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Anyone willing to weigh in on a personal religious and family matter? Maybe a a little OT

Posted by on May. 4, 2014 at 1:33 PM
  • 45 Replies

My family has very mixed religious backgrounds. I'm atheist with a distictly pagan slant (I know that sounds weird, if you want I can answer questions about it).  The rest of my family is some Christian denomination or another.  I value my children's ability to choose for themselves the path they will follow and have decided for that reason to shield them from religious instruction until they are older.

Naturally, I expect them to be exposed by family members, school friends, etc.  I'm comfortable with that, and I don't mind answering questions about religion.  I do my best to be neutral, even though  I feel strongly about it.

My niece is the same age as my daughter and they love each other very deeply.  My niece's maternal grandmother is... well, I can't think of a nice way to describe it, so I'll just give the facts.  She thinks she's God's prophet.  She preaches brimstone and hellfire to my 5 year old niece.  These people don't practice what they preach, but they sure preach a lot.

As a result my niece has been telling stories about how the devil makes kids do bad things, and if they don't want the devil to make them do bad things they have to praise God.  That's what I woke up to this morning.  I just told her that she can believe whatever she wants, but not to tell those stories because we don't believe in the devil and my daughter says "Well, I do."

I don't want this going on, I don't want my niece indoctrinating my kids, I don't want them scared because the devil is in them, and the whole thing is annoying and upsetting to me.

Is there some tactful way to make this stop?  Should I talk to my niece about not talking about God here?  That seems like a bad idea, though, because God is a big part of her life, and I don't want her to feel restricted.

Ugh. 

by on May. 4, 2014 at 1:33 PM
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Replies (1-10):
lnrmom
by Member on May. 4, 2014 at 1:37 PM
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Imo you need to talk to your kids about how people believe many different things. Perhaps now is the time to start introducing them to many different religions and beliefs, including your own. She will be encountering many more kids like your niece and needs to be equipped to handle that.
doulala
by Member on May. 4, 2014 at 1:38 PM

hmm, well--    You can let your kids know that this woman and all of us (maybe use other examples?)  hear about/read about this stuff and interpret it in our own ways.     You can introduce children directly, yourself, to others that believe in the bible and ask them in their presence about their views.      You can meet with others to hear what they say, in their presence...      Giving a more well-rounded perspective.     
  ??


 

babie113
by Silver Member on May. 4, 2014 at 1:40 PM
This

Quoting lnrmom: Imo you need to talk to your kids about how people believe many different things. Perhaps now is the time to start introducing them to many different religions and beliefs, including your own. She will be encountering many more kids like your niece and needs to be equipped to handle that.
1stmuslimah
by on May. 4, 2014 at 1:44 PM
1 mom liked this

I don't have anything to share about us. We are all the same religion, some more religious than other, some practice, some don't. We mind our business and let each other have their own personal religious life.

With you it's up to you to decide. Either you be blunt and put your foot down which I don't really see solving a problem because your kids are going to exposed to something or another where ever they go unless you shelter them and never allow them out of your site or you let it go and let everyone decide for him/her self.

One way or the other however you handle it, you have to stick to it. You can't flip flop back and forth on what is allowed and what isn't.

momtoscott
by on May. 4, 2014 at 1:55 PM
1 mom liked this

There's probably not a tactful way to make it stop, no.   I think it might be better to focus on a plan for dealing with your daughter's reactions to hearing this kind of information, because she will also probably hear stuff like this from other friends and at school, etc.  

What we said to my (now atheist) son was, there are a lot of different beliefs in the world, and as you get older you can explore them and decide what seems right to you.  We also talked to him about polite ways to turn a conversation in a different direction if he was feeling uncomfortable.  

I would also reassure your daughter that you do not believe in devils and that lots of people don't, but also that it is not her job to convince people who do believe in devils that they are wrong.  

DonnaNoble
by Member on May. 4, 2014 at 1:58 PM
3 moms liked this
If you're going to be open to your dd learning about other beliefs and making her own choices, you may not always like those choices. Sorry.
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AtiFreeFalls
by Silver Member on May. 4, 2014 at 2:11 PM

I guess I'm open to SOME beliefs.  Maybe I should revise my stance, here.  I want my kids to choose what's right for them, but I don't want them to be exposed to ideas I find... distasteful.  "The devil makes me do bad things" and such is just an awful thing to teach a 5 year old, in my opinion, and I can't really countenence that being taught to my children.  That and the flat/young earthers and all the other completely debunked nonsense.  That's what bothers me so much.  I don't care if they are exposed to ideas of higher powers, benefecent lords or whatever, but teachings that fly in the face of science and reason are not okay and neither are scary stories about kids being posessed.

I can't change what The Prophet is teaching my niece.  I guess I just want ways to talk to my daughter without flat out telling her my niece is wrong... but getting the message across that she IS wrong lol.
 

Quoting DonnaNoble: If you're going to be open to your dd learning about other beliefs and making her own choices, you may not always like those choices. Sorry.


rsmom2511
by Bronze Member on May. 4, 2014 at 2:14 PM
Yikes! This is a tough one. I like what some of the pp suggested about just talking with your daughter about how people all around the world believe in varied things. Her cousin happens to believe things involving the devil but you can tell her that you do not share this belief and that shes safe...because i feel like all that talk of the devil might have her a little afraid. :(.
EireLass
by Ruby Member on May. 4, 2014 at 2:22 PM
You need to make up your mind.
You either need to do what you think you do......allow her to hear everyone elses belief and come to one she likes, or not. Cant have it both ways.
doulala
by Member on May. 4, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Balancing that overzealous personality and opinion with others can help dissuade that influence.     
She is too young to understand and decipher and know what is Right in the world, she looks to her community to tell her.     Those with the loudest voices will be most heard... 

It is unfair that one person with such a loud voice and violent opinion should use tactics on vulnerable children.     Perhaps other people that your children are around are more respectful (not pushy, forceful, scaring).    You are right to be concerned.     Whether you believe this way or not, that is not an appropriate way to talk to children and it is not balanced with the other philosophies-people they are exposed to.      :-(


Quoting AtiFreeFalls:

I guess I'm open to SOME beliefs.  Maybe I should revise my stance, here.  I want my kids to choose what's right for them, but I don't want them to be exposed to ideas I find... distasteful.  "The devil makes me do bad things" and such is just an awful thing to teach a 5 year old, in my opinion, and I can't really countenence that being taught to my children.  That and the flat/young earthers and all the other completely debunked nonsense.  That's what bothers me so much.  I don't care if they are exposed to ideas of higher powers, benefecent lords or whatever, but teachings that fly in the face of science and reason are not okay and neither are scary stories about kids being posessed.I can't change what The Prophet is teaching my niece.  I guess I just want ways to talk to my daughter without flat out telling her my niece is wrong... but getting the message across that she IS wrong lol. 

Quoting DonnaNoble: If you're going to be open to your dd learning about other beliefs and making her own choices, you may not always like those choices. Sorry.


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