Being questioned by your children (When you don't know how to answer them)

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by NorCal, Sep 4, 2021.

  1. NorCal

    NorCal Active Member

    Calling all parents. My 7 year old has been learning about religion in school. I didn't grow up in a religious household, so I have zero knowledge base to tap in order to answer her questions.

    I'm an extremely cynical person. As being a combat veteran I've seen the best (and worst) of humanity. So I am on the no nonsense/ bias/ judegmental side of the spectrum. If my kids arrive at that place naturally, I'm okay with it. I'm just not trying to download any of my B.S. onto them.

    Any advice when your kids start that Q&A phase of their childhood? What do you do?
  2. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    That’s certainly a discussion for parents. With kids the same age, while they’re not learning about religion in school, I’m personally pretty open and strive to not be cynical when they ask questions about things I don’t believe in. Also encourage them to see the beauty of different views, maintain critical thinking, and gently share my thoughts when prodded.
  3. NorCal

    NorCal Active Member

    That's exactly what I'm trying to strive too. But not my strong suit being a very cynical person by nature. My wife was raised in a religious household, so I've been telling her to "talk to her mother." But deep down, it feels like a cop out. I should be able to address these questions; I just don't know what I'm talking about in this arena, and I don't want to imprint my own personal bias onto a child.
  4. SpoonyNix

    SpoonyNix Active Member

    Mine are 14 and 11. I pretty much go along with what Vonnegut said.
  5. Rachel83az

    Rachel83az Well-Known Member

    I would suggest encouraging her to read religious literature from different religions, within reason. I grew up in a religious community where all of the other denominations were "evil" and reading things like the Koran or the Pali Canon were, at best, heavily discouraged. All you needed to know was that they were wrong and that you should listen to the pastor.

    Now, I'm not saying that you should allow her to read the... spicier bits of religious texts, so you'll have to screen the books before giving them to her. But that could be a good bonding experience. She asks you a question, you answer with either "I'm not sure, let's find out together." or "I'm not sure, I'll have to look into that and I'll let you know in X days." You don't necessarily have to believe everything in order to say "Well, Buddhists and Hindus believe in reincarnation but Christians, Jews, and Muslims believe something else."
  6. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Although there are some theologically liberal Christians who believe in reincarnation, seeing it as a way that God can be both just (requiring belief for salvation) and merciful (allowing all His children to be saved).
  7. Acolyte

    Acolyte Active Member

    I think it's important to be honest with kids about who you are. That doesn't mean that you can't support your wife's position or the school's position. Not that you need my permission, lol - But IMHO it's okay to say that you don't know and you are comfortable not knowing, and that you think it's important for the kids to explore those beliefs, that it is good that they are asking questions, and that maybe you can learn from each other, etc. It's hard when one parent has a very rigid religious identity and the other does not, but again, IMHO that is something that you and your wife should discuss on how you are going to present this aspect of life to the kids. Good luck.
  8. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I'm reminded of the quote from H.L. Mencken: "We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart."

Share This Page