kid help
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30-11-2014, 08:06 PM
kid help
My wife and I are both atheists. We have always told our children they can believe whatever they want, thinking they would find out for themselves. Neighbors and schoolmates have always been in disbelief. All four of my children have had a friend ask them to go to church with them. I have said go ahead 90% of the time. Now I'm regretting having been so passive. My 9yr. old daughter has a super religious best friend and has decided to challenge me on god over and over. I allowed her to go to their mega church four times now and I can see the brainwashing happening. It's all popcorn and giggles given to you by Jesus. Tonight at dinner she paused, put her elbows on the table and said "Hold on I forgot to pray". Peaved, I replied "cut it out, it's time to eat". "I can pray dad". "Not at dinner, not in my house".
Later in the evening my 15yr. old son told my wife that I can't tell them they can't pray.
Now I'm mad! What if one of my neighbors children told them they didn't really believe in god and they wanted to stay home from church? Would their parents say, "okay Tommy". Hell no. So why should I be so accepting of their requests to take my children to brainwashing school so they can come home and challenge me all the time? Am I wrong in this thinking? I don't want to make it worse but I don't know how much more I can take.
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30-11-2014, 08:43 PM
RE: kid help
You gave them permission to be who they want to be, and good on ya' for that. The second step is to make sure that they are confident enough to be who they want to be for good reason.

Ask them about church. Explore that side of their lives with them.....without judgement. The key is to get them to ask the right questions, but without telling them what they should think about things. You can tell them honestly how you feel about it, but you should be able to calmly back up what you say without making them feel stupid or bad about what they're experiencing.

You have to understand where they are at in their development and be able to offer the same acceptance and positive encouragement as they are getting at church.

Here's the thing, they'll never be able to escape religious influence, but they will be able to escape you when they are old enough. Don't give them a reason to choose the empty fantasy over you.

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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30-11-2014, 09:27 PM
RE: kid help
(30-11-2014 08:06 PM)mrpink Wrote:  So why should I be so accepting of their requests to take my children to brainwashing school so they can come home and challenge me all the time?
Set some ground rules regarding "respect"
Respect of each family member's beliefs and choices etc.

It goes both ways,
The kids can go to church or synagog or temple... however they see fit.
You won't try to convince them to join an atheist club and they aren't to attempt to convince you to go to church.
Neither of you will attempt to convince the other as to the existence or denomination of god.
They can pray in the privacy of their bedrooms before they go to sleep, they can pray inside their heads before they eat, they can even pray out loud in the bathroom when they wash their hands before a meal.
But there is to be no public prayer session at the dinner table.

If they complain then show them the reference Matthew 6:6
"When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6"But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you"
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30-11-2014, 11:56 PM
RE: kid help
I'm experiencing the same thing with my daughter, though not to the extent you are. I'm an atheist, my wife is a deist (she claims to be a Christian but really just wants it all to be real for the comfort) and we've settled into a routine where I'm ok with my daughter going to church with my in-laws from time to time and my wife is ok with me teaching her about other religions (mostly Greek and Norse gods at this point) and talking to her about my (lack of) beliefs when she asks about it. My daughter, who will be 5 in about 2 weeks, brought home prayer cards and they say them from time to time before we eat. I'm a little annoyed by it, but have yet to say anything to my wife. They both know that I'm not bowing my head and saying the words, and I think I'm just waiting for my daughter to ask me why I don't before I say anything, though it's getting harder to bite my tongue.

I think what evenheathen said is the closest to how I feel. I refuse to push my beliefs of her, and I definitely don't want to push her away from me and into church, especially at this young age. I'm trying to just play it cool and sneak in little "daddy bought this food at the store today" and "isn't the meal mommy made for us delicious" type of comments to make sure she knows who really provides the meal. She doesn't want to pray before bed, and I'm glad about that because the meal prayer seems easier to counter with obvious facts.

"I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
- Isaac Newton
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01-12-2014, 03:24 AM
RE: kid help
One important thing is to stop being aggressive about it. I understand that it enrages you, but your children will see this as unjustified hate, which is never a good thing.

You can't really stop your children from becoming believers by telling them they shouldn't. Try to ask questions and let them see themselves how absurd it all is. Children often have all kinds of weird epiphanies and subconsciously realize things better than adults sometimes.

My atheism didn't have much to do with my parents, other than that they weren't religious themselves. However, my dad affected my way of thinking a lot, just by asking me questions and letting me think for myself. Of course, the questions were all well-thought-out and they always got me wondering and thinking.

Just ask questions and let them think. See how they justify their thoughts. Ask them why God hasn't destroyed Satan and he allows evil to exist, why they don't believe in other gods or other religions, show them children starving in Africa and ask them why God doesn't stop it.

There are so many questions that would be hard for them to reason with at their age. Children need simple logic, they don't understand "God works in mysterious ways" and "it's all a matter of interpretation". They will feel that evil is unjust and they will wonder why God allows it.

Even if you don't get anywhere, there's still a chance they will confront their religious friends about those questions and the church will show its true face, hopefully making them dismiss it.

"Behind every great pirate, there is a great butt."
-Guybrush Threepwood-
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01-12-2014, 06:08 AM
RE: kid help
watch Dale McGowan's videos on youtube. attend that church with your 9 year old. As a parent allowing your child to atttend with a friend to explore is great, allowing the friend full access to your child is something different. I would limit the church going for awhile. Make "family" plans for those times. IMO, 9 years old is too young to be thrown in that environment regularly and expected to think about all of it critically. I have a nine year old daughter.

If you havent, start having those conversations with her. Why do uou feel the need to pray? what happens if you don't? what happens if you do? how would you know if jesus was hapoy?

do not be agressive and angry, because she won't feel safe discussing it with you and you really want these discussions to take place.


keep us posted on how its going.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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01-12-2014, 07:14 AM
RE: kid help
sorry for all the typos, was pre coffee.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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01-12-2014, 07:39 AM (This post was last modified: 01-12-2014 08:03 AM by One Above All.)
RE: kid help
Not the right board for this. Sorry.

The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
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01-12-2014, 08:37 AM
RE: kid help
Thanks for all the advice. I had a good conversion with both my daughter and her twin brother before bed. I did reference Mathew 6:6 (thanks). I explained what different denominations of Christians believed, what Muslims, Hindus and what I believe. Towards the end of the convo she said "I think you're trying to convince me not to believe in god". Smart little thing.
I think I can manage not pushing them away by letting religious comments that they don't fully understand get to me. I guess my biggest issue with the whole thing is the prosecution I have felt with my entire life. I live in Texas, God is just what is expected around here. I am to a point where I'm tired of biting my tounge tired of avoiding adult conversion with people around me. Mostly tired of everyone trying to save my children. If I were a Baptist my children would be brainwashed into it as well, so why am I expected to be so open? Why as Atheists are we so passive to everyone else's beliefs? If I had never let them go to church they would be well into their teens before they were exposed to organized religion. I'm still not sure what is right. Let them go? Just say no?
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01-12-2014, 08:41 AM (This post was last modified: 01-12-2014 09:18 AM by mrpink.)
RE: kid help
Scott E and evenheathen...agreed but It's damn frustraiting.
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