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Anna
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Ive been the golden child all my life. My parents dressed me in little clothes and I was their perfect little girl. I cant help but think sinse I told them I was an atheist they have looked at me much differently. I think without even thinking my dad said in conversation when I was talking to him about the fact they place major resrictions on my life that he didnt choose to have an athiest daughter. I know theres nothing I can really do about the fact im not perfect.

My parents are sure that the reason I have become an athiest is to justify doing bad things. I guess by bad things they mean drinking and having sex. Not that im going to go out and do those things but they arnt really as bad as they make them out to be in my opinion.

How can I deal with these expectations that are unrealistic?

How can I help them realise that im not going to be exactly what they want?

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Ive been the golden child all my life. My parents dressed me in little clothes and I was their perfect little girl. I cant help but think sinse I told them I was an atheist they have looked at me much differently. I think without even thinking my dad said in conversation when I was talking to him about the fact they place major resrictions on my life that he didnt choose to have an athiest daughter. I know theres nothing I can really do about the fact im not perfect.

My parents are sure that the reason I have become an athiest is to justify doing bad things. I guess by bad things they mean drinking and having sex. Not that im going to go out and do those things but they arnt really as bad as they make them out to be in my opinion.

How can I deal with these expectations that are unrealistic?

How can I help them realise that im not going to be exactly what they want?

You are apparently too young to "have your own life" but they can't have your mind unless you let them. They fear the unknown, rebellion, and all of the consequences of typical youth, and the best you can hope for is to show them that you are 1) trustworthy, 2) hardworking, 3) adaptable and resourceful, and well behaved. That pretty much means doing what they want you to do as much as possible, but refraining from activities that will scare them further.

 

Solitary activities can still be rewarding (and you do have access to a computer!). The less you rebel, and the more you show you are (becoming) a responsible adult, the more freedom you will have, and the more respect they will grant you. Maybe.

 

That's my 2 cents.

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Ive been the golden child all my life. My parents dressed me in little clothes and I was their perfect little girl. I cant help but think sinse I told them I was an atheist they have looked at me much differently. I think without even thinking my dad said in conversation when I was talking to him about the fact they place major resrictions on my life that he didnt choose to have an athiest daughter. I know theres nothing I can really do about the fact im not perfect.

My parents are sure that the reason I have become an athiest is to justify doing bad things. I guess by bad things they mean drinking and having sex. Not that im going to go out and do those things but they arnt really as bad as they make them out to be in my opinion.

How can I deal with these expectations that are unrealistic?

How can I help them realise that im not going to be exactly what they want?

You are apparently too young to "have your own life" but they can't have your mind unless you let them. They fear the unknown, rebellion, and all of the consequences of typical youth, and the best you can hope for is to show them that you are 1) trustworthy, 2) hardworking, 3) adaptable and resourceful, and well behaved. That pretty much means doing what they want you to do as much as possible, but refraining from activities that will scare them further.

 

Solitary activities can still be rewarding (and you do have access to a computer!). The less you rebel, and the more you show you are (becoming) a responsible adult, the more freedom you will have, and the more respect they will grant you. Maybe.

 

That's my 2 cents.

They actually did say I was too young for freedom XD.

See thats what I was afraid of. It will be hard to earn thier trust back when if the only way is to do what they say. I have realised that the only way to survive is to so things they might not like. I hope I can find I middleground with that.

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Unfortunately parents are people with issues too. Sometimes more issues than most. :(

 

Very possibly, they feel they failed as parents since you've decided to go your own way instead of theirs. To me, it means they're a bigger success AND/OR you're just a hell of a lot further ahead than 90% of the population.

 

Possibly they feel this will reflect on them badly in church: Oh dear, that's the couple with the ATHEIST daughter!

 

They may be too dogmatic to see things from your POV at all, so you may simply have to tough it out until you can move out. Best of luck!

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To some degree, you're probably going to have to learn to be ok with being a disappointment to your parents for the rest of their lives. I know that my parents feel like failures- they saw parenting as a god-given job, and I'm pretty sure that they believed that god would reward them for being "faithful" parents by giving them a Christian child. We have a good relationship when religion or politics doesn't come into the conversation- despite believing that atheists are immoral people, they can't help but see that I have a happy, stable life without god. I'm sure that they believe that I'm angry at god or at the church and that god will "draw me back to him" eventually, but I don't try to get into that stuff.

 

It does make me sad or stressed sometimes that our relationship can't be completely trusting and open. But that's ok- life isn't just one happy thing after another- learning to deal with upsetting things by accepting them and finding ways to move past that is better than pretending that you don't care or that nothing's wrong.

 

See if you can make some deals with your parents about your activities. For example, if you were previously going to youth group, ask if you can volunteer during that time instead. Instead of having to sit there and be indoctrinated and either lie or come under attack, you'll be doing something good and showing your parents that you're still responsible and compassionate without being a Christian.

 

I hope that they don't crack down on you when you've given them no reason to, just because they think being a non-Christian means you're not trustworthy. Keep us updated on how you're doing.

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Clara has a good point - christian parents are always going to be disappointed if you're not agreeing with them 100%. That's just kinda how it is...for them, their children being christians is the primary purpose of raising us. I was 31 years old when I told my mom I no longer believed - guess what, I know I'll be a permanent disappoint for her till she dies. Doesn't matter how old you are, how good you are, or how well you manage your life. If (which is almost more of a "when") my sister gives up christianity, my mother will consider herself a complete failure since that'll be three out of three who left her faith.

 

Thing is, IMO, she did right by us by teaching us to really dig into things and develop a desire to learn and figure things out - guess she was thinking that just didn't apply to proving christian beliefs wrong.

 

Even if you're a terrific example of a fine young person, you'll be a disappointment. Best to accept that things will always be that way and move on, try to live a good life and be a terrific person - despite not believing what they do.

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Here are the words:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but they are not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit,

not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but you cannot make them just like you.

 

 

Hang in there!

Beautiful. That about sums up parenting, no matter your persuasion.

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Love that "poem" - good stuff there!

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Hi Anna. I know a little of how you feel. I was the 'golden child' growing up too. Sometimes my parents still treat me like that and I'm 55 freakin' years old with grandchildren. LOL This song was popular when I was a teenager and I tried to keep it in mind when raising my own children.

 

Teach Your Children

 

( Crosby, Stills and Nash )

 

You, who are on the road,

Must have a code that you can live by.

And so, become yourself,

Because the past is just a good bye.

Teach your children well,

Their father's hell did slowly go by.

And feed them on your dreams,

The one they pick, the one you'll know by.

 

Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,

So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

 

And you, of tender years,

Can't know the fears that your elders grew by.

And so please help them with your youth,

They seek the truth before they can die.

Teach your parents well,

Their children's hell will slowly go by.

And feed them on your dreams,

The one they pick, the one you'll know by.

 

Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,

So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

 

 

Peace. I know it probably seems ridiculous to say it, but things really do get better. Work toward your independence.

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Ive been the golden child all my life. My parents dressed me in little clothes and I was their perfect little girl. I cant help but think sinse I told them I was an atheist they have looked at me much differently. I think without even thinking my dad said in conversation when I was talking to him about the fact they place major resrictions on my life that he didnt choose to have an athiest daughter.

...

How can I deal with these expectations that are unrealistic?

How can I help them realise that im not going to be exactly what they want?

I would imagine that had you never said anything the restrictions would still be there but to "protect" you from "worldly" things or what have you. You're simply in a "no win" situation.

 

The only way to deal with all of these things is, most likely, to remove yourself from the situation. Go to college for example. I recall you're close to that age. So just wait it out until you graduate and then go off to college.

 

They will have to come to terms with you not be exactly what they want on their own. You can't do that for them. You can be the best person in the world and they would still not accept any of this...until they're ready. And they may never be ready. So just be yourself and hopefully things will change over time. Once you get a little older and stop being their "child" (though this never really ends) maybe they'll relax a little and start seeing you a bit differently. You never know.

 

mwc

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I know it seems like forever away, but true independence does not come until you're on your own. And most parents don't really accept that their children are individuals with their own rights until the kids are well into their 20s (some never seem to accept it!).

 

It sucks to be a teenager whose parents don't want you living the way you want to live. And I just described 90% of the teenagers in the world. It's part of the package we call "life." No refunds.

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Your father chose to have a child, and part of that decision is accepting that child may be gay, atheist, a hippie, obsessed with banjos, or draw tentacle porn. He needs to grow up and start being a dad who loves unconditionally, and not just a father who gave his DNA to a new life form.

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How can I help them realise that im not going to be exactly what they want?

 

They may never fully understand, but I would echo what others have said so far. Try to be responsible, trustworthy and sensible in everything so they can see that you're not just being rebellious or desiring to "indulge in sin," but you rather just happen to view the world differently.

 

Your father chose to have a child, and part of that decision is accepting that child may be gay, atheist, a hippie, obsessed with banjos, or draw tentacle porn.

 

Unfortunately, most christian parents don't look at it that way. They have the *assurance* in Proverbs that says something like, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and in the end he will not depart from it." I think this is largely why christian parents feel like failures when their children leave (or never accept) the faith.

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Unfortunately, most christian parents don't look at it that way. They have the *assurance* in Proverbs that says something like, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and in the end he will not depart from it." I think this is largely why christian parents feel like failures when their children leave (or never accept) the faith.

I have a question related to this that may still not belong in this thread.

 

Am I wrong to think that as Atheists (or at least non-Christians) we have an obligation to be better citizens (more moral, polite, dutiful, etc.) that Christians (children in particular)?

 

Or, to put it differently, do Christian parents see the religious rebellion as forgivable but the atheist rebellion as a permanent scar that is unforgivable?

 

I may not be wording this correctly.

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Your father chose to have a child, and part of that decision is accepting that child may be gay, atheist, a hippie, obsessed with banjos, or draw tentacle porn. He needs to grow up and start being a dad who loves unconditionally, and not just a father who gave his DNA to a new life form.

 

Nothing to add to that! :3:

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It's tough, Anna. Your parents likely see your atheism as more of a "symptom" than just "thinking for yourself". It likely worries them that you might be "goin' wild" or something.

 

 

They probably care for you a lot, but it's tough, because you are emerging as a more independant person with a sense of self and purpose. Don't push them too hard with this, just like you say, explore the middle ground. When you become a teen, there's a lot of "negotiating" that goes on with parents.

 

Don't think they're going to resent you for life because of your "atheist phase". Whatever you believe, in time, they will accept it. Remind them that you are trying to figure out life, and the world and who you are and stuff, and often religion just doesn't have those answers. Show them a little reassurance that you're not "running off with your boyfriend" or getting into "rebellious stuff" like drinking and drugs.

 

I know it can be emotional at times, but you have to go through this process. Let us know if any further issues come up.

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Thanks for all the replys. I think they have really helped :D.

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