Raising children in same house with different religion?? - Mothering Forums
Blended and Step Family Parenting > Raising children in same house with different religion??
bobandjess99's Avatar bobandjess99 03:26 PM 09-08-2005
Does anyone have any experience with having children in the house who are being raised totally differently? For example, my DH and i, when we decided to get married and have kids, agreed on certain ways we would do things. He and his ex-wife, also agreed/made a plan for how they would raise their children. The problem is, they are VERY different, and we're already starting to run into questions that i don't know how to answer. When his children come over , ages 8, 9 12, we parent them in the style that he and his ex-wife agreed upon, but we parent my DD, 1, in the way he and i agreed on.

Right now, it's not too bad, since she is "the baby" and they understand why she is treated differently than they are..but I'm thinking ahead.....she does not receive vax, we use only natural medicines, they are all medicated on Adderall, totally vaxed and take various OTC meds when they are sick....They go to public school, dd will be homeschooled....They do get spanked/hit, and she will not be.

But anyway, without borrowing trouble from the future....right now, the only thing that has really come up is the religion issue..
They are Catholic and being forced to go to catholic church and observe Catholic beliefs/practices...while dd is not being pushed into a religion, but will be exposed to various beliefs systems and specifically exposed to being a Witch. . before we eat, they dutifully recite their prayers and have started telling their little sister to "say her prayers"......I have tried explaining that dd and I do not say prayers, because we are not catholic and are not "required" to say prayers....They have started complaining and asking questions and want to know why they have to say prayers when we do not??? Since they are being taught that the way Catholics believe is the "right" way and that they must believe what they are told about God, heaven, Jesus, etc, I justr dont know what to say.....The only thing i can think of is "not all people believe the way Catholics do" and then of course they want to know why not, if it is true? I just don't know how to explain to them that it might *not* be true, and that there are lots of people who believe its not true, without messing up their religiuous education......
ugh
how do you guys deal with this, without just totally confising them or making it seem like you are disrespecting their religion?

Tired...need sleep.......

Marlet's Avatar Marlet 03:02 AM 09-09-2005
Good question! I wonder the same thing all the time! DSS's mom is Mormon and was rasied that way. We have no idea how active she is with it still or anything like but we have wondered how to answer questions and what not when they are brought up. I'm watching this one for sure!

Sorry I don't have anything to tell you....maybe try telling them you weren't raised Catholic so DD won't be raised Catholic. If they ask what you were raised you could tell them you were raised differently and leave it to that maybe? I have no clue though! :LOL
alegna's Avatar alegna 03:13 AM 09-09-2005
I think a lot of honest answers to questions could help with the religion issue. Personally I would be concerned about the spanking though. I would absolutely not allow it in my house. If it happens at their other house, that's unavoidable, but under no circumstances would I allow spanking in my house where I was raising a child.



-Angela
sovereignqueen's Avatar sovereignqueen 03:13 PM 09-09-2005
DH and I are "regilously ecletic" (I'm a caltholic with pagan tendancies and he's a Jew with Islamic and Catholic tendancies, its bizarre but it works for us) We're raising squeaker primarialy Catholic and Jewish but we don't really go to chuch or temple regulary and we pretty much just celebrate the "fun" holidays for now since she's still so small (it might change as she gets older, i do think kids need a firm spiritual groundwork). DH's kiddos are being raised Jewish and keep (DH's ex's interpirtation) of kosher. So when dsd is over I don't let her mix milk and meat etc and try to abide my her moms wishes as much as I'm able without it being a hardship for me. So when dsd complains I tell her that I am abiding my her moms wishes because I respect her moms choices even though they might be different from my own. I also involve her as much as she is willing in our celabrations (she loves Christmas as it involves food and gifts, i know its more than that but its a start she could refuse point blank) and stbtly try to teach her tollarance of all religions and a little bit about christianity and she teaches me about Jewish traditions etc. She usually comes over to celebrate Hanuakkah, passover etc with us as well as with her mom's family. The only really difficult time is passover when its very hard to keep her from eating the foods she's not supposed to since I don't do the clean your house of all levened food thing.
HTH
bobandjess99's Avatar bobandjess99 08:28 PM 09-09-2005
Sorry I don't have anything to tell you....maybe try telling them you weren't raised Catholic so DD won't be raised Catholic. If they ask what you were raised you could tell them you were raised differently and leave it to that maybe? I have no clue though! :LOL[/QUOTE]


This is becoming the problem....it used to work to just "leave it at that", but now at 8, 9 and 12, they are asking harder questions..like, "if (dd) doesn't have to be raised Catholic, why do we?" And I don't really know what to say......They are starting to question WHY different people are raised differently, and therefore they don't see why they should have to be catholic (which, at their age, is not "fun", getting up early, going to church school, etc) if other people don't have to be Catholic.....They want the freedom to not be catholic, but that isn't a choice that is being given to them, and so they don't understand why (dd) gets that choice, and I get that choice, and their mom gest that choice, and they don't. And to be honest, since I personally *don't* believe in "raising" children in a religion, I do not have a good answer for them, and dh, the Catholic-turened Witch, doesn't really either, just "you boys are Catholic". ugh
~member~'s Avatar ~member~ 08:55 PM 09-09-2005
I guess, since they are not being given a choice, maybe turn the conversation around to how everyone is different and how to take pride in your own differences and accept other's differences.

I was raised in a Jewish and Native American family.
We celebrate Hannukah and Christmas(the christmas that has Santa Claus, not the jesus christ's birthday), I guess our family worked more toward blending than separating each other...does that make sense?
I know, I know, christmas has nothing to do with Native Americans...but I couldn't really think of anything that was conflicting...maybe circumcision, since Anishinaabeg people believe you cannot return to the spirit world if a part of your body was gone. We save all nail clippings, never cut our hair, never shave, etc. But I don't think Jewish religion/culture has any problems with that...and the Bris I attended, they made a snip, not cut a piece off.

I don't know, I guess I really liked being a part of both and was never shamed about either.
~member~'s Avatar ~member~ 09:08 PM 09-09-2005
I just remembered one- the Jewish side of our family went to Synagogue. My sisters and I never went. I never felt left out, but I don't remember why not or if anyone talked to me about it. I guess it was just seen as something they did that we did not do, kwim?

We do attend almost all the Jewish cultural events and I grew up hearing Hebrew.
MomBirthmomStepmom's Avatar MomBirthmomStepmom 09:18 PM 09-09-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobandjess99
This is becoming the problem....it used to work to just "leave it at that", but now at 8, 9 and 12, they are asking harder questions..like, "if (dd) doesn't have to be raised Catholic, why do we?" And I don't really know what to say......They are starting to question WHY different people are raised differently, and therefore they don't see why they should have to be catholic (which, at their age, is not "fun", getting up early, going to church school, etc) if other people don't have to be Catholic.....They want the freedom to not be catholic, but that isn't a choice that is being given to them, and so they don't understand why (dd) gets that choice, and I get that choice, and their mom gest that choice, and they don't. And to be honest, since I personally *don't* believe in "raising" children in a religion, I do not have a good answer for them, and dh, the Catholic-turened Witch, doesn't really either, just "you boys are Catholic". ugh
We just say that parents choose how to raise their children when they are born, and when parents split up/remarry/have children with someone else, then that's a different set of parents who make different choices for their children. That's it. Dss is 9 now, and seems okay with that.

Dss is his parents only child together. His biomom has a new baby (and her bf has 3 children from a previous relationship), and I have a 4 year old who SO and I raise together (biodad is not in the picture). Each one of these children are raised quite differently, and very much in the respect of religion.

It's much too much to go into detail, but we just explain that all children are different, and what each child's parents want for them are different as well... Even if they share a like parent...
sovereignqueen's Avatar sovereignqueen 02:15 PM 09-10-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by MomBirthmomStepmom

It's much too much to go into detail, but we just explain that all children are different, and what each child's parents want for them are different as well... Even if they share a like parent...
: We tell dsd that its her moms choice and she needs to respect the choice her mom made untill she's of age and can make her own choice. (in this case irs 13, after her Bat Mitvsha (sp?) she's considered an adult, as least by her mom and can then decide if she wants to keep kosher, go to temple, continue hebrew school etc. Both her brothers have chose to completely abandon the religion so in a way she's looking forward to being ablew to follwo in her brothers footseps b/c she idolizes them ).
flapjack's Avatar flapjack 06:32 AM 09-12-2005
Daft thought- but why can't your whole family write your own blessing to use before mealtimes, an ecumenical one that doesn't exclude anyone's beliefs? Obviously, talk to your step-children's mother before you do it, but it could work well and be a stronger bond between them and their little sister.
The rest, however, I have no idea. I think it's going to have to be a conversation you have with their mother (is she amenable to this kind of thing?) and find out how she wants you to handle it, and where the compromises are.
fire_lady's Avatar fire_lady 07:15 AM 09-13-2005
for you mama.
First talk to the mother of your step-children about the situation.
Ask her to explain to the situation to her children. You can also do it. Tell them the truth about people having diffrent religion that they have respect them evem though they are different from each other.
Hope this help.
Mindy70's Avatar Mindy70 12:57 PM 09-14-2005
I totally, totally understand. We are Jewish, but my step-kids are being raised very religiously, with all kinds of restrictions on food and what they can do/cannot do during the Jewish Sabbath and on holidays. WE are more relaxed. When they are with us, we all eat kosher and observe some of the Sabbath restrictions, or better yet, make sure they observe them as they desire, but we don't. Example, they can't drive so they walk 3 miles to synagogue, and I drive the other younger children or I stay home. They have to wait three hours after eating meat to have dairy, I don't and dd doesn't either, although I try and be discreet about it if she wants milk after dinner or something. But yeah, it is hard. The double standard sucks, but I am not sure what to do about it.

We explain that there are different ways of observing our faith, and they are being raised one way, and in our house there are different rules. We don't encourage them to break their own or their mother's rules (example, no one watches TV or uses video games or electronic toys on Shabbos, we eat kosher meats, etc,) but on some things I am not willing to bend (I take a shower or give the younger kids a bath although that violates the Sabbath, I use the toaster, I make tea and use the oven.)

Basically, we allow them to observe their faith (and encourage them, too) but it is hard when they ask, well, why doesn't Elianna (my dd) have to do such and such and we do? How come she had milk after dinner? Why is it ok for her to be driven to synaogue, and we have to walk?
trinity6232000's Avatar trinity6232000 01:56 PM 09-18-2005
I would take this as the perfect opportunity to share beliefs with
each other. Maybe finding some common ground in both religions
and celebrating them. Allowing the step kids to say prayers and
yourself and dd taking part, and sharing something with them that
they can take part in. Also explaining that one's beliefs are a
personal choice, and that everybody is entitled to those different
thoughts and beliefs. That doesn't make one better or worse than
another.
I think this could be a great growing and learning experience for
everybody. Good luck.
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