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How do I help my 9 y/o who may be leaning towards more Agnostic or Atheist to adjust and "find her place" within a world of non-religious intolerance?

My daughter who is 9 y/o and VERY mature mentally for her age has been questioning her belief/faith in God. I want to support her in any way that I can... NOTE: I am Christian, as is my husband.

We are NOT discouraging her. We want our child to "think outside the box" and think for HERSELF. But how do I do this in a positive way and show her that it's okay to not believe as the rest of us in our home, and extended family do?

Personally, from her replies to me, and her statements here and there, I believe she will be more of an Agnostic. But, I also won't be surprised, as the critical thinker that she is, that she may even become an Atheist.

 
pr0udm0m_0f_3

Asked by pr0udm0m_0f_3 at 3:04 PM on Apr. 3, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

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Answers (62)
  • You can explain to her why you believe the things you do, and why others believe in their faiths (or lack of none). In my household, both sets of grandparents are religious. My DH claims to believe in god (even though he said that he was agnostic when we met). I am agnostic--because, while I do not believe in a god or gods, I can't prove that none exist, either. I am trying to explain to my daughter, who is 8, that many of her friends are Christians and that it is okay for them to believe in their faith, but that there are plenty of good people who do not share those same beliefs. I tell her that what is most important is not what one professes to believe but how they treat others. I tell her that it is best to keep religion out of discussions because many people are uncomfortable with that discussion. I tell her that she is free to follow whatever faith (or none) that makes sense to her as long as it doesn't hurt others.
    jsbenkert

    Answer by jsbenkert at 3:44 PM on Apr. 3, 2009

  • google "agnostic beliefs" or go to amazon and find some books.

    Congrats to you for being such loving, supportive parents! Your daughter is extremely lucky! :-)
    jennijune_21

    Answer by jennijune_21 at 3:06 PM on Apr. 3, 2009

  • see I try to teach my children WHY I believe through answering their questions and helping them to research so they can see God too through their study of his word, we answer all their questions never saying "it's a mystery or it's God's will or the You'll burn in hell for not having blind faith" we don't believe in not understanding God but ultimently they must made Bible truth and belief in God their own.

    lisarose45

    Answer by lisarose45 at 3:11 PM on Apr. 3, 2009

  • It is your job as a christian mother to lead your child toward God. She is 9 of course she has questions. Answer her with faith and truth. When she is an adult she can choose as she will but as a child it is your job to lead her in the right direction. Not everything about God can be explained adn we as Christians have accepted that. It is a lot for even an adult brain to grasp which is why explaining your faith to a child is soooo important. I do not think that by encouraging her to follow Christ is going to keep her from thinking for herself. You were raised to have faith did it keep you from thinking for yourself? Stay positive and have faith.Proverbs 22: 6. Train children, not in the way they would go, that of their corrupt hearts, but in the way they should go; in which, if you love them, you would have them go. As soon as possible every child should be led to the knowledge of the Savior.

    But_Mommie

    Answer by But_Mommie at 3:12 PM on Apr. 3, 2009

  • You can be supportive of her choices when she is an adult. I'm not saying she should be shoved in one direction or another ultimately it will come down to what she wants and believes but as a child she should be gently led in the way she should go.
    But_Mommie

    Answer by But_Mommie at 3:14 PM on Apr. 3, 2009

  • Prepare her that some people will be mean to her, and explain it in terms of bullying. Some kids are bullied because of the color of their skin or their weight, others are bullied because of religion. Tell her that no matter how mean someone is, she is a good and wonderful person, and anyone who says mean things to her is just hateful and not worth her time. At the same time, don't go to the other extreme where she thinks it's ok to consider anyone with faith stupid. Make sure she gets the difference between bullying and different opinoins. Most schools use the No Bully Zone program, see if your school has something on it.

    You also need to think about how your family will be. Are there any grandparents/aunts/etc who will take it upon themselves to "save" her? Plan a way to deal with them before she gets blindsided.
    NotPanicking

    Answer by NotPanicking at 3:16 PM on Apr. 3, 2009

  • I think sharing everything you just said is appropriate. You think she is mature, you want to support her, you appreciate & want her to think outside the box, etc. All of those things show how much you value her as an individual & respect her choices & beliefs. I would of course be open that although you may not share her beliefs that she is welcome to ask for your perspective & that you will answer her questions as honestly as possible. Her beliefs have no bearing on your feelings toward her as your precious daughter, remind of that if she seems unsure, but, it sounds like she will already be getting the message loud & clear from the way you are handling this. If you are comfortable with it, & she shows interest make available to her books that will help her explore her beliefs & openly converse with her about them. You're doing wonderfully!

    BubbaLuva

    Answer by BubbaLuva at 3:17 PM on Apr. 3, 2009

  • I agree fullly with But mommie.

    She said it best when she quoted Proverbs 22:6. Train up your children in the way they should go.

    She is a child and could easily be lured away from Gods love. If you are such a Christian and understand the Bible as I do, then how could you live knowing your child might choose hell?
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:17 PM on Apr. 3, 2009

  • She's a lucky girl to have supportive parents in this area! All of my religious questions were answered with "as long as you live under my roof, ...." Are there any Secular Humanists in your area? Get in tough with them, too. As far as helping her find her place, make sure that she understands that people can be nasty when faced with something they disagree with. She should never hide who she is, but she may find it necessary to keep her label to herself. I hope this makes sense.
    sherriet

    Answer by sherriet at 3:21 PM on Apr. 3, 2009

  • It is my JOB in my opinion to teach her tolerance, respect, and acceptance that people are who they are....People, no matter their believing in God, or not.

    It is not my job to push her and MAKE her believe in ANY deity that she feels is "not real" within her mind or even her heart. She knows that I and her Dad are believers. But we are not the types to "flog" others, even our children with how/what we believe.

    My number ONE job is to be supportive and help my children in any way I can. Not to make them believe in someone/thing that they obviously are having a hard time with and questioning.
    pr0udm0m_0f_3

    Answer by pr0udm0m_0f_3 at 3:22 PM on Apr. 3, 2009

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