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Should I have my kids visit my religious mother and father-in-law?

My mother and father-in-law, sweet people, have some severe health problems (one had a stroke, the other has breast cancer and brain aneurysm). They attribute surviving all odds to God.

I want to visit them, clean for them, and bring my kids to visit them often before they die.

Only problem is: they are super sold out to God. And every chance she gets, my mother-in-law plays a kids religious song CD while my toddler is playing. He now knows most of the songs.

I don't know how to tell her not to do that. She is only doing what she knows to be right. Telling her to not do that would break her heart.

What do I do?

Freethinker85 4 Sep 17

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Tell your kids that grandma and grandpa believe in things that you don't, and they (the kids) shouldn't.

They're your kids, you have every right to keep them from being indoctrinated. If you can't talk to them about not influencing your kids with their delusions, at least tell your kids not to believe that stuff.

Be prepared for the kids to tell their grandparents that you said not to believe that nonsense. Kids will say whatever they please.
Hurt feelings are inevitable when dealing with the delusions of believers.
Your kids should come first.

I agree!!


Don't let their beliefs keep you from seeing them/helping them and letting your kids visit them. It's only a few hours. You'll have plenty of time to discuss with your kids your views on religion.


Please bring them to visit. They will not be too influenced by the songs and it is important that they know their family. I can not stress enough, your children need to know their grandparents. They will not become religious by hearing the songs etc. And maybe you can play some other music. And exposure to all beliefs is important. It is one of my pet peeves with the super religious who isolate their children from others.


Please do not deprive your children of getting to know their grandparents. But do warn them that the grandparents have bizarre and unscientific beliefs, which should not be followed without solid evidence to back them up.


It is so beneficial, for both the adults and the child, to keep grandparents who love us in our lives for as long as we can! When I was growing up I knew that one of my grandfathers was a drunk and the other was terribly conservative (which came across in his racism & sexism toward other adults), but they loved me and we had fun together - today I am neither an alcoholic nor a republican. ?


So your in-laws have some issues - don't let their issues become yours. Take your kids to see them. The memories they take away will be time with the grandparents, not the silly songs they liked. My grandparents listened to Lawrence Welk and I recovered (mostly).

When my grandparents visited we watched the Lawrence Welk show. I hated the show, but I still fondly remember the memories it gave me.

I seriously doubt the children will remember the lesson your in-laws are trying to instill. Visit them while you still have time.

@kiramea well said, at least you didn't have to put up with polka varieties and big time wrestling ?


Brake their heart . My kids , if I had any , will be more important to me than anyone's "heart ".
At the end of the game , u r going over there to help . The 2-3 hrs that u visit is not the time to preach gods and play songs .. there are 100 other songs and activities to do w kids besides religious things . I have no problem to say " listen joe , I ll be over w kids to visit / help around , do me a favor , let the gods thing go while we are there , is not our thing and not age appropriate for them to make decisions / follow without knowledge . "
I will have say same thing if an atheist house who preached my beliefs . I want my kids away from delusional and dangerous religion for their own safety . But I don't want parrots either . Until the age of reasoning , I will not want much other than their questions .


FreeThinker. They need to hear and see both sides.

Roley Level 5 Sep 17, 2018

Yep. The goal isn't to hide our kids from religion (although that would be nice). Our goal should be for our kids to be able to see religion and recognize its fallacies.


Certainly, don't deny the kids the time with their grandparents over that. The kids will have time to see both sides and figure out their own beliefs when they get older. NEver hurts to be exposed to different ideas.

Marv Level 1 Sep 17, 2018

You could do as I do and train her to avoid religion by simply not paying attention to, or even looking at your mom if she's talking religion, or playing the religious song CD.
Bring your own secular children's music CD and start playing it before she can play the religious songs.

If she DOES play the religious songs or start talking about religion, remark how late it's getting and LEAVE.

I trained my own parents in three visits that way.


As the kids get older, if the grandparents are still around, It could lead to very productive thought-provoking discussions, plus, the more people that love a child, the better for the child. On the other hand, if they are scaring the kids, they get One (1) warning to knock it off!


I’d let your kids visit and wouldn’t say anything about them playing religous songs to your kids. They’ll have plenty of time to make up there mind about religion later. My mother was very religous and I never told her I was an atheist as I knew it would break her heart. I know it’s hard to do but sometimes it’s best to keep quiet about our atheism especially around older family members just for the sake of peace and harmony in the family.


Yes, let them get to know their religious grandparents. When your kids are old enough to understand the words of the songs, and the meaning of what your in-laws are saying they believe, your children might have questions and you can have a reality chat.

They will run across lots of religious people during their childhood. They need to see they exist and most of them are good people - just with supernatural beliefs to comfort them.

Just like the Santa myth and other childhood stories, your children will likely be able to separate fact from fiction when they reach the age of reason. Grandparents offer so much more to children than religious teaching.


Teach your children well, logic and reason go a long way.


Occasional religious songs do not religious children make ! Go for it .


Why not? You are probably underestimating your children’s discernment ability



Your kids are more resilient than that. You can talk to them about the songs and the content and express your views but ultimately if you come off as anxious and threatened by these things it will just make the religious ideation more interesting and attractive to your kids. The best way in my experience is to be super-casual about it and once in awhile use these influences as a teaching experience or at least a discussion opportunity, but carefully.

There's probably a lot of theism influencing your children that you're not even aware of, and there's always the wild card that one of the kids may develop an active interest in exploring theism. Of my three [step]children, one of them developed such a fixation and it lasted from early childhood into her late teens. She asked for and was given children's Bible story books, etc., and read from them at night by Mom, etc. However in the end she attended a catechism class and scandalized it at the end by declaring that she'd decided god isn't actually real. ("Well ... you said this was open inquiry and I should draw my own conclusions ... and that's my conclusion." ) In retrospect I think she was just very social and religion was something to coalesce around with her friends, particularly in middle and high school. Since then she's shown zero signs of interest in religion. Smart girl, that.


I would want my children to know their ancestors for as long as possible. I told my kids as soon as they were old enough to ask that I am not a believer. None of them attend church. One son says he is on the fence because "so many people believe" - the other says he definitely does not believe. My "daughter" was raised Mormon and moved here to get away from that life.


Go visit, let your kids enjoy family. Let your Mom do her thing, then talk to your kids. Teach (and let them) how to think for themselves........ of course, I am "typing out loud" while listening to Paul McCartney "Live or let die"


I’m in two minds about this. I often visited my religious grandparents as a child, and got a dose of secondary religion from them. Prayers before meals, watching them go to church on Sundays, books, that kind of thing.

On the one hand it introduced me to a family heritage and brought me closer to my ancestors, even though as a New Age kiddo I was not baptised or anything. That has made a difference to how connected I feel to them, and I feel more able to talk to the extended family because of it.

On the other hand, I’m sad so few of them have found an authentic path to walk. The younger generations go to church just a handful of times a year, but they still call themselves Christian, and don’t seem to have the energy to free themselves.

So if you do let your kids make that connection with the more religious older generation, keep in mind it has upsides and downsides.


My children were frequently exposed to my parents fundamentalism. It helped them understand my rejection of those beliefs.


My in-laws were a minster and a church secretary. They sent "Veggie Tales" and "Prayer Bear" videos. My son watched them. My daughter was too old. He liked them but didn't somehow notice the religion in them. I don't think that it would hurt anything. It may give you opportunities for discussion with him away from the in-laws about what others might believe and about evidence based thinking.


If your toddler can already sing along with the songs on a religious CD, you are way past the point of asking if you should take them to visit. Toddlers don't learn all the songs in one or two visits months apart. For your toddler to know the songs requires repeated exposure in relatively close time periods.

Why would you ask NOW, at this time, as opposed to months ago?
It's ridiculous and harmful (not to mention petty and mean) to suddenly remove grandparents on a whim after allowing them to be around for hours and hours.

I really don't see any logic in asking now. You made your mind up months ago....and if nothing horrendous has happened, why would you change?


Yes of course you must take them to visit. It will do them no harm, your toddler is too young to be influenced by the words and even if the others are older you can explain to them that their grandparents believe something you don’t. You can’t stop them being exposed to religious beliefs and it wouldn’t be desirable to do so. They will have to mix with children who believe in god at school and at home you can put your own viewpoint to counter this. When they are old enough they will decide for themselves....this is the best gift we can give choice to decide. In the meantime they need to see that you care for their grandparents and that their grandparents care for them.


buy ac/dc cds for car journey home or nothing they are young and i guess being brought up in an environment where questions arent seen as bad kids love music and singing along.

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