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How to let your children find their own way?

I was never raised with any religion, we went to a little Christian church when I was little, but I remember Ma taking us out because she felt that "they tried to tell me how to live my life and I'm not having any of that!" and told us kids that we could go if we wanted. Since then I've swung from Christian, Methodist, Baptist, Wicca, Catholic, Buddhist, Taoist, and everything else I can find. Today I'm very agnostic in that I'm sure none of them are 100% correct, but some do have a good 'base'. The specifics are what cause issues with me. (and interpretation)
I now have a 13 year old daughter who is asking about religion. I teach her my views and the things that I have researched and found. With all this, I'm sooo against her becoming a Christian because I think they are all a bunch of sheep. She is WAY to smart for that. But, I have to allow her to 'find her way' with religion (or lack of it) as I was allowed to do. I'm just really frustrated with standing back and hearing some of the crap churches teach. I'm very open with her, but I don't want to influence her discoveries with my opinions.
I feel that is no different than forcing children go to church.
Any ideas on how to sit back and watch? LOL

smilnjan 6 Oct 5

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I disagree. Influence her with your opinions, tell her everything you've experienced and learned. That is the beauty of generational wisdom, she doesn't have to re-invent the wheel. She can carry your learned truths with her into her life like a beacon. She will make her own mind up and have the benefit of your struggles and growth.


If she asks a question get her an informative book on that and similar topics


Education, education and then ... education! Not just in the different religions, but also in philosophy, science etc. They are all facets of the same basic premise, which is getting to the truth. I find that almost all "people of faith" are too lazy to look any further than their faith and come across as pretty stupid as a result whenever there is a meaningful conversation happening.


I let her go down her own road but when she asked I used Isaac Asimov’s advice: “Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.” She started at Genesis 1:1 and got as far as Lot’s having sex with his own daughters and that did the trick. She started identifying as an atheist soon after when she was in middle school.

gearl Level 7 Oct 29, 2017

I was raised as a "Christian" and I took it very seriously in my youth. At 14 yoa I was nominated president of our state youth group Diocese! The same time I was becoming an agnostic. I had explored many religions, cults and beliefs and found no reason for serious conflict!
I gave my 3 daughters their own experiences in religion and encouraged them to think for themselves.
I actually did not really care what they chose and put on them no pressure.
I have 3 loving community active daughters and, of my 9 grand kids, so far the ones who can make a change for the better are doing just that. One is a Mormon teenage girl who organizes fund raisers for abused pets, under privileged kids ETC. And, she loves her heathen GF!


My daughter was adopted at 12 she came from a pentecostal household. So this deeply religious child came to live in an atheist household. I don't think I told her that myself and her granny were athests till she was in university. I took her to church if she wanted to go but I didn't go in. She seemed ok with it...she did move around a bit till she found a church that suited her. I felt proud that a took a fundamentalist child and turned her into just a generic christian. Over the yrs I have attended ceremonies that were important to her and now at 31 she found her way to being agnostic with no encouragement from me...she is a very smart young lady and she makes me proud every day!


Always keep communication open. Answer those questions. Be truthful, children will find out if you are not telling all the truth.
My 2 daughters now 41years old, are completely free of religion, this is great because you can be normal and not have to dance around the religion thing.
They were heavily exposed to Christian fundamentalism growing up. Their mother's side was full of Baptists, Pentacostals, Mennonites,and something we called "The Twilight Zone"-they were that wacky. We also taught them to think for themselves and not give in to pressure.
They are both married with children, and firmly believe you can have values and morals without going to church etc.


education is key. the better informed a kid is, the better they can combat the religious bullies they will encounter.

teach her about all the other religions. that should help.


You are doing fine!!!
When my kids were little, they were exposed to religious friends and sometimes talked about what god does. When they are young, they believe one day and the other day not.I framed it in the fantasy that it is and relegated it to fairy tales, which they outgrew. My grand children experience the same, in where a friend insists they go to church with them, which is fine. I equate with with the Disney World of the mind and the practice of mythology. The grown ones are all atheists and I know the little ones will follow. So, the answer is that they may believe in god, but it is only like trying out something to see if it fits - when it doesn't they may move on to another belief and eventually abandon it all when they are ready to let go of childish fantasies.


Answer all her questions. Let her find her own path. You're her lead. She'll follow what you say if you tell her the truth and let her choose on her own.

SamL Level 7 Oct 19, 2017

Have her read the book of Genesis. If she can think rationally, she will conclude it's all a bunch of Jewish fairy tales.

BD66 Level 7 Oct 8, 2017

I don't say much, but do express my views when the time is right (very rarely), and try to allow my daughter to know that I respect her and her logical, reasoned opinions (much more often). When my daughter was small she loved playgrounds. We went to plenty of fun public ones all over. One day we drove by a big one behind a church. She asked if we could stop and play. I said no, see the fence? That is a private church playground. They only let in the kids of families who believe what they believe, and we don't fit in there and there is a fence to show how they won't let us play there because we aren't in their club. We'll go to the city park instead where they let all kids play and not just the ones they pick. Then in school she was asked (hounded) in 1st grade by another child if she believed in god. The teacher stepped in and said we don't talk about those things here. My kid used that line to hide behind having to alienate any other kids in grade school. Worked like a charm. When her grandmother (my ex-mother-in-law) goes to church when we visit and asks us to go along, we do to be polite. Kid is bored out of her skull. I don't have to say a word pro or con. I told her she can believe in a god if she wants or not. She doesn't have to make up her mind now, she can wait until she is an adult. She was relieved to hear she didn't have to take a stance on a 'side' and over time has just never showed an interest in any gods except the world of Percy Jackson! 🙂

Holli Level 6 Oct 8, 2017

I also have kids and share the same concerns about pushing my views on them. Just be honest. If you don't know the answer to a question, say so. Then offer to look into it together. Cultivating a spirit of honest enquiry and a scientific way of thinking (skepticism, empiricism, evidence, falsification etc) is about the best you can do. The cliche is to teach them how to think, not what to think. It's more difficult to do in practice, but as long as you're honest and don't make up fake answers to things, you'll develop a trust and a bond that will hopefully surpass any beliefs either of you hold. And remember that people change all the time. Allow that change, and foster the relationship regardless. Just my 2c, based on how I hope to raise my kids.


This might come across as condescending, please don't take it that way. Learning how to think skeptically is something everyone should learn how to do. It's not something we do naturally so before you teach it you need to learn it yourself if you don't already know. If you teach skepticism to your child they will have a much better chance of understanding the world we live in. Skeptical thinking helps out in so many other ways. Generally skeptical thinkers do better in school, work, and relationships and it's never too early to start thinking skeptically

I agree with you, completely. Plus, I never get offended! LOL
I want her to learn problem solving skills and what I've called "asking questions, being curious", which I believe is what you're referring to as skepticism - but I think I like you're phrasing better!
I completely believe this issue is within me, absolutely. She's doing what her curiosity is demanding - and I am grateful for that!
I just don't want to be too condescending about religion...and (to demonstrate how integrated religion is in our every day lives) lord knows I tend to be condescending!!!


I was raised Catholic, and then changed to Baptist. I have been a free-thinking for most of my adult life (I'm almost 60 now). I did not raise any of my children in a church because I wanted them to find (or not find) religion on their own. My daughter did go to a Baptist church for a while, but hasn't in years. Personally, I feel each person has to find their own way. If your daughter is as smart as you believe, she won't be sucked into any religion; she will go freely if that's her choice. It's not fair to her for you to ban her from a religion just because of your views on it (and you don't want her to believe you think any less if she joins a Christian sect). Just keep the conversations going and make sure she gets ALL the information she needs to make an intelligent decision.


Always give her enough of your time to tell what's on your mind and what's inside of you in a way that she won't feel suffocated and being dictated upon. Through your stories she'll get multiple choices.

Tell her to never answer a dare.

Tell her to trust you with anything, to tell you anything and everything . . . but not to tell too late.

Tell her how much you love her and you believe in her, and you'll always be there to lend a helping hand.

Lines frome these two song keeps popping up my mind:

Someone Who Believes In You
written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin

When there's a dark storm on your horizon
And you think you can't get through it
Just put your hand in my hand
And I'll show you how to do it
When the future looks uncertain
And when your heart and soul are hurtin'
Just look and you'll see me there
When you're searching for that rainbow
I will help you find it
And when a mountain stands before you
I will help you climb it
It's time to come alive
Your moment has arrived
I'll bring out the best in you
Just follow where I lead
I'll give you what you need
A love that's always true
And someone who believes in you

Walk Hand In Hand With Me written by Jerry Goffin

Walk hand in hand with me through all eternity
Have faith, believe in me, give me your hand
Love is a symphony of perfect harmony
Be not afraid, for I am with you all the whille


What kind of questions is she asking? Any particular religion? I would definitely educate her about the negative psychological impact that religions (i.e. Christianity) can have on girls and women, not to mention the idea that a woman was blamed for the "fall", requiring a blood sacrifice --- suicide by proxy. One of the ways to educate her is to share some scriptures from the bible. Here is a collection of inferior status scriptures.


Oh, I like this. Since she came from an extremely abusive home, bio father being the abuser, this will hit home. I teach that woman are not inferior to anyone and we are strong (and in most cases, even stronger than a man, emotionally). Thanks!

Your daughter is very fortunate to have you as her mother. 🙂

"suicide by proxy" - I'd never heard the Fall and Redemption summarized that way, but it's sure insightful.

@vertrauen, I appreciate your feedback.

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