Worried about FIL's influence on DS (5.5 yrs) - Mothering Forums
The Childhood Years > Worried about FIL's influence on DS (5.5 yrs)
StudyingStones's Avatar StudyingStones 11:39 AM 07-30-2012

First some background.. FIL is EXTREMELY religious.. with prejudice.  When DH and I first found out we were pregnant we was VERY upset because we weren't yet married.  We agreed to get married before DS was born (we were already engaged.. just didn't plan on getting married until the following year).  Once we agreed to get married and started making plans, FIL started calling and demanding/guilt tripping us to get married in his church.. go through his church mandated pre-marital counselling, go to church with him.. etc, etc.  I am NOT religious.  I was raised catholic as a child, but as an adult I have moved far away from the church.  FIL has tried numerous times over the years to get DH and I to go to church with him. He's even called my parents (my dad is an atheist, my mom could care less) at their house on a Sunday morning.. woken them up to ask if they would go to church.  He persists at this despite how many times you say no to him. He still asks me to this day if I'll go to church with him, but I will not.  


He and DS have a very good relationship.  DS truly loves his grandpa, and he teaches him a lot.  DS is interested in going to church, so it has been our agreement that he will go to church *only if he wants to* with grandma and grandpa, and when he doesn't want to, I don't force him - it is completely up to him. 


Saturday morning, DS and I were walking through the dollar store buying camping supplies, and out of nowhere he says to me "you know, the big bang theory isn't true. God actually created everything".

Now, I was raised very strictly catholic, but even still I was never taught to believe that evolution is WRONG, and that only religion is right. As an adult I have moved away from the church and organized religion all together, but I do respect those who maintain their beliefs. I have no problem with DS going to church with FIL and learning about religion, but I DO have problems with him being taught religion to the exclusion of all else, especially if that religion is denying the theory of evolution, which I believe very strongly in.
It is very important for me that he has an open mind and learns to respect other people's beliefs, be they religious or not.

I sat him down when we got home and had a conversation about religion and told him that there are many different religions and beliefs, and no one belief is better than the other. We all have the right to believe whatever we choose to, and that sometimes grandpa talks about the things HE belives in, but that doesn't mean that he's right, and it doesn't mean that's what everyone believes. I told him that he can make up his own beliefs and make his own opinions, to which he replied "well, I believe everything grandpa says." Sigh.

I'm arguing with myself here.. the irritated part of me wants to just tell FIL that I will no longer allow DS to go to church with him if he's going to teach him ignorance, but I hate to take away a special part of their relationship. I talked to DH about it and his reply was that he was raised by FIL and he's fine now.. but I am also aware that FIL is MUCH worse now than he was when they were kids. Since he has joined a new church he has become obsessively religious. Asking constantly what he's done wrong that his children won't go to church with him.   I tried once to tell him that he's done nothing wrong - that he's raised 3 children to be independant individuals who are capable of making their own life decisions, and that is by no means a failure.


I'm not the type to argue with him.. especially about politics or religion, as I have VERY different beliefs from him, and I believe I should leave it up to his children to argue with him, but he has become EXTREMELY pushy and ignorant since starting this new church.   I just don't know what to do!


Any thoughts or advice are much appreciated!!


annanicole's Avatar annanicole 01:33 PM 07-30-2012

You cannot change people, your FIL believes that if you do not know Jesus, and accept him into your heart that upon death you will perish, this TERRIFIES him, so within the limitations of his worldly knowledge he thinks what he is doing will bring you and your family back to Jesus. I'm sorry that he is teaching and preaching the worldly understanding of Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit.  


Your son is a child of you and your husband, which makes him a pretty level headed kid, children at 5.5 are black and white, they cannot see gray.  


I would not stress about it, or do anything drastic, your FIL loves you, your husband, your son, and your parents, look at his actions with those glasses on, and it will make your life easier.


Good luck and don't stress, a lot of ppl don't have any grandparents that love them and support them.  

JudiAU's Avatar JudiAU 01:39 PM 07-30-2012

I don't really think there is much you can do except have some patience and correct on occasion. On, and we love this books http://www.amazon.com/Older-Than-Stars-Karen-Fox/dp/1570917876

StudyingStones's Avatar StudyingStones 01:43 PM 07-30-2012
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

I don't really think there is much you can do except have some patience and correct on occasion. On, and we love this books http://www.amazon.com/Older-Than-Stars-Karen-Fox/dp/1570917876

Thanks Judi, that book is a great suggestion.