Having a Choice for Religion

I was raised in a good, Christian home with both parents. I’m not complaining about my childhood. But, now my mother is making my kids lean towards her beliefs. I want my kids to know that they have a choice. I don’t care what their belief system ends up being. I just want them to have knowledge first.

So, my question is how can I tell my mother that my kids have a choice and it’s ultimately their choice in religion, and being nice going about it? My mom takes everything as a threat to her ego. I just need advice bc I feel that if I knew I had a choice, my life would be different, better. I also know that everything happens in divine timing

Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions.

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I know what having a family member like that can be, it’s tough on you. I think that if you had a simple and gentle conversation that would be a good way to bring it up and not have her think of it as an attack. It’s a bit like walking a tight rope when you’re going through it though. I know you can do this and your children will see that they do have a choice and the ability to speak what’s on their mind.

I hope it goes well for you. I don’t know if there is something better to do about it, but that’s what I would do.

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Thank you for your help! I guess I could ease my way into bringing it up somehow. She’s the type of person that when you say your head hurts, she says that she’s had a migraine for a week straight. I’m not looking for comparison :confused:

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Huh. Well you could always say that you’re letting them choose and take them to a church, and to a Hindu ritual and a Muslim one, and then have them participate in one of your rituals. That way you can say you’re being fair and open minded. Does she know you’re pagan? Because that might make things more difficult for you.

Sorry I couldn’t help more. I kinda thing that she’s going to raise a fuss unless you’re doing whatever she wants and maybe even then. Good luck.

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@Kasie and @krissie117 are giving you some good guidance @christina4 . I don’t know if I can add anything to that…My kids experienced a LOT of different churches growing up. I don’t know where on the spectrum my son ended up and I can only suspect where my daughter is since they are pretty tight lipped about it. I think they may be more like me than they know… I think they have a belief but not in a structured church. This is a tough topic and each of us have to find our own path… I agree that your kids need exposure to make a choice. Honesty is always best and when you get stuck with your mom try C.O.A.L …be CURIOUS… remain OPEN… work at being ACCEPTING…and always LOVING. It tends to smooth out the bumps.

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OH! I have a friend like that, we call her a one upper. She can’t just take what you say, she needs to have it worse. I know what that’s like too! I’m sorry you are going through this with your family.

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I don’t have answers but I do have responses (My kids hate when I say that. :sweat_smile:) and they are all dependent on extra information. Since this is a public forum, I’ll tread carefully on asking too personal of questions.

First, as a parent you probably already see this in yourself in some areas. I see it in myself and in my wife even though we try to be extremely open individuals. Parents like to believe they know best for their children and their grandchildren. The good ones want the best outcomes possible, even if their ideas of the best outcomes are misguided. Religion is part of our core identity so family members moving away from our religion (or trying to get others to move away from it) is an attack on who we are. It’s actually a perfectly natural response, even if it’s an evolutionary holdover we no longer need in society.

Now the questions:

  1. What are the age ranges of your kids? For example: Elementary ages? Middle School ages? High School ages? A mix?

  2. How much do your kids know about and see your practices?

  3. There are many flavors of Christian. Is your mom more conservative (attends church religiously, reads the bible nearly everyday, listens to religious music) or more liberal (goes to Easter and Christmas services, might own a bible and crosses and even have them displayed but they are more like family heirlooms) ?

  4. How often does your mom get to interact with your kids? Every day? Every week? Every year at holidays?

You don’t have to answer any of them but I thought I’d ask before responding with anything more than I already said. :upside_down_face:

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Your questions are fine. My kids are elementary school,middle and high school ages. My kids see my using magic everyday but not spells bc I’m just not comfortable with anyone in general watching. My mom used to go to church all the time. Now, not so much. Shell still curse me out and smack a Bible verse at me. My mom lives with me bc of a family issue.

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Whew, okay so I actually had to basically do this same thing. My daughter is seven and from the beginning, her dad and I discussed how we would (or wouldn’t) raise in her religion. He is agnostic but curious and I’m, well, an Irish pagan witch :rofl: so we talked about my opinion being that she should be raised outside of religion and he agrees.

My family, however, weren’t always as understanding as they are now. I basically put my foot down for everything and said look, she is going to have choices. She is going to be able to have her own thoughts and opinions. She can make up her own mind. She can ask me why things are the way they are. We are trying to cultivate in her a sense of curiosity but also a strength in her ability to ask questions unhindered and not be ashamed of not knowing or not liking something. We give her space to challenge authority in a healthy way with us so that when the time comes to do it elsewhere, she’ll already know how.

My family didn’t quite get it and I actually had to have a talk with my Nana once when she started telling my daughter about heaven and hell as absolutes. This is obviously something I’m not okay with, so I basically just said so. I had to stop being worried about stepping on the egos and feelings of others when it came to how we’re raising our daughter. At this point, I don’t care if it hurts their feelings that she doesn’t want to go to church or doesn’t believe in heaven or hell. She doesn’t even understand those concepts much, to begin with, so I have explained that it isn’t fair to her spiritually or intellectually to indoctrinate her into one belief system.

This might be a time when you just have to put your foot down and say enough is enough. You’re their mama and you get to have the final say. Not her. She’s done raising her kids and now she needs to be okay to let you raise yours.

I just read, too, that she lives with you due to a family issue. That can make things harder, but I do like the suggestion posed by @kasie that you could just say that you’re letting them experience many different belief systems and then take them to a church, a synagogue, a temple, etc. Then you get the added experience!

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Wow. You have a mix of ages like me. :grin: Fun times, right?

Since your kids see you use magic but they also see their grandmother every day, as long as it’s her practices they are seeing, they should be fine. Them asking her about her beliefs should be fine, too.

I would have age appropriate discussions with each kid and remind them not everyone believes the same way. It’s natural to have curiosity about other beliefs and that you encourage that, even when they become adults they should always have questions instead of hard answers.

Then, like @MeganB said, it’s time for a sit down with your mom. You need to explain to her that you love her and you know she is doing her best at protecting her genetic line but she’s not to interfere with the natural development of their personal faiths. They can ask her questions and you encourage her to openly practice her faith like you do, but she isn’t allowed to undercut you or other beliefs. (If her god is so great, she has nothing to worry about anyway, but I wouldn’t say that to her. :joy:)

I like what the others have said, and obviously look at all of the responses, but I personally wouldn’t start taking my kids, especially the younger ones, to different religious buildings during services. Maybe tours during after hours? We do that in our city. The reason I would avoid the services, is I would want them to decide when it is time to investigate those further. Most places, at least around here, will be happy to do a tour of their facilities and discuss the faith in a general sense. Maybe avoid more hard-line/fringe things like Apostolic’s, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Southern Baptists because you’ll never hear the end from them. :crazy_face:

Again, no answers, just responses on this. Parenting is hard with no easy answers, but you know this already.

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Nope, I definitely don’t wanna tell her she has nothing to worry about if God is so great! :rofl::rofl: But yeah, I am taking in every response in to play. I have some tough thinking this weekend, for sure! Thank you for your advice :blush:

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@krissie117 @berta @MeganB @kasie @praecog29 thank you each for your help! It means the world to me that you all helped me out! I definitely have some figuring out to do. I’ll let all of you know what I eventually end up doing. Again, thanks :blush::revolving_hearts:

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You’re welcome! I hope everything goes okay.

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You’re welcome :hugs: I know it can be hard, but especially hard when your family is having a hard time letting go of that control. I wish you the best of luck!

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