Am I wrong to discourage my daughter?

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neich's picture
Am I wrong to discourage my daughter?

I was raised to be open minded and I chose to be an atheist.

I lived in China for 10 years, where my two daughters were born, which is an atheist country, I recently moved back to the UK.

The town I live in is very small, my daughter goes to a Church of England school with less than 60 students.

I would like to point out, the school is very good educationally, they care for the students, but there is a Christian influence, as should be expected from a Church of England school. They were clear, I picked the school, nothing was forced on me.

But the school is very open minded, they say to the students, if you don't want to pray, you don't need to, just be polite and stay quite (which I think is 100% the correct way and very respectful of atheists/non-Christians)


My daughter (6 years old) came home the other day and started singing church hymns, and a few days later, started reciting the lord’s prayer.

I felt slightly offended by this as I have a dislike for religion, my personal belief is that religion was invented to control the masses. But that is only my belief.

I spoke, maybe too harshly to my daughter.

I said that “Daddy doesn’t believe in these things, if you want to pray you can, but I choose not to”

I went to her school for the nativity play (I don’t believe in it, but I think you need to show respect and support the school you picked) and my daughter didn’t bow her head during the prayer.

Did I force my ideas on her, if I did, is that wrong?

I was not forceful, I just said I dislike it.

But my daughter is very respectful of me and does as I say.

I believe in personal choice, have I stolen this from her? Or is it OK to discourage something I truly think is wrong?

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CyberLN's picture
Perhaps instead of focusing

Perhaps instead of focusing on the aspect of religion with her, you could focus on teaching her how to question things and use logic. Once she learns that, she will be able to make her own way quite well.

Mikhael's picture
I would treat these like

I would treat these like stories. If she comes home recironf prayers, respond with more "nursery rhymes" and poems. Stories about Jesus? Stories about rumplestitskon and Harry potter. If she's able to understand that some people see these stories as true, perhaps then it's time to open the dialogue about how many people around the world believe many things. Treat Jesus like Zeus or Isis or odin or fairies. Mythology

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Mikhael

@ Mikhael

good lord! Rational thought from you indeed.

would treat these like stories. If she comes home recironf prayers, respond with more "nursery rhymes" and poems. Stories about Jesus? Stories about rumplestitskon and Harry potter

Exactly how I responded to my kids. When we had Foster kids with a religious background we took them to their normal religious activities. When asked by my resident kids we explained, beliefs are personal and can bring comfort, but they are not necessary to be part of a loving family.They are not necessary to have at all.
Most kids we had through our home accepted everyone. Kids do that.

Religion makes adults assholes.

algebe's picture
C of E is pretty wishy-washy

C of E is pretty wishy-washy and harmless as religious cults go. At that age I'd be more worried about making my kid feel different from her friends. By all means teach her at home to deal with religious BS, but there's no harm in chanting a few prayers or taking part in nativity plays. I was a wise man one year and Joseph another time. It was great fun. Kids love dressing up and play-acting. Even the Jewish kids in my class joined in. (Imagine that. Jews in Bethlehem!)

I remember reciting the Lord's Prayer at that age. We didn't understand a word of it except the bit about daily bread, somebody farting in heaven, and something about our men at the end. Unlike Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc., we don't have to worry about offending the atheist god by praying to the wrong sky-fairy. It's just water of a duck's back.

Cognostic's picture
Honestly, It it was me I

Honestly, It it was me I would not worry about it. Kids try new things, that is what they do. I would probably start dancing to the song or singing along and changing the words to make it silly. In all my actions the child would know and understand that I am not taking any of the silliness seriously. Keeping it light and silly, keeps the doors of communication open. It lets her know, I think this stuff is silly but still does not make her fear your judgment or talking to you. When you scold her, she now has something that she must keep secret from you because she does not want to get into trouble.

You might want to have a little father daughter discussion and compare Jesus to Santa. Talk to her like an adult. Tell her why you put her in that school, because you love her and the education is good. Tell her why you dislike religions, and to not believe everything she hears. I might point out that the people at the school are actually hiding bible verses from her and then read her something, or have her read it herself, like Luke 14:26.

Find a way to encourage her to ask questions instead of just shutting her down. Try to play with it and not make it so serious one way or the other.

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