I've only been a vegetarian for about two years and from the beginning of this process I told my boys that it was not something that they had to do. I never wanted them to feel bad for their choices or force them into a diet that they weren't comfortable with. I told them that I would probably make more meatless meals, but that if they wanted meat I would buy it and prepare it for them. Overall the change hasn't really impacted them. They like the meatless meals I fix, they have meat at their father's house and when we go out to eat. A few times they've asked for lunch meat or pepperoni, but overall my house has remained pretty much meat free.
My oldest son is an avid reader. He devours books. We've had a copy of this book on our shelf for a very long time and the other day he discovered it and asked if he could read it. I said yes of course.
Chew On This: Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food
After reading it, he decided he was done with meat. Of course I was thrilled, but not at all looking forward to how his meat and potatoes, deer hunting father was going to take it. To my surprise he was perfectly fine with it. I think his step-mom believes I put him up to it a little, but she's supporting him too. They even asked his doctor about how to make sure he was getting all of the nutrients he needs. As for me, I'm pretty sure I know what he needs, but given that I have only been doing this for two years myself and I'm not longer growing (at least up) I bought a book about raising vegetarian children so that I can be sure I'm not missing anything crucial for development.
Raising Vegetarian Children : A Guide to Good Health and Family Harmony
Now in reality he still plans to eat fish and deer meet on occasion. Deer meat is acceptable to him because he feels like he knows where it comes from and how it was killed. I think this is a great way of looking at it. So, technically he's not a vegetarian, but he's only eleven so we're not going to get into semantics here. He's happy with his choice, wants to call himself a veggie so we're going with it. Given his family history of prostate cancer I couldn't be happier.
As for my youngest, he claims he's going to do the same. But, he's an eat whatever strikes my fancy sort of kid so I'm not counting on having two mini vegetarians in my house any time soon. That's fine by me though. Everyone has to make their own choices.