Bad Mom Advice: Grandparents Who Don’t Respect Your Vegetarianism And Kids Who Think They’re Poor

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largeWelcome to my weekly Bad Mom Advice column where I attempt to answer all of your parenting questions as only I know how — with zero degree in early childhood development, but with the experience of raising four kids and not having any of them in prison – yet! Plus, I back all my advice on numerous scientific research, which may or may not include me making fun of your dumb kid behind your back and drinking a bunch of wine! Welcome to Bad Mom Advice!

I am raising my daughter vegetarian for many reasons — but a major one, for me, is because I truly believe factory-farmed meat is bad for her health. My parents have fed factory-farmed meat and processed meat to my daughter many times. I’ve told them I don’t want her eating it, but they blatantly ignore me and continue sneak her bites, following up by saying, “look how much she likes it!” I’ve made the comparison that alcohol tastes good too but my daughter shouldn’t have that, which makes both parents get passive aggressive with me. What do I do?

I’m not going to go into my beliefs regarding children and being raised vegetarian here, because it’s not my business. It’s not my business, it’s not, any of our reader’s business, and it’s not your own parent’s business. But just for the record, and because I love stating my biz and getting into your biz, I see nothing wrong with it. But I do see something wrong with your parents outright disregard for your own wishes and beliefs in raising your kid, and baby, you gotta put your foot down. You say they have blatantly ignored you, so why do you continue to let them see your daughter? I assume your vegetarianism is important to you, and this is why you are writing me, and you are sick of your daughter coming home and smelling like hot dogs and pepperoni, so don’t let her spend time with Nana and Pop-Pop anymore. End of discussion. Leave your daughter at home, go see your parents, and say:

I love you. I love you having a relationship with your grand-daughter, but until you respect my wishes that she not be fed meat products you will only see her when I am present.

End of discussion. And stick to it. When they try and feed her meat simply say “No, we are vegetarian” and move your daughter away from whatever steak-laden eating utensil is coming towards her teensy little mouth on the “Here comes the choo-choo! Open wide!” express. If they get angry or keep trying to feed her meat pack her up and leave. She is YOUR child. You can raise her in whatever way you wish, and your parents need to respect that. But I will add this, just because this is MY situation and I am bringing my own baggage to YOUR biz, I would do anything to have grandparents alive, or close by, who were willing and interested in spending time with my kids. Life is very short and if they love her and are good with her you need to weigh the fact she may get a bite or burger on occasion against everything else they do for her. Despite your best intentions, your daughter may one day become a foie gras farmer anyway. And your parents won’t live forever.

My 7 year-old daughter was having a playdate with her friend.  They were sitting in the living room, idly chatting while molding random sculptures out of Crayola Model Magic™ (which is awesome stuff, by the way).  I heard my daughter say:

“We’re poor, but not really.”
After my brain was finished facepalming itself, I started to think “well, I suppose that’s slightly better than her bragging that we’re wealthy.”  FYI, we’re a dual-income, middle-class household saving for college educations.
My question is:  How are parents supposed to handle financial talk?  I’m not willing to throw a curtain over my flatscreen TV every time there’s a playdate approaching.
Moneybags McRichPants

Take her aside and tell her :

One does not speak about money. It’s very déclassé.

and then buy her a pony.

Seven-years-old is a bit young to really understand money. She may ask you for a new doll and you may say “no babe, we can’t afford it, we are saving up to go on vacation” and she may think in her own little mind “we are poor.” I think you should just sit your kids down, explain to them how you all have enough to eat, running water, and shoes, and that lots of people in the world have a lot less than you. Explain how blessed you are and how both you and mom work super hard to afford a nice life and that you put a lot of money away so they can one day go to college. And then take away her modeling magic until she vows not to talk about money to her friends again.

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