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How To Protect My Child?


bfuddled
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Right now I'm struggling with knowing how to deal with my oldest daughter (11 years old). She was excited this year to finally get to join youth group, and has gone to a few events. So far they have been fairly benign, but I'm worried about how to combat the indoctrination and negative messages that I remember getting in that period of life.

I have not told her yet that I don't believe in God anymore, but I have stressed repeatedly to her that it's HER decision whether she wants to go, and that just because they tell her something in youth group, doesn't mean that it's true or that she has to believe it. When the school year starts and the events go from trips to the water park into more serious events and the enevitable church camp/etc, I'm extremely worried about what she will be told/taught.

I feel like I need to take a stand about the issue and be honest with her about the fact that I no longer believe, but my husband is NOT okay with my unbelief, and any conversations that we've had have not gone well. He has "accepted" it for now, but doesn't want to talk about it and isn't open to any real working out of the issues we're going to have now.

The frustrating part is that, while we were both raised Christian and went to church multiple times a week growing up, we haven't gone consistently since we got married. After having our kids I felt like I needed to at least take them to church, so *I* have been the one to take the initiative to get them there on Wednesdays/Sundays. My husband has attended sporadically (at best), but hasn't really taken it seriously. He claims that he doesn't need church to have a relationship with God, so that's why he doesn't need to go.

At this point, I am just fading out taking the younger kids to church, but I'm not sure how to deal with my oldest daughter and youth group. She is not really "into" the church teachings or the bible reading/etc, but she enjoys the social aspect.

 

My biggest fear with her is that she will have a situation like church camp or an event where she is told that God can heal her from her Type 1 Diabetes, and that she'll be crushed when it doesn't happen. I suffer from an anxiety disorder, and I distinctly remember being told that God could heal me of it, then being horribly depressed when it didn't happen. Then the disgusting cycle of thinking that it was MY fault that God didn't heal me, that I had done something wrong, etc. It makes me sick to my stomach to think of her experiencing that. She deals with enough shit every day having to cope with a chronic illness.. I think if I found out someone put her through that experience I would go off on them.

I flip between thinking that she'll be okay, as long as the crazy messages she hears there aren't reinforced at home, and I make sure to monitor what she's actually learning, to remembering the guilt/shame/crap that I believed about myself as a teenager and wanting to make sure that she is as far away from that type of thinking as possible.
 

The longer that my husband avoids/ignores the problem, the more frustrated i'm getting. I understand that he has to have his own journey and decide what he believes, but that doesn't mean that we can't have open/honest conversation in the meantime, right?

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good topic, great post!
 
I told my 5 year old already that "god" is sort of imaginary, and so is santa claus.  SHe doesn't understand yet, but by the time she is 7 she'll be a hardened skeptic like her beloved dad.  smile.png
 
I say, tell her!  Get it off your chest.  The bible is full of shit.  (or maybe different wording)... why hide it?  Especially if you are concerned she is indoctrinated into the cult.  Your husband is free to speak his mind, and so are you.  Nobody ever said you have to agree.  If your husband gets mad, let him be mad.  He can tell the kid his beliefs, you tell the kid yours, let the kid decide.
 
You only live once, so fuck it...raise the kid the way you think is best.
 
edit: I too was lost, depressed, hopeless and full of self-loathing for most of my life, because "god" refused to heal me of my mental anguish, and I thought that it was somehow my fault. sad.png  It turns out I have Bipolar disorder, and guess what?  It is INCURABLE.  No wonder god didn't cure me.  He was never there, nobody is ever cured of incurable diseases.  CHECKMATE!  Christian dimwits.

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Good that you are fading out church.  Keep that up.  Find some other social circle for your daughter.

 

My son is 10 and I just got him into the new show Cosmos.  It's really good for introducing people to science.

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Soon enough your daughter will be disappointed by the nasty un-Christian behaviour of the members of this youth group. If you get in there before this happens with the message to judge people by their behaviour rather than what they say they believe, the experience will provide a great learning for her.

 

And forgetting to go to church is the best you can do for both you and yourp children.

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Like others, I would suggest telling your daughter exactly how you feel.  However, I'd also recommend you talk to your husband first and let him know that you plan to be honest with your daughter.  You don't want him feeling blind-sided and since she's his daughter also, he should have a say in the matter.  Then let your daughter know that different people believe different things and that the most important part of a person isn't belief, but behavior.

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You can casually, with the appearance of innocence, ask some questions of which it would make the youth group leaders uncomfortable. Get your 11 year old to openly ask them. After enough time, the leaders will likely accuse the kid of starting trouble, and your kid will become frustrated by the youth leaders, that is when you suggest another outlet be found and there will be no interest in that youth group.

LMAO!

 

Tell her to ask "if anything is possible with prayer, how come an amputee has never got his legs back with prayer?"

Game over.

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Right now I'm struggling with knowing how to deal with my oldest daughter (11 years old). She was excited this year to finally get to join youth group, and has gone to a few events. So far they have been fairly benign, but I'm worried about how to combat the indoctrination and negative messages that I remember getting in that period of life.

 

I have not told her yet that I don't believe in God anymore, but I have stressed repeatedly to her that it's HER decision whether she wants to go, and that just because they tell her something in youth group, doesn't mean that it's true or that she has to believe it. When the school year starts and the events go from trips to the water park into more serious events and the enevitable church camp/etc, I'm extremely worried about what she will be told/taught.

 

I feel like I need to take a stand about the issue and be honest with her about the fact that I no longer believe, but my husband is NOT okay with my unbelief, and any conversations that we've had have not gone well. He has "accepted" it for now, but doesn't want to talk about it and isn't open to any real working out of the issues we're going to have now.

 

The frustrating part is that, while we were both raised Christian and went to church multiple times a week growing up, we haven't gone consistently since we got married. After having our kids I felt like I needed to at least take them to church, so *I* have been the one to take the initiative to get them there on Wednesdays/Sundays. My husband has attended sporadically (at best), but hasn't really taken it seriously. He claims that he doesn't need church to have a relationship with God, so that's why he doesn't need to go.

 

At this point, I am just fading out taking the younger kids to church, but I'm not sure how to deal with my oldest daughter and youth group. She is not really "into" the church teachings or the bible reading/etc, but she enjoys the social aspect.

 

My biggest fear with her is that she will have a situation like church camp or an event where she is told that God can heal her from her Type 1 Diabetes, and that she'll be crushed when it doesn't happen. I suffer from an anxiety disorder, and I distinctly remember being told that God could heal me of it, then being horribly depressed when it didn't happen. Then the disgusting cycle of thinking that it was MY fault that God didn't heal me, that I had done something wrong, etc. It makes me sick to my stomach to think of her experiencing that. She deals with enough shit every day having to cope with a chronic illness.. I think if I found out someone put her through that experience I would go off on them.

 

I flip between thinking that she'll be okay, as long as the crazy messages she hears there aren't reinforced at home, and I make sure to monitor what she's actually learning, to remembering the guilt/shame/crap that I believed about myself as a teenager and wanting to make sure that she is as far away from that type of thinking as possible.

 

The longer that my husband avoids/ignores the problem, the more frustrated i'm getting. I understand that he has to have his own journey and decide what he believes, but that doesn't mean that we can't have open/honest conversation in the meantime, right?

 

Your daughter's biggest role models are her father who sporadically at best attends but doesn't take church seriously. And of course you, who will not be encouraging her to go to church but maybe will encourage her in a variety of other non-religious activities, sports, clubs, whatever. That's a great defense against religion, right there: parental non-involvement in church.

 

Does she like science? Encourage her to question everything and not just believe what other people say. People from different denominations can't even agree on the 'truth.' If she asks you if you believe a certain religious item you might say, "Well, I used to, but it just doesnt make much sense to me anymore, so no, I dont. I choose to make my own judgments and decisions and conclusions." You can suggest in a subtle way that the churchies are full of baloney. Instill a sense of questioning and thinking in your child. "If God gave us a powerful brain he must want us to think, and reason things out, right?" :-) 

 

Every Christian has their own personal Christianity that may be nothing more than a vague idea of some God that listens to you. You may not have anything to really be concerned about. But I would fight hard against the "I am a sinner" idea and other shit that harms self esteem. Might also mention to your daughter that God isn't any of the people in the church and God is not the pastor and God is not the bible. God is not the ideas that other people have about God even if they say, "I got a word about you from God." If any of those other people can talk to and get words from God, so can your daughter. And those ideas your daughter gets from God might conflict with the bible and might conflict with the standard church doctrine bullshit but are no less God's words than the ideas that other churchies claim they have received 'from God.'

 

If there is a living God and he wants to have a relationship with you then why would you need to study a bible? That's not a relationship. That's reading a book. Get your answers from the living God (i.e. your own brain). :-)

 

With a freely thinking, reasoning, logical and inquiring mind (due to your parenting), your daughter ought to figure out that Christianity is all imagination and when she asks you about it, give her your opinion on it, why it's baloney, etc etc.  

 

Take care.

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Thanks for the replies, everyone.

 

I know that I need to talk things through with my husband, but we're not in a great place right now and I think he'll see it as me trying to control him (via my daughter?). I'm going to have to think about how to approach it without it becoming a fight about us.

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Guest Marty

The frustrating part is that, while we were both raised Christian and went to church multiple times a week growing up, we haven't gone consistently since we got married. After having our kids I felt like I needed to at least take them to church, so *I* have been the one to take the initiative to get them there on Wednesdays/Sundays. My husband has attended sporadically (at best), but hasn't really taken it seriously. He claims that he doesn't need church to have a relationship with God, so that's why he doesn't need to go.

 

At this point, I am just fading out taking the younger kids to church, but I'm not sure how to deal with my oldest daughter and youth group. She is not really "into" the church teachings or the bible reading/etc, but she enjoys the social aspect.

 

 

If I were you, I'd stop taking anybody to church.  If it is important enough for your husband, he can get out of bed early and take them.  He is the believer yet he doesn't even go to church?  Practice what you preach, if you ask me.

 

As for your daughter, when I was her age I was excited to get to join youth group too.  It was a place where only older kids went; it was a right of passage.  I couldn't care less about the messages they taught us.  There were cute girls there and that is the only reason I went to youth group.  As she gets older and a teenager, youth group will lose its appeal because it's what "younger kids do", and she will move on to other things...

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The neat thing about "forgetting" to go to church is if you do it gradually it doesn't have to be a confrontation.

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Teach your child critical thinking skills. What I did with my daughter is never gave her pat answers to anything, but asked more questions to lead her to come up with her own conclusions and showed her how to look things up…then asked her what she thought about the question or subject... and exposed her to nature and science as much as I could. I tried my best to instill in her trust in her own ability to reason.

 

I also used to watch tv with her and deconstruct advertisements and even tv shows… getting her to think about what she was exposed to, and ask "why?".. and "what is the purpose of this message?".

 

Warning!  :D   So far I have raised a natural skeptic. It has caused some issues in the classroom (lol) because she does not accept authority for authority's sake - but challenges it. I'm okay with that now because I know she is not easily led, by anyone. A bonus: peer pressure has less weight for her than with some of her friends… a boon during adolescence! However.. she will question my authority as well, but at least she does it by thinking for herself, and not just reacting.

 

I let her read the Bible… at 12 - when she asked me about christianity, starting from the beginning… by the middle of Genesis she was laughing so hard she couldn't read anymore… and she turned to me and said, "people really believe this?, Bwahahahahaha". (I then had to caution her to not be cruel to those who did believe it… that it was really important to them and hurting others feelings and sense of security wasn't kind.)

 

I was a proud mama that day… and she hasn't shown any interest in it since.

 

She will figure it out for herself. Your example will help.

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Guest Marty

Ravenstar, reading that (and some of Redneck Professor's tales of childrearing) is about the only thing that makes me wish I had children.  To be able to teach them to think for themselves and trust their own intellect and be able to see them discover the world must be an amazing feeling...

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It is amazing.. it's also extremely frightening. The depth of the bond is surprising.. as well as the realization that there is much you can not control.. and letting go is the ultimate outcome. There is a fair amount of parenting that is just having your heart in your throat  :D.

 

One day you realize that although you had much influence in who they become.. you also had less influence than you thought you might, each child is their own person. They are not lumps of clay.  lol    Allowing them, encouraging them, to be themselves is a challenge in itself.

 

The most surprising element for me was also realizing they are mirrors… and they will reflect back to you your best, and worst qualities. It can be.. uncomfortable, but ultimately a good thing.

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I know it's early but I've already bought Redneck Jr's Christmas presents.  This year he will be getting a lab grade microscope, a box of 50 prepared slides, a box of blank slides with slip covers, a bottle of immersion oil, and a staining kit.  He may only be five; but that's no reason we can't get our science on. 

 

We bought a kiddie microscope the other week at a yard sale, but the lenses on it had started to oxidize, so the prepared slides that came with it weren't really visible.  So I pulled my microscope down out of the closet, dusted it off and got busy.  I swabbed the inside of my cheek with a q-tip and collected some cells, which I then stained with Eosin and wet-mounted a slide.  You wouldnt believe the awe and wonder the boy experienced when he saw his own father's cells.  Once I saw that, I knew that little kiddie microscope needed to be upgraded. 

 

Seriously, you can't pray that kind of excitement into a kid; but you can science it.

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The neat thing about "forgetting" to go to church is if you do it gradually it doesn't have to be a confrontation.

 

You can at least be 'sick' - cough gag - one week....

 

Too lazy the next week. :-)

 

-------------------

 

Even though at least two of my kids seemed to really like church, getting them out of bed to actually go, was rough. Not sure if the OP's daughter pops out of bed on Sunday excited to go, but if not, I'd just let her sleep. :-)

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I know it's early but I've already bought Redneck Jr's Christmas presents.  This year he will be getting a lab grade microscope, a box of 50 prepared slides, a box of blank slides with slip covers, a bottle of immersion oil, and a staining kit.  He may only be five; but that's no reason we can't get our science on. 

 

We bought a kiddie microscope the other week at a yard sale, but the lenses on it had started to oxidize, so the prepared slides that came with it weren't really visible.  So I pulled my microscope down out of the closet, dusted it off and got busy.  I swabbed the inside of my cheek with a q-tip and collected some cells, which I then stained with Eosin and wet-mounted a slide.  You wouldnt believe the awe and wonder the boy experienced when he saw his own father's cells.  Once I saw that, I knew that little kiddie microscope needed to be upgraded. 

 

Seriously, you can't pray that kind of excitement into a kid; but you can science it.

 

Oh man, the folks got me a microscope with a whole bunch of different kinds of slides with stuff to look at .... That was a great present. Then later on the chemistry set with a good amount of sulphur to burn and stink up the house! Loved it. Then the Radio Shack 100 in 1 electronic project kit ! http://www.samstoybox.com/toys/ElectronicProjectKits.html

 

They also ordered these small science booklets on a variety of science topics...like booklet of the month club. Get him into amateur radio (arrl.org) and computers... :-) Enjoy.

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I know it's early but I've already bought Redneck Jr's Christmas presents.  This year he will be getting a lab grade microscope, a box of 50 prepared slides, a box of blank slides with slip covers, a bottle of immersion oil, and a staining kit.  He may only be five; but that's no reason we can't get our science on. 

 

We bought a kiddie microscope the other week at a yard sale, but the lenses on it had started to oxidize, so the prepared slides that came with it weren't really visible.  So I pulled my microscope down out of the closet, dusted it off and got busy.  I swabbed the inside of my cheek with a q-tip and collected some cells, which I then stained with Eosin and wet-mounted a slide.  You wouldnt believe the awe and wonder the boy experienced when he saw his own father's cells.  Once I saw that, I knew that little kiddie microscope needed to be upgraded. 

 

Seriously, you can't pray that kind of excitement into a kid; but you can science it.

 

Oh man, the folks got me a microscope with a whole bunch of different kinds of slides with stuff to look at .... That was a great present. Then later on the chemistry set with a good amount of sulphur to burn and stink up the house! Loved it. Then the Radio Shack 100 in 1 electronic project kit ! http://www.samstoybox.com/toys/ElectronicProjectKits.html

 

They also ordered these small science booklets on a variety of science topics...like booklet of the month club. Get him into amateur radio (arrl.org) and computers... :-) Enjoy.

 

I should note, for the scientists among us, that I would have normally used methylene blue to stain a buccal swab; but somehow during my move from the farm to Georgia, my collection of stains went missing and all I had was the Eosin.

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