Anyone's child decide to be a different religion? or no religion? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 09-10-2013, 10:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter has lost all interest in religion and has become hostile with me about it, and she is negatively influencing her younger siblings.  Could be a phase, but I kind of doubt it.  Anyway, this is really hurting both of us.  She is experiencing that we're "forcing" her to believe in God, which is totally not the case--my husband is a long time atheist, and this has not been an issue.  My experience is that she is ending a long line of tradition and family.  Anyone have this experience?  What did you do?  Can our relationship continue in a positive way for both of us?

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#2 of 8 Old 09-11-2013, 05:22 AM
 
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How is she negatively influencing her siblings? How old is she? It could be a phase (really isn't everything just a phase) or those are her true feelings. Why does she feel you are forcing her if your husband is an atheist? 

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#3 of 8 Old 09-11-2013, 06:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by julie128 View Post
 

My daughter has lost all interest in religion and has become hostile with me about it, and she is negatively influencing her younger siblings.  Could be a phase, but I kind of doubt it.  Anyway, this is really hurting both of us.  She is experiencing that we're "forcing" her to believe in God, which is totally not the case--my husband is a long time atheist, and this has not been an issue.  My experience is that she is ending a long line of tradition and family.  Anyone have this experience?  What did you do?  Can our relationship continue in a positive way for both of us?

 

The way you phrase this makes it sound like you have made her inclusion in the family conditional on her participating in your religion.  I assume that's not what you mean, but if she's interpreting your statements on the issue the same way, that would explain where she's getting the idea that you're forcing her to believe in God.

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#4 of 8 Old 09-11-2013, 11:40 AM
 
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I was in your daughter's position, although neither identified as atheist. I think my dad has been agnostic/atheist for many years but dutifully went to church a couple times a year, and my mom is no longer Christian but is still "spiritual".

In my experience, it was one of the many ways I was differentiating from my family. I personally never went back to religion. The only thing that gets me into houses of worship is a wedding. All my siblings have found their own relationships with (or without) a god as they grew up. That's what adults tend to do. One thing's for sure, being forced into pantomiming religious faith is awful.

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#5 of 8 Old 09-30-2013, 11:11 AM
 
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Without knowing her age it is hard to get the picture but few thoughts in general...:

 

You said that she lost her interest in religion. What is religion without faith? Did she ever

believed in anything that your religion represents ? Do young children believe in general or do they just "practice" religious rituals without relating to them and usually for other reason then those coming from their

internal need for worship that is present in the parents for all different reasons.

 

The more I observe my own religion the more I see the child being totally irrelevant to it

other then creating and forming a little member. There is no authentic respect nor

care of a child developmental stages, needs and all the rites are entirely beside their

needs and capabilities. Examples:

- sheer length of service is inconsiderate of young children's attention span.

- there is no care of making a religious service truly child oriented and adequate.

- most religious traditions and "facts" are by all standards not suitable for the young age.

As in - was it a TV fiction and or movie on other then religious topic but would include

very same acts it would be rated R or at best PG 13, yet it is freevolously spoken of

in front of children in a house of worship with no option for Parental Guidance nor mute button.

- the only option a child has in a house of worship is to sit sill, not to move and not talking

for an hour or so.. that is at best disrespectful for a child's emotional  needs, very hard on their

mind and body and creates opposite to desired effect.

 

Just like with learning of anything and creating love for the subject it can be done in loving

and caring way, or it can be done in dry soul-less heart-less, inexpensive and cost efficient

way - one size fits no one way.

 

Young children seem not to have internal sense of higher powers (with few exceptions)

and form the rest many is diligently pleasing parents in prayers to higher being that

they do not really relate to nor understand much of but simply repeat learned behavior.

 

I am not sure if all this can create a believer.

If your child is rebelling, I would ask myself questions -w hat is she rebelling against

and why.

 

It could be that she might have a bad example of someone who says is believing and

does the opposite of what they preach - in young ones this is big turn off.

It might be that she simply can not recognize higher being in her life nor around

and so she can not find within a need to worship and participate in rites that seem

dry, automated and pointless to her?

 

It would be really best to have a very long and honest talk with her where she would

be reassured that the talk is not to change her mind nor punish her at the end

but rather to let her speak her mind freely. Maybe you will hear something you did

nor hear before?

 

Maybe she is angry at parents and this rebel is part of being against something

you both represent? typical for some teenagers..

 

In any case general rule of life is that you can not convince anyone until that

person is convinced from within and otherwise is true, you don't need to convince

no one if they are already convinced themselves.

 

With religion the tricky part is that one feels so much preassure as a parent

and it sometimes is not socially acceptable by family and others to see

a child not going to the church with the rest of the family.

 

It is really good time to give them space to think and reflect because

as long as they are being pushed and pulled to the church the result is

rather opposite and why not? Did you remember any religious believers

being created by pulling to the places of worship?

 

Same is true with a child. I am not in position to really advise but

were it my child I would probably have two option - if it is a yonger child

that can not be left home for the time of service - I would have a long converstation

and would say that I understand her position on the issue and I am okay

with it, I won't preassrue her or convince to believe in something she has to

find within her heart - but till then for the sake of the whole family I would appreciate

if she could just come and sit through with the rest of us and that way

we could be all happy. I would also appreciate her not spoiling it for other kids

as per the fact that she has a right to choose for herself but not for others.

 

I would compare going to the service to any a family trip or shopping when one person does not want to

go but other times other person does not want to go where that person needs and wants to go

and as in any family this needs to be compromised for the enjoyment and happiness of all

of us.

 

I think that key here is not to force anything because it causes opposite results and sets you back

a long time. Also it is always true with any faith that this can not be imposed and pushed

and more good is done in peaceful way. I know that it is tough to let them go but

I have seen atheists who grew up as a result of forced religion by the family then

I have seen lots of spiritual kids who came out from a family who never pushed them to

one service.

 

After all finding a God is very difficult process. It is somehow obvious that more kids who

have growing up in troubled families with some tragedies .. illness... death are more

inclined to turn to higher beings then those who are doing okay. Somehow one finds

God faster through trouble. Maybe your child is just happy and lucky and never endured

anything that had her find her place in all that search?

Fear of hell is hardly a motivation, promise of heaven is just as hard to sell now days

especially for a child who is bearly here few years and is not rushing anywhere nor

is remembering where they came from.

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#6 of 8 Old 10-01-2013, 05:54 PM
 
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My journey of faith is different from most.  I was baptized Catholic, and went to mass as a young child with my grandmother and great-grandmother.  Once I was old enough for school, my mom started taking me to a Lutheran church (and I attended the private Lutheran school).  Around Jr high, we went from Charismatic non-denominational church for a few years to a Southern baptist Church, and my sophomore year I ended up at a Nazarene church, where I still am.  My stepfather does not attend any church.  My mom and little sis converted to Judaism while I was in HS.  My older sis does not attend church (she married and atheist), but still considers herself Catholic, although she has not been to mass in 20 yrs.  The rest of my family is a mix of atheists, various denominations of Christians, a Wiccan, and a Buddhist.  MY DH's family is primarily conservative protestant christians.

 

Once we were in Junior high, my mom allowed us freedom with our choices.  The only rule was religious tolerance.  I attended church on my own all through high school, but kept Kosher at home, and participated in Passover & Shabbat services at home.  My mom & sisters came to my church for services that were important to me, and I went to synagogue with them for the services that were important to them.  DS goes to church with us, but he knows that not everyone in our family believes the same thing.  It would be difficult for me if he wanted to follow other beliefs, but I would like to think that as long as we could sit down and rationally discuss our beliefs, I would let him make his own decisions. 


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#7 of 8 Old 10-02-2013, 08:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julie128 View Post
 

My daughter has lost all interest in religion and has become hostile with me about it, and she is negatively influencing her younger siblings.  Could be a phase, but I kind of doubt it.  Anyway, this is really hurting both of us.  She is experiencing that we're "forcing" her to believe in God, which is totally not the case--my husband is a long time atheist, and this has not been an issue.  My experience is that she is ending a long line of tradition and family.  Anyone have this experience?  What did you do?  Can our relationship continue in a positive way for both of us?

 

My son is 18 and I could have written your post about him.  I'm devastated, though I'm trying not to show a big deal about it.  I don't know what to do- I'm just praying he finds his way someday.


I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#8 of 8 Old 10-03-2013, 04:28 AM
 
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DS is 15 and has said he is an atheist for the past couple of years.  He decided not to be confirmed. He does agree to come to church w/ me on Christmas, Easter, & Remembrance Day, mostly to please me.

 

DD is 17 and got confirmed and comes to church w/ me about half the time & seems to follow our religion independently of me.

 

DH comes to church w/ me less than DS but says he is a believer. I think he mostly doesn't care much for the particular church I attend.

 

We all say grace together at supper and both kids let me bless them.

 

I try to remember:

  * G-d gave me charge of only one soul, my own.

 * G-d works in many ways and maybe DS will come to the knowledge & love of G-d in his own time and own way.

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