How do those of you in mixed faith marriages raise your kids?

This is for encouragement, ideas, and support for people going through a faith transition no matter where you hope to end up. This is also the place to laugh, cry, and love together.
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stuck
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How do those of you in mixed faith marriages raise your kids?

Post by stuck » Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:04 pm

For me I have sort of let my wife take the lead in how things go with the church with our kids. As a result she has made sure that they attend church whenever possible, tries to read scriptures to them daily and etc. Ideally I would like for her to allow me to share an alternative view on things but it seems that that may cause friction? Has anyone successfully been able to raise their kids in a mixed faith marriage in a way where both viewpoints are taught to the kids?

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Culper Jr.
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Re: How do those of you in mixed faith marriages raise your kids?

Post by Culper Jr. » Thu Nov 18, 2021 1:29 pm

We came to the compromise that my daughter goes to seminary, but the activities are optional. My reasoning is that she can hear the most sympathetic version of Mormon history and doctrine and if she still decides to leave the church, it won't be because she didn't understand the choice. DW is good with that and seems to appreciate that. As far as the activities, if they are so great she is free to go to them.

Turns out, the youth programs now under Rusty are such a sh!tshow that the best thing I can do to get my kid out of the church is to make her go. She thinks seminary is BS and HATES the activities the few times she has gone. DW is bewildered as to why she doesn't love the church, and I'm not the bad guy, because I encouraged her to go.

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Linked
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Re: How do those of you in mixed faith marriages raise your kids?

Post by Linked » Thu Nov 18, 2021 2:24 pm

It is a struggle raising kids in a mixed faith marriage after a faith transition because the disaffected spouse not only doesn't feel church is important, in many cases they feel it is harmful. So the situation changes from both parents treating church activity as vital, similar to how getting an education is viewed, to the disaffected parent feeling like church is at least not vital and possibly even harming the children. And in many cases communicating that divide is difficult and painful.

Big Success: My DW and I have made an agreement where we go to church half the time. I go with her and she stays home with me, neither of us is ditching the family. The other half of the time I do a lesson at home and call it "Come Along with Me" because I offer companionship and don't demand obeisance. The lessons are varied, we have covered kindness, empathy, the true meaning of strength, the "elephant rider" metaphor, and other things. DW is welcome to do the lessons too and we talk about what lessons might be good for the kids.

Big Questionmark: My kids don't know that I don't believe. They are still pretty young and my DW's social needs require me to not be too open about my disaffection. I don't want to put them in a situation where they need to keep a secret. But I think I need to get my beliefs in front of the kids before they internalize too much of what the church teaches or they will be shocked by it, maybe feel betrayed, maybe think I am evil for my beliefs, and it could ruin our relationship. So at some point before they are ~12 I think we will need to cross that bridge.
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

Red Ryder
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Re: How do those of you in mixed faith marriages raise your kids?

Post by Red Ryder » Thu Nov 18, 2021 8:28 pm

Linked wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 2:24 pm

Big Questionmark: My kids don't know that I don't believe. They are still pretty young and my DW's social needs require me to not be too open about my disaffection. I don't want to put them in a situation where they need to keep a secret. But I think I need to get my beliefs in front of the kids before they internalize too much of what the church teaches or they will be shocked by it, maybe feel betrayed, maybe think I am evil for my beliefs, and it could ruin our relationship. So at some point before they are ~12 I think we will need to cross that bridge.
Sometimes all you need to say can be said by the things you don’t say.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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LostGirl
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Re: How do those of you in mixed faith marriages raise your kids?

Post by LostGirl » Sat Nov 20, 2021 2:25 pm

Our kids were already teenagers when I stopped believing and was ready to tell anyone about it. I think probably around 13 and 16. Despite me being worried that they were so believing that my doubts would break them, the older one had been secretly harbouring doubts and stopped going the minute I came clean with my own doubts. The younger one wasn't even that sold on the idea of god existing but was trying to make it work. We told them both that they were free to make their own choice and that they didn't have to follow either of us. So we pretty quickly went from a model Mormon family to both kids not attending and me only going for my husband.

It was really rough and there was a time where he felt ganged up on as he was now the odd one out. I give credit to him for not forcing the kids to stay and allowing them to develop their own views, especially when the older one has decided to try things that were previously off the table.

A few years on and it is still hard but family relationships have survived and my relationship with the kids is excellent.

For us the key was being honest with them and not forcing them one way or the other, but that only works when both parents are on board with that strategy. It's been hard enough for us, I can't imagine how hard it is when one parent still requires the kids to stick with the original plan. And I understand why the other parent would feel that is best for the kids and want to stick with it. I hate that the church puts so many in this position.

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Emower
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Re: How do those of you in mixed faith marriages raise your kids?

Post by Emower » Sun Nov 21, 2021 11:32 am

I'm pretty much in your same boat as far as kids go. I haven't really told my kids much, but they know something is up because I don't go and I drink coffee. My daughter came up to me at one point and asked if I was going to go to hell because I drank coffee. But my wife takes them to church and they go for friends. I'm essentially letting it happen with the knowledge that church is boring and not very compelling especially as a kid. When they get older i will share my specific issues with them, and we are raising them with enough critical thinking skills that in confident will allow them to make a pretty informed case. In the meantime I ask about things they get told at church and I correct where I feel it's needed. Usually my wife agrees that things need further explanation when that happens and we discuss with the kids. I offer my opinion, my wife offers hers and we let the kids go with the sometimes conflicting sometimes not explanation. My wife and I have expended considerable effort to get to this point between us however. At the end of the day, I'm happy with the man I am, and I have to acknowledge that the church had a big part in that so that helps me to be a little less worked up about the kids involvement.

dogbite
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Re: How do those of you in mixed faith marriages raise your kids?

Post by dogbite » Sun Nov 21, 2021 12:33 pm

If your spouse/partner will allow the emphasis on choice and respecting choice, this will solve itself. Kids who want to go will, those who don't may choose something else or nothing, or partial attendance at say sunday school or YM/YW for the social aspects. My kids disliked it all and chose other things than religion. Of course, some of my kids are trans and non-binary so the acceptance and treatment issues are clear.

You can require the kid to articulate their reason, but you can't just shut down their reason on your say so for most of their explanations. So if they say they want to forgo church to play video games, I can see that reason being inadequate. If they say they dislike the rigid conformity and exclusion of their friends (gay, other beliefs, whatever) I thiink that one has validity. Make them think it through and explain it.

However, if they offer a good reason, and then just play games, I can see that as problematic as well. You could assign alternative readings on ethics, morality, thinking, or such.

Be prepared to support them in alternate choices. Maybe they want to attend a different faith and need a ride there and back. That strikes me as reasonable.

stuck
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Re: How do those of you in mixed faith marriages raise your kids?

Post by stuck » Wed Nov 24, 2021 1:26 pm

Culper Jr. wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 1:29 pm
We came to the compromise that my daughter goes to seminary, but the activities are optional. My reasoning is that she can hear the most sympathetic version of Mormon history and doctrine and if she still decides to leave the church, it won't be because she didn't understand the choice. DW is good with that and seems to appreciate that. As far as the activities, if they are so great she is free to go to them.

Turns out, the youth programs now under Rusty are such a sh!tshow that the best thing I can do to get my kid out of the church is to make her go. She thinks seminary is BS and HATES the activities the few times she has gone. DW is bewildered as to why she doesn't love the church, and I'm not the bad guy, because I encouraged her to go.
Yeah, I guess you could argue that being informed with what the church does and doesn't teach is a good thing to help one decide. But like has been said, the church today is different from what we grew up in. But that's good that she sees that seminary is BS--that's how I felt when I read the essay on Blacks and the priesthood.

stuck
Posts: 157
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Re: How do those of you in mixed faith marriages raise your kids?

Post by stuck » Wed Nov 24, 2021 1:29 pm

Linked wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 2:24 pm
It is a struggle raising kids in a mixed faith marriage after a faith transition because the disaffected spouse not only doesn't feel church is important, in many cases they feel it is harmful. So the situation changes from both parents treating church activity as vital, similar to how getting an education is viewed, to the disaffected parent feeling like church is at least not vital and possibly even harming the children. And in many cases communicating that divide is difficult and painful.

Big Success: My DW and I have made an agreement where we go to church half the time. I go with her and she stays home with me, neither of us is ditching the family. The other half of the time I do a lesson at home and call it "Come Along with Me" because I offer companionship and don't demand obeisance. The lessons are varied, we have covered kindness, empathy, the true meaning of strength, the "elephant rider" metaphor, and other things. DW is welcome to do the lessons too and we talk about what lessons might be good for the kids.

Big Questionmark: My kids don't know that I don't believe. They are still pretty young and my DW's social needs require me to not be too open about my disaffection. I don't want to put them in a situation where they need to keep a secret. But I think I need to get my beliefs in front of the kids before they internalize too much of what the church teaches or they will be shocked by it, maybe feel betrayed, maybe think I am evil for my beliefs, and it could ruin our relationship. So at some point before they are ~12 I think we will need to cross that bridge.
Congrats on being able to compromise on going to church 1/2 the time. That would be wonderful if I could pull that off!

stuck
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Re: How do those of you in mixed faith marriages raise your kids?

Post by stuck » Wed Nov 24, 2021 1:31 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 8:28 pm
Linked wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 2:24 pm

Big Questionmark: My kids don't know that I don't believe. They are still pretty young and my DW's social needs require me to not be too open about my disaffection. I don't want to put them in a situation where they need to keep a secret. But I think I need to get my beliefs in front of the kids before they internalize too much of what the church teaches or they will be shocked by it, maybe feel betrayed, maybe think I am evil for my beliefs, and it could ruin our relationship. So at some point before they are ~12 I think we will need to cross that bridge.
Sometimes all you need to say can be said by the things you don’t say.
I think you have experience with that right RR?

stuck
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Re: How do those of you in mixed faith marriages raise your kids?

Post by stuck » Wed Nov 24, 2021 1:34 pm

LostGirl wrote:
Sat Nov 20, 2021 2:25 pm
Our kids were already teenagers when I stopped believing and was ready to tell anyone about it. I think probably around 13 and 16. Despite me being worried that they were so believing that my doubts would break them, the older one had been secretly harbouring doubts and stopped going the minute I came clean with my own doubts. The younger one wasn't even that sold on the idea of god existing but was trying to make it work. We told them both that they were free to make their own choice and that they didn't have to follow either of us. So we pretty quickly went from a model Mormon family to both kids not attending and me only going for my husband.

It was really rough and there was a time where he felt ganged up on as he was now the odd one out. I give credit to him for not forcing the kids to stay and allowing them to develop their own views, especially when the older one has decided to try things that were previously off the table.

A few years on and it is still hard but family relationships have survived and my relationship with the kids is excellent.

For us the key was being honest with them and not forcing them one way or the other, but that only works when both parents are on board with that strategy. It's been hard enough for us, I can't imagine how hard it is when one parent still requires the kids to stick with the original plan. And I understand why the other parent would feel that is best for the kids and want to stick with it. I hate that the church puts so many in this position.
I guess there is something to be said of "honesty is the best policy" right?

stuck
Posts: 157
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:48 pm

Re: How do those of you in mixed faith marriages raise your kids?

Post by stuck » Wed Nov 24, 2021 1:41 pm

Emower wrote:
Sun Nov 21, 2021 11:32 am
I'm pretty much in your same boat as far as kids go. I haven't really told my kids much, but they know something is up because I don't go and I drink coffee. My daughter came up to me at one point and asked if I was going to go to hell because I drank coffee. But my wife takes them to church and they go for friends. I'm essentially letting it happen with the knowledge that church is boring and not very compelling especially as a kid. When they get older i will share my specific issues with them, and we are raising them with enough critical thinking skills that in confident will allow them to make a pretty informed case. In the meantime I ask about things they get told at church and I correct where I feel it's needed. Usually my wife agrees that things need further explanation when that happens and we discuss with the kids. I offer my opinion, my wife offers hers and we let the kids go with the sometimes conflicting sometimes not explanation. My wife and I have expended considerable effort to get to this point between us however. At the end of the day, I'm happy with the man I am, and I have to acknowledge that the church had a big part in that so that helps me to be a little less worked up about the kids involvement.
I agree too that the church has helped me be a better person. But, I suppose that they have also made me less of a good person by how they have been racist and homophobic and so forth. I like that you and your wife try to explain things to your kids to help them think critically. Thanks for sharing!

stuck
Posts: 157
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:48 pm

Re: How do those of you in mixed faith marriages raise your kids?

Post by stuck » Wed Nov 24, 2021 1:43 pm

dogbite wrote:
Sun Nov 21, 2021 12:33 pm
If your spouse/partner will allow the emphasis on choice and respecting choice, this will solve itself. Kids who want to go will, those who don't may choose something else or nothing, or partial attendance at say sunday school or YM/YW for the social aspects. My kids disliked it all and chose other things than religion. Of course, some of my kids are trans and non-binary so the acceptance and treatment issues are clear.

You can require the kid to articulate their reason, but you can't just shut down their reason on your say so for most of their explanations. So if they say they want to forgo church to play video games, I can see that reason being inadequate. If they say they dislike the rigid conformity and exclusion of their friends (gay, other beliefs, whatever) I thiink that one has validity. Make them think it through and explain it.

However, if they offer a good reason, and then just play games, I can see that as problematic as well. You could assign alternative readings on ethics, morality, thinking, or such.

Be prepared to support them in alternate choices. Maybe they want to attend a different faith and need a ride there and back. That strikes me as reasonable.
Thanks for your response! I like the idea of giving them a choice and respecting that--if it is appropriate like you said.

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moksha
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Re: How do those of you in mixed faith marriages raise your kids?

Post by moksha » Wed Nov 24, 2021 9:34 pm

I once took the kids with me to a Unitarian Church service. The way things worked at that time was the kids were with the adults for the first 10 minutes, then broke into their age classes to do some fun things.

Their LDS mother was incensed when she heard that. "How dare you take them to a cult", she screamed. Taking them to a church service that did not have any outlandish beliefs probably did seem cultish to a Mormon. How would they learn about the divinity of Church Authorities in such an environment?

Children have a tendency to choose their own way. Right now, most of them are opting out of the Church.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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Angel
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Re: How do those of you in mixed faith marriages raise your kids?

Post by Angel » Sat Nov 27, 2021 4:40 pm

moksha wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 9:34 pm

Children have a tendency to choose their own way. Right now, most of them are opting out of the Church.
My oldest came home for holidays, and announced they are in long-term relashionship with someone of the same birth-gender. They told me first for support, then told siblings and everyone together. It was hard for her father to take, he just stayed silent, said he felt sick, and hid in bedroom for a bit... So glad I'm out and was able to quietly support kiddo - I should have been more vocal in support, but walking on eggshells. By end of a few days together, everyone here is getting used to it. Will see how grandparents take it over Christmas.

So happy I'm out for kiddos.
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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