Dealing with religious parents as a teen
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
27-09-2016, 11:41 PM
Dealing with religious parents as a teen
So I'm 15, (16 in a couple months) and was raised Christain. When I was younger we were more Baptist, but now we go to a non-denominational church. I don't really know if my parents still identity as baptist although they do believe in a literal hell (along with my younger sisters) I go to church with them every Sunday for two services, "volunteering" in the church cafe at the second, and starting next week I'll have to go "volunteer" at the Saturday evening service as well. I know they mean well so I don't really mind a lot of the religious stuff. Or at least I tell myself that. I used to volunteer with 3-5th graders (my little sister was there at the time) as tech but quit after a service on how everyone is horrible and deserves hell. It's one thing to say that to me, but hearing it told to my baby sister is different.

Anyways, I think I've always had a hint of doubt but I just pushed it away. I remember telling my mom once when I was really little that if I ever had doubts in Christianity I'd just remember how many people believed and how they can't ALL be wrong. When I was 12 our church had a big event for its 10th anniversary and it was there that I realized I didn't fully believe. I can't remember the exact moment, but I started making a list of things that didn't make sense like the morality of Jerico and if babies went to hell. After not finding any convincing answers I identified as Agnostic sometime when I was 14. My definition of it was kinda weird though, I didn't know if God was real, but I also didn't know if it was possible to know. It was a few months ago I realized I was an Atheist even though I didn't like the term at first because my whole life atheists were taught as angry, horrible people, but upon learning the actual definition, it fit.

Along the way I had told my mom about my doubts (she actually directed me to the answers in Genesis site a lot) so she knew not long after I did. My dad was different. I read online about coming out as a nonbeliever, and even though the majority of the advice was to wait until financially stable, I felt really bad about keeping this from him. They always told me that I could tell them anything and everything and I expected him to at least be calm and listen to my points. I even thought that since my parents seem like rational people, I might even be able to get them to see the inconsistencies in their beliefs. (Few-months-ago-me was a bit overconfident) Well from the title of this thread it's pretty obvious that didn't go so well. My heart sunk when the first thing he said was Pascal's wager.

After that he told me how he failed as a parent, that it was his job as head of household to make sure I was Christian. He always gets super over emotional when talking about religion. He says that "I'm rejecting the most important thing in the world and in the other members of the family's life" and always takes everything very personally. The last part isn't even isolated to religion, every time I don't want to go do errands with him "I don't like spending time with him", and he uses "family time" as an excuse to force us (me and my sisters) to do stuff. It's usually stupid stuff like "family movie night" where he always picks the movie even if the rest of the family wants to watch something else, or dinner out (even if I just want to go to bed early) but he uses this excuse for events at church as well.

One time we were on a spring break trip with a bunch of foreign exchange students and a couple students walked up and were talking to him when religion came up. He said "our family's Christian" and since at the time I had just come out as atheist and was a bit overexcited, I said "well not all the family". I honestly didn't even think much of it at the time. (I have a history of not realizing when I say something that could be rude, but I'm working on it) That evening when we got home he sent me upstairs saying that he was too mad to even look at me. Later he said that I was "a vile activist atheist" and preforming the worst sin possible by "acting as a road block in others faith". After that whole situation he banned me from telling people I don't believe unless they directly ask. There was some time of somewhat peace, but one Saturday evening he came in my room and said I better behave at church or else "since he's my parent and has total control over my life he could ruin it". I'm probably remembering it wrong, but now I'm low key terrified of my dad because he's right. I'm still just a kid and stuck with him in charge until I move out. I try to ignore it, because I still love him, but when we're in a room together my heart feels like it's beating out of my chest. Now I really do avoid spending time with him even though I feel bad about it. I can even kinda see his point of view, he's just scared. He even said that he's scared for my future "since he's seen what happens to people that don't believe in God"

I feel like I need to be the bigger person and just appease him, but he's the parent! I'm not supposed to have to do/feel this way.

I dunno, guess I just needed to let out some steam. I'm homeschooled so I don't have a school counselor or anyone to talk to.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like dustyrose's post
27-09-2016, 11:49 PM
RE: Dealing with religious parents as a teen
That's harsh Sad I'd keep my head down for now. He's treating you extremely badly but he's not likely to listen to reason. How about your Mom and the other family members? Can you sound them out? You need her to be on your side if possible.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes morondog's post
28-09-2016, 03:10 AM
RE: Dealing with religious parents as a teen
Sounds as if you're in a very uncomfortable place with your Dad at the moment. He's obviously taking your rejection of faith very personally. My own experience when I was your age was very different so it's difficult to suggest ways forward other than doing as morondog has suggested in that you keep your head down. The thing to remember is that you as a person have not changed - you simply disagree with your Dad about one aspect of life. Would he react the same if you decided your favourite colour was not the same as his, or if you chose a different political party to vote for when you reach voting age?

Your Dad does seem very controlling if he dictates to everyone in the manner you say.

In the absence of a school counsellor do you have any family members (not immediate family) who you think might be sympathetic and be prepared to listen? Or in the absence of family do you have any parents of friends who you might think would be sympathetic?

You know you can come to this forum and vent steam anytime you want.

The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike
Excreta Tauri Sapientam Fulgeat (The excrement of the bull causes wisdom to flee)
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Silly Deity's post
28-09-2016, 11:21 AM
RE: Dealing with religious parents as a teen
(27-09-2016 11:49 PM)morondog Wrote:  That's harsh Sad I'd keep my head down for now. He's treating you extremely badly but he's not likely to listen to reason. How about your Mom and the other family members? Can you sound them out? You need her to be on your side if possible.

Yea I've been keeping my head down. I've talked to my mom but she hasn't really responded with anything other than "you have to respect your father" if she responds at all.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
28-09-2016, 11:33 AM
RE: Dealing with religious parents as a teen
(28-09-2016 03:10 AM)Silly Deity Wrote:  Sounds as if you're in a very uncomfortable place with your Dad at the moment. He's obviously taking your rejection of faith very personally. My own experience when I was your age was very different so it's difficult to suggest ways forward other than doing as morondog has suggested in that you keep your head down. The thing to remember is that you as a person have not changed - you simply disagree with your Dad about one aspect of life. Would he react the same if you decided your favourite colour was not the same as his, or if you chose a different political party to vote for when you reach voting age?

Your Dad does seem very controlling if he dictates to everyone in the manner you say.

In the absence of a school counsellor do you have any family members (not immediate family) who you think might be sympathetic and be prepared to listen? Or in the absence of family do you have any parents of friends who you might think would be sympathetic?

You know you can come to this forum and vent steam anytime you want.

He probably would have a somewhat similar reaction if he heard I ever vote for a liberal lol
I have an aunt who isn't religious and have texted her a few times, we even tried to plan a day out to talk but my parents didn't let that happen. I suspect they've been making sure I don't have an opportunity to talk with her alone, although that could just be me being paranoid. I have two close friends, but I don't know their parents well, and since I met them at a very religious home school group I doubt they'd listen anyways.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
28-09-2016, 02:06 PM (This post was last modified: 28-09-2016 06:40 PM by Iñigo.)
RE: Dealing with religious parents as a teen
Yes, he is your dad and in control, but he is not acting like an adult and he is not acting like a good parent. I know that it is easy for me to say don't be intimidated by him, but if you keep your atheism to yourself, then he has no reason to "ruin your life", which I don't believe he can do anyway. Yes, he can make your life miserable for a couple of years, but when you turn 18 and leave, you will still have your whole life to make your own. Take strength in knowing that you are completely within your rights to hold your own beliefs and take strength in knowing that he is acting like an emotional child and you are being the grown up. It sucks to be in the closet and biting your tongue until you are 18, but come in here to vent when you need to and keep on trying to get together with your aunt. You may also want to start thinking about your exit strategy by getting a summer job and saving some money.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Iñigo's post
28-09-2016, 02:36 PM
RE: Dealing with religious parents as a teen
(28-09-2016 11:21 AM)dustyrose Wrote:  
(27-09-2016 11:49 PM)morondog Wrote:  That's harsh Sad I'd keep my head down for now. He's treating you extremely badly but he's not likely to listen to reason. How about your Mom and the other family members? Can you sound them out? You need her to be on your side if possible.

Yea I've been keeping my head down. I've talked to my mom but she hasn't really responded with anything other than "you have to respect your father" if she responds at all.

Sounds like your old man's a bit like mine. Domineering control freak. Heart's in the right place (at least, with mine) but he can't stand to be defied. I moved out before having any major confrontations, and even now he gets frustrated when I go against his wishes, which is fairly often.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
28-09-2016, 02:45 PM
RE: Dealing with religious parents as a teen
From what you said this doesn't seem to have been going on long and is a relatively new development. I think this is a process that will take time. Yes your dad seems controlling but I don't think he would do anything to really hurt you and used the threat to put you in place. My step dad was the same way with the forcing time together. I really think that might be the only way these grown men know how to feel connected to their children and I hope you see it as well meaning love. About the religion part if it is any consolation the whole not telling people you are atheist unless asked directly is sorta how the real world works, at least for me it is. I work in the bible belt in a rich town (I of course am not rich I just work here) and they are all Christians and they all proclaim it loudly. Unless you don't want to piss them off (which is dangerous job wise) you hold your tongue. Maybe you could see this as practice for a job later. Keeping your head down is about all you can do at this point but at least you are no longer lying to yourself or your family. The internet is a great place to meet like minded individuals and places like here will help you a lot.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
28-09-2016, 05:54 PM
RE: Dealing with religious parents as a teen
It sounds like your dad is a bit clueless when it comes to "family time" and an overbearing jerk with respect to religion. The two mix poorly as you've noticed. Perhaps you might be able to suggest to him that family time might work better if you were all doing something that everybody enjoyed rather than being shoehorned into something that he thinks you ought to enjoy.

Sadly, there's little to be done about his religiosity. You can always refuse to do what he wants but I think that you already know that won't help matters much. It's a sad truth, but keeping your head down is probably good advice until you are independant.

I also don't proclaim my atheism but that's largely because it's one of the least interesting things about me. This is Canada. If somebody becomes vocal about religion you smile and change the topic. If they persist, you back away slowly and throw food at them hoping that they'll be distracted while you flee. Etiquette dictates that you report the incident to your local animal control officer.

I do so love Pascal's Wager. The version your father is losing reads like:

I can make my kids' lives hell because I'm a grown-up
- However, not being an utter dick costs me nothing
-- They may grow up to complete ingrates, in which case I've neither gained nor lost
-- But they might not, in which case I might actually get to see my grandkids.
- Or I can be horrid
-- Remembering only too late that one day they will have the authority to put me in a bad home.

---
Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Paleophyte's post
28-09-2016, 06:08 PM
RE: Dealing with religious parents as a teen
Almost 16 - only two years and you'll be able to move out. Just hang low, get good grades and plan your move. Figure out what you want to do and prepare for it.

Religion and atheism just are NOT the biggest things in life, even if some people make it out to be so.

Concentrate on the other parts of your life - what you do now will affect what you can do in a couple of years.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like Dom's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: