Thoughts about raising children with Atheist dad/Christian Mom
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
25-08-2017, 08:05 AM
Thoughts about raising children with Atheist dad/Christian Mom
I've been dealing with this for years. I have a 10 year old and a 4 month old. I do not believe in any god or gods, but my wife is a Christian. Though I would love for both of my children to believe the same way I do, I have chosen to take the path of providing them with as much information as possible in an open and honest way which I'm hoping will allow them both to make up their own minds when they are ready.

My ten year old knows where I stand. I make no apologies for thinking what I think. But I almost feel bad about it because he has his mother on the other side who does believe in the Christian God. Her mother passed away 6-7 years ago and ever since I can remember, she has told our son that his Nina is always with him and looking him from heaven. He has attended church with friends on occasion and has attended vacation bible school. My wife isn't overly religious though so I think he's got a really good shot at winding up as a free-thinker with his own opinions. I know my wife hopes our children become believers in god, but honestly I think deep down, she is just afraid of what the consequences would be if it turns out that her god didn't really exist. That would mean that her mother actually no longer existed except in photos and memories, which she feels would be a travesty. It's really fascinating to watch the belief struggle so closely. Anyway, back to the point of this thread...

I guess my main question/concern is whether I'm doing the right thing. I don't want to be too pushy and turn my son into a Christian as a way of rebelling against his old man. I also don't want him to feel like he has to be an Atheist to get and/or maintain my approval. I think I'm playing this right. Just curious as to other opinions out there since I don't have many within my circle who think like I do about religion.

It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
25-08-2017, 08:14 AM
RE: Thoughts about raising children with Atheist dad/Christian Mom
(25-08-2017 08:05 AM)reeveseb Wrote:  I guess my main question/concern is whether I'm doing the right thing. I don't want to be too pushy and turn my son into a Christian as a way of rebelling against his old man. I also don't want him to feel like he has to be an Atheist to get and/or maintain my approval. I think I'm playing this right. Just curious as to other opinions out there since I don't have many within my circle who think like I do about religion.

The best you can do is answer honestly when you kid ask's you something. I grew up with the concept of heaven/hell, god and jesus, but my father was also an Atheist. I never had either concept pushed on me be either person, and I turned out to be a fairly rational thinking person, also identifying as an Atheist throughout my life. Even then when a relative passed, I was told they were in heaven and so on (from those that believed it) and I was ok with that notion, but I made my own mind up on if that was real or not.

Right now, I'm an Atheist father to a daughter, who is 7 years old. My wife is Christian (not overtly religious, but will say things about heaven etc) and my mother even has my daughter attending a monthly kids club at her school, where they teach them about these things. But, my daughter has also out right asked me about these things, and I've answered honestly by saying "it's fine if you do, but I don't believe in those things". When she's older I welcome debate, but I would never hold this against her.

I think the important thing is if you'd be ok with your kid being christian, as although like me it's not the thing you'd want for your kids, but overall if they are happy, then what can you do?

Either way, no matter how it turns out, just be open and honest about how you feel on the matter and why, and hopefully your child may make up their own mind in the coming years. I don't see any harm in basic concepts of heaven and the such like whilst they are young.

The Helpful Atheist - An Information Blog
Last updated: 08/11/2017 - Want to contribute, drop me a PM
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like OakTree500's post
25-08-2017, 08:31 AM
RE: Thoughts about raising children with Atheist dad/Christian Mom
(25-08-2017 08:14 AM)OakTree500 Wrote:  I think the important thing is if you'd be ok with your kid being christian, as although like me it's not the thing you'd want for your kids, but overall if they are happy, then what can you do?

Either way, no matter how it turns out, just be open and honest about how you feel on the matter and why, and hopefully your child may make up their own mind in the coming years. I don't see any harm in basic concepts of heaven and the such like whilst they are young.

I'm definitely fine with either of my children being religious if that's what they choose. I just don't want it to be because they were taught to believe or else they'll go to hell. That's a terrible reason to believe in something.

It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
25-08-2017, 08:39 AM
RE: Thoughts about raising children with Atheist dad/Christian Mom
I'm pasting in part of my reply to the "are you out of the closet" thread

For me the thing that is a slightly complicated is that we give mixed messages to the kids.
I'm pretty clear about it but we did have them baptized to appease my mom's wishes when she was still around.
She was not well and she basically insisted that she wanted the boys to be baptized before she went.
I could count on one hand all the times that she had attended church where it wasn't a wedding or funeral but just the same she had to have them get the magic water.
Whatever. We did it.
Their baby sitter (more like a grand mother) who has probably spent more time with them than my wife and I combined is a believer but not practicing really.
All in all I'm not sure how confusing it all is for them.
Baby sitter says god is real, mom says ghosts are real and I generally tell them not to listen to either of them that they have a screw loose.
Probably exactly the bag of mixed message that makes for a free thinker.
Hopefully.

[Image: anigif_enhanced-26851-1450298712-2.gif]
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like BikerDude's post
25-08-2017, 08:40 AM
RE: Thoughts about raising children with Atheist dad/Christian Mom
(25-08-2017 08:31 AM)reeveseb Wrote:  I just don't want it to be because they were taught to believe or else they'll go to hell. That's a terrible reason to believe in something.
If it gets to that sort of point, then yeah maybe step in and make an agreement on what your kid is taught about these things. Or at worst have a little word on the side and just say "yeah, that's not true" and leave the information with them.

I personally was lucky as a kid, as I grew up in a christian "environment" (was aware of the basic idea of the bible, made to sing hymns and say lords prayer at school), but I was never forced to go to church or told I had to believe anything, plus with my father being atheist he wouldn't allow me to be baptised on the off chance I picked either a) to not be religious at all or B) of a different religion as some religion may not admit you if you've been baptised.

With my daughter, I'm fairly lucky in that my wife is also a "relaxed" christian, like she believes in god/heaven etc, but also thinks evolution and science are real things, so it's in name only. My kid has already said she knows of certain things, and "loves jesus", but I know she's young and has no idea what she's talking about. I've given her my input on the matter and tried educating her about the mere notion that some people believe different things or that some people just don't believe anything, plus science fascinates her, so she'll come around haha.

Again, just take it easy, and unless something pops up that sounds a bit too much, like basically forcing them to believe in something, then just let nature takes its course and try to give your kid an education on the bigger/wider world, and not just atheism, like all religions/cultures and stuff. Hopfully they'll make an informed choice Smile

The Helpful Atheist - An Information Blog
Last updated: 08/11/2017 - Want to contribute, drop me a PM
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
25-08-2017, 08:56 AM
RE: Thoughts about raising children with Atheist dad/Christian Mom
(25-08-2017 08:39 AM)BikerDude Wrote:  Baby sitter says god is real, mom says ghosts are real and I generally tell them not to listen to either of them that they have a screw loose.
Probably exactly the bag of mixed message that makes for a free thinker.
Hopefully.

Sounds like you have some rather interesting dynamics. Did your wife know you were an atheist before you were married? If so, did it cause her to have any pause before agreeing to marry you?

I sometimes will tell my son that his mother is a little nuts when she gets to saying something about god. Sometimes when she burns something and says, "Dear Jesus," I'll respond in kind with "Yes?" Then my wife will shoot me "that look" and then shoot my son a grin. I'm never ugly about it, but at least he'll know unequivocally where I stand.

It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
25-08-2017, 09:03 AM
RE: Thoughts about raising children with Atheist dad/Christian Mom
(25-08-2017 08:40 AM)OakTree500 Wrote:  If it gets to that sort of point, then yeah maybe step in and make an agreement on what your kid is taught about these things. Or at worst have a little word on the side and just say "yeah, that's not true" and leave the information with them.

Again, just take it easy, and unless something pops up that sounds a bit too much, like basically forcing them to believe in something, then just let nature takes its course and try to give your kid an education on the bigger/wider world, and not just atheism, like all religions/cultures and stuff. Hopfully they'll make an informed choice Smile

I was just saying that in general...I wouldn't take kindly to anyone trying to force either of my kiddos to believe in that stuff. While I haven't talked to her directly about it, I think my wife and I are on the same page to just answer their questions as best we can without dragging the other through the mud.

I haven't thought about it before, but talking to him about other religions is probably not a bad idea (just so he can see they are all pretty loony)!!!

It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes reeveseb's post
25-08-2017, 09:13 AM
RE: Thoughts about raising children with Atheist dad/Christian Mom
(25-08-2017 09:03 AM)reeveseb Wrote:  I haven't thought about it before, but talking to him about other religions is probably not a bad idea (just so he can see they are all pretty loony)!!!

When I told my daughter about there being other religions she said "what...like people from other countries?", and it was at that point I discovered she thought (as a 7 year old girl with no context) that all white British born people, where christian by default.

I went into detail about how a religion is something you believe and how some people believe in different things, and how some believe nothing at all. I've answered questions of Turbans/Burkas when she's seen people wearing them and so on, just to broaden her horizons on the subject.

If anything it was to show her that her supposed religion isn't special, it's just one of many, and they are all indeed a bit nutty haha.

The Helpful Atheist - An Information Blog
Last updated: 08/11/2017 - Want to contribute, drop me a PM
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes OakTree500's post
25-08-2017, 09:17 AM (This post was last modified: 25-08-2017 10:07 AM by BikerDude.)
RE: Thoughts about raising children with Atheist dad/Christian Mom
(25-08-2017 08:56 AM)reeveseb Wrote:  
(25-08-2017 08:39 AM)BikerDude Wrote:  Baby sitter says god is real, mom says ghosts are real and I generally tell them not to listen to either of them that they have a screw loose.
Probably exactly the bag of mixed message that makes for a free thinker.
Hopefully.

Sounds like you have some rather interesting dynamics. Did your wife know you were an atheist before you were married? If so, did it cause her to have any pause before agreeing to marry you?

I sometimes will tell my son that his mother is a little nuts when she gets to saying something about god. Sometimes when she burns something and says, "Dear Jesus," I'll respond in kind with "Yes?" Then my wife will shoot me "that look" and then shoot my son a grin. I'm never ugly about it, but at least he'll know unequivocally where I stand.

It's not a big deal.
She doesn't care one way or the other if I'm an atheist.
To be honest I think her Dad is likely an atheist but he comes from an earlier generation. There is just a sort of hand waving and eye rolling on the subject.
Her mom is a hard core believer.
My wife doesn't go to church but had the upbringing and it "took" about half way.
She can take it our leave it.
I send her humorous things about religion from time to time and we have a laugh.
It's a healthy disagreement.
For instance I had rather long hair for quite some time and I got it cut for a job interview. I sort of did a compromise neatened it up but didn't want to really go short. She accussed me of having a mullet. (It's not) I responded that "Jesus had a mullet. Don't you love Jesus? If a mullet is good enough for our lord then it's damn well good enough for me you sinner?!"
She laughed and had to admit that as far as she knows Jesus did have a mullet.

[Image: hqdefault.jpg]

My money is on Lucifer.
Any man wearing slippers and a robe is gonna get his ass kicked.

[Image: mullet_of_ascension_postcard-rc18f296edb...vr_324.jpg]

[Image: anigif_enhanced-26851-1450298712-2.gif]
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
25-08-2017, 06:51 PM
RE: Thoughts about raising children with Atheist dad/Christian Mom
A mixed marriage is not an easy thing to pull off in harmony. I think it is okay for you to say as a counter comment something like, "not all people believe this" whatever it is and follow with "I don't believe this."

The moment it becomes not okay for you to say this to your children is when you should worry.

It sounds to me as if your household relationships are on a fairly even keel.

My grand daughter stays at her other grand mother's day care, which is openly Christian. She and her husband do an excellent job with caring for the children and are certified to prepare them for kindergarten. Lesson plans, scheduled classes of various sorts for their ages and lots of outdoor exercise. She comes back to our little kibbutz to all atheists and rarely spouts Christian stuff, although she did say "amen" for a while at meals and want to hold hands before eating. She is not yet 3 years old and very smart and communicative and bossy. Smile

Her dad and uncles taught her how to toast a mug of beer (water in her mug) in response to the amen and hand-holding. It was a hit.

Don't stop communicating with your wife. Don't stop showing love and affection to her. While you may disagree about this thing, keep a united front on other things that in the long run will be more important to your children than whether or not they go to church.

People change and growing up brings lots of changes with most of them transitory.

"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: