I wanted to ask questions of some of the replies in the Santa thread, but didn't want to derail. So a new thread it is.
What are your religious/spiritual beliefs, if any?
How do you portray these to your children (or intend to if your children are too young)?
-as fact and this is what they will most likely believe until they're old enough to find out more for themselves
-as a more 'this is what I believe, but I don't expect you to'
-don't disclose what your own beliefs are
Is there much discussion of other beliefs, or is conversation pretty specific to your own?
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04-02-2016 12:50 #1
*spinoff* Your beliefs and your children
04-02-2016 12:57 #2Senior Member
- Join Date
- Mar 2014
My children go to a private school and as such are taught certain beliefs. I am spiritual, however believe an understanding of 'something' can provide a good foundation to compare and contrast other belief systems. My kids come home singing songs or tell me something in an authoritative way, I am always careful to ask them 'what makes you think that, why?, have you thought about how that works & what other people might think?'
I don't want my children blindly indictrinated, however I do feel they can get a good balance with our guidance and eventually decide what is best for them.
04-02-2016 13:00 #3
I was raised Christian, though it wasn't a strong influence, and am now atheist. We do celebrate Easter and Christmas/Santa to a degree, more in the aspect of family gatherings and I do love the excitement of Santa and the Easter bunny.
I've always intended to discuss different beliefs with my children and, so far, I've followed through with that. My 4 year old doesn't know that I'm an atheist, but she knows that some people believe in science/facts/evolution etc, as well as many different religious or spiritual beliefs. I want my children to make their own decisions, based on knowledge of all beliefs, without really influencing them.
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04-02-2016 13:07 #4Senior Member
- Join Date
- Apr 2015
Like I said in my Santa question I, myself am an athiest. My husband went to a Catholic school & he has different views on things.
We however, don't generally speak about it with our children. It's not a topic which is brought up. We made the decision not to christen our children, because we do not want our beliefs pushed on to them, and as they become adults they will choose to believe in whatever it is they want.
My kids do not know they I don't believe in God. Nor will I tell them. They attend scripture through school, and are taught about God & what not. They do come home with questions occasionally & if I don't know the answer (and let's face it, a lot of the time I don't) they ask their dad.
We have explained the different religions & ways people choose to live their lives & that's their choice. That's the beauty of living in this wonderful country, that we all have a choice.
We have told them that no one is right or wrong for what they believe in & that they shouldn't interfere with other people's discussions or upbringings just because they don't have the same views.
In our family, we have taught our kids that everyone is equal & beautiful no matter what. And that everyone should be treated the way that we would like to be treated.
04-02-2016 13:12 #5Senior Member
- Join Date
- Feb 2006
I am pretty vague to my kids about my beliefs. I find my kids often just copy my thoughts (with trivial things), so I wouldn't want my kids to copy my beliefs just because they want to be like me. I want them to make their own choices about their beliefs.
I do explain to them that everyone believes different things, eg. God etc, and that everyone is allowed to believe what they want, and that they should be respectful of that.
04-02-2016 13:12 #6
I haven't yet decided what I will choose for SR classes. On one hand, I don't want them being taught one belief system as fact, but on the other, I don't want them to be the only children not attending if that's the case. I think I'm hoping SR classes are eradicated in public schools by then 🙊
04-02-2016 13:13 #7
We are very open with the discussions. My husband and I don't believe in God. My husband believes in "something bigger than himself" but he isn't sure what. My beliefs would be much closer to the science end of the spectrum (Time etc). My eldest son (nearly 6) believes in God. He knows our beliefs are different to his and he knows no one is wrong in what they believe. He is also interested in the Aboriginal teachings. We don't have a chaplain at our school, we have an Aboriginal Elder and he loves the stories she and the other teachers tell. I encourage him to take an interest in it. I am fascinated although it's not something I believe myself. I often sit him down to chat about it and see how things are.
I feel that what you believe is a very personal thing and no one can decide for you, so for us I feel that openly discussing the differences even within our own family, will help him be more tolerant in the real world.
04-02-2016 13:38 #8
*spinoff* Your beliefs and your children
I found my biggest problem growing up was because my beliefs are not traditional (and I rarely shared them) it was assumed I was a blank canvas just waiting for someone to show me the way. I hated feeling like my beliefs were less important just because they weren't the normal beliefs. Maybe that has what lead me to be so encouraging for my children to be tolerant.
Where I used to live, there was a JW woman who came every month and she has the most colourful discussions with my kids. She never pushed her religion at all (I only knew she was JW because it was written on a brochure she left) but she would tell stories about manners and being nice and random acts of kindness. So I loved her talking to them.
It's the same as there is a lady in my town now, very religious. She is the pastors wife. We get along smashingly. I have a special needs child and some of her children had different special needs to mine. But we have that common ground. She tells me that her faith and God got her through the tough days, I tell her what gets me through mine. She knows full well I have no belief in God and she doesn't care. I know she does and I don't care. We can each talk about it all in our own way without any argument. I don't feel like her simply mentioning God is an insult to me and she doesn't feel that me speaking about what I prefer an insult to her. Neither of us have to hide it for fear of offending the other. She will still sit and chat with me if I need it. That is exactly the type of relationship I want my children to have with everyone.
04-02-2016 13:39 #9
I was also about to start a spin off thread (and will after responding here).
I was raised Catholic but am now staunchly atheist. DH is also atheist. We chose DS1's primary school mostly because it was completely secular (they don't offer SRI at all).
We haven't had the god discussion with 5yo DS1 yet as it hasn't come up, but I presume it will soon enough. One of his friends at school is a Jehovah's Witness and my dad and step mum both believe in god and go to church every Sunday, as does my grandmother (who actually goes several times a week).
DH and I have discussed it and agree that we will say he and I don't believe in god or any higher power but that other people do and that's their choice. We will be happy to discuss aspects of different religions as it comes up, but won't be encouraging either of the boys to partake in religious education. In saying that, there is a good chance they will end up at a Lutheran high school where they will presumably have compulsory RE classes which we're OK with.
I have no qualms sharing my beliefs with my children. TBH I would rather that and they agree than not, lest they decide they do believe in God. Children are very easily swayed into believing anything (Santa, the tooth fairy, that Nutella tastes gross, that I can see their muscles literally growing before my very eyes when they eat protein) and yes, I have my preferences for my children (atheist, non smoking, Labor voting, gym goers 😁).
If they choose to believe in God or follow a religion when they're older..... well that's my spin off thread 😉
Last edited by Moxy; 04-02-2016 at 14:12.
04-02-2016 14:20 #10
I was raised catholic but don't believe in god etc now. Its never been an issue for my family. I believe what I believe and they respect that just as I respect what they believe. We never push our beliefs (or lack of) onto each other.
My children go to a catholic school. Its never come up with dd2 as she has just started prep, but dd1 and I have often spoken about it. She knows I don't believe in God, or any religion, but I have always told her she is free to believe whatever she wants. What I do/don't believe should not affect her. It is her choice and her choice alone. If she chooses to be baptised into the Catholic faith when she is older, I will fully support that. If she chooses to follow any other religion or faith, I will support her (providing she remains respectful of other peoples beliefs). We have spoken about the fact different people belief different things. Not one of them is right or wrong and everyone deserves the right to belief in what they. We are all different. I am teaching my children the importance of respecting those differences and encouraging them to find out more about the various beliefs they may come across to gain a better understanding.
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