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Thread: Grandparents

  1. #1

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    So we just told my in-laws that I'm pregnant and they're already making comments about how badly we need to get in to a church and such. My husband and I are both atheists. Granted, he just officially came out and said so to his parents (though I don't know how they didn't already know) about a year ago. Anyways, my question is, how do you deal with politely telling them not to brainwash your child? I feel like if we don't say something soon, and give it a lot of time to sink in, it's going to be much harder later on.

    I'm at a loss. DH just wants to leave it alone and let the kid figure it out for themselves, but I don't know that I agree. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    I would just keep it simple, being they already know your belief system, that you and your husband have chosen to let your child make his/her own decision and religion is a subject to be broached by you and your husband ONLY.

    Things are a little crazy, but I'm loving every minute of it My Blog


  3. #3
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    I agree with Christina.

    Although, I personally wouldn't have a problem with my child going to the church (or mosque or temple) with her grandparents. IMO, when they're young, they're too young to be brainwashed, and when they are older, it fosters discussion about your belief system, and how others believe differently. I think it is possible for religious grandparents to still expose their grandchild to their belief system, while being respectful of the parents' belief system. I am super close to my grandmother (who is very religious), and some of my fondest memories from childhood involve going to temples (that tend to have interesting art and architecture).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Suja View Post
    I agree with Christina.

    Although, I personally wouldn't have a problem with my child going to the church (or mosque or temple) with her grandparents. IMO, when they're young, they're too young to be brainwashed, and when they are older, it fosters discussion about your belief system, and how others believe differently. I think it is possible for religious grandparents to still expose their grandchild to their belief system, while being respectful of the parents' belief system. I am super close to my grandmother (who is very religious), and some of my fondest memories from childhood involve going to temples (that tend to have interesting art and architecture).
    I agree, I just don't know if parents already pushing religion while child is still in utero is capable of this.

    Things are a little crazy, but I'm loving every minute of it My Blog


  5. #5

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    I'm really not too worried about the kid not having opportunity to discuss different beliefs. My parents are Baha'i and DH's parents are Methodist. So religion will undoubtedly come up in plenty of conversations. I'm just more afraid that his parents being so pushy already is just a big flashing beacon of what's to come. And his parents are FAR from respectful of our atheistic views. It's pretty normal for them to tell us that we better talk to god before we end up going to hell. Which I always find amusing and have to keep myself from telling them that if they keep ****ing people to hell santa won't bring them any presents.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by EllyD14 View Post
    It's pretty normal for them to tell us that we better talk to god before we end up going to hell. Which I always find amusing and have to keep myself from telling them that if they keep ****ing people to hell santa won't bring them any presents.


    You could say 'That's okay. All the interesting people are in hell anyway.'

    But yeah, if they're likely to cross boundaries, then the lines in sand have to be more firmly drawn.

  7. #7

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    That's a difficult situation. I don't have very good answers for you as we struggle with this with my parents, too. I let my kids go to church with Gramma and Papa if they want to, but if they don't want to, we don't (if they go, I go too, so I can talk to them about anything they might find confusing or that I vehemently disagree with). We started having talks about people believing different things around age 3 or 4. It can be hard as my girls love their grandparents very much and feel bad that they believe something so strongly that we don't. When my older dd was little, she was obviously torn because she so wanted to please her Gramma. Now that she's a teen, she finds it more aggravating, but I think that means there's still a little seed of wanting to please buried in there. We've had to draw boundaries with my folks (it's really only my mom who crosses them - my dad's low-key). These days we just sidestep most of the conversations and politely accept any books etc. with God-messages in them ... then off they go to Goodwill as soon as Gramma goes home. I do have a little trouble with her wanting to talk to my girls about God when I'm not around. That one is really hard for my dh to deal with, and it's hard for me too... it makes my teen uncomfortable and angry (and makes her not want to spend time with my mom, which I can totally understand), and my little one is just still so impressionable that we don't want her exposed to it yet.

    It's a hard conversation to have with people who hold those convictions so dearly. I know they mean well, and it's something that's so important to them that my mom just can't seem to help herself. If it comes up, I just try to do damage control later.
    -- mom to DD1 1/98 and DD2 10/09


  8. #8
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    Do you want to go to church? If there is a UU one by you, maybe that is an option? I have gone to two different ones and they have members who are everything from Hindu to Christian to Atheists to Pagans and in between. I don't go right now because I'm kind of too lazy to get up and ready Sunday am but do like the idea of the kids programs there where they get exposed to different beliefs and are taught to think for themselves. So I might go more often once we have a baby. My DH and I are both agnostic but I do like the sense of community within a church.

    Jennifer, 35, DH 36

  9. #9

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    We got married in the UU church here as a peace keeping offer to both our families, but we're not religious at all. I do like the sense of community that churches offer, and I honestly feel like that's the only thing that keeps so many people going. Which makes me sad. But we have a pretty awesome board game community in my town. Everyone meets once a week at different game stores or public libraries, the local bakery donates pastries, and there's board games for all ages that lasts about 5-8 hours depending on location. So we're lucky enough to be able to have sense of community without any mention of religion/spirituality.

  10. #10

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    I think the only way to end the comments and so called advice is to flat out say that religion (or lack of) is a private matter and not open for discussion. Most of our family is christian and I have not technically told anyone that we are atheist (though my kids have and it just makes for awkard moments lol) but no one really gets in our business. We read bible stories just like other myths from around the world. My kids have gone through times where they said that they wished god was real because hear songs (they LOVE Veggie Tales) about how he is always watching out for you and taking care of you. Their father doesn't seem to have much of an opinion on religion at all but sort of cringes when the kids say they don't believe in God and tells me I shouldn't tell them that because they should decide for themselves. But to me it's no different then my telling them that other fictitious things are not real. It would be weird if I didn't share my truth with them in this area when I do in every other. Hi, btw! Welcome to secular. My laptop can't make paragraphs on apa so I'd like to point that out in hopes that you find my run on posts more tolerable

  11. #11

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    As with anything where people (particularly family) are trying to insert themselves in your business where they don't belong, I find that a firm but smiling, "This is not open for discussion" is usually what keeps them at bay. Good luck!

    I am totally jealous of your board game meetups!

  12. #12

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    I was jealous of that too, Myles. I want to go to board game meetups!
    -- mom to DD1 1/98 and DD2 10/09


  13. #13

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    First off, thanks for the advice!

    Secondly, you should definitely look into starting one. They're so much fun! Ours actually started at a game store, and there's probably one or more of those in any larger town/city. Any place that hosts a Friday Night Magic would be a great place to start because they'll already have space and plenty of people that like (and usually own) lots of awesome games. The link will tell you where the closest stores are if you enter your zip. But if you don't live near a game store, public libraries (at least around here) are good places to get things started. Especially if you want them more kid-friendly.

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