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Religion - Hindu Dad / Christian Mother...and the kids?

(26 Posts)
busydad Sun 04-Apr-04 22:10:51

I don't want my kids to answer my "mother is... and my father is..." or "im half christian and half hindu" when asked what their religion is.

I want my kids to have one religion...but which one? How do we chose? What are the important things to consider? What to mixed race children feel about such issues?

Neither me nor my wife want to "give in" and let the kids belong only to the other's religion. I'm confused..imagine our kids. Any thoughts will be welcome.

GeorginaA Sun 04-Apr-04 22:22:12

I'd let the kids decide when they're old enough. Similar situation here, in that I'm a pagan and dh is christian. We tend to see it as an advantage rather than a disadvantage in that ds will be able to decide for himself and will see a positive (I hope!) role model from each religion and realise it doesn't have to be an "us and them" feeling.

I hope very much to encourage him (and his soon-to-be sibling!) to explore other faiths, assess them critically, use his own mind and make his own decisions, while at the same time developing respect for lots of different viewpoints. We probably won't achieve that, but I think it's a worthy goal

Heathcliffscathy Sun 04-Apr-04 22:25:17

hello busydad. my dad is nominally buddhist and my mum is catholic. i went to church (catholic) until i was 11 at which p;oint i said i didn't want to go anymore...i feel as if my life has been enriched by having access to more than one faith...and i dont belong to any religion but consider myself very spiritual and i believe in god...from what i gathered whilst spending four months in india, hinduism absorbs every other world religion...there seems to be room in that ancient faith for all the others (i admit i could be wrong about this) doesn't this help. could you bring your children up more in one faith than the other, but with access to both...they will be broader minded for it imo. this sounds as if it has become a power struggle between you and your wife, but is a compromise really so unacceptable...your children will ultimately decide what religion they want to belong to themselves and may choose neither, surely giving them access to both is the fairest option? hth

Freckle Sun 04-Apr-04 22:25:48

Could you not find some common ground between the two religions? Many religions have some tenets to their faith which seem to cross over. Can you be half Christian and half Hindu? I would have thought that you would be wholely belonging to the faith in which you believe. I don't think there is anything wrong in saying "my mother is .." ,etc. because that is the truth unless one of you is prepared to change to the other's religion.

I think the best thing to do is to teach your children about both faiths and then let them choose to belong to one or the other if they want to when they are older.

kiwisbird Sun 04-Apr-04 22:26:57

My sons best friend is half Hindu /half white agnostic/don't care much
The relationship failed and the lovely lad is still a keen hindu (which his mum hates !) and his half siblings are both non ethnic non religious kids.
He's a really grounded informed lad with spectacular values and not at all confused
Neither was forced on him, in fact he was turned against hindu when his mum remarried an oafish type
HTH in some way

Janh Sun 04-Apr-04 22:29:20

How old are they, busydad?

busydad Sun 04-Apr-04 22:38:47


my son is nearly 10, my daughter is nearly 7


thank you all for your advice so far... we have both read what you have said I gonna sleep on it and come back to you tomorrow

Janh Sun 04-Apr-04 22:42:28

Well I think at that age you could give them lots of information about *all* the religions, not just your 2, and see how they feel.

(Speaking as a family with no religion whatsoever but what I hope are good values and understanding of others.)

Freckle Sun 04-Apr-04 22:53:27

You may find that school will help in teaching about other faiths. I know that my boys have been learning about various faiths. In fact, having parents of different faiths is quite a healthy thing. It teaches them that there is no one way which is "right". That people can believe different things and still be good and caring people and get along.

busydad Sun 04-Apr-04 23:29:28

What answer do we give today, before the kids are old enough to decide? Say when you register them for a new school and you are asked about what their religion is? Or at the hospital? Or at the Doctor's?

I guess it should not matter if the kids are taught about both faiths? We should just pick any one of the two, right?

And if we do pick any one, will the kids not believe that that is their religion ? They too will have to fill in forms, answer questions from friends etc... as they are growing up.

Will saying to them that they have the right to chose not cause them to question their own identity? Will it not make them insecure / unsure of who they are?


GeorginaA Sun 04-Apr-04 23:38:44

I would have thought it would make them *more* secure, imo. Because you're basically saying to them "we think you are capable of making up your own minds, we think you are responsible enough to make that decision". I certainly don't think that ANYONE should have to make that decision over night. I think it shows a lot of respect for your children to allow them to make their own informed decisions.

Are there really that many forms where they have to declare their religion at that age? Could you not just leave it blank? Or write hindu/christian? Surely it's just to advise the school of any special circumstances (like time off for religious festivals etc).

mummytojames Sun 04-Apr-04 23:42:46

when your children get to a age where they can understand the differences in religions it should be left up to them to chose im christian my partners ethiest my ds will decide on his own accord what he wants out of religon and i will alway be there to support him and answer any questions hes got as i bet you and your wife will with yours

busydad Sun 04-Apr-04 23:53:04

I imagine my son or daughter in the playground....

George says " What religion are you .. ?"

Option 1. My son / daughter says "Hindu/Christian"

Option 2. My son / daughter says either "Hindu" or "Christian"

Option 3. "I will make up my mind when I am older"

I don't know which option sounds best to you. My feeling is that a direct respose ie Option 2 allows the conversation to continue with the other child "normally" without being asked further questions...which would make my son / daughter feel "wierd"...and thus could affect their self-confidence.

May be directing them to say one religion now would help them. We could continue to teach them about both faiths. And when they are older we could then tell them that they can choose.....?

GeorginaA Sun 04-Apr-04 23:55:37

How about Option 4: "What's it to you?"

Honestly, do people really ask that often? Especially in the playground? Surely which football team/popstar/etc your child supports is the bigger issue?!

Also, in the playground you're not going to be there. Your child will find their own response without you needing to prime them with the "right" answer before hand!!

bloss Mon 05-Apr-04 04:59:32

Message withdrawn

Blackduck Mon 05-Apr-04 06:23:07

MY brother and sil are like you only the other way round (she' hindu, he's christian), answer: let them decide for themselves. They take part in ceremonies and festivals from both cultures...they DO however, say my mum is this and my dad is that - what's the problem with that?

motherinferior Mon 05-Apr-04 09:25:09

Busydad, I do see your dilemma but I think we all make our faith decisions. We decide for ourselves which of the options on offer to us suit our beliefs and ethics. My dp's father was Muslim, his mother is Christian; he doesn't belong to either faith entirely, but there are certainly certain aspects of being a Muslim with which he identifies and feels comfortable. One of my Indian aunts grew up with Hindu/Christian parents at a time when it really was quite unusual and, again, did I think negotiate her own solution.

I also think today's schools are crammed with kids whose parents come from wildly different cultures and religions.

I'm probably quoting Gandhi slightly wrong, but he said 'if you are Hindu, be a good Hindu. If you are a good Muslim or Christian, be a good Muslim or Christian'. I do not, myself, interpret that as 'stick to the dogma' but 'be a good person'.

Mind you, I followed both my parents' beliefs. They're culturally tolerant atheists

busydad Mon 05-Apr-04 19:37:42

It seems as though most comments suggest that the children should learn about both faiths and cultures and make their own decision later on in life. We have done this so far and will contune to do so. Going forward I think we will celebrate both faiths / cultures MORE not less

I guess it IS ok to say that "my mother is ... and my father is...". Those are, after all, the facts. I was worried that not giving the kids direction early on would mean that they may be confused about their "identity" and that that may affect their self confidence...Of course the kids get all the love and attention at home. That will help.

Thank you all for your kind advice.

kiwisbird Mon 05-Apr-04 19:47:45

bit hard trying to 2nd guess the conversations your child will have... It's less of an issue than you may think, religion is covered widely at school now, my son who is 10 knows many aspects of judaism and Hindu, Muslim and Hare Krishna - Buddhist faiths
I don't imagine many theological or secular debates at that age... or beyond either. Might be better left a bridge to cross when time comes perhaps?

fisil Mon 05-Apr-04 19:58:34

I've come to this a bit late, but for what it's worth ... we're in a slightly different situation in that dp is atheist and I am christian. We decided that our children should have the choice about their own religion, as we both felt that we have had. We were both brought up as christians, dp rejected it, I accepted it. So we decided that the only real way to present a choice is to give our son something to reject. Therefore he comes to church with me every week and if I put him to bed he says prayers with me. We held a service of thanksgiving in our church when he was born which we designed to be accessible to everyone, and appointed friends, a couple with similar beliefs as ours to look out for him and answer his difficult questions. But it is up to him when he is older to decide whether to be baptised, chose another religion or to be atheist.

So I guess what we've done is to accept each other's faith/lack of faith, but to keep his options open! It was easier for us to opt for this as it was a choice of something or nothing. But I find it an easy choice as I believe very deeply, and so I believe that ds will make the right choice when he's older. I think dp feels the same, although interestingly there is no sense of competition about it.

acnebride Mon 05-Apr-04 20:15:38

Sorry, another late poster! I'm Christian/agnostic and my partner is Jewish - we agreed to bring up our ds, now all of 12 weeks old, to be Jewish from a mixed faith background. We felt that we wanted him to have a single religious identity; I was happy to pick Judaism as my dp is more religious than me. Handy book - Til Faith Do Us Part by Rabbi Jonathan Romain - about mixed faith marriages rather than purely about bringing up children but includes a good section on mixed faith parents. Clearly he's writing from a Jewish perspective but does not just include half Jewish couples.

I don't think there is any such thing as a right answer tho.

busydad Wed 07-Apr-04 14:15:48

Thank you all for your help

WSM Wed 07-Apr-04 14:39:31

acnebride, just a quickie. How is it possible to be Christian/Agnostic ? Surely you are either a Christian or an agnostic, as the definition of an agnostic is one who thinks it impossible to know the truth in matters such as God and the future life with which Christianity and other religions are concerned. Or, if not impossible, at least impossible at the present time ?

I am an athiest which puts me into the 'non-believer' camp, but surely your agnostic thoughts cancel out your Christian ones and vice-versa ?

Please don't take offence, I am just interested to see the dynamics of your Christian/Agnostic faith.

allybongo66 Thu 30-Mar-17 03:28:40

Where do I start!!!
My eldest daughter (26) is pregnant with her second child - she split up with the father of her 1st child when her daughter was about 1 - she has been in a relationship with her muslim boyfriend for 5ish years and her daughter calls him daddy - she is basically not religious just does the normally xmas, easter etc. He is a practicing muslim though not devout but does the usual religious stuff - mosque on a friday etc. She has told me that the baby is going to be brought up a muslim and is going to have a muslim name aswell ( we are white british). I know it makes me sound racist but I'm defininately not. I have issues with her decision- how can you bring one child up basically atheist and another muslim? How will that play out with the older sister? Is she going to feel pushed out, different? I would prefer that its not brought up with any religion and for the child to make the choice when it's at an age where it can understand the cultural and religious differences and not be forced to follow one path or another. Is one child going to be allowed to eat what she wants and the other only Halal? One child eating pork the other not! It seems like its going to be a total minefield! Also in all the years she has been with him she has not met one member of his family - which I find strange but have been told that they are only introduced to the family when they plan to get married! I feel it's a bit of a kick in the teeth to us as her family that it won't be brought up like us but I suppose I'm just being selfish in that respect, but I do feel that she hasn't thought it through properly. Is there anyone else who's been through this dilemma? Advice and reassurance would be greatly appreciated!

quicklydecides Thu 30-Mar-17 04:14:24

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