When you have children, how do you deal with their hyper religious grandparents?
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22-09-2014, 12:11 PM
When you have children, how do you deal with their hyper religious grandparents?
How do those of you who have children deal with your religious parents?
In some years when my boyfriend and I have children, we naturally want to raise them to think freely. We want to teach them how to think, not what to think. My worry is that my parents and my sisters are extremely religious and I fear they will go into "must save the grandchildren mode". Of course we will be very clear with my family, that we don't want our children preached to. We don't want our children to be scared that their parents might be tortured in Hell forever and we don't want thei trusted grandparents attempting indoctrination. My family is going to have to be respectful of that if they want their grandchildren aound, we won't accept them scaring our children. Children listen to their grandparents.
However, we obviously can't tell my family not to pray before dinner when our future kids are visiting. But how do you talk to your young children about that? On one hand, I don't want to give my children the impression that I think it's perfectly sensible and valid to believe that there's a magic man in the sky who hears them pray. On the other hand I also don't really want to tell them that their grandparents and aunts believe silly things that mommy and daddy find kinda ridiculous. I obviously want them to respekt their grandparents. Children are just so vulnerable and tend to believe what their grandparents tell them, they need a certain age before they can distinguish between reality and fantasy, especially when something is presented as reality by people they trust. But that religion caused me a lot of hurt and fear and I don't want my children to get hurt or scared or confused. I don't want them to to worry about Hell! I'd prefer if they didn't have to deal with the concept of religion, at least amongst the people closet to them, until they were at least kindergarden age or early school age.
How did you guys handle your childrens religious grandparents?
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22-09-2014, 12:32 PM
RE: When you have children, how do you deal with their hyper religious grandparents?
My parents had this dilemma... My maternal grandmother being a devout (I'd say manipulative and controlling) Jehovah's Witness, and my dad being an atheist coming from a largely non religious family.

When I was 9 I had an accident on my bike, and cut my head open... My mum was worried I would need a transfusion, which she was willing to allow, but she knew her mother would try to intervene, causing a massive family feud. Fortunately I didn't need the transfusion.

But throughout my childhood, my mum was in a constant battle with my grandmother about how I should be brought up... But she stood her ground and refused to be bullied. But throughout she's been between a rock and a hard place...

I think first of all, you must make it very clear that they are your children, and you will not be bullied into bringing them up in a way you disagree with... Quite simply no-one has the right to force their beliefs on your children.

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22-09-2014, 01:01 PM
RE: When you have children, how do you deal with their hyper religious grandparents?
I'm definitely not going to let my family bully me into anything. Neither will my boyfriend. I'm sure my parents will push for baptism and christian childrens books and so on. But that won't happen and if they can't respect our rules they can't be trusted alone with their grand children. I will not allow my children to be scared by their religious beliefs. What I'm more unsure about how to deal with is f.ex. how to answer if my small child asks who my parents are talking to when they "chant" the prayer before dinner. How did your mum explain religious behaviour from your grandmother to you when you were a little tod? Did she explain it to you as something valid and to be shown respect? Or tell you that it was something silly some crazy people believed in and not to worry about it? On one hand I want my future children to treat my parents with respect of course, on the other hand toddlers are vulnerable to magical thinking and I really don't want my children brainwashed. I wish I could ensure they wouldn't have to deal with their grandparents believing their parents are going to Hell until they were, like, 10 years old or something. Until they've had a chance to learn how to think for themselves.
Hmmm, well, I'm sure it's going to be fine, as long as they respect that we don't want our children exposed to the propaganda thats meant for children. And they're going to have to respect that. The second my little one comes home scared that mommy and daddy are going to hell, that's the end of unsupervised time with the grandchildren. Heck, i'm 27 and still dealing with the after-effects of being brought up religious. Can't have my little children being taught fear like that.
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22-09-2014, 01:13 PM
RE: When you have children, how do you deal with their hyper religious grandparents?
(22-09-2014 12:11 PM)LadyDay Wrote:  How do those of you who have children deal with your religious parents?
In some years when my boyfriend and I have children, we naturally want to raise them to think freely. We want to teach them how to think, not what to think. My worry is that my parents and my sisters are extremely religious and I fear they will go into "must save the grandchildren mode". Of course we will be very clear with my family, that we don't want our children preached to. We don't want our children to be scared that their parents might be tortured in Hell forever and we don't want thei trusted grandparents attempting indoctrination. My family is going to have to be respectful of that if they want their grandchildren aound, we won't accept them scaring our children. Children listen to their grandparents.
However, we obviously can't tell my family not to pray before dinner when our future kids are visiting. But how do you talk to your young children about that? On one hand, I don't want to give my children the impression that I think it's perfectly sensible and valid to believe that there's a magic man in the sky who hears them pray. On the other hand I also don't really want to tell them that their grandparents and aunts believe silly things that mommy and daddy find kinda ridiculous. I obviously want them to respekt their grandparents. Children are just so vulnerable and tend to believe what their grandparents tell them, they need a certain age before they can distinguish between reality and fantasy, especially when something is presented as reality by people they trust. But that religion caused me a lot of hurt and fear and I don't want my children to get hurt or scared or confused. I don't want them to to worry about Hell! I'd prefer if they didn't have to deal with the concept of religion, at least amongst the people closet to them, until they were at least kindergarden age or early school age.
How did you guys handle your childrens religious grandparents?

I think , to some extent it depends on the child. From my own experience , I didn't dwell on it till they were of an age where they could understand the difference. Remember, they will spend more time with you than with the Grandparents . It is more important to teach them how to think, rather than what to think. I made a commitment to myself to try not to filter too much what they were exposed to, but to always ask questions, about their thoughts on the subject, and to open the door to alternatives. My goal was to make them think, and to question, even if they arrived at a different conclusion than myself. I hope this helps.
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22-09-2014, 01:16 PM
RE: When you have children, how do you deal with their hyper religious grandparents?
Having young earth creationist Inlaws, my advice is many, many, many miles between you and you will have to monitor EVERYTHING. It will be a battle of wills.

Do they respect you now? Draw those lines firmly before children arrive on the scene.

Teach your children how to look for evidence in everything, teach them that different people believe different things, but you think this or that and here's why you think it.

Dale McGowan has a video on YouTube from the Free OK convention. Very much follows what I practice with my kids, but I have to be hypervigilant because my MIL doesn't ever stop and I think she gets sneakier every time which just creeps me out more and more.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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22-09-2014, 01:29 PM
RE: When you have children, how do you deal with their hyper religious grandparents?
(22-09-2014 01:01 PM)LadyDay Wrote:  I wish I could ensure they wouldn't have to deal with their grandparents believing their parents are going to Hell until they were, like, 10 years old or something. Until they've had a chance to learn how to think for themselves.

It comes with closely monitored and supervised visits. And being ok with jumping in and interrupting crazy when it starts talking.

Now this sounds harsher than it is, it's actually easy to do with little ones, you visit the grandparents as a family, you hang out in the same room as your child and have your regular conversations, but when the topic takes that turn, suddenenly you need to speak up, or baby needs a diaper change in a different room, or its time for a snack, or we are going for a walk, or a thousand different things other than sit there and listen to it being dished out.
" oh! Honey! I totally forgot the neighbor wanted me to let her dog out today, sorry, we gotta run! See ya next time!"

Having a code word with your mate for "its time to get the fuck out of here" is a great thing and not to be overlooked.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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22-09-2014, 01:52 PM
RE: When you have children, how do you deal with their hyper religious grandparents?
Who are the parents? You, or your family? Exactly. If push comes to shove, shove right back and say "Bitch, I raise my kids how I want, like it or not!"
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22-09-2014, 01:53 PM
RE: When you have children, how do you deal with their hyper religious grandparents?
Yeah, presumably if my parents "try anything" the children will come and talk to me or my boyfriend about it and ask questions and then we can help them think about it and help them figure out what they think makes sense. I of course don't want to teach my children what to think, I want to teach how to think and be curious and figure things out. It's just important to me that they aren't scared! And I would of course wish that I could ensure my children that they can believe whatever my parents and sisters tell them as truths. I hate having to tell my children that they can't trust whatever their grandparents say is true. But I'm not entirely convinced that I can trust my family not to try to sell their religious ideas to my child as truths. And a kindergarden-age child isn't neccesarily able to figure out when something an adult they trust tells them is true is actually true and when it's religious make-belief. I kinda feel like I have to keep a finger on the pulse just in case so I can ensure that my children get the other side of the story if my family tries to sell religious propaganda to them as absolute truth. It just makes me so sad that I don't feel completely comfortable about leaving my children with my otherwise very loving and caring and trustworthy parents. I'd trust them with everything else, but I'm worried they may see it as their duty to save their grandchildren. Either way, we'll definitely have a long talk about it when I'm one day pregnant and it's becomes relevant. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't try to secretly sneak it in behind our backs at least, when we've made it clear exactly how we don't want our children scared or worried or indoctrinated. And fortunately my boyfriends family are completely non-religious and my mother-in-law is even a biology teacher, which will be a handy counter-weight to my young earth creationist parents! Haha
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22-09-2014, 02:02 PM
RE: When you have children, how do you deal with their hyper religious grandparents?
(22-09-2014 01:29 PM)Bows and Arrows Wrote:  
(22-09-2014 01:01 PM)LadyDay Wrote:  I wish I could ensure they wouldn't have to deal with their grandparents believing their parents are going to Hell until they were, like, 10 years old or something. Until they've had a chance to learn how to think for themselves.

It comes with closely monitored and supervised visits. And being ok with jumping in and interrupting crazy when it starts talking.

Now this sounds harsher than it is, it's actually easy to do with little ones, you visit the grandparents as a family, you hang out in the same room as your child and have your regular conversations, but when the topic takes that turn, suddenenly you need to speak up, or baby needs a diaper change in a different room, or its time for a snack, or we are going for a walk, or a thousand different things other than sit there and listen to it being dished out.
" oh! Honey! I totally forgot the neighbor wanted me to let her dog out today, sorry, we gotta run! See ya next time!"

Having a code word with your mate for "its time to get the fuck out of here" is a great thing and not to be overlooked.

Yeah. It a bit of a shame not to be able to trust my parents to babysit, but I want to be there to jump in just in case someone has the nerve to tell my children that "if they don't believe Jesus died for their sins they will spend eternity in Hell". I want to make sure my children aren't scared and that they know that that sort of believe isn't a universal truth, even though their grandparents may present it as such, and that most adults in their life don't believe those stories.
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22-09-2014, 02:05 PM
RE: When you have children, how do you deal with their hyper religious grandparents?
(22-09-2014 01:52 PM)Ferdinand Wrote:  Who are the parents? You, or your family? Exactly. If push comes to shove, shove right back and say "Bitch, I raise my kids how I want, like it or not!"

Push comes to shove they won't get to spend time with their grandchildren without supervision. If they can't be trusted to respect how we want our children raised if we turn our back for five minutes, then we won't turn our back for five minutes.
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