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Help--When relatives push religion on your children

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posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 02:07 PM
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This is my first thread and sadly its something of a call for advice slash rant. Wasn't sure where to put this, if this isn't the appropriate section, my apologies.

For about 5 months I, with my two children, have been living with a close relative due to financial issues with which I've been dealing. While I'm steadily approaching the necessary funds to move into my own home once again, I still have a few more months of saving money to do in order to finish purchasing furniture and to have money on hand to put towards deposits, savings and such.

In order to live in a cost-effective way I moved into said relative's home where I wouldn't be expected to pay rent and only have to help with bills and provide food for myself and the kids. I greatly appreciate this help and I do realize how much harder things would be without her assistance.

But she's been heavily influencing my oldest child (2nd grade) to believe in her Christian god and beliefs, fully knowing that I am against all organized religion, in particular Christianity. She has my child watching Joel Osteen and carrying a bible to bed. She scares the # out of my kid with Satan and eternal hellfire and how only praying to Jesus and following Christianity will send them to heaven.

Now my kid questions my beliefs and fears for my soul. I don't really know how to handle this.

Yes, I want my children to figure things out for themselves, as much as a person can figure out that is, and want them to be happy, but I feel like the one that's old enough to be receptive to these ideas is still too young to be worried with all that comes along with it. It doesn't help that I have beliefs that clash with all mainstream religions and therefore I am fearful myself of a divide between me and my oldest child. I've asked in a civil and in fact pleading manner for this relative to refrain from filling my kid's head with this stuff but she undermines me and continues to do it with even more fervor.

I don't appreciate her doing this, it infuriates me and she knows it. But I bite my tongue for the most part because she is doing me a very helpful service and I do love her and respect her for all she has done for her family.

Any ideas on how I might go about dealing with this?




posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 02:22 PM
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The next time you have a family dinner dress the kids in Goth and have them tote around a demon stuffed animal. That outta show em



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 02:28 PM
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a reply to: MaryaNoxx

I would think religious parents feel the same way when their kids are exposed to beliefs they disagree with.

One's kids will be exposed to ideas, cultures and mores that you disagree with. That's one of the many crosses parents bear. How you've raised them prior to these exposures are part of the answer, explaining your views that counter the opposing ones is another and ultimately being there for them if they trip and scrap their knees is about all one can do.

Personally, I know wonderful families both religious and many who are not.

On the plus side, a strong belief system helps combat far worse potentials kids face.....



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 02:31 PM
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If it's something you are very uncomfortable with, then your only options are to leave, or create a frosty atmosphere.

If you live under someone's roof, it is their prerogative to behave the way they wish, as long as it is within decent boundaries,

You could always ask them to stop behaving in the way they are, but let's be honest, it is insulting their beliefs. I would expect a very negative response to your request, but then again, if they are true Christians?



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 02:33 PM
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a reply to: MaryaNoxx

Yes, your relative has taken you in. You are wrong in that there IS a cost - she gets to preach to and "convert" your child. She is doing what she feels is the right thing to do, and she's also "getting payment" for her trouble.

If she respected other's beliefs, she would refrain. Since she does not respect beliefs outside her own, she feels justified.

I think the only thing you can do is get the heck out as soon as possible (is there another relative willing to help?) and try to undo the damage when your child is back into your own influence.

I know its scary to have a child scared of the devil and worried about his own mother's soul. I know your relative only sees things through the eyes of her religion, but it is a terrible thing to do you both.

peace,
AB



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 02:33 PM
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originally posted by: MaryaNoxx
She scares the # out of my kid with Satan and eternal hellfire and how only praying to Jesus and following Christianity will send them to heaven.


Child abuse.

Explain to your child she has mental problems and that your child should just humor your relative whilst there so as to not make her worse.



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 02:33 PM
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a reply to: MaryaNoxx

Oh my word, I feel for you! We had the same issue with my mother-in-law. Now she has an understanding that she will not be able to see her granddaughter if she attempts any more indoctrination. This especially bothers her when our daughter mentions she is blessed by the goddess when something good happens or wishes her a Blessed Samhain. Cracks me up to no end.

But, before that, we lived like you: stayed with the in-laws for a brief period when we were shifting gears. During that time, our countering grandma's brainwashing required a blunt explanation of what it is that grandma's religion is. We told her about the old testament god and how he needed a blood sacrifice before being willing to forgive his people, etc. All it took was telling our daughter the truth but it was definitely a struggle while relying on somebody else for shelter.

And that's what your situation boils down to: a religious person exploiting your situation in order to spread her gods to your children. I can only offer the advice of spending more time with your kid, giving them the truth, without the trappings of contemporary church rhetoric that is engineered to be appealing to developing minds.

Kids see through bs better than we give them credit for. Once they have an accurate and complete view of a thing, they will question it unlike most adults. Unfortunately, children are rarely presented with the full picture of anything so it becomes tricky. Beyond that, maybe try to be more stern with your relative, without compromising your housing situation. Again, tricky.

I wish you the best of luck and hope you get your own place soon. Just hang in there!



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 02:34 PM
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a reply to: nwtrucker

You know, nwtrucker, I think this is the first thing I've seen you say on the boards that I can whole-heartedly agree with.



- AB



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 02:54 PM
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a reply to: AboveBoard

Hmmm, thanks....I think....



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 02:59 PM
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a reply to: MaryaNoxx


But she's been heavily influencing my oldest child (2nd grade) to believe in her Christian god and beliefs, fully knowing that I am against all organized religion, in particular Christianity. She has my child watching Joel Osteen and carrying a bible to bed. She scares the # out of my kid with Satan and eternal hellfire and how only praying to Jesus and following Christianity will send them to heaven.

For one you let it go on too long.

Make your stand, better late than never.

Get vocal. Plant your feet, hands on hip and start telling her off. Say, I have something to tell you and you listen! Point, wave your hands, get angry, righteous indignation is okay at a time like this. Tell her to keep her religious beliefs to herself. They are your kids not hers and you haven't given her permission to teach them anything and right now you are telling her to stop.

Ask her if she thinks this is a requirement for you to live with her and how come she didn't tell you this before you moved in. That was deceptive on her part and she should apologize right now for it and stop talking about her religion in front of you or your kids.

If thats not acceptable to her to clear the air and she can't abide by that and you can't move out right away, then be as sneaky as she is. Promise her you will go to her church after you move and learn the kids and all but for now, she needs to respect your wishes about teaching your kids anything without your permission.

Make a firm stand for you and yours, she's not listening to your pleading, in her head she is gods chosen savior and all that rot, converting souls for Jesus.

The most dangerous kind of person. Personally, I'd get the flock out before she completely has your kids under her spell.

Its oaky to fight her, she is taking advantage of your situation to play god on your kids. You are seeing clearly, give her both barrels, mama bear.



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 03:33 PM
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a reply to: MaryaNoxx

Just read the part in the bible where it shows God as the evil one. Then that will move them slowly away from the immoral God the Christians adore.
If you're relative combats this with "that was the old God or old testament" then say to them, "well its in the bible, you kiss it, hug it, worship as if it was a spellbook of chants."
Or just wait until you get your place.



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 03:46 PM
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a reply to: MaryaNoxx

I have this happen with my mother in law all the time. It's nothing to fear at all. Your child is going to be exposed to all kinds of philosophies in life. It's your job as a parent to expose your child to morality and ethics. I am so unafraid of religion I even let them take my kids to church. I also teach my kids philosophy from Plato to Hitchins. I teach them theology and what religions teach what and allow them to make their own decisions.

Don't be scared just do your part and teach them what you believe the truth is.

Your children come through you but they are not you. It's OK if they gravitate towards other beliefs as long as its not destructive.



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 04:00 PM
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a reply to: MaryaNoxx

My House, My Rules. You are a grown up, you have a choice of living with someone who is gracious enough to give you a roof over you and your children's heads, or you can leave!

Bet you were thankful as hell when they offered you sanctuary?

Sorry, but you are sounding ungrateful as hell in my book!

Reminds me of current situations going on where refugees move into a country and are demanding the locals to adapt to their way of thinking......



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 04:03 PM
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originally posted by: seeker1963
a reply to: MaryaNoxx
Reminds me of current situations going on where refugees move into a country and are demanding the locals to adapt to their way of thinking......


She didn't move into the house demanding the owner to adapt to anything.

This would be more like a refugee kindly asking to not be forced into the local religion. I don't see how that is out of line or ungrateful. To demand that of a guest is twisted.



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 04:07 PM
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originally posted by: Abysha

originally posted by: seeker1963
a reply to: MaryaNoxx
Reminds me of current situations going on where refugees move into a country and are demanding the locals to adapt to their way of thinking......


She didn't move into the house demanding the owner to adapt to anything.

This would be more like a refugee kindly asking to not be forced into the local religion. I don't see how that is out of line or ungrateful. To demand that of a guest is twisted.


Then why did the OP make this post? Given room and board due to hard times is something anyone would be thankful for in my book. All I am seeing is what appears to be the new culture of "I appreciate you helping me out, but I don't want you speaking or doing what you do in the house you already own!

I think people who support safe spaces should understand this concept quite easily......Don't feel safe? Leave!

How hard is it as a parent to just take your kids aside and roll your eyes and say, "Just ignore crazy Aunt Agnes, let's keep it our secret!" Wink at your kids and they will get it! No need to make a huge issue out of nothing.......
edit on 23-1-2016 by seeker1963 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 04:10 PM
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Oh the joys of family huh...


Personally I'd suggest both a soft yet strong approach.
One that is both clear - yet isn't combative.
Always found that a frank yet respectful conversation is more positive/profitable than a 'boots and all' approach...
...you can always strap the boots on if there is no change afterwards.


Some suggestions to keep in mind:

1. Before you even have such a conversation consider where she might be coming from.
Oh absolutely acknowledge and don't devalue your own feelings from and through this - but do take time (if you haven't already) to think where her own mind and heart might be.
Potentially her 'pushing of religion' and the whole 'You'll all be going to Hell if you don't do x,y,z' mindset - as scary as it seems to be for your kids...is...in some way...stemming from a place of love.
She may well honestly believe what she espouses. She may hold that as irrefutable truth.
For her (despite the damage it may be causing) she is doing so out of a loving concern?

As weird (actually I think it's more ridiculous than weird, but..) as that may seem.
Still...when you think about it...even this *hurt* is coming from *heart*.
So there is a potential shared space already between you and her.
You and her both want the best for those kids - just what she considers 'the best' and how she's going about it is where the issue/s lay.


2. Accept that having the conversation with her is going to most likely be both awkward and angering...probably a ton of other emotions and reactions will come to the fore as well.
Prepare for it. Consider ways you will manage and mitigate the intense emotions/reaction that may come.
As always one of the easiest/quickest people in any two-way conversation we can ever maintain *control* over is ourselves.


3.Think about employing some basic tips of managing crisis in communication;
- maintain your breathing.
Practice deep breathing. You'll need to keep your brain oxygenated in order to think and consider without getting too reactive.
Deeper breathing also helps keep the amygdala from spiking you too much into our basic 'fight/flight/freeze' responses which make us more reactive (and potentially explosive)...which in turn shuts down the more consequential, analytical and conceptual parts of our brain that more readily see solution rather than problem.

- If you feel yourself getting riled up then a few simple bio-feedback interventions can help;
Scrunch your toes. The feeling will often help you feel more grounded and stable in whatever is happening.
Run the tip of your tongue across the roof of your mouth until it starts to tickle. That sensation is similar to what we experience as newborns when we (if we did) breastfeed. It'll also release a number of 'calming chemicals' into your system to counter the heightening ones the awakening amydala will be prompting the production of.

- Pause. Breath. Pause. Respond.
Rushed conversations are rarely positive/profitable.
They tend to be more reactive than proactive.
Give yourself time to talk.
We have two ears, one mouth...might be a hint that listening is as equally important if not more so as speaking...

- Not every conversation needs to complete right then and there.
It's okay to have conversations in stages rather than any expectation to thrash it all out at once.
As long as the movement if forward...then hey...




How to approach her?
Personally - and acknowledging I'm not you, don't know her, don't know the context, history, blah blah - I'd be acknowledging her for looking after your kids. I'd be respecting that she sees such religious discussion/dogma as being important to her and likely she wishes to share such with your kids out of potentially a caring concern - love for them even - so I'd acknowledge her for that love she has for them.

...I'd then move into clarifying with her the concerns you have with it. She may not be aware of them as such. So she needs to hear them (maybe again) clearly and without any combativeness. Going at it hammer-n-tongs just causes people to become defensive and that's pretty much when mutual discussion stops. She how she reacts to such.
You've identified (initially somewhat anyway) the issue.

...reaffirm again you do acknowledge her perspectives and her love for the kids.
Move then into seeking a solution.
Can she hold off a bit on it?
Can she ask you first before doing x,y,z?
What can YOU also do to bring about or be an active part of the solution?

...see where you go from there




...pretty much - TL/DR version of the above: Keep it cool. Keep it calm. Keep it clear/collected.



As an aside: I'm a father of 3 kids.
I was raised *old-skool* Roman Catholic. Hellfire and brimstone.
I still have a very strong faith and spirituality...but now in my 40s I wouldn't say I have a *Religion* as such.

My parents are both still very stanch in their Catholic faith and practice.
Still very active in their faith community. Both are Lay Ministers.


...wife and I are currently in the process of *discussing* with them our (well, actually it's more my) reluctance to get our youngest child (7mth old daughter) baptised. Oh they're NOT at all liking the fact I'm thinking that IF our daughter is baptised then it's something we're not going to rush...nor should she be baptised Catholic as our other two kids were...the wife is Anglican...


Yes I/we have a strong faith and connection *with that which I/we term God/Spirit/Insertwhatevernamehere* ...but I/we also don't want our children overly molded into Mini-Us'...


Oh the joys of parenting too then huh...
Do your best, hope for the best, accept you'll mess it up occasionally...



Power to ya!








edit on 23-1-2016 by alien because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 04:12 PM
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originally posted by: seeker1963
a reply to: MaryaNoxx

My House, My Rules. You are a grown up, you have a choice of living with someone who is gracious enough to give you a roof over you and your children's heads, or you can leave!

Bet you were thankful as hell when they offered you sanctuary?

Sorry, but you are sounding ungrateful as hell in my book!

Reminds me of current situations going on where refugees move into a country and are demanding the locals to adapt to their way of thinking......



Taking in a family member doesn't give you the right to convert children into a belief system filled with superstitions and immorality without the parents permission.

If you're taking advantage of someone at their lowest, a family member no less, you're a pretty terrible person...



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 04:34 PM
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originally posted by: seeker1963

originally posted by: Abysha

originally posted by: seeker1963
a reply to: MaryaNoxx
Reminds me of current situations going on where refugees move into a country and are demanding the locals to adapt to their way of thinking......


She didn't move into the house demanding the owner to adapt to anything.

This would be more like a refugee kindly asking to not be forced into the local religion. I don't see how that is out of line or ungrateful. To demand that of a guest is twisted.


Then why did the OP make this post? Given room and board due to hard times is something anyone would be thankful for in my book. All I am seeing is what appears to be the new culture of "I appreciate you helping me out, but I don't want you speaking or doing what you do in the house you already own!

I think people who support safe spaces should understand this concept quite easily......Don't feel safe? Leave!

How hard is it as a parent to just take your kids aside and roll your eyes and say, "Just ignore crazy Aunt Agnes, let's keep it our secret!" Wink at your kids and they will get it! No need to make a huge issue out of nothing.......


This is why there are strict rules for landlords, teachers, and employers. They are in a position of authority and would be able to bully a person into accepting things they should not have to accept.

Would you tell your employees they are ungrateful for the job if they don't like the same music you do? What would you say if your boss expected your children to convert to Islam? Would you feel like you are being ungrateful to your boss (who took you in and gave you a job) if you don't buy your children copies of the Quran?

I have an idea of what you would say.
edit on 23-1-2016 by Abysha because: Missing word



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 04:44 PM
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a reply to: Abysha


During that time, our countering grandma's brainwashing required a blunt explanation of what it is that grandma's religion is. We told her about the old testament god and how he needed a blood sacrifice before being willing to forgive his people, etc. All it took was telling our daughter the truth but it was definitely a struggle while relying on somebody else for shelter.

That is one of the best ideas I have ever heard of to counter fundamental Christian indoctrination. Replace the fear of going to hell with a fear of their old testament God. I think the story of Jericho would do nicely.

But it seems to me that would be counter-productive while they are still living there. The child would likely get quite confused learning Christian dogma from his relative, and the truth from his mother.

-dex



posted on Jan, 23 2016 @ 04:46 PM
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a reply to: AboveBoard

I agree, some people might think that the cost of staying rent-free is being converted to Christianity. This is disrespectful of your beliefs. The right thing to do is to let everyone think what they would like. When the kid is involved, though, being influenced by religion should probably be the choice of the parent.

On the other hand, there are a lot of Christians out there ready to influence your child and the best thing you can do is move out eventually and explain things to them.




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