A Reader Asks: How Can I Free My Daughter from Fundamentalist Fears?

I recently received a question from a reader, and I thought I would put it to all of you to help answer it:

What resources are there for me to share with my thirteen year old daughter about coming out of the darkness of the culture you write about? I grew up in an independent fundamentalist baptist church.  My parents were completely into it.  I didn’t want to be, but got sucked into it.  The whole “you’re going to hell” stuff, and “God will punish you” is so powerful psychologically.  Long story short, I got out.  But when my life on my own fell apart, I went back and immersed myself and my two precious children completely into that culture.  I finally broke away about three years ago, and haven’t spoken to my family since.  I haven’t kept my children away from their grandparents, but that may not have been the smartest move.  My daughter confided in me last night that even though she hasn’t seen her in months, she can’t get Grandma (and her twisted views of Christianity, behavior, sinfulness, etc.) out of her head.  I want to give her some tools–books, blogs, anything that is age appropriate to help her.

What suggestions, including both resources and general advice, do you have for this reader? I came out of these beliefs as a young adult, over a period of years, and my children are still young. How would you suggest helping children or teens who are struggling with the lingering effects of fundamentalist teachings about sin and judgment?

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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.