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My 7 year old son has said on occasion that he doesn't care if he dies because he will go to heaven, I know his babysitter tells him about god and about heaven, this doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that he is okay with being dead, he's only 7 and I don't think he really understands what death is. I don't force my atheism on him and we have discussions about how Mommy doesn't believe in god. I want him to form his own opinion on what he believes it just breaks my heart hearing him say things like this. Any advice, suggestions or similar experiences? ...

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11 comments

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9

Well, first talk to your babysitter because she/he isn't his pastor or his spiritual guidance counsellor and she/he definitely isn't his mother. Her/his job is to make sure your son is well cared for while you're away and that's it.

paul1967 Level 8 Oct 5, 2017
4

Did your son experience death anxiety? Did he ever talk about being afraid to die? That wouldn't be unusual for his age. It's also possible, like you mentioned, he doesn't understand what death is. I get the impression that he thinks being dead means living somewhere else, i.e. heaven.

Since you asked for advice, I would have a talk with the babysitter, or get a new one. It sounds like proselytizing to me and your son is at a preoperational stage in brain development where children develop memory and imagination. This is the age when clergy start targeting children.

2

He's seven. And a boy. He'd believe most anything at this age. He loves and respects you most, Mom. Simply ask him non-threatening and non-judgmental questions when he says things like this. Simply point out that this is the personal belief of your sitter. He'll get over it. Especially when he discovers girls.

2

My son said the same thing and it used to scare the crap out of me! I did not want to influence his beliefs at such a young age, and his friends at the time were Christian and filling his head with that nonsense. He had a bad fall and told me that if heaven was such a nice place, it didn't matter if you died. Why did people even try to stay alive? That was it for me - I cut down on the interaction with his overly religious friends and as soon as he was ready gave him all the information he needed to make his own choices. He is 13 now and believes in science and logic - no gods at all. <3

Bonzai Level 2 Oct 5, 2017
1

When he gets a little older (11 or 12) show him this:

BD66 Level 7 Oct 8, 2017

If there ever was a god it was Carlin! That man was so fantastic!

1

My little brother died when he was seven (I was ten). I remember him saying to all of us, "I'm not afraid to die because I'll be with Jesus." Now that I'm in my fifties, my brother-in-law was killed in the military plane crash over Mississippi... This time Jesus is out of the picture... for both of us (he was agnostic).

Death is scary, and none of us wants to go before our time. It's evolutionary.

But we all die... and death drives evolution. The whole purpose of evolution is to stay ahead of the challenges that life faces. So... what does that mean? Nothing when it comes to love and those who mean the most to us. But it is the way of nature, and we move along with it, or perish underneath it.

1

I would just be honest with him about your views. And explain that there are many different views. Tell him you are willing to answer any questions He has. Make sure He is aware that He does not have to decide right now what He believes or does not believe. I told my daughter to never decide to believe or do anything that you you are coerced into or feel uncomfortable with. He will ask questions when he is ready to learn more. Even if it involves doing some research about other religions currently used or past religions.

DeiP Level 5 Oct 5, 2017
1

I had the same issue with my daughter when she was 8. She used to go to a church with her first foster mom (I adopted her 5 years ago) when she first came to live with me. She came home one day telling me they were teaching that if someone is different then she shouldn't befriend them or talk to them because they are confused and haven't found god. I had an in-depth discussion about that and LGBTQ (as they were going on about how they were the devil). I let her return after these discussions until she came home one day and said to me - in a very excited voice - "I can't wait to die because I will see Jesus!". I about fell out of my chair!! WHAT??? NO NO NO NO NO!!!! I pulled her out quick as a bunny after that. Enough is enough.
She's 13 now and getting back into wanting to learn religion, Christianity specifically. I just posted a question about this because I'm unsure how to let her (at 13) find her own way.
In regard to your son - I agree with the majority of the posts, that babysitter needs a good talking to. If this is said to your son and you don't agree with it - you have every right as a parent to request that the babysitter not speak of that in front of him (as spirituality and religion is the job of the parents to teach, not the babysitter). If the babysitter doesn't adhere to your requests, get a new one.
But, honestly, it sounds fairly normal for him to say something like that. Christians teach that their god and Jesus are the greatest ever and can make all your (impossible) wishes come true, so as a 7 -8 year old, this sounds like bliss! So, I honestly think that's where it may be coming from. smile001.gif
Just a thought.
I hope you have a wonderful day!!!!

smilnjan Level 6 Oct 5, 2017
1

Look from the moment your can talk you can have opinion s ( thou they are usually underdeveloped at that point) and as a teen who questions I can testify for that. But as a older brother all I could suggest to you is to possibility talk about mortality but only very lightly.

Selah613 Level 5 Oct 5, 2017
1

He's okay with being dead because he's internalizing what the babysitter tells him. I understand that you want him to form his own opinion. I did the same thing with my two children. Religion AND atheism was a non issue in our home. No adult brought it up at all. But I didn't have a babysitter filling their heads with nonsense at 7. He is still too young to let others have control of what he thinks.

That said, I was estranged from my mother during my children's formative years. But we reconnected when my daughter was about 12 and she started a campaign to get her baptized. One day my kid came home and said she was tired of saying "nothing" when classmates asked what religion she was and she wanted to get baptized and confirmed. I said, sure.

My mother took over and facilitated the whole thing. A year later, my daughter was completely over it, and never said another word about it. Eventually, as an adult, she became a self-professed atheist. My son too. So...

Even though I do think you should have a talk with the babysitter, because of your son's age, it's not likely that your kid will become a zealot if you and/or your husband don't reinforce belief in the supernatural in the home.

0

I used to be really scared of dying, until I realized it was eating away at my life.

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