Single Parenting & Holidays
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29-11-2012, 09:42 AM
Single Parenting & Holidays
Greetings everyone and thank you in advance for your replies and communication.

Let me start with a brief "about" to lay the scene out.

I'm a single father with primary custody of my 6 year old son.
My ex was mildly religious when we met / married then church and religion essentially diminished in our home but I've always been more of a "thinker" than a "feeler" when it came to religion and our child.
Since our divorce (earlier this year) She has become much more religious oriented and focused with our son (I feel in an attempt to put a wedge between he and I... Yeah, Ever wanna piss off a woman? Win in a custody battle... Holy S***!)


This will be our first X-mas on our own in the same home he grew up in. I'm really looking for advice and anyone's rendition of experiences which may help me properly celebrate the holiday without causing too much confusion and controversy within himself.
I really thought my best bet would be just to celebrate it as Santa, a tree, lights, etc. with no religious undertones and see how things go.

Again, thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice.
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29-11-2012, 10:59 AM
RE: Single Parenting & Holidays
My kids were much older when I got custody after our divorce, and their mother and I have never been at odds regarding religion, so I may not be able to give advice regarding the confusion that might come up if his mother and father give him conflicting religious information, but as to the rest:

First of all we always raised our kids without religion. They've never been confused about whether Jesus is real or not - they just haven't believed, haven't been indoctrinated. They have friends and relatives (grandparents are the closest) who are religious, mostly Mormon, and living in Utah they're surrounded by Mormons, so it's not like they never heard of god or Jesus - we just taught them that some people believe in that stuff even though there is no reason to. We taught our kids that the people who believe in that stuff aren't stupid, but they are mistaken, and usually it's because people they trust have told them untrue things and they mistakenly believed it - even the people telling them these things were also mistaken. And so on. It's fairly complex, but you get the gist of it - religion is a big mistake and smart people believe in it not because there's something wrong with the believers but simply because they don't understand their mistakes and don't know that there's a more realistic way to NOT believe.

This has always allowed our kids to deal with religious people without scorn or derision - they have always felt a little sorry for religious people.

There have been problems because the insulated Mormon majority here is very negative about letting their kids play with non-Mormon kids, so my daughters have often had their young hearts broken when they found a friend but soon after their friend wasn't allowed to play with them any more. That hurts young kids. We explained that as part of their mistaken belief, they're afraid that their kids won't grow up learning the same mistakes. My kids got the gist of it, even when they were young like your son.

As for the holidays, sure, we always celebrated Christmas, we always called it Christmas, we just told our kids that lots of people think Christmas is about Jesus, but lots of other people realize it's about being with family and celebrating our love for each other with presents and a nice dinner and just having fun with our family. We always had non-Christian decorations (trees, lights, Santa, Rudolph, etc.) but no nativity scenes or other Christian stuff. Easter was about finding eggs and getting a basket with candy and presents in it. And so on.

My kids were never confused about this. Now they're older, 15 and 18, both atheists, both skeptics, both are strong young women with good heads on their shoulders.

Your situation is somewhat the same, except for the fact that your Ex is trying to indoctrinate your son. That's going to be a big problem that I don't have any personal experience to relate. My mother tried to indoctrinate my kids, but it was easy enough to tell her that if she kept it up, she wouldn't see her grandkids any more, so she backed off. You are not likely to have that option. Hopefully others here can shed some light on that.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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30-11-2012, 03:24 AM
RE: Single Parenting & Holidays
Wow, a guy actually winning a custody battle? Your ex must have done something really fucked up for that to happen. They hand kids back over to female crack addicts rather than give the kid(s) to their father. I am truly shocked.
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30-11-2012, 06:51 AM
RE: Single Parenting & Holidays
I say go with your plan to do the Santa thing. You are now able to start new traditions with your son. What his mom does when she has him for visits will be different...that's the way it is with divorce when kids are involved.

He's young, let him have the magic of Santa. I hope you and he have a great holiday.

I'm not anti-social. I'm pro-solitude. Sleepy
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30-11-2012, 09:43 AM
RE: Single Parenting & Holidays
Welcome to the forum!

Me and my wife and kid don't do the religious horse shit associated with Christmas and our kid has a blast. Honestly if you just keep all of that jazz out of what you guys are doing your kid is going to have way more fun. The religious parts are the worst.

Santa, lights, jingle bells, those are the most fun. Besides your kid is going to be most concerned with presents. It's mostly the adults who worry about the religious propaganda.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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30-11-2012, 11:13 AM
RE: Single Parenting & Holidays
I think your plan about Santa, a tree, lights, and no religion sounds good. However, if your son brings up the subject of religion, then I would simply answer his questions at some minimal level - enough to satisfy him without encouraging. There is nothing wrong with learning about religion and doing so doesn't have to mean ultimately following one. But, someday, this should be his choice to make in my opinion anyway. Also, if you stifle his questions, it may seem like something forbidden which may backfire and make him more curious in the long run.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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01-12-2012, 12:06 AM (This post was last modified: 01-12-2012 10:04 AM by LadyJane.)
RE: Single Parenting & Holidays
Make your own traditions, they're fun!

*Santa and all that jazz
*gingerbread house decorating
*paper snowflakes in the windows
*hot chocolate and strolls to look at houses lit up
*A thank you tree. I love this one. Each person gets a few strips of paper and we write something we are thankful for on the paper. We curl them up and hang them on a tree in our house (house plant tree). Before we had this tree I just got a branch from outside to do it on. It's a cozy reflection to connect on.
*tobaganning (if you're near snow) or ice skating.
*cookie baking
*count down calendar.
*Book opening. A friend of mine does this where a book a night is unwrapped a couple weeks before Christmas, to read at night.

I'm sure there are many more. Whatever you come up with, they will become your son's and yourself's traditions and they'll be special. Have fun!
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06-12-2012, 09:39 AM
RE: Single Parenting & Holidays
Thank you all for your kind words and advice.
The tree is up, the lights strung on the house and the celebratory emotions overflowing in his little heart. I'm quite glad and very happy that things are going so well.
I was quite pleased when my ex called stating she wasn't feeling well so I was asked to keep him on her weekend... and again yesterday in reference to this evening when she was supposed to have him. It's going well and my son is, of course, disappointed about not seeing his mother but alas I try my best to fill that time and opportunity with positive experiences.

@ Birdguy - Even in Texas I have found that the balance between male and female custody is becoming more and more balanced. I even had a female judge and with me fighting for custody it was quite nervous but I ended up asking the court to appoint an amicus attorney to represent my son and it was her (the amicus attorney's) recommendation that my son go with me if a 50/50 couldn't be arranged. Considering that my Ex moved into some lower class apartments in a bad part of Dallas which was 20+ miles away from our home... I got primary. Add to that her years of problems with depression and anxiety with the lovely cake icing that was her infidelity and you had the makings of a interesting custody battle.
For this site I'll tell a little story that you may laugh at.
I was on the stand during the trial and her lawyer asked me "Are you religious?"
I answered simply "No..."
Then before she asked another question, I had fun with it and spouted "Actually, I was raised Methodist but have since gone on my own quest for spiritual understanding and in that time I have experienced many religions. Buddhism, Muslim, Catholicism, Wiccan, Baptist, Mormonism, Scientology and yes even Satanism. However, your question was whether or not I was religious and the answer to that is 'yes'. Apparently due to the hatred and bigotry associated with religious fundamentalists and those who apparently oppose the progression of our human species in it's rudimentary quest to better one's self and further our understanding of the universe, I would call myself an intellectual and a scientist. Because that, in my opinion is what I would write down on a form if required to state a 'religion' for legal purposes. Now, my question is... what bearing does that have on my case in concern to my son? Should he be raised by someone who searches for truth, fact, acceptance and understanding or by someone who worships a deity outlined in a book written by man and believed to be supernatural?"
I looked at the judge and simply said "Lets not turn this into a witch trial, shall we?"
She (the judge) smiled and fought back a laugh.
One of the best 60 second segments of my life!
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