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If you are an atheist, raising your kids the same...

I am Catholic, and raising my daughter Catholic. But my stepdaughter has pretty much been raised atheist. She may tend slightly towards agnostic, but her mom is pretty much atheist, and her dad is sort of agnostic/indifferent.

My question is, how do you teach your kids morals or values? Like not being mean to people, not stealing. My SD has definite issues. I mean, she gets in trouble for bullying other kids, making them cry. She has stolen money from her friends. Has little to no respect for adults, and gets in trouble at school over it. So how do you teach them it's wrong when they ask why? Like, when she made the other girl cry, she just had the attitude of, "so what? the other kids were picking on her too, maybe she's just too sensitive?" As for the stealing she knows if she does it from a store or when she gets older she could get arrested, but then she says, "yeah, if you get caught"..... How do we reach her?


Asked by Anonymous at 9:04 PM on Jan. 22, 2010 in Religion & Beliefs

This question is closed.
Answers (30)
  • Perhaps some love and attention would help you and DH get her back in line.. tough love doesn't work, especially when the kid's mom is only encouraging the bad behavior at your place with her antics. when she is there, get involved with her.. play some family board games, or Wii, or take her and the rest of the kids out some place fun.. when she behaves, reward her with a smile and something special just for her.. You'd be surprised how fast love and attention will turn a kid around.

    Answer by xxhazeldovexx at 10:21 PM on Jan. 23, 2010

  • I don't think being religious in any way has anything to do with having good morals and good behavior. When they ask why it is because it is not acceptable to mistreat people even if you feel they deserve it. Stealing is illegal not just immoral. You don't take things that don't belong to you, you have to earn what you get in life. Being religious has nothing at all to do with teaching kids to be good people. It is poor parenting that is the cause of those behaviors if you allow them to get away with it and make excuses for them then they will never change.

    Answer by truealaskanmom at 9:09 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • I think your SD's issues probably arise from not having that parental guidance early on. As for my kids they are 4 and 2, If one hits another I hold the hand used to hit agaisnt them make them look me in the eye and tell them it's not nice to hit, it makles people cry. Do they like it when they get hit, NO so don't do it to your sister. I am also teaching them to share and use please and thank you.
    Now I'm not certain of your step daughters ager but it soulds like she needs more discipline in her life which can be hard as a step-parent because it is clear that the disciplinary actions between the seperate homes is not the same and you SD will use that to her advantage.

    If you can get her mom in on the same page with discipline it will be much easier. If not you will be struggling with your SD and her poor choices.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 9:13 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • This word is popping out of my head today: conscious. Atheists still have a conscious and still teach thier kids right from wrong. I think you might get blasted.
    Sounds like you SD needs lots of attention and she is acting out to get it. Not being mean, just kids think like that sometimes.

    Answer by 3gigglemonsters at 9:13 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • GAH, Look at all those typos. Anyways, it's not a matter of being religious or not. It sounds like the issue is arising from the different parenting styles between her mom's home and yours. It can be difficult when parents of the same home don't agree on disciplinary measures much less parents in differnt homes don't agree. You might need to go "bootcamp" on her and take a trip to the local prison system and have some of those there talk to her about her poor chioces as well as restrict all her priveleges at your home until she shapes up.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 9:17 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • My question is does she stay primarily with you and your husband or her mother? How much time is she at the other home? Does her mom enforce any rules on her or is she being spoiled and given free reign while not in your home.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 9:18 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • religion isn't how you teach morals and values, number one. Number two, it's obvious this girl isn't getting the love and attention she needs. LOVE is where you learn your morals and values. When you love someone you learn to respect them, or you loose them.
    Religion has nothing to do with it though. This woman is obviously to lazy to raise her child properly. It's not about yelling or screaming or punishing the child.. it's about helping them to learn BY THEIR SIDE. Teaching them to treat others, as they would like to be treated. You don't go up to a child and say, if you don't clean your room, I'm going to scream at you for an hour.. you FIRST TEACH them to clean their room, by being by their side to help them learn how to do it. Once they've learned, you encourage them to continue, and continue to encourage the good behavior, by saying how much you LOVE them and are proud.

    Answer by xxhazeldovexx at 9:19 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • Oh and does your husband's indiffernce toward religion cross over to parenting and discipline as well?

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 9:19 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • I can name plenty of people of religion that have little monsters for children..

    Answer by xxhazeldovexx at 9:21 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • One more.......You should set up some activities for her that involve her doing some good deed for another person. Bake cookies for a neighbor or make chicken soup for her dad? Give her something to feel good about and praise that child.

    Answer by 3gigglemonsters at 9:22 PM on Jan. 22, 2010