A reader has a problem with religion in her family and she could use your help.
My mother-in-law is starting to indoctrinate my child!
I suppose I may have played some role in triggering what seems to be a recent surge in proselytizing. In recent months, for the first time, I have discussed my own beliefs openly to my in-laws during meal times, I suppose setting off the warning sirens: Save the granddaughter! Save the granddaughter!
On the other hand, she is very involved in her faith so it’s not exactly a huge surprise she is now teaching my daughter to pray to Jesus and that “Jesus is coming back.”
I realize the potential for having an ugly showdown with my M-I-L, either in person or through my sweet vulnerable daughter, is all too present. I don’t want to hurt my daughter by engaging in categorical prohibitions or by disparaging rejection of this belief system she is now “trying on for size.” I’ve been trying to embrace the opportunity for discussing a lot of interesting ideas about the world with my daughter, staying real, taking her seriously. Last night I went so far as to agree to hold hands around the table and “talk to Jesus” when she suggested it because it was obvious she really wanted to and I didn’t want to just disengage. But I had my own things to say to “Jesus” — not purely angry or rejecting things, but trying to plant a healthy independence of thought from the inside out.
I’m really new at this and could use some good feedback.
Does anyone else have some specific methods or experiences with a healthy, child-centered approach to combating proselytizing, given that I think it’s unlikely my mother-in-law is going to change her ways and I am unwilling to cut off her relationship with my child?
What do you say to your children when you hear them repeating religious dogma you disagree with?
Any advice for her?
(via the Friendly Atheist Forums)
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