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How do I tell my MIL I don't want her taking my DS to church with her anymore?

I'll make this as quick and to the point as possible. I was raised Jewish, my husband Christian. His mother is a die hard Jesus nut (no offense intended, just an extreme way of saying very faithful Christian, nutty to me though). I have been allowing her to take our son to church most weekends for the last 6 months or so. She usually brings him to the nursery and he just plays until the service is over. He's 16mo and although i'm not worried about him being indoctrinated, he's a little young for that, i AM worried that the longer he goes the harder it will be to stop in the future. I want him to grow up well informed and educated about all religions, but I want to try to avoid over-exposing him to one or another so I really don't want him going to religious services of ANY kind on a regular basis unless he chooses to do so himself....I need to find a kind way to bring this up with my MIL, whom I have much respect and admiration for....I just have a hard time finding the right words!! Any suggestions?


Asked by ShainaMay at 4:39 AM on May. 12, 2011 in Religion & Beliefs

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Answers (27)
  • People need acknowlegement first if you want to bring it up. Your MIL needs to feel appreciated for spending time with your child first and she does care for him a lot if she is doing this every Sunday. Just thank her but tell her you are having second thoughts. Ok she is a Jesus nut but in her mind she may be thinking it is great that she gets to spend time with him, go to church and show him off, and give you a break. Just consider her feelings if you respect her but you and dad have the final say so. Thats what I would do :)

    Answer by 2tinyhineys at 3:54 PM on May. 12, 2011

  • Something about him going with her is making you uncomfortable enough to bring it here, so I think you should really listen to your intuition about it and not allow anyone to guilt you into compliance. And be prepared, because I can almost guarantee that your MIL will reach for guilt if hard-pressed. I think you should just be honest with her, but softly. You don't have to be blunt and tell her you think she's nutty, but you can just explain that you and your husband have plans for your son's religious exposure (or whatever else fits better for you) and that you'll be doing other things some Sundays. I agree with what Not Panicking and Amaranth361 said in that you have to draw boundaries early on.

    Answer by KelleyP77 at 9:46 AM on May. 12, 2011

  • Going to Church every Sunday is a way to expose him to religion in general. And at this age, it's just a play group in nicer clothes. Omitting all religion from his life and telling him to pick one when he's older puts him at a disadvantage. You can always counteract him going to Church on Sunday by taking him to shul on Saturday also. That way he gets a little bit of both. Making it easier for him to decide (or not decide) when the time comes.


    Answer by keisha613 at 7:20 AM on May. 12, 2011

  • I would be very blunt and tell her exactly what you wrote there.

    Answer by xmama_bellax at 6:50 AM on May. 12, 2011

  • How does your DH feel. If he feels the same I'd have him talk to his mother and let her know that your DS isn't going anymore because your doing other things on the weekends.


    Answer by RyansMom001 at 5:54 AM on May. 12, 2011

  • I agree with keisha613. He's spending his time in a play group, not being brainwashed! Exposing him to different religions is a good thing as long as you don't put any restrictions on which ones. Be happy your MIL takes him with her. So many grandparents out there don't even spend time with their grandchildren. I am a grandmother of 2 small children. I am Catholic. I would love to take them to church with me and my husband, but we go to Sat. evening mass, they don't live close by, they usually do family things on Saturdays, we don't have car seats for them; they are not baptized, but we buy them books about Jesus and other religious items. Every child deserves to believe in something. Your son is too young to even comprehend any more than he is going to church with grandma and playing with his "friends," and I'll bet he loves it so why deprive him?

    Answer by rosiemendo at 7:50 AM on May. 12, 2011

  • I would talk to DH and see what he says. When I was a kid we were raised Catholic even though my mother was not. She felt that we needed to have some basis for religion so my parents decided to raise us in my fathers religion. As we got older we made our own decisions about religion and what we wanted to do.

    If you and your DH have agreed that he isn't going to be raised with any one religion then you need to just explain this to her. I think you just need to be honest with and maybe you and DH can talk to her together. I would tell her something about how much you respect her although you don't want to raise your child in just one religion.

    Good Luck!

    Answer by cornflakegirl3 at 6:31 AM on May. 12, 2011

  • Tell her just that. If you don't draw a boundary now, she'll assume that she has free reign over his spiritual upbringing forever, even though she is not the parent (apparently a difficult concept for more than just her, judging some of the replies here).

    Answer by NotPanicking at 8:01 AM on May. 12, 2011

  • At his current age and even up until 4 or 5, he doesn't even understand "really" what he is hearing. My dd goes w/ my sis and she is now 6 and loves to go, though she isn't gung ho over churchy churchy stuff... she likes to go to be with people and do fun stuff. Personally for me as a child I went to every church and several denomonations and as an adult I don't go period (or a rare occassion) and I was even baptized as a teen. As kids we still don't fully grasp it, its when we get adults we do indeed make that transition and decide to go or not to go and what we "believe" in.

    I personally wouldn't say anything to her. Let her take him and spend that quality time w/ him even if its to church. He's not even gonna remember these days~

    Answer by 2teens2LOs at 9:17 AM on May. 12, 2011

  • I agree with the other ladies, he's just in a fancier dressed playgroup. Nothing hardcore nor would he recall any of it anyway.

    If you are fearful she's gonna get too controlling on the matter then either tell her what you told us about wanting him to experience diversity or start cutting it back. That way he's still going just not every week. Do once or twice a month instead,etc and as he gets older taper that off or take him to other style churches yourself if you really want him exposed to a variety.

    You do have to take a stand now though with whatever you and DH decide so MIL doesnt get the idea she's in charge on that front. In the end you are the parent and what you say goes whether she likes it or not.

    Answer by Amaranth361 at 9:28 AM on May. 12, 2011