My son has decided it's cruel to eat turkey. Now what?

Ask him to explain to you why he thinks it is cruel to eat turkey. You want to make sure his motivations for not eating meat are sincere, and that he is not becoming a vegetarian to get attention or to avoid eating foods that he doesn’t like. If you child’s response is legitimate, it is important to respect his choice and not to force him to eat something he doesn't want to. You don’t have to change the way you cook for the rest of your family–your job as a parent is to prepare and serve healthy meals. It's up to your son to decide which of these healthy foods to eat and how much to eat. This not only allows him to make healthy food choices, but shows him that you respect his choices. While it is important to keep a look out for red flags that suggest that he is not getting enough iron or other nutrients, try to focus on the fact that you have raised such a morally conscious child that feels confident in his decision not to eat meat. 

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

Child Development Expert

Jennie Ito is a mother of two and a child development consultant who specializes in children’s play and toys. Before becoming a consultant for LeapFrog, she was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and later worked as a content expert for the Association of Children’s Museum’s “Playing for Keeps” Play Initiative. Jennie earned her doctorate degree in developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.