being honest to children.
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31-05-2013, 08:54 AM (This post was last modified: 31-05-2013 08:58 AM by Bows and Arrows.)
RE: being honest to children.
I've always been agnostic but tried the 'believer' clothes on for awhile. My husband is a believer but not practicing.

My kids are 9 & 7. I have always taken the stance of "some people believe this, some people believe that, and some people believe something else, and some people think its all a load of crap. And you have to choose what you will believe."

And then we talk about things like proof, evidence, motivations for believing a certain thing, etc. Then we circle back to the original question....usually they come to the same conclusion I have or something similar. I don't offer my opinion or belief on a topic until they have answered their own question. If they are still unsure - then I might ask if they want to know my opinion or belief. They usually do. And then I explain my stance and importantly why & how I came to that conclusion.

My children don't need me to tell them what to think....they need me to teach them how to question, look for answers & evidence, how to analyze, and make their own discoveries. This is the life skill they need.

ETA: if they ask me a point blank question on my beliefs like "do you believe in God?". Then I tend to give a direct answer with an explanation "no I don't because there isn't any proof"


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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31-05-2013, 09:10 AM
RE: being honest to children.
Just as a side note......I am teaching my girls to be agnostic rather than atheist and its solely based on where we live at the moment. We are in North Carolina and my children attend a small private, secular school. Many of the students (their friends) come from very religious homes. My youngest is going to enter 3rd grade in the fall....I don't want my children being labeled or ostracized in this small community based on a teeny tiny part of their being for years to come. Life in a small school is hard enough for kids and they need this time to be kids and not be burdened with the prejudices being taught by the bible thumping parents and teachers.

I have told my kids that they could easily lose friends if they came out and said that there was no such thing as God....sad, but true....for now my oldest (5th grade) is observing her classmates, seeing which ones say they don't attend church, or reading materials comparing Harry Potter & Jesus. Later in middle school & high school she will decide who to tell and who not to.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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31-05-2013, 09:53 AM
RE: being honest to children.
You can tell your children as abruptly or not as abruptly as you like, but it will take more than one conversation for them to figure things out and their feeling of personal safety is always important.

With my own child I slowly started to tell her what different people believed until she asked what I believe and what her father believe, as well as other's in our life. I am always very honest with her. (she is 8 now, but we've been having these conversations for years)

You could follow up that conversation with "However, your mother does believe. This is why she believes, this is why I don't, etc." Explain that everybody can choose for themselves and ask your children to think about it from both sides. This helps develop their own critical thinking, which is a valuable skill vs. grooming them.

Just to be aware, since you say this is recent, that when people lose their faith it can be like grieving, so there are different emotions to work through and those might project onto other relationships (similar to how grieving works) and with children some things can be more sensitive (just saying, from personal experience).

I hope your family dynamic works itself out to be as harmonious as possible Smile
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31-05-2013, 12:27 PM
RE: being honest to children.
(30-05-2013 09:02 AM)itchy8me Wrote:  I have just recently dropped my robe of religiosity (3 weeks ago) after being a biblical fundamentalist for the last 10 years and a evangelical/charismatic christian for 5 years before that.

I am married and have 2 children : my daughter is 4 and my son is 8. My wife knows i have stopped believing in the bible, or God for that matter, and until now has seemed cool about it. We had a somewhat heated discussion, but there was understanding and acceptance from both sides.

Now enter my children. I have been bringing them up with the bible since they where born and have been teaching them to think in a “biblical manner”. They are both going to a “christian” school. I have always told them that they needed to make decisions for themselves but at the same time indoctrinated them with the bible and a certain level of skepticism towards science such as : the age of the universe and biological and cosmological evolution.

Until today I had not told my children that I do not “believe” anymore. However my son asked me something today about the bible and I do not want to install in him the idea that i still believe in it, so told him flat out that I did not believe in a God anymore, (at least not one that has manifested himself to me in a manner that I could scientifically reproduce it), and that I did not believe the bibles account of creation and revelation of a God anymore either. He seemed shocked and I am afraid I might have told him the fact in a rather unwise manner.

I am wondering if there are any other people out there that have had to tell there young children that they do not believe anymore and what there experiences where.

Possibly don't dismiss the question about the Bible with a blanket statement that you don't believe in God. If he asks you if YOU believe that a passage from, or the entire Bible, is true, then tell him in a straight up manner. But you know about the bible from a religious perspective, so answer it accordingly.

"IN THRUST WE TRUST"

"We were conservative Jews and that meant we obeyed God's Commandments until His rules became a royal pain in the ass."

- Joel Chastnoff, The 188th Crybaby Brigade
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31-05-2013, 03:39 PM
RE: being honest to children.
I think what the OP has don that's good, he'l realise that you are allowed to change your mind and I think he'l challenge the idea that grown ups are always right, a first seed of skepticism so speak.

"A witty quote means nothing"
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01-06-2013, 08:09 AM
RE: being honest to children.
you all have very interesting tactics. i have a daughter, soon to be 6. i do a lot of similar things as the maybe this, maybe that approach. but i hate hate hate when my bf or mother answers her questions with a sternly religious answer. just yesterday my daughter asked where people came from and my mother promptly said "god made us all" smh. i would have said something to the affect of "we came from apes who turned into cavemen and then into normal humans, like your tadpoles turned into frogs", but i feel i cant contradict her in front of my daughter. its a struggle for sure, a very annoying one when most everyone else in contact with your child is spewing religious jargon at them daily.
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01-06-2013, 08:25 AM
RE: being honest to children.
(01-06-2013 08:09 AM)stashthegoods Wrote:  just yesterday my daughter asked where people came from and my mother promptly said "god made us all" smh. i would have said something to the affect of "we came from apes who turned into cavemen and then into normal humans, like your tadpoles turned into frogs", but i feel i cant contradict her in front of my daughter. its a struggle for sure, a very annoying one when most everyone else in contact with your child is spewing religious jargon at them daily.

I would make the effort. As a Mom I don't think I could sit quietly thru that conversation. I would HAVE to say something.

I think it would all depend on your tone. Calm and rational & factual is essential.

In my mind the conversation would go:

grandma: god made us all
you: well, some people think that, but most people know that there are studies that prove that we came from caveman and we are related to other animals. It's SO INTERESTING!! Maybe we can book on it at the library to see what our ancestors looked like.

Boom! you dropped the bomb on Grandma's myth, gave your child more factual info, and now has her brain wanting more info.


When Grandma protests- just calmly explain that you want a child to know scientific facts so she can be successful in life. And you gotta stand up and be the momma.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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01-06-2013, 08:49 AM (This post was last modified: 01-06-2013 08:54 AM by Bows and Arrows.)
RE: being honest to children.
If you haven't listened to Seth's podcast about the little children, it was an eye opener for me.

My inlaws only visit one-two times a year, but every visit they would want to spend every minute with my kids, the entire time doing Jesus crafts, bible study, etc. Surprising they would take them to the local science museum- but I'm sure my girls got a skewed view of the displays. Thankfully most had to deal with things like gravity, motion and they couldn't twist too much creation crap into it. It would creep me out how it was like they were hunting my kids. My husband and I weren't invited on these visits....just the kids...and it went against every fiber of my being to allow it---but I did--to keep family peace.

after hearing that podcast, and hearing the woman talk about the tactics of the Good News Club, I felt sick to my stomach.

they prey on the kids, in very sneaky ways, in ways we don't expect, and in places we don't expect. And they do studies to find out what age is the best to target so that this garbage sticks for life. Now I read the stories here from people who were raised in this environment and it breaks my heart.

it sickens me and I no longer stand by and watch it be spewed to the innocent who are being hunted and can't defend themselves.

ETA: link




"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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01-06-2013, 08:55 AM
RE: being honest to children.
(31-05-2013 09:53 AM)LadyJane Wrote:  Just to be aware, since you say this is recent, that when people lose their faith it can be like grieving, so there are different emotions to work through and those might project onto other relationships (similar to how grieving works) and with children some things can be more sensitive (just saying, from personal experience).

I hope your family dynamic works itself out to be as harmonious as possible Smile

Thanks Smile

That grieving part is proving to be very true. My son already shed some tears and my wife is working through it in the same manner as well. This far the atmosphere has been very open and we are able to converse about my "deconversion" and the effects it is, and will, have on the children.
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01-06-2013, 09:23 AM
RE: being honest to children.
(01-06-2013 08:49 AM)Bows and Arrows Wrote:  If you haven't listened to Seth's podcast about the little children, it was an eye opener for me.

My inlaws only visit one-two times a year, but every visit they would want to spend every minute with my kids, the entire time doing Jesus crafts, bible study, etc. Surprising they would take them to the local science museum- but I'm sure my girls got a skewed view of the displays. Thankfully most had to deal with things like gravity, motion and they couldn't twist too much creation crap into it. It would creep me out how it was like they were hunting my kids. My husband and I weren't invited on these visits....just the kids...and it went against every fiber of my being to allow it---but I did--to keep family peace.

after hearing that podcast, and hearing the woman talk about the tactics of the Good News Club, I felt sick to my stomach.

they prey on the kids, in very sneaky ways, in ways we don't expect, and in places we don't expect. And they do studies to find out what age is the best to target so that this garbage sticks for life. Now I read the stories here from people who were raised in this environment and it breaks my heart.

it sickens me and I no longer stand by and watch it be spewed to the innocent who are being hunted and can't defend themselves.

ETA: link



Smile

Been going through the podcasts like i'm in a candy store, and yes i have listened to it. I was quite aware of these tactics, having watched jesus camp some time ago. It is very sickening and it looks something close to some kind of nazi indoctrination camp or something. Crazy stuff.

Here in the Netherlands i have not come across any institution that indoctrinates i that manner (like that in jesus camp). But the thought that my kids would come into contact with something like that sends shivers down my spine.
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