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Dad asks for advice about 13 yo daughter going radically vegan.

Dad asks for advice about 13 yo daughter going radically vegan.


My wife and I have 8 kids between us (I know, it's a lot. No need to comment on it). This post is mostly about our 13 year old, Gina.

Gina came to me recently and said that she wants to be vegan. I told her I'll pay for groceries but she'll have to plan and cook her meals, she can't live off of frozen food or takeout, and her mom and I will be making sure that her meals are healthy before taking her grocery shopping.

She was not thrilled. She asked if we could make small changes to our diet to accommodate her, like switching to a vegan pasta and cooking the meatballs separately but we said no because we aren't going to change our food/eating habits because she wants to be vegan.

She said okay and went to her room. Then she started sending me and my wife links to expensive pots and pans sets (one set was $800), plates, cups and bowls for $200, and her own utensils. I asked why she was sending it to me and she said she needs new pots, pans, plates, etc. because ours are 'contaminated'.

I told her ours are perfectly fine and if she wants her own she can buy then with her allowance and start babysitting.

Later that day, I got a call from one of my sons saying that Gina was telling him and my other kids that they have to get all of their snacks out of the fridge in the game room (the game room has a kitchenette) because she needs it for her vegan food.

When I called and asked what she was doing she said her vegan food can't be in the same fridge as our food and it's not fair to make her go all the way to the garage when she's hungry so she thought taking over the game room kitchenette would be a good compromise.

I told Gina I'm done with the vegan bulls*t and that she can't be vegan while living in my house. She threw a temper tantrum because she thinks I'm being cruel and she's barely spoken to me since then so I wanted to know if I was the asshole.

Questions, answers and comments:

Pronebasilisk says:

NTA - 10 people, 1 person wants to be vegan. You have to accommodate the the masses. You've given her every option to do it herself. Idk why people think just because they're vegan, everyone has to be. NTA, good luck, hopefully it's just a phase, or she can figure out a way to fund her new life style at 13

aitavegandaughter OP responded:

She thinks it's the same as us not allowing seafood in the house (10yo is deathly allergic) or making our 16 year old special meals (kid has an autoimmune disease that's treated with a combo of steroids, chemo shots, and biologics and is so anemic that she occasionally needs blood transfusions. She can eat whatever the f**k she wants after all that and we don't mind cooking/ordering it for her).

tatasz says:

NTA. This is one of your things that she can grow up, get a job, and buy her own stuff.

If I were you, I'd let to be vegan as long as she pays for everything except groceries and an affordable set of utensils. If she needs a fridge, she gets one by herself. If she needs to cook, she cooks, etc.

I'd cut her allowance because she clearly doesn't understand the value of money.

aitavegandaughter OP responded:

I'm talking to my wife about cutting her allowance and making her babysit or walk dogs for extra money.

Also, this isn't new for her. When I married my wife I had 2 kids (21 and 19 now) and she had 3 (23, 21, 16). Gina is our first together, meaning she was born into it. Also, she doesn't have any childcare duties and I can barely get her to keep her own space clean, never mind helping out in the rest of the house.

anglerfishtacos says:

I know up he doesn’t want us to comment on it, but eight kids a lot. Kids can feel lost in the shuffle with half that number so I can only imagine eight.

OP also mentions in another comment that they have one kid with a shellfish allergy so there’s no shellfish in the house at all and another kid with severe medical issues whose diet is monitored and the family eats food that is OK for the kid. I wonder if this whole vegan thing is an attempt to get attention and consideration that she feels like she is not getting.

Apprehensive_Yam_567 says:

Gina is frustrated because all her vegan food is contaminated, and you're frustrated because her demands are a bit... 'extra,' as they say. Gina is also very excited to embark on her new vegan lifestyle, which, for a lot of folks--and especially teenagers--means adopting this kind of new vegan identity.

At a time when you're daughter is navigating learning who she is and what identities she wants to try on, this sudden enthusiasm (or fanaticism, depending on how you see it), makes a lot of sense. The more you try to fight it, the harder she might try to hold on to this newfound identity. And if your kid's 'rebellion' is only about veganism, how lucky are you!

Of course, I don't want to minimize how this is throwing everyone else in the household off their rocker. As a mental health professional, I would also add that should your family choose to accommodate her and she continues on her vegan journey, do look out for signs that she is developing anxiety around 'un-vegan' or 'unhealthy' foods.

It's not uncommon for new vegans and vegetarians to develop orthorexia, and a teenage girl is especially susceptible. You're frustrated, OP, and while that's understandable, you do need to be curious and empathic towards Gina. Best of luck to you and your caterpillar 🐛💖

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