Interfaith relationship with kid
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25-05-2017, 03:05 PM
Interfaith relationship with kid
My husband and I have been married for 15 years. He is a Christen and I'm an atheist. He knew that before we got married. This was partly the reason why I was reluctant to have kids and we waited a long time before having my son, who is now 3.

Tonight before bed my son suddenly insisted that we pray. It took me by surprise. I was unaware that my husband has started praying or talking about religion on the nights he puts my son to bed. I was unsure how to handle the situation and first tried to change the subject, but he got upset when I didn't want to pray. I ended up compromising by closing my eyes and telling him how much I love him and his father.

It made me realize that I have been ignoring the subject for too long. I'm not sure how to handle it. Should I play along, or tell him that I don't believe. He is still so young and I don't want to confuse him. Should I rather wait until he is older?

My husband is also thinking of taking him to church. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

I don't know a lot of people that are atheist, never mind anyone in a similar situation. Any advice, please?
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25-05-2017, 03:33 PM
RE: Interfaith relationship with kid
(25-05-2017 03:05 PM)hkza Wrote:  My husband and I have been married for 15 years. He is a Christen and I'm an atheist. He knew that before we got married. This was partly the reason why I was reluctant to have kids and we waited a long time before having my son, who is now 3.

Tonight before bed my son suddenly insisted that we pray. It took me by surprise. I was unaware that my husband has started praying or talking about religion on the nights he puts my son to bed. I was unsure how to handle the situation and first tried to change the subject, but he got upset when I didn't want to pray. I ended up compromising by closing my eyes and telling him how much I love him and his father.

It made me realize that I have been ignoring the subject for too long. I'm not sure how to handle it. Should I play along, or tell him that I don't believe. He is still so young and I don't want to confuse him. Should I rather wait until he is older?

My husband is also thinking of taking him to church. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

I don't know a lot of people that are atheist, never mind anyone in a similar situation. Any advice, please?

Welcome to TTA.

I think a first step would be for you to have a talk with your husband about this to see if the two of you can come to an understanding, then stick to it. Three is way too young, IMO, for your son to be able to make an informed decision about religion, so I think there's a case for waiting until he's at least in primary school for praying and most especially for church-going.

If your husband isn't willing to defer religious indoctrination, I would recommend that you be honest with your son at a level that he can understand. (also be honest with your husband that you aren't going to support his religious views to your kid) Maybe tell him that it's okay for him to pray with his dad, but you don't pray, and it's okay with dad that you don't pray, so you aren't going to pray with your son, either. Maybe develop your own secular bedtime ritual where you reflect with your son on the good things that happened that day, etc.
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25-05-2017, 04:16 PM
RE: Interfaith relationship with kid
(25-05-2017 03:05 PM)hkza Wrote:  My husband and I have been married for 15 years. He is a Christen and I'm an atheist. He knew that before we got married. This was partly the reason why I was reluctant to have kids and we waited a long time before having my son, who is now 3.

Tonight before bed my son suddenly insisted that we pray. It took me by surprise. I was unaware that my husband has started praying or talking about religion on the nights he puts my son to bed. I was unsure how to handle the situation and first tried to change the subject, but he got upset when I didn't want to pray. I ended up compromising by closing my eyes and telling him how much I love him and his father.

It made me realize that I have been ignoring the subject for too long. I'm not sure how to handle it. Should I play along, or tell him that I don't believe. He is still so young and I don't want to confuse him. Should I rather wait until he is older?

My husband is also thinking of taking him to church. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

I don't know a lot of people that are atheist, never mind anyone in a similar situation. Any advice, please?

Hindsight on any issue after the fact, in marriage happens. My X and I simply got married, we never really talked about long term goals and it turned out she had far different ideas than I did.

But that is in the past, and in your case it is possible to have good relationships even in this case. But it cannot be one sided, you also have a right to tell your kid what you think too, so the issue is is he willing to be fair to you. If you can both agree to let the kid think for himself then he'll be fine no matter what he chooses .

I'd also say how you have this discussion matters too, if it becomes name calling or raised voices, then it is just about the two of you and not the kid. Disagreements should be about problem solving, compromise and trying to get to a point where you can find something acceptable together.

But no, he does not have the right to solely raise the kid by himself if you both have legal custody and are still married. You might also want to consider professional family counseling, not a preacher or pastor, but an office therapist.

But I agree, 3 is way too young to introduce a kid into a religion.

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25-05-2017, 04:24 PM
RE: Interfaith relationship with kid
I agree, see if you can't get hubby to defer religious exposure until school age.

I also agree on starting a different ritual with your kid if dad insists on doing prayers. Just say that it's great that s/he has a special thing to do with dad, and that you two can also have a special ritual.

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25-05-2017, 07:15 PM
RE: Interfaith relationship with kid
As others have said you need too discuss this with your husband. Try not to get too heated or confrontational. Depending on your husband's variety of Christianity he may well feel that he's saving your son from eternal damnation so this will be tricky to talk about for both of you.

At age 3 he'll have no grasp of what praying really means. He's just playing a grown-up game. Subjecting him to the unspeakable boredom that is church might actually be a good idea. Let him know that it isn't a game that you play and suggest something else. We call this game silly bedtime stories. Read him the most preposterous stuff you can find. That way he'll know what fiction looks like when it comes around to actually understanding religion. Don't teach him what to think, just show him how. Give him a critical mind, a sense of wonder and a healthy dose of self-worth and religion won't have the proverbial snowflake's chance in hell.

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26-05-2017, 03:00 AM
RE: Interfaith relationship with kid
(25-05-2017 03:05 PM)hkza Wrote:  My husband and I have been married for 15 years. He is a Christen and I'm an atheist. He knew that before we got married. This was partly the reason why I was reluctant to have kids and we waited a long time before having my son, who is now 3.

Tonight before bed my son suddenly insisted that we pray. It took me by surprise. I was unaware that my husband has started praying or talking about religion on the nights he puts my son to bed. I was unsure how to handle the situation and first tried to change the subject, but he got upset when I didn't want to pray. I ended up compromising by closing my eyes and telling him how much I love him and his father.

It made me realize that I have been ignoring the subject for too long. I'm not sure how to handle it. Should I play along, or tell him that I don't believe. He is still so young and I don't want to confuse him. Should I rather wait until he is older?

My husband is also thinking of taking him to church. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

I don't know a lot of people that are atheist, never mind anyone in a similar situation. Any advice, please?
The things with Kids is, that whilst they are easily led into things, they're also not stupid by any stretch.

I've had a similar thing with my daughter, who is almost 7 now, and she asked me about god recently. I replied in an honest fashion, that whilst you believe in "god", some people believe in other things, and that I personally didn't believe in anything. I stressed that if she believes, that is fine, but I don't.

I would only say not to try an lead him into anything really, and get your husband to do the same, IE don't MAKE him pray/not pray, but should he choose to pray, why not just say "Why don't you pray for both of us?". That way, your kid is doing something he 'wants' to do, and feels like he's helping you out, in some way.

The only 'good' thing about this is, if you agree to a bit of a cease fire with your husband, your kid will probably grow out of it in a few months or so.

Be open and honest, and just say "there is more than one religion, and some people choose not to believe" and leave that information with him.

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26-05-2017, 03:55 AM
RE: Interfaith relationship with kid
You can start by saying that Daddy prays and Mommy does not pray, but Mommy loves him. I think that, in time, as he feels the natural comfort from you he will be able to adjust to the notion of his parents doing things differently.
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26-05-2017, 07:10 AM
RE: Interfaith relationship with kid
Welcome to the forum!

(25-05-2017 03:33 PM)julep Wrote:  
(25-05-2017 03:05 PM)hkza Wrote:  My husband and I have been married for 15 years. He is a Christen and I'm an atheist. He knew that before we got married. This was partly the reason why I was reluctant to have kids and we waited a long time before having my son, who is now 3.

Tonight before bed my son suddenly insisted that we pray. It took me by surprise. I was unaware that my husband has started praying or talking about religion on the nights he puts my son to bed. I was unsure how to handle the situation and first tried to change the subject, but he got upset when I didn't want to pray. I ended up compromising by closing my eyes and telling him how much I love him and his father.

It made me realize that I have been ignoring the subject for too long. I'm not sure how to handle it. Should I play along, or tell him that I don't believe. He is still so young and I don't want to confuse him. Should I rather wait until he is older?

My husband is also thinking of taking him to church. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

I don't know a lot of people that are atheist, never mind anyone in a similar situation. Any advice, please?

Welcome to TTA.

I think a first step would be for you to have a talk with your husband about this to see if the two of you can come to an understanding, then stick to it. Three is way too young, IMO, for your son to be able to make an informed decision about religion, so I think there's a case for waiting until he's at least in primary school for praying and most especially for church-going.

If your husband isn't willing to defer religious indoctrination, I would recommend that you be honest with your son at a level that he can understand. (also be honest with your husband that you aren't going to support his religious views to your kid) Maybe tell him that it's okay for him to pray with his dad, but you don't pray, and it's okay with dad that you don't pray, so you aren't going to pray with your son, either. Maybe develop your own secular bedtime ritual where you reflect with your son on the good things that happened that day, etc.

I agree with all the above. It's a very tricky situation, and it is going to require reasonable compromise. Unfortunately, some religious people can't be reasonable because of the importance they place on their beliefs. I hope your husband isn't one of them.

I'm not impressed, personally, that your husband started doing religious stuff with your son without discussing it with you first.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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