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Need some Christian advice

(22 Posts)
GillBates Tue 26-Mar-13 10:22:46

I have 3 DCs and a lovely childminder who looks after my 1yo during the day and my 5yo and 7yo after school 3 days a week. I have been using her since we moved here 3 years ago and she is great with the children, very loving and caring.

During my maternity leave I have been taking my 1yo to a toddler group based at a church. I am a Christian but this toddler group isn't "churchy" in any way i.e. there are no bible stories, singing or anything. My 5yo and 7yo also go to a church after-school group 1 day a week, where there is some bible teaching but it is very relaxed and the children can choose whether to listen to it or play somewhere else in the church hall.

Anyway, the CM has been coming up with some odd excuses about why she can't take my 1yo to the same toddler group e.g. she didn't have any money to pay for it (its 50p and she would charge this to me anyway) or that she's been told by her friends that it isn't a very nice toddler group etc etc. She also won't let her DCs go to the church after-school club and also had some odd excuses why. I asked her about it again today as something just didn't ring true with what she was saying, and she has now said that she won't go into or anywhere near a church as she thinks that they are full of paedophiles!

I kind of stood there with my mouth open and didn't know what to say. Now of course it is entirely up to her what her children do and what she believes but I am feeling really uncomfortable with the idea that the person looking after my DCs has such strong negative views about the church, when me and my family are devout Christians (CofE by the way, not Catholic in case anyone is wondering).

I have lots of friends who are atheists or agnostics and we can respect each others views, but I am really struggling with the fact that she won't even go to a toddler group because it is held in a church building, and because she thinks that my church is full of paedophiles. Should I talk to her about this? What do I even say?! Help!

hiddenhome Tue 26-Mar-13 11:26:01

I guess, because she's not an employed nanny, you can't really insist that she takes your dcs to these groups. I'm very sad to hear that she has these views. It sounds like she is very misinformed and prejudiced against churches in general.

You can either try to give her some information about what you believe and then follow it up with some conversation or continue to raise your children as you are and do your church activities and teach them the faith within your home or find another childminder who would be prepared to take them to these groups.

If you do decide to stick with your current one, she must be told that she should definitely not verbalise her personal thoughts about your faith in front of your dcs, as you are paying her for a service, and she should respect your faith just as she would need to respect dietary or medical issues that your dcs may have.

GillBates Tue 26-Mar-13 15:56:44

Thanks. I'm not really worried about what groups she goes to, its just the reason for not going that bothers me.

I'm not sure whether having a conversation with her about it is a good idea or not. I don't want her to think that I'm trying to alter her opinion, which of course she is entitled to. I'm just still reeling a bit from her conviction that our lovely local church is full of paedophiles, having never even set foot in there, and all on the basis that some Catholic priests are paedophiles. It just seems such an ignorant and prejudiced stance that I don't know where to start with it. I mean, the fact that there are some teachers who are paedophiles doesn't mean that she won't send her children to school, does it? I am worried that if I start talking about it with her I'm going to get angry and upset, and I don't see how I could convince her that the local baby group isn't full of paedophiles! I mean, there aren't even any men in there!

I'm also worried that she has lied to me about all the reasons she didn't want to take DD to the toddler group, rather than tell me the real reason. I am paying this woman a lot of money to look after my DCs and I want to be able to trust her. I feel very odd about it all now, and I'm not sure how best to address it with her.

I've also just remembered that her DD was playing in a school concert at the church and she didn't go and watch and her DD was really upset. She never explained why she didn't go but now I think it must be because it was held in the church.

I'm feeling really confused about it all and I don't know how to act around her now as I'm still really shocked.

specialsubject Tue 26-Mar-13 16:55:46

this is as bad as making similar assumptions about any group, religious or otherwise, because there are bad people in the group - all groups have bad people.

It appears that the childminder is at best not able of making reasoned judgement (i.e. ignoring the gutter press!) and at worst prejudiced. Do you want someone like this in charge of your children?

she may also think 'all muslims are terrorists', 'all Jews kill Christians' or the other horrible things that go round.

GillBates Tue 26-Mar-13 20:13:44

I know, that is what has really floored me. I am just shocked to think that anyone actually thinks like this, and it has made me feel very distrustful of her in general now. But she is in all other ways a lovely CM, has high standards and very loving towards my children. My only criticism would be that she isn't very good at discipline!

It has seriously made me reconsider leaving my DCs with her, but there aren't many other options. We can't afford a nanny and there aren't many good quality CMs around here. Also our 5yos are in the same class amd I don't want this to get out of hand and make things difficult at the school gate etc, we live in a small community.

I really don't know what to do about it. I need some time to think and not make a knee-jerk reaction.

Is there any point talking to someone who thinks like this? Should I just ignore it?

pisgah Tue 26-Mar-13 20:39:29

Couldn't you suggest she came with you to the toddler group? If as you say it is totally non religious anyway, then maybe that would be a good way to introduce her to a 'church'. I know quite a few people who feel the way your cm does about churches, and mostly it is just a fear of the unknown.

thanksamillion Tue 26-Mar-13 20:50:14

Is it possible that something has happened in her past which is manifesting itself in this belief? It seems quite extreme to not even be able to go to attend a concert that her DD was in because it was in a church building. I understand why you're so shocked but would advise that you tread carefully if you do raise it with her.

crescentmoon Tue 26-Mar-13 21:00:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GillBates Tue 26-Mar-13 21:12:55

The toddler group is on when I'm at work so it would be difficult for me to go, let alone persuade her to come with me! But the church has a Dads and Toddlers group once a month and her DH has refused to go as well. I'm actually not sure if this thinking comes from him or her or both of them.

thanks that's a good point. She's never mentioned anything but then she's never mentioned this before either! I really don't know if I should confront the issue or not.

crescent what do you mean?

CardinalRichelieu Tue 26-Mar-13 21:21:14

She sounds a bit dim tbh. How has she not worked out that paedophiles can be anywhere and have any job? I don't think she is exactly prejudiced against the church as such, she has just had a knee-jerk reaction, probably to some crappy paper article she's read.

Personally, as long as she is in other respects a good cm I wouldn't move the children. She's not going to be able t influence them that much. The 1 year old is tiny and the older ones are only with her a couple of hours a day. And she's not exactly likely to talk about anything disturbing to them. I would understand if you wanted to move them though

crescentmoon Tue 26-Mar-13 21:27:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GillBates Tue 26-Mar-13 21:39:32

I know, I know. Argh! I really don't know what to do. As I said before, I don't want to make a knee-jerk reaction because I'm upset, and I need to think about the children above all, and I really don't know if there are any other realistic childcare options out there.

I'm not going to see her until after Easter now so I have some time to think about it all. I really appreciate all your comments and advice. Keep them coming please!

hiddenhome Tue 26-Mar-13 22:12:16

Explain to her that teachers and doctors can be paedophiles too hmm Is she going to avoid mainstream education and medical care?

These people must be hysterical. I would seriously worry about leaving my dc with somebody who is of that mindset tbh.

Just a thought but prejudice against the church may not be the real reason she isn't taking your children into the toddler group they have been going to. She has come up with all sorts of excuses already. How do you know this isn't the latest one?

Does she plan to take them to any other toddler groups or is this an excuse to stay at home and out of the public gaze?

If your gut is uncomfortable with leaving your children with her - don't.

BlissfullyIgnorant Wed 27-Mar-13 08:35:52

Try to see it from her point of view. You do sound a bit evangelical about your faith (eg. wanting a play group in a church to offer Christian teaching, which they often don't) which can make others uncomfortable, particularly if they don't buy your brand or don't believe any of it.
Maybe she thinks you expect her to offer religious guidance, even if it's by proxy? How about making it clear that your DCs religious and spiritual guidance is your responsibility, not hers?

hiddenhome Wed 27-Mar-13 11:26:49

It is the OPs responsibility, but the CM shouldn't be so negative and prejudiced against it.

Stubbed56 Wed 27-Mar-13 13:05:39

This post made me feel really sad. I'm not a Christian, my children aren't christened and I wasn't married in church. But best friends of mine are committed Christians and I see nothing but the positivity and support that they get from their churches.

The toddler group in our village Methodist church is my favourite toddler group. Warm, friendly and inviting it was such a relief when I turned up with my 6 week old and someone would bring me a biscuit and cup of tea.

As he got older, they continued to make us feel welcome with high chairs, snacks suitable for weaning, all especially brought in, and good quality toys.

They do craft activity and songs, and yes, bible stories and prayers. I don't mind this at all - why would anyone mind teaching their children to think of others and forgiveness etc? It never did me any harm and at the very least teaching children that other's people religions are not evil can only be a good thing.

As for your child minder, unless she is implying that you are a peadophile then I would just leave it. I personally think she's totally wrong but I'm not sure convincing her would be successful.

creamofmushroomsoup Wed 27-Mar-13 13:28:22

Umm…do you think she might feel this way about an anglican church because some anglican priests have been paedophiles too. Sadly they are found in many environments. I’m not suggesting she is right, far from it, but before you accuse someone else of being prejudiced, maybe you ought to check what you are saying doesn’t also betray a prejudice too…

GillBates Wed 27-Mar-13 14:01:04

thegreenheart I think this is what bothers me, she seems to be constantly lying to me. Whether this reason is actually now the truth of it or not (and actually going to the toddler group isn't the real issue here anyway) she isn't being honest with me and that is what really bothers me. It makes me wonder what else is she being dishonest about?

She does take my 1yo to other toddler groups, so that isn't an issue.And has taken my older ones to groups in the past too, but now that I come to think of it, she has never taken any of them to a toddler group affiliated to a church (and around here the vast majority of toddler groups are held in churches).

Blissfully I am confused as to what I have said that makes you think I am being evangelical. I have never said that I wanted the toddler group to offer Christian teachng. What makes you think that? And she certainly doesn't think I expect her to offer religious guidance! I have used her 3 years now and this has never been an issue before.

Stubbed it is good to hear that you have enjoyed the toddler group at church and that you don't mind the Christian teaching. I totally understand if someone did feel uncomfortable about this. What I find difficult to understand about my CM is it seems enough that the group is held in a church building that she refuses to go near it.

Cream I mentioned Catholic priests because that is what the CM said to me i.e. Catholic priests have been found to be paedophiles therefore all churches are full of paedophiles therefore toddler groups held in a church are at risk of paedophiles.

I'm sure that there are anglican priests who have been found to be paedophiles, in fact I'm sure that there are paedophiles in all walks of life. Unfortunately it seems to be the Catholic priest paedophiles who get most of the press. After all, its not such sensationalist news if "forklift truck driver found to be a paedophile".

Stubbed I think you are probably right and its not worth talking to her about as I can't see anythiing I say changing her mind, and I don't want to come across as defensive or pushy. However, I still feel uncomfortable about her having been dishonest with me.

Gingerdodger Wed 27-Mar-13 20:45:15

I suppose depends on how this prejudice manifests itself. It is just a refusal to take the children to a given playgroup and she is otherwise great and your children benefit from being with her then maybe you just have to be clear that you don't want anti church views expressed to them.

I think I would be wary though of someone who expressed any kind of prejudice, regardless of whether it was 'against' me looking after my children as I would want to be clear they weren't exerting undue influence on my kids.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Wed 27-Mar-13 21:28:07

Do you not think that the CM is entitled to her beliefs? If she doesn't want to go into a church then it would be unreasonable to expect her to. I don't particularly like going into churches, not for the same reasons I might add, but where's all the 'Christian respect for others' gone. Or does it only apply if you agree with the individual's views?

GillBates Wed 27-Mar-13 22:19:14

Um...Pedro...I have said a number of times that she is entitled to her opinion. I also said that I am not bothered whether she goes to this toddler group or not. And that I have many friends who are atheist/agnostic and that I respect their views. I am not trying to get her to go to church! I am just uncomfortable with the person who I have entrusted to look after my children (a) lying to me and (b) having such an extreme negative view of my faith/local church which, as far as she has explained, has a very poor basis, and the implications that that has on how she behaves around my children. How am I being the one who is disrespectful here?

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