How to support DD's faith...

(72 Posts)
AnnieOneWannaSmackWorra Tue 10-Jun-14 18:18:37

My DD is 6 years old and switched into the Catholic school board in September. DH is Catholic (but non-practicing) and I am an Atheist. Our DD indicated an interest in religion last summer and so we decided to move her to Catholic board to provide to give her the opportunity to learn about the Catholic faith.

My problem is that, as an atheist, I am finding it very difficult to engage with her when she talks about the day's lessons. My beliefs (or lack thereof) are my own and I want her to be able to make her own decisions rather than blindly following mine.

DD loves her new school and really enjoys learning all of the bible stories. I want to be able to support her educational life as well as her religious life as much as I possibly can. This is going to sound offensive and I really don't intend it that way, but is there such a thing as a complete idiot's guide to Catholicism?

AnnieOneWannaSmackWorra Tue 10-Jun-14 18:19:19

Sorry, don't want to drip feed. We are in Canada so the school system will be different to in the UK.

ToniWol Tue 10-Jun-14 19:15:40

There's a 'For Dummies' book if that's any use.

I borrowed it from the library a few years back when DH was toying with the idea of going back to the Catholic Church, but he decided in the end to get confirmed in our Anglican Church.

AnnieOneWannaSmackWorra Tue 10-Jun-14 21:07:02

Really Toni?? I'm amazed. I'll have a look for it, thanks. grin

GotAnotherQuestion Wed 11-Jun-14 14:33:07

Annie can I just say in really impressed by your balanced view of allowing your DD to find her way.

On these boards you often find parents insist that they will either (using your scenario for example) insist the child is either an atheist or theist just as the parents are.

Every person has to find their own way, you're very refreshing to be keen to promote that.

AnnieOneWannaSmackWorra Wed 11-Jun-14 18:40:22

Thank you GotAnotherQuestion. She is my daughter, not my clone. She has her own thoughts, feelings and beliefs and I will support whatever choices she makes (providing they are not dangerous choices, of course).

LynetteScavo Wed 11-Jun-14 18:51:29

Yes, there is a Catholocism for Dummies Guide..covers the basics...I'm presuming you already have a childrens Bible...makes it all so much easier to understand than the "adults" version" grin

And, yest your attitude is refreshing. smile People are shock when I tell people my DS1 is an atheist...despite attending Catholic schools and being confirmed in Y6. One rude person (OK, DD's Godmother, so maybe she's allowed) even commented on him not taking communion. It's his belief (atm wink), and I refused to feel I've failed in someway.

If you look on Amazon, there are probably other books which will help you understand what Catholics believe, and all the weird stuff they like to do. wink grin

AnnieOneWannaSmackWorra Thu 12-Jun-14 18:12:50

Thanks Lynette. I have ordered this for myself and hopefully it will help. I bought my DD a children's bible at the beginning of the school year and it has helped me quite a bit. I just want a slightly better understanding so that when she asks me questions about a story, I can hopefully answer them for her.

TheNumberfaker Thu 12-Jun-14 18:16:43

How did your DD express an interest strongly enough to switch school at the age of 5?

AnnieOneWannaSmackWorra Thu 12-Jun-14 18:29:42

Our nephew was baptised last summer and she was in awe of the church and the hymns and everything else. She asked why we didn't go to church, which led eventually to "why does my cousin [our niece] learn about god at school"?

She said she wanted to learn about so we enrolled her in catholic school.

TheNumberfaker Thu 12-Jun-14 20:50:37

So from one visit to a church you've decided to indoctrinate her in Catholicism? Would you have done the same if you'd been invited to a Jewish/ Muslim/Hindu etc ceremony?

TheAmazingChandler Thu 12-Jun-14 20:57:42
GotAnotherQuestion Thu 12-Jun-14 20:58:39

Stop stirring, faker! The OP has made it clear she doesn't want a clone and I think it's highly commendable.

I don't know what your world view is, but I don't need to to know it would be possible to accuse you of indoctrination too, if someone really wanted to.

Allowing a child to explore is not even close to indoctrination!

And before you ask, no I'm not a catholic and I've never been to a catholic service either.

TheNumberfaker Thu 12-Jun-14 21:22:18

But this child is not just 'exploring'. She is attending Catholic school with all the services, bible stories and drip drip drip that Catholicism is the right way to live your life. I'm not in Canada but I've attended a Catholic service and it was quite full on. Same for the Anglican school assemblies I've witnessed. Children bow their heads and pray because they're told to by the teachers. Children pray because they're told to by the teachers. Children believe bible stories because they believe what the teachers say. How can a 6 year old differentiate between 1+1=2 and God made the world in 7 days?

AnnieOneWannaSmackWorra Thu 12-Jun-14 22:44:02

Faker I started this thread asking for information about how to best support my DD's faith. At no point did I ask for others to share their opinions of Catholicism nor did I ask for this to turn into a theological debate. It was a simple thread with a sime purpose.

Should you wish to discuss the concept of indoctrination I would suggest you start your own thread and stop trying to derail mine. I have made it abundantly clear that I am an atheist and do not share my daughter's beliefs. However, being a parent means supporting your children and helping them from their own opinions and beliefs. I would be failing my children completely if I foisted my beliefs, or lack thereof, upon them. Doing that would constitute indoctrination.

deepbluetr Fri 13-Jun-14 07:12:31

But there is no such thing as atheist indoctrination.
Atheism as you know is a lack of faith.

I have to agree with faker here. Your DD is only 6, too young to be able to make up her own mind and navigate through the maze of different religions.
You have chosen a path for her of catholic indoctrination.
At 6 children are too young to have their "own beliefs" about religion, she is being told what to think and believe by the school you have chosen for her.

TheNumberfaker Fri 13-Jun-14 07:19:03

I'm not trying to derail. It's just that 'interest in Catholicism' is not the same as Catholic faith. My nearly 6 year old is very interested in fairies, should I be looking for a fairy school to send her to because my lack of belief in them is indoctrinating her?

All you are doing by sending her to Catholic school is reversing the default position for her.

Absence of indoctrination is not indoctrination!

CaulkheadUpNorth Fri 13-Jun-14 07:19:57

There are a few books about Children's spirituality which might help you to understand different stages she is going through (ie children of different ages have different views on God/prayer etc).

Does the school have a home-school link worker or something like that? They may be able to support you, either with information or putting you in touch with other parents.

AnnieOneWannaSmackWorra Fri 13-Jun-14 11:16:28

What the hell is wrong with MN? I asked a relatively simple question and two people have felt the need to slate me for it. I don't give two shiny shits whether you agree with my decision as a parent. It is obvious that your main purpose here is simply to mock religion and anyone who dares expose their child to it.

Thank you to those who offered an answer to my question. I am backing away from the thread now. I really don't feel up to having my parenting skills punched.

JokersGiggle Fri 13-Jun-14 15:36:26

As a catholic I find it really lovely that as a mother you are allowing your child free thought. You can't force religion on someone, if she changes her mind again then at least you let her explore that part of herself.
Many children "brain washed" with any religion move away when older. Your not sentencing her to a life of prayer and communion like others have suggested. Your letting her be free and true to herself.
Well done.

LynetteScavo Fri 13-Jun-14 21:17:50

I've said it before, and I'll say it yet again.... My DC have never, ever to my knowledge been told what to believe in their Catholic schools, and I would be very happy if they were!

And they are certainly not told the world was created in 7 days, lol! grin

deepbluetr Fri 13-Jun-14 21:21:52

So sending them to a catholic school had no influence in their choice of faith? She could easily have become Hindu or Muslim?

A catholic school does not influence faith? hmm

Canshopwillshop Fri 13-Jun-14 21:44:13

I think it's normal for children to go through a religious phase - I remember it and my 2 DC have been through it. Actually DS (7) is still very into the bible and it is his current choice of bedtime reading. I don't think it is unusual for your DD to have this interest in religion at her but I do wonder if your decision to enrol her in a Catholic school based on her possibly passing interest may be questionable.

TheNumberfaker Sat 14-Jun-14 00:40:59

Glad it's not just me then! !

AnnieOneWannaSmackWorra Sat 14-Jun-14 04:47:03

It was a catholic christening and so she was interested in Catholocism!! I didn't force her towards this specific faith, she chose it. Nor is she now stuck there. If this is just a phase and she is unhappy in a year or two years or whatever, then we will move her back to the mainstream school.

Clearly there are those who believe it was wrong of me to put her in Catholic school. Fine. But that was not my question. This is not AIBU and I was not asking for opinions of my parenting choices. I asked for help and/or resources so that I could support her as fully as possible in her faith.

I am sorry I asked now. I have never ventured into this specific topic on MN and I won't be doing it again anytime soon.

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