Posted in Faith & Religion, Family Life, Nontraditional Parenting

My son's grandmother imposing her religion on him

Anonymous

How the hell do you deal with religious fanatics in the family who force and coerce your child to become a member of their religion? My mother has found her dedication to the Christian faith in her later years. "You do you" is my stance, so hooray for her, but for my baby I'm letting him choose what religion, if any, he'll follow. That means I am not having him baptized in any specific religion; I will help him learn about all religions that he's curious about, and if he chooses a religion then I will support him and help him to join. I told her this when he was 0 months old. She said it's my choice how he's raised and no one else's opinion matters, so I took that to mean she respects my decision to let him choose. However, the other day she brought a small vial containing holy water and "blessed" the baby with it, as well as me. I reminded her that I'm letting him choose his own faith. She replied that it will be a long time before that happens, and he needs protection in the meantime. I reminded him I'm not baptizing him (my mother and I were baptized catholic as children, it's the family religion). She said that's fine, he'll still be in the Christian faith. Who says it's guaranteed he will choose a Christian faith? That's a hell of an assumption. Also, though she and I were baptized catholic from birth, my father was not baptized into anything, yet she's not throwing holy water on him for his protection nor trying in any way to even talk about religion with him. So why is it OK for my dad but not his grandson? Yesterday I left my baby with her for an hour while my sisters and I celebrated our birthdays at our spa appointment. When we returned, she said to my baby as she handed him back, "Now you and I have a secret." She won't tell me what she's referring to. I'm very concerned that she took him to a church and had him baptized without my consent while I wasn't there to intervene. Clearly she will impose her beliefs regardless of my wishes as my baby's mother. She will find a way to circumvent my rightful authority as his parent and guardian. How do I put a stop to her meddling once and for all?

  • Michaela
    Feb 20

    The beginning of this post I though, ah yeah well she’s going to say some things here or there but it probably wouldn’t be worth the battle. However the last part about the “secret” is too much! That’s YOUR child! I would say nope, I’m not letting you see him until you tell me. She is breaking your trust and going against your wishes. I don’t let my mother post certain videos or pictures of my son on her FB and she throws hissy fits, makes me feel like I’m stupid, but I don’t care-MY child. How would she have felt if her mother had done that to her? (My mom has an awful relationship with her own, no I imagine she would not have been happy). However if I threatened to not let my mom see my kid for any reason she would be PISSED but she would also do what I wanted 🤷🏼‍♀️

  • Anonymous
    Feb 20

    How old is your son? Is he at the age where he can actually choose to believe something and comprehend that? I don’t see the harm if he is too young. She technically isn’t coercing your son to choose her religion as he isn’t able to make a conscious decision yet. I can understand that this already isn’t a good step in respecting your wishes and it makes you lose trust in her. Talk to her and tell her that what she is doing is breaking the trust and relationship you have with her. Ask her to start respecting you as a mother or you will have to ban her.

  • Michaeljonaxl
    Feb 20

    I have had a discussion and an ongoing problem with this very topic. I am an atheist by definition and want my twin boys to choose their own path as well. I feel it hurts a child’s chances of honestly choosing their own path if they are indoctrinated in anyway to a certain faith based ideology. That being said having your child baptized at an early age they don’t truly know what’s going on. Since I don’t have a belief in religion the small things like baptism means nothing to me. The older your child gets then the more it will become a problem. I would rather hold out on the extreme arguments until my twins get an age that it becomes a real problem. For now like when I hear my son say bless you after I sneeze I just try and explain that you don’t need to say that. And explain it’s just a bodily function and while it’s ok to be polite you don’t have to say bless you. I myself don’t say anything when someone sneezes. Some might think it’s rude but people don’t say anything when you belch or fart. It’s the person doing the everyday action your body automatically does that say excuse me. Anyway getting off topic. As a parent it’s our job to explain the world to our kids. Some people will try and take this job from you were religion is concerned. Especially if that person sees your own belief system as putting your child’s eternal soul in danger. No one avenue is gonna fix that situation. All you can do is plead with the person to allow you to educate your child on religion the way you see fit. Maybe make sure you don’t let the person in question watch your kid on Sundays or whatever day church is in session depending on the religion in question. Make sure you start having the conversation about religion with your child as early as you think they can understand it. Instill in them the idea of personal choice. Indoctrination is the principle tenant of all religions no matter how harmless people think it is. That’s how it is designed to spread among the masses. I myself was an atheist since around 5. No one had to tell me about religion it’s just how I always saw the world. If my twins see it differently as they grow up then that’s their journey. I went to church anyway as a kid cause I enjoyed playing with other kids. But I never bought into any of the teachings. And I always asked questions that many people didn’t like in Sunday school classes. Often times I would be pulled aside after class and told to not interrupt or maybe not come to class sometimes. Eventually I did just stop going even though my brother would beg me to go. Just intrust your child will follow your lead in choosing for themselves. Keep talking to people about the importance of choose you want for your child. Hopefully they will come around.

  • Myrtle
    Feb 21

    Set boundaries now! If you don’t she will probably continue to do things that you don’t approve of. We tell our kids there are no secrets to be kept from us, including from grandma!

  • Lynn
    Feb 22

    My MIL keeps sending them books with religious undertones or straight up religious themed saying that these are well written and knows we won’t buy them. So she will. I just toss them into the trash can. My house. I say what stays and what goes. And if she’s not careful, I say who....

  • A
    Feb 22

    Just my two cents and hopefully it will give you the child's perspective. I grew up in a culture where being religious is not even questioned (I didn't even know the word atheist till I went to high school or college, don't remember). We did all things religious in our family and all the families I knew were like that. However, I did start questioning the beliefs and superstitions as I entered my teens. My parents would get annoyed at my repeated questioning or harsh remarks about the beliefs but they never bullied me into following anything. They would just ask me to 'do it, don't have to believe it'. My mother started believing and following a different spiritual teacher about the same time I started college. My dad didn't believe this guys teaching. Around the same time, my mom started not being very adherent to the rigorous religious practices that my dad followed. They both never said a thing about each other's practices. We all did everything together as a family. My mom would diligently sit next to my dad through all the main rituals,temple visits etc and my dad would listen (or be there with mind somewhere else I guess lol) to my mom's teachers lectures on tv or when she read them to us. Me and my sister would just tag along to wherever my parents asked us to come when we were free at home (most of the times). All this and I realized religion is not for me after finishing college (leaning agnostic). I never openly said this to my parents or sister but they know. They have no problem with it. What I'm trying to say is if there is one thing I want to teach my kid regarding religion, it will be TOLERANCE (I thank my parents and the culture I grew up in for teaching me that). I still try to do as much religious stuff as I can in our house not because I want my son to grow up religious but because I want him to learn what's out there and I will start with what I know. Of course it's much much different and milder version of my parents. I fully hope that he would grow up to question everything we do. I think that's how they choose to what they want to be and I will try my best to encourage that. Now baptizing your kid without your knowledge, that's something else and you need to have a serious sit down with her. But I would suggest, don't avoid your child from exploring through her or anyone else you trust. Tell her that, so that she doesn't do stuff like this. Choose what is under your limits religion wise and tell her you are ok with her doing so and so religious things with the child. Avoiding something completely might have the opposite effect and she might use that to entice the kid. You don't want that. Hope this helps.