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Parents Divorced: Dad is Jehovah's Witness - I am Christian... Daughter wants to follow in Dad's footsteps?

My daughter is almost 13 years old. Her father and I have been separated since before she was born. Her father and I do not have a very open relationship. We discuss the bare minimum that is necessary where our daughter is involved. He is remarried with 2 stepchildren and 2 children of their own. I am remarried with one additional child.

Our daughter lives with me full-time. Our family (my husband and myself were raised Catholic) but we do not actively go to church. We do, however, discuss our Christian beliefs regularly. She has spent every other weekend and divided vacations with Dad and his family since she was born. Within the past several years they have become Jehovah's Witnesses and have had our daughter accompany them to meetings, events, etc. I wasn't happy that he didn't consult me in this matter, but let it slide because my daughter never showed any interest in this religion. I thought she was a happy Christian.

This weekend I found out (through her father) that she was afraid to ask me to take her to meetings for fear that I would be mad at her. Of course I'm not mad - but I'm so upset with MYSELF for not allowing her to more deeply explore Christianity and getting our family more involved over the years. Now, I don't know what to do or how to approach the situation with anyone. I'm hurt and confused and would like to know if anyone else has any thoughts on the matter. If you need more details, just ask... I'll do what I can to clarify. THANKS.

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 10:15 AM on Apr. 18, 2011 in Religion & Beliefs

Answers (24)
  • Well JW's ARE Christians, so if anything it's just a denomination change. Your daughter is 13 years old and simply exploring. I say give her your blessing. If she likes it she'll stick with it if not se'll decide it isn't quite for her. either way it should be her choice.
    KristiS11384

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 10:21 AM on Apr. 18, 2011

  • JWs *are* christians... what is your issue?
    ObbyDobbie

    Answer by ObbyDobbie at 10:23 AM on Apr. 18, 2011

  • She is at an age right now where she is feeling the need to make her own decisions. At this point, she needs to understand that if she chooses to go the way of the Jahovah's Witness, that your family will not follow suit. IE...lack of holiday celebration, Christian beliefs, etc. Talk with her about visiting different types of churches to understand the choices. All my kids went to various churches, including synagogue, with their friends. This gave them a better rounded viewpoint of the different beliefs around them. My kids have all chosen to be Christian. But, they understand the importance in letting others believe in their own way. Being that Dad has been consistent with her in his religion, she is clinging to it. At this point, forcing her to be Christian will only breed rebelion. But, working through different religions with her can help her make an educated and informed decision about herself.
    specialwingz

    Answer by specialwingz at 10:24 AM on Apr. 18, 2011

  • I'm not a Jehovah's Witness, but I do know that under the definition of Christianity - Belief that Jesus was the Son of God who died to forgive us our sins - They ARE Christian. She is old enough to decided under which "Sect" of Christianity she wishes to be indoctrinated in.
    twinsplus2more

    Answer by twinsplus2more at 10:25 AM on Apr. 18, 2011

  • Yeah JW are Christian. And if I were you I would be more worried that my child felt like she couldn't talk to me openly and honestly :(
    AshleyLynnW

    Answer by AshleyLynnW at 10:26 AM on Apr. 18, 2011

  • A Christian is a follower of Christ. Hence, the word Christ-ian. JWs do NOT worship Christ. They see him simply as a man (much like the Jewish culture) & do not hold him as high as God. Therefore, the JW sector receives much criticism from the Christian world. So, NO...they technically NOT Christians.
    specialwingz

    Answer by specialwingz at 10:30 AM on Apr. 18, 2011

  • JW's are Christian just not what many would consider typical ones is all.

    So, if it were my child, Id allow her to go with the "rule" that she isnt allowed to start preaching at us. She can discuss what she's learned, how she feels, ask questions, etc but she cant start doing stuff like "Im right, you are wrong and going to hell" type stuff. That will get her chuch attendance cut immediately.

    But I think she's old enough to start making her own spiritual choices so Id give her some rope with which to do that.
    Amaranth361

    Answer by Amaranth361 at 10:32 AM on Apr. 18, 2011

  • I worry that she's been really pressured...and that's because I feel like they are a very "in your face" group of people. Maybe just sit down with her and ask her if she has any questions. She knows so much about his faith, maybe you should discuss yours more in depth with her. Maybe she's searching and since you don't really practice, she turned to the next important person in her life who does. Just thoughts :)
    Renee3K

    Answer by Renee3K at 10:34 AM on Apr. 18, 2011

  • I want to ask her to join us in services with several of our friends families. I'm not opposed to speaking with someone from Kingdom Hall either, but I want to give her a chance to see what the rest of her family sees in Christ, and I'm afraid that JH won't be as understanding to my plight. I want my daughter to be whole and happy -- regardless of what it means about me. She is my top priority here.

    JH's are somewhat Christian, but they believe that God created two angels-Michael (who later becomes Jesus) and Lucifer (who later becomes Satan). They also believe that only 144,000 will follow and reside in heaven with Jesus after armageddon and that when you die, you die. There isn't anything else. And, to earn your spot to walk with Jesus, you have to EARN it by working for your faith and carrying your message, etc.

    I know that may not be the whole of the religion - but that is my understanding of some of
    Anonymous

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 10:40 AM on Apr. 18, 2011

  • Let her explore and find out if the religion is right for her. I grew up as Jehovah's Witness and it is a religion that puts a lot of pressure their youth, not necessarily in a bad way. It will certainly encourage her to stay out of trouble and resist the influences of peers. That being said I would tend to think that it is not something that she will choose as a path the rest of her life.

    Read up as much as you can directly from their website so you can understand where she is coming from. Allow her to explore. It is a Christian religion. They do believe that Jesus is the son of God and died for our sins. Anyone who says otherwise does not know what they are talking about. They observe a Memorial of Jesus death every year as he instructed, remembering what he gave for us to have eternal life. Their opinion of eternal life and where it takes places is of the biggest differences. They believe that God (Jehovah) will
    Melbornj

    Answer by Melbornj at 10:45 AM on Apr. 18, 2011

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