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My Parents And My Kids


dirtyhippie
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ok, I'm having a hard time dealing right now. My kids (ages 7,5, and 4) were at my parents house yesterday and my parents started talking about how they were going to be at church today. So my parents slyly said they'd come pick them up this afternoon and take them to church if it was ok with me. My kids of course think they love going to church, especially now that I won't take them. And since I'm an extremely non-confrontational person, I have a hard time telling them no.

 

So, my kids are at church right this very minute being brainwashed. I'm hoping they don't try to make this a regular thing.

 

Have any of you had this type of thing to deal with? I'm not sure how to handle it. I really don't want to give my kids a really horrible negative impression of christianity (ok, I really do; but that would make me a bad parent so I'm trying not to).

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I haven't had to deal with this. My kids are still really little. Though I think if it's every once in a while, it may be harmless. I would imagine they do some fun crafts and play with kids their age. They will probably be real excited about what they hear and then forget about it tomorrow. You know how easily distracted kids get. You will be reinforcing in your house what you believe and will be teaching your kids how to think critically.

I went to church all the time, but now as I step away I realize that my mom had a heavy influence over me. You are around your kids a whole lot more and have much more influence then the occasional church activity.

Just my opinion. : )

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Be a parent to your kids that they can trust and respect. And teach them how to question things. Not just Christianity (or it will be obvious as they get older that you have an agenda), but EVERYTHING. Ask them questions like "Well, what do you think? How come?" when they have a question for you, and show them the evidence for things and how the world works. That will teach them to think in terms of proof, evidence, and logic. It will make it much easier to see through the BS of religion.

 

If you present science as just a series of facts instead of showing HOW things were discovered, you open the door to them perceiving it as merely another belief system, the way Christians often do. So make sure any education emphasizes how things are known. Like history. If you talk about history, be sure to talk about things like letters the founding fathers wrote, writings written about famous people in their time, and so on, so they realize there's evidence for all these things. Stuff like that will introduce them to an evidence-based view of the world.

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Be a parent to your kids that they can trust and respect. And teach them how to question things. Not just Christianity (or it will be obvious as they get older that you have an agenda), but EVERYTHING. Ask them questions like "Well, what do you think? How come?" when they have a question for you, and show them the evidence for things and how the world works. That will teach them to think in terms of proof, evidence, and logic. It will make it much easier to see through the BS of religion.

 

If you present science as just a series of facts instead of showing HOW things were discovered, you open the door to them perceiving it as merely another belief system, the way Christians often do. So make sure any education emphasizes how things are known. Like history. If you talk about history, be sure to talk about things like letters the founding fathers wrote, writings written about famous people in their time, and so on, so they realize there's evidence for all these things. Stuff like that will introduce them to an evidence-based view of the world.

 

 

That's great advice. Fortunately, my husband is a deep thinker. I never was taught to question anything, so I will need to practice before my kids get older.

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My children are the same age as yours. I've let my mum take them to church occasionally and they love going to her kids club which is christian based. I have no issue with them going, the odd church service and stint at a boring sunday school is not going to do the damage that my christian upbringing did. I don't even worry about talking to them about it too much unless they ask questions. They know a little bit about God and the basic 'stories' about Jesus, but this is more from school than from church. My mum has also bought them christian books about Christmas and easter - the only thing I do is to edit the words a little when I read them to them.

 

As they get older I hope to start to have more indepth conversations with them and to tel them my story. Part of me wishes they would ask more about it. I have a friend who is atheist her boys attend a church of england school (as do mine) which clearly still has quite a lot of involvement from the local church and by hearing stuff at school and then coming home and talking about it they have already worked out for themselves - at the age of 6 - that they do not believe in God.

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I've been thinking about how to tell my son whenever the day comes we have to talk about religion. It will probably go something like the following:

 

"Well son, for a very long time mankind didn't know where we came from. There was a time when we didn't have (insert full range of technology). Without these tools we couldn't explain the world around us, so humans created stories to help make sense of the unknown. Every culture created its own set of stories which often gave supernatural explanations to the natural world. Since the beginning of mankind there have been thousands of these stories. Some stories seemed to make more sense than others so more people believed those stories and abandoned the ones which they previously believed. Still, they were all just stories. Today we now know where we came from...(insert science talk)...so it's ok to not believe in old superstition anymore. We should only believe that which we know to be true."

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Thanks for the responses everyone!

 

I know I probably overthink it a little. I have had to explain to them why I don't want to go to church anymore. At the end of my first conversation with them about why I wasn't going to take them to church anymore my 5 year old burst into tears and said "But how am I going to learn about god now?" He's a very sensitive kid (also likes to think that the sun is god). I'm trying not to shape his ideas about "god" too much and just let him think what he wants at this point, but it's hard when they go to church and I worry about what is taught. The other 2 don't seem to think much of anything about god.

 

Thanks for all the encouragement. I'll try to relax a little more. :)

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Like the others, I don't think an occasional visit to a church will necessarily do your children any harm. But, depending on the denomination and the philosophy of their pastor, Sunday school teachers, and other church members, they will eventually be told about hell and how they are destined for that place unless they confess and repent of their sins, ask for forgiveness, and profess belief in Jesus. That will also tell them that you, as a non-believer, are destined for hell, though no one at the church may actually say that to them. But children aren't stupid and they have the capability to use their powers of reason to deduce that message. That could cause them, if they buy into the message, to feel great concern for your immortal soul and lead to anxiety. Just read the many posts on ExC about what the doctrine of hell has done to so many people.

 

I think you should consider telling them that hell does not exist and for them not to worry about that should they hear about it in any church you allow them to attend. Like Barney Fife said, "Nip it in the bud."

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqEIt-rQqbM

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To threaten children with burning in Hell is emotional child abuse. Please don't let that happen, "good intentions" or not. As you can see by looking around this site, some people never get over their fear of Hell.

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Repost from another thread:

 

I think it's important to tell your children how you feel, and what you've decided, and let them decide for themselves. If they still want to go to church, you should let them.

 

I used to be convinced that you should always do "what is right" and make sure everyone knows what is right. But I am slowly becoming more of a believer in letting everyone choose their own journey.

 

So my advice would be to give them all available information, and let them make the decision. Their decision will probably change many times over the course of their life, but they will respect you for what you've done. Which most "Christian" parents do not: Allow them to choose.

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Wow, you live in Wasilla (don't worry I won't say anything about you know who or ask any questions about you know who)!

 

Isn't Wasilla a hugely mega born again christian area?

 

Everyone else gave you good advice. Both my boys went to church w/my sister before we got involved & we are all atheists now. If anything, church (pastors, people, etc) just verified that it wasn't for us. The hypocrisy wasn't lost on us.

 

Good luck!

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If your parents are going to try to interfere in your parenting like this, you're just going to have to learn to be confrontational. It will also help your kids because you will be modeling assertive behavior for them.

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