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TheIndependentAquarius 11-02-2012 12:38 AM

How to raise a child between agnostic parent and believer relatives?
 
  • Few months back I turned agnostic.
  • Don't have children yet.
  • Other family members are believers, I am not.

My mother tells me to pray to God and ask him to increase my
salary/happiness/safety etc. I can deal with my mother.

My in-laws ask me to pray to the God before embarking on a journey.
I do as they wish (to make them happy (not a big deal for me)).

Now, when my relatives tell my future child to pray to God for
the above mentioned reasons, how should I explain to him(child)
that this God didn't protect the gas chamber victims so there is
no reason that you should expect him to help you to get good
grades in exams, etc?

I think the child will ask - then why is the grand mother praying
to God?
I don't have an answer to this.

My brother and his wife have taught their child (2 years old) that
if you do bad things God will punish you.
I want my child to not to do bad things because the bad things are
bad, not because God is going to punish.

I want that when he grows up (about 15 years of age) then he
should decide for himself whether he wants to follow religion or not
till then he should have a free mind. He should be dependent on
himself for his acts, not on God.

dugan 11-02-2012 01:17 AM

Tell your relatives to mind their own business.

EDIT: Anisha is responding to an earlier version of this post, which read: "Just use the phrase 'God helps those who help themselves'" I thought better of it. Just do what any westerner would do and tell your relatives to mind their own business.

TheIndependentAquarius 11-02-2012 01:22 AM

That's not true, IMO, and I don't want to lie to my child.
There will be several (simple) cases where this saying will/has fail(ed), and I won't
have any answers at that time.

Actually, these kind of saying lead to an indirect dependence on God.
I used to follow that, that's why I know.

I just want this God thing not to have any impact on my child till he is 15.
I wonder how do people deal with this in real life!

TheIndependentAquarius 11-02-2012 01:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dugan (Post 4820179)
Tell your relatives to mind their own business.

Actually the problem is the "in-laws". It is not possible for me to tell them
to mind their own business. Cultural difference.

They perform Yagyas/Hawans in their home, and I just
don't know what to tell my child about what's happening there!

Quote:

why is the grand mother praying to God?
I don't even know what to do with the "fairy tales" thing.
Every comic book for children has these fairies, and witches.

I don't know if it is wise to first explain to a child that the
fairy did that, and then if he asks is it all true?? What to
reply - yes, it is, but god is different than fairy? OR no, this
story is to make you go to sleep!

dugan 11-02-2012 01:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anisha Kaul (Post 4820185)
Actually the problem is the "in-laws". It is not possible for me to tell them
to mind their own business. Cultural difference.

Oh yeah. In-laws. I missed that. So you're married. Shouldn't this discussion be held with your husband, instead of with us?

Quote:

They perform Yagyas/Hawans in their home, and I just don't know what to tell my child about what's happening there!
Well, I'm not going to answer that. I just read the Wikipedia article and I can't explain in my own words what's happening there either! ;)

Seriously, though, I would see nothing wrong with explaining the story behind the ritual, what your in-laws believe it does, and perhaps the history of why it's still performed.

TheIndependentAquarius 11-02-2012 01:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dugan (Post 4820189)
Shouldn't this discussion be held with your husband, instead of with us?

He doesn't want his parents to get offended. He even told me to keep mum
about this topic in their presence.

Now the problem is that my father in law regularly keeps on telling me how
their Kuldevta reads mind, and can beat others (who don't respect his offerings) while being
invisible all the time.

I keep on nodding, and keep mum.
Now what about the child? He is definitely going to tell him all those stories
too. And I don't want my child to get "frightened" and live in fear!!

vharishankar 11-02-2012 03:42 AM

deleted.

TheIndependentAquarius 11-02-2012 03:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vharishankar (Post 4820228)
Religion is not fear.

Care to read the following?
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anisha Kaul (Post 4820193)
Now the problem is that my father in law regularly keeps on telling me how
their Kuldevta reads mind, and can beat others (who don't respect his offerings) while being
invisible all the time.

I keep on nodding, and keep mum.
Now what about the child? He is definitely going to tell him all those stories
too. And I don't want my child to get "frightened" and live in fear!!


Quote:

Originally Posted by vharishankar (Post 4820228)
From your posting it appears your main intention here appears to be to ridicule Indian traditions, customs and cultures in an International forum - not about God or belief in it.

Report button is on the bottom right corner of these posts.
Use that.

vharishankar 11-02-2012 03:48 AM

deleted.

dugan 11-02-2012 10:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anisha Kaul (Post 4820193)
He doesn't want his parents to get offended. He even told me to keep mum about this topic in their presence.

But he's fine with his wife being offended. He has not told his parents to keep mum about this topic in his wife's presence.

The real problem is that a double standard is being applied.

sundialsvcs 11-02-2012 10:28 AM

Oh, I don't have any problem with this forum topic, personally. Let it run for a while, if it will. It's no more "odd," or offensive, than running a poll about whether you'd hook your brain up to a computer. :rolleyes:

"Belief in ≤god≥" is a deeply seated part of human nature, as is being agnostic about such things. Let a child decide for himself or herself, exactly as you did and exactly as your relatives did. Let them be exposed at the same time to both viewpoints, because when they're out there in the real-world on their own, they're going to encounter that, every day.

And their beliefs, or lack thereof, will be every bit as personal to them, as yours are to you, and your relatives' are to them.

Children might not have much worldly-experience yet, because of their youth, but they do think sophisticated thoughts, just as you do and did. They're going to find their own way. And, they're going to find their own way to relate, both to people like your relatives and to people like you(!). Religious topics might be something that they want to talk about a lot, that they want to quickly express their opinions about, or they might prefer to listen and not speak, or they might prefer to ignore, change-the-subject, even shut the subject down. Everyone should have that privilege. And, over the course of everyone's life, that's likely to change and to evolve.

vharishankar 11-02-2012 10:46 AM

deleted

TheIndependentAquarius 11-02-2012 11:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dugan (Post 4820542)
But he's fine with his wife being offended. He has not told his parents to keep mum about this topic in his wife's presence. The real problem is that a double standard is being applied.

As I said before there is a huge cultural difference.
Talking to parents in such a way is NOT normal here.
(If serious) These kinds of talks with parents can easily bring cracks in
relations (specially when daughter in law is involved).
Anyways, as I said I need to talk to the "child only". :)

Knightron 11-02-2012 11:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anisha Kaul (Post 4820185)
They perform Yagyas/Hawans in their home, and I just
don't know what to tell my child about what's happening there!

Why would your child attend these events, if you (and your partner) don't intend on bringing them up under a religion? I'm not familiar with that event, and i'm not enthusiastic enough to read the whole page, (thanks for providing a link though); but if you have to attend, would simply telling your child 'it's a bonfire, and it's fun to sing around bonfires' work? And once they're a little older to make up there minds for them selves, (in my opinion, about thirteen if the conversation isn't forced by the intrusiveness of others) inform them what your inlaws believe and explain you don't, then why you don't, and then, that they have the choice to believe what they want but should not feel pressured to believe either of the two.
If this seems ignorant, please remember i didn't read the whole wiki article.

Quote:

I don't even know what to do with the "fairy tales" thing.
Every comic book for children has these fairies, and witches.
Something many people don't realize, (most likely because of Disneys dumbed down movies) is that fairy tales are not supposed to be a story for entertainment, but instead a 'interesting' tale to grab the attention of a child, with a eventual point, to teach the child a life lesson.
The interest comes from fictional characters such as talking pigs and wolves, fairies, trolls ect. They're usually metaphors. I think the child will usually just know they're not real, but if they ask, just explain to the child that the characters aren't real, but there are other bad things in the world, and that's why you never talk to strangers ect.


At this point, i would like to remind anyone, that i am only twenty three years old, have little knowledge on Hinduism, and don't have kids, or in laws.
This is a forum where everyone may contribute. While what i say is my personal opinion on what i'd do under that situation, it is an opinion based entirely on your details and i can not possibly have personal knowledge of the situation such as individuals personalities ect that may influence the scenario.
For this reason, what i say and for being on a forum, (especially in general) any information i give, and anyone elses as well for that matter, should be taken with a grain of salt.

TobiSGD 11-02-2012 11:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anisha Kaul (Post 4820612)
Anyways, as I said I need to talk to the "child only". :)

The problem is: you can't.
Sooner or later your child will tell those relatives that what they say contradicts with what its mother said. Children are really good in spotting differences in what they are being told, but they are not good in knowing when it is better to not tell everyone.
So sooner or later you will inevitably have to work that out with your relatives and I think it is better if you keep control over the "when" and "how", instead of letting the child "decide".


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