, sorry, but I think this mother’s anger is misplaced. All she needed to do was, AT THE TIME, tell the mother her feelings and request that it not happen again. She never said her son is allergic, so I don’t know why any of you are even bringing that up. SHE doesn’t eat meat, so, therefore, she doesn’t want her son to do so. What is she going to do if her son informs her that he IS going to eat meat when he is a teenager, etc.? Did she even bother making sure that the other mother knew her feelings on this?! It doesn’t sound like she did. Sorry, but she sounds like so many others who force their food likes and dislikes onto their children. She said he had never eaten meat in his life until that point. Well, at some point he IS going to get curious, and his “little stomach” will be able to handle it just fine unless he is allergic, which, since he did not get sick, he isn’t. She won’t be able to control what he eats when he is with his friends or when he goes out. What is she going to do when he is old enough to date or get married? Tell him he can’t be friends with that person just because they eat meat or talked him into trying it?! If he decides he doesn’t like to eat meat, on HIS OWN, that is one thing, but she is wrong for forcing this on him without his having a choice. My niece is a vegetarian..she never eats meat, but SHE made that decision herself when she was 14 and family and friends are fine with it. I know a couple of people who were forced into being vegans at an early age. Every chance they get they eat meat when they are out of sight of controlling parents.

Anonymous November 23, 2008, 12:22 PM

Perhaps the Mom misunderstood what the child was saying? Perhaps she took it to mean he does not like regular hots? Explain nicely to her that you have chosen to not feed your child meat & appreciate her understanding this & respecting your wishes. If it happens again then feed him before he goes there to play.

Anon November 24, 2008, 9:51 PM

Charles James, you are my hero, lol.

This mom needs to get over herself and FAST!

Anonymous November 27, 2008, 1:29 AM

What kind of mother makes there kid a vegetarian? As for that matter, when you say “his stomach is not use to digesting it” is in a way just plain ridiculous. If I never ate something before Maybe something foreign, will my stomach be able to take it? Yes. I’m pretty sure I will, Humans were meant to eat meat. Sure, I can understand if you’re a vegetarian or Vegan, but if that kid has never even tried meat he should at least give it a shot. Sometime in his life he will.

Ryan November 28, 2008, 1:31 PM

I do not understand how you can compare this ordeal to feeding someone something that would threaten his/her life. Yes I agree the other child’s parent should show more respect to your wishes but it is disgusting that you relate this situation with the one you mentioned because it is not even remotely related. How would you know if he cant handle the food, if he has not even tried it in the first place? Allergies are found out when the person tries something and has an allergic reaction in response to the food that was eaten but a person wouldn’t know what he/she is allergic to if he/she does not try anything, and same thing goes with your child believe it or not. Reality check, you cannot protect your son from everything going on in the world as he will be exposed to it sooner or later and same goes for the food he consumes while he is with a friend. Contrary to your belief, people actually have eaten meat and not get sick (even if this may be a shock to you, it has happened). Maybe you should explain in detail what you want for your child, because it seems that you had not taken the time to explain to the other mom on what your child can/cannot eat (if you did specify in detail about your restrictions then this point is moot). If it is that much of a big deal even after a talk with the other mom, then maybe you should not allow your child to see that friend anymore. Obviously if what she did offended you so much, you should not associate with her anymore. Honestly if something as feeding a hot dog to you son got you this upset that you had to write about online, maybe you should not allow your son to go out anymore. There are a lot more dangerous things out there than just hot dogs.

Anonymous December 2, 2008, 4:09 AM

I can’t believe vegetarian parents that force their beliefs on their kids. Humans are omnivores. Generally eating meat is healthy, I hope you are not malnourishing your kids. If you don’t want to eat meat fine that’s your choice, but don’t force it on your kids and let them chose themselves.

You can still teach your kids to eat healthy while eating meat in their diet.

Anonymous December 2, 2008, 4:45 PM

Get over yourself it’s really not a big deal…if anything tell your son not to see his friend ever again

H.G.R. December 5, 2008, 1:53 PM

I think you should certainly say something to the other Mom. And when you’re done telling her in no uncertain terms that it certainly wasn’t alright to feed your son a hot dog, beat her down in front of her family while yelling to her. “JUST TRY IT, YOU’LL LIKE IT” BWAAHHAAAHAAAHAAA

Anonymous December 5, 2008, 3:37 PM

Next Blog: “Do boys who eat hot dogs have a higher chance of being gay?”

Hmm…maybe you shouldve interacted with the other mom a bit and TOLD HER ABOUT YOUR SON AND YOUR BELIEFS. OH! You could’ve even been >curious

She fed him a hot dog because she had NO other indication that she shouldn’t…other than a small child saying he wasn’t “allowed”. If thats what he even said…since obviously >you weren’t there

Anonymous December 5, 2008, 3:40 PM

Next Blog: “Do boys who eat hot dogs have a higher chance of being gay?”

Hmm…maybe you shouldve interacted with the other mom a bit and TOLD HER ABOUT YOUR SON AND YOUR BELIEFS. OH! You could’ve even been curious and asked what was being served for food. I have every reason to believe you chucked the kid out the side door of your minivan at a slow roll of 20mph then sped off to your 4th viewing of “Twilight”.

She fed him a hot dog because she had NO other indication that she shouldn’t…other than a small child saying he wasn’t “allowed”. If thats what he even said…since obviously you weren’t there

MontysMom December 5, 2008, 3:53 PM

I don’t blame you for being pissed off. I would be too. Both of my children were brought up vegetarian and I went through similar scenarios with people giving my kids meat after I asked them not to. My child wasn’t told “try it you might like it” they were told “Just don’t tell your mother I gave this to you”. I find both disrespectful and I would speak to the mother who did this and simply explain that your child does not eat red meat and you will be more than happy to provide snacks/meals if she cannot.

I don’t believe she could not provide your son with a vegetarian option. She didn’t have peanut butter and jelly in the house? She couldn’t make a grilled cheese?

For the poster who said “Has your child had the opportunity to CHOOSE to eat red meat or not?” that is not the issue. A 6 year old does not get to make all of his own choices. If we lived by your opinion we would have to name our children Baby X at the hospital so they could “choose” their own name.

I told my children when they were older they were more than welcome to try meat if they so chose, but until a child is old enough to make decisions, it is the parents’ job to make choices for them.

Anonymous December 6, 2008, 11:00 AM

Children shouldn’t be vegetarians. Ask any pediatrician.

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