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Seven ways to talk to children about beef

By Beef and Dairy Network's Benjamin Partridge.

When most of us think back to childhood, our memories are laced with the sights, sounds and smells of beef: eating it, cooking it, baiting traps with it. But these days with children spending so much time online pretending to be orcs and sexting their friends, it can feel like today’s younger generation are leaving beef behind. It is easy to feel lost and powerless, but here are a few tips you can use to put beef back on trend…

Use their language

Use words that children respond to. When talking about beef, try to use words like “cool”, “hip” and “groovy”. This quietly reinforces the idea that beef is just as “cool” as other meats.

Learn the slang

Children have their own lexicon around beef and lamb eating, which is specifically designed to exclude older generations. This short glossary should help:
• Bo peeping = buying lamb from a street dealer
• Feeling sleepy = craving lamb
• Turbo ham = lamb mixed with very strong mint sauce
• Bonkbusters = the feeling of having a fuzzy head after eating lots of street lamb
• The Old Man’s Pie Filling / Brexit meat = beef

Use a “cool uncle”

Many children don’t like talking directly to their parents. This is where a “cool uncle” can come in. A “cool uncle” can either be an actual uncle, a family friend with a motorbike, or failing that a sock puppet. The child will feel more comfortable talking to the uncle / sock puppet about his or her feelings about beef.

Has a cow ever been in space?

Benjamin Partridge wants to know how a cow would react to a zero gravity situation.

Don’t panic and be positive

It’s easy to lose composure when you find that your child isn’t as enthusiastic about beef as they should be. But remember, it’s natural for kids to want to rebel. Many parents panic when they find a minted lamb burger under their child’s pillow, however, a negative approach will drive them further into the hands of the devil meat. Keep it positive.

Benjamin Partridge
As with all things, sometimes it’s best to know when to give up.

Sample script:
PARENT: What’s that you’re eating?
CHILD: A small piece of dried lamb.
CHILD: You don’t mind?
PARENT: No. I think it’s great you’re making your own choices about meat. Let’s celebrate with this freshly made beef wellington.

Start young

It’s never too early to set clear boundaries and expectations. For example, try adding this new verse to the traditional nursery rhyme Little Bo Peep.

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep,
and doesn't know where to find them.
Leave them alone, and they'll come home,
wagging their tails behind them.

Little Bo Peep has lost her mind,
and doesn’t know where to find it.
She’s had too much lamb, she don’t give a damn,
and before long she’ll be dead.

Sneak it in

Many children don’t respond well to a “big talk”. Try and slip it in to everyday conversation.

Sample script:
PARENT: How was your piano lesson?
CHILD: It was fine. She said I’ve got to focus more on my scales but she was happy with my progress.
CHILD: She said that maybe soon I could do Grade 4.
PARENT: Great. Why have you turned your back on beef?

Don’t let one bad apple spoil the family barrel

As with all things, sometimes it’s best to know when to give up. If your son or daughter shows no sign of coming back to beef, it may be best to cast them adrift on an iceberg or lock them in a tower. Remember, they aren’t just your lamb addicted, mint-addled son or daughter, they are also a role model for your other children. Sometimes you have to cut your losses.