Formally introducing religion or spiritual practice to children after not being raised with one for 5+ years? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 09-19-2012, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
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We are at a point in my family where my husband and I are wanting to introduce spirituality/religion more formally in our household. I am  Buddhist, with a lot of practice in yogic philosophy as well- and their are altars, images, and books around our home depicting these things. We have talked to our children a little bit about them, usually when asked. the rest is just by setting an example/observation. My husband and I both had children young (with other partners), have cohabited with our children for 2 years now, and just welcomed a new baby 3 months ago (half sibling to our other 3). I think part of becoming young parents we never really implemented a cohesive parenting plan with our past partners nor with each other, although we are both very good at co-parenting together. I jokingly called this "paycheck to paycheck parenting", or essentially parenting in the moment... Of course having family traditions and values are something we want to embed in our lives, but we were both raised in traditions that we don't entirely adhere or relate to- so finding that and creating that has been either borrowed from our upbringing,  spontaneous or non existent. Nothing is "wrong" with any of it, but I feel that if you are imparting a belief system or practice or tradition to your children it should mean something to YOU, or it's going through the motions... 


So we talked recently and will be talking more about what we do want to teach our children in regard to a belief system/ spirituality/ traditions/ etc. My question on this, regardless of what path you walk, is if anyone has experience with introducing- more formally- these things to your children when they are old enough to know this is something technically "new"; it wasn't something out on the table and talked about since they were born. I'm sure people go through this often when they adopt a religion or spiritual practice later in life, and their kids are old enough to notice the shift. Luckily we dont have to go through any "we don't believe ____ anymore, we believe this now", we just have to introduce it and make it a more shared part of our lives. 



Any thoughts?

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#2 of 3 Old 09-21-2012, 05:47 AM
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We haven't gone through what you're describing but we have lived in several different cities and had a wide range of friends over the years. Because of that, we've celebrated a variety of traditions with DC and she has always embraced them with a lot of enthusiasm. I think if you have an open set of values with these things, and it sounds like you do, your kids will be quite unphased by you bringing in some new traditions, thoughts, beliefs and etc. 

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#3 of 3 Old 12-06-2012, 07:40 PM
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During my daughter's life, I have changed my official faith/religion at least 3 times that I can count, the most recent being only a few weeks ago, each time it also involved moving to a new area and trying to figure out what worked in the new area.  Interestingly, my real values never changed, just how I practiced and what we did about it.  


When dd was small, I chose to quit attending a church where she liked the Sunday school program- she was upset.  Eventually we had to try out a different church- a UU one, so that she could have that sense of community she missed.   When we moved to another town, we found that the UU church here had a different flavor and I am drawn in another direction.  For the most part- my kids have enjoyed experiementing with our faith practice.  But I will say, one of the reasons the most recent UU experience didn't meet my needs, was that the church here didn't meet my kids needs.   I think if you are going to start attending temple, if your kids are old enough, its important to explain to them why you will attend and how many times they need to attend with you before you all give feed back on it.  I think it is really important to take into account your kids feelings as you try something different- most of the time, mine amaze me in a positive way- but sometimes I find that seeing things through their eyes, the world doesn't look the same.  Somehow, my kids have all moved along the path with me, like we are on this life jouney together, and it will all be fine.



Laura, Mama to Mya 7/02, Ian 6/07 and Anna 8/09
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