When Parents Become Atheists, What Should They Tell the Kids?

I tend to think of only younger people becoming atheists — sometimes between the ages of 13 and 16 — and it jolts me a bit every time someone tells me they lost their faith when they were 30 or 40. I don’t know how they deal with it. It’s such a major change.

Similarly, when people ask me how I can be a vegetarian, I tell them it’s not that big of a deal. I was raised with it and it was never hard to do. But I’m in awe of anyone who becomes a vegetarian — and has to change their whole diet — after they’ve eaten meat for decades.

So when you’re a parent and you become an atheist, what do you tell your children? You raised them with religious beliefs. How do you tell them you don’t believe all that superstition that you yourself taught them?

Valerie Tarico offers three pieces of advice to newly-atheist parents who have to deal with children:

1. Help them to understand your changes as a matter of spiritual growth rather than spiritual abandonment.

2. If your children are still at home, don’t forget that they may need a new community.

3. Trust yourself, even when you are feeling your way in the dark, to be a spiritual guide for your children.

She goes into more depth on each of those points in her article.

Are there any other points these non-religious parents need to keep in mind?

(via Tacoma Atheists)

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