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If you are an atheist, and 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 9:05 PM on Jan. 22, 2010 in Tweens (9-12)

This question is closed.
Answers (15)
  • OP, as a stepparent there is not much you can do until mom and dad both get on board. Kids will do what ever they want if no one is enforcing the rules. What is the point of being in trouble and learning from it if you can still go to friends, watch movies etc... That is rewarding bad behavior. Sorry but it sounds like mom and dad are being lazy with this child. How old is she, she sounds like 11 or 12. Girls hit this kind of stage around that age. Either way, what she is doing to others, it will come back to bite her and she will learn. Talk to dad about this. If you have a good relationship with the mom you might be able to talk to her. I do hope you find a solution.

    Answer by midnightmoma at 9:37 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • You tel her its not proper. I wasnt raised with any religon but I still knew that if I did something wrong I was going to get punished. Not beat or anything but I knew I would be grounded or have some sort of consequence. You take away her favorite things, you tell her she must stay in her room. She wont be allowed to play with friends. She needs to know that she is going to face a consequence through you as parents not just when she is older and possibly getting arrested.

    Answer by LuvsDanika at 9:08 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • I was raised agnostic and have very high morals. I learned right from wrong by having empathy for others and understanding the effects my actions have on others.


    Answer by maxswolfsuit at 9:12 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • It is wrong to treat someone badly no matter your religious beliefs, I don't understand how being atheist or agnostic plays into this.

    Answer by goaliemom93 at 9:13 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • i am more agnostic and i let my grandparents are christian...i allow them to take my son to church and teach him about jesus...when he questions me about heaven and hell i simply tell him i don't know if there is such a place because i have never been there...he usually has lots of questions and i usually give him my answers as to what i believe...i don't raise him any certain way...i don't mind if other people want to teach him their beliefs either

    Answer by shay1130 at 9:15 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • What you describe has nothing to do with religion. You don't need religion to teach kids right from wrong. I am not religious but my children do not steal etc.. the only difference is when they do something wrong I don't tell them not to do that again or they will go to hell. I teach my kids to treat others how they would like the be treated, stealing is wrong and to use manners just like any other parent would do.

    Sounds like your SD is going through some stuff probably because of the divorce or the rules are not clear at both households. Stepmothers can also be very biased to a child that is not theirs. I don't know how old your child is but chances are she will try to do some of the same things you mentioned your SD is doing. Most kids try at one point or another. Kids make mistakes but they also must learn from them to grow...

    Answer by midnightmoma at 9:16 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • and just because someone is athiest or agnostic does not make them a thief or bully...

    Answer by shay1130 at 9:20 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • Yeah, consequenses... That's the part where I am the stepparent and have little to no say over that. They "ground" her by saying something like "no video games" but she can still watch a movie on tv or go to friends houses. Or her bio parents just don't enforce if she was arguing with the other. I try to teach her empathy, like, "how would you feel if it was you?" And that seemed to work ok for the stealing, but not for the talking back to adults or bullying. To that she just said, "I wouldn't care, that girls a cry baby". We could only tell her, it wasn't right, but I really don't think she had much conscience about it.

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

  • so are you trying to convert her or something? thats what i get out of think that converting her into a catholic will make her a better person?

    Answer by shay1130 at 9:26 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • Like midnightmoma said- You don't need religion to teach morals and kindness.
    I am atheist and hubby is also. My kids (teens)are doing fine with these things
    It sounds like she has some issues she needs to work out, maybe see a therapist or something.

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 9:26 PM on Jan. 22, 2010