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How do I handle religious differences with my ex?

Dear Dan,

So, my son’s father was remarried a few weeks ago. The new wife is VERY religious, and my son’s dad is becoming a lot more religious than I ever knew him to be. I am not against this, I am open to them teaching my son different and new things… but with me being not religious at ALL (spiritual, yes) it has caused a few issues.

The main one was recently was when my son came home and told me that “C” (the new wife) told him that God made him, and I had nothing to do with that process since I was un-wed. My son is 4 and I was kinda dumb-founded when he told me this and I really didn’t know what to say (although I wanted to say a few choice things to this woman). I don’t know how to handle it and I am not sure what to say to my son. I don’t want this woman filling his head with these kinds of things either. Help!!!

Thanks, Non-Religious Mom

9 comments
lissapell
lissapell

children are very impressionable. Your reaction to these situations is much more important than the differences between co-parents.

MollyCarknardCannon
MollyCarknardCannon

My ex married a religious woman, and had our marriage annulled in the Catholic church so he could remarry, effectively rendering our son illegitimate in the eyes of the church, which he then told to our son. Imagine how fun that was to explain! Just be honest with your child how you feel and what you believe, and let him know that it's ok to make your own choices.

nadiaparker
nadiaparker like.author.displayName 1 Like

My husband and I are on the other side of your problem. We are both very religious (and spiritual; yes, you can be both :) ) and their mother has rejected the religion she was raised with (the same one we belong to) and seems to have no spirituality in her home at all. None of the kids attend any kind of church, and we don't force them when they are with us. With the youngest 15 years-old, it would be a bit pointless and frustrating to try that tactic. But we very openly live our religion and have discussions about beliefs. We ask the kids why they feel or believe what they do. And we share why we feel and believe what we do. We don't ask what goes on at their mom's house. We know that they get pressure from her side of the family about religion (they also belong to the same religion as me and my husband). Our hope is that they make good decisions, have supportive friends, and know that we will love them no matter what they believe or don't believe.

Forcing a particular religious belief (or non-belief) on a child doesn't work. As Dan said, they will figure out for themselves what they believe. Sometimes it will be what you believe, and sometimes it won't.

Only Lurking
Only Lurking like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Sometimes you have to remember to take what a child repeats with a grain of salt. The child is 4 and it is easy to take one piece of what someone says and completely make it into something else. The step-mom might not have meant anything like it came out sounding from the 4 year old. I would not make a big deal out of that one thing. Don't use it as an excuse to be defensive. Agree with everything else Dan said!

Stormyz Mom
Stormyz Mom like.author.displayName 1 Like

What the heck does being unmarried have to do with whether or not a woman had anything to with "making" this child? Sorry but that is too far out there for me to understand and I though I had heard all the weird religious nonsense.

caroline;)
caroline;)

@Stormyz Mom i know this is crazy but some not all religions teach that a child born out of wedlock is a bastard child and is condemned to hell. I have had the great pleasure to be informed by my grand parents as a child because I was a bastard. LOL

Stormyz Mom
Stormyz Mom like.author.displayName 1 Like

@caroline;)

How horrible for you. I can not imagine the pain that caused you.

My 1st born was born early but was still a good size baby at 6lbs 14 ozs. My grandmother told everyone that he could not be 'Premature" because he weighed too much. If he was not premature then he was conseived outside of wedlock. I could not believe someone from my own family spread this nonsense around the neighborhood. She based her opinion on old defination of premie = under 5 lbs. I almost lost that baby because his liver was not fully developed and then I had to hear this? Needless to say this Great grandmother did not get to enjoy time with this baby.

caittscott
caittscott

She would have been absolutely shocked by my twin boys who were born at 36 weeks, weighing 7lbs 6oz, and 6lbs, respectively.... Glad I was married a long time before they came along. LOL What a silly witch.

caroline;)
caroline;) like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Stormyz Mom God bless Grandmas and then they wonder why no one visits them in the old folks home. Glad to hear you kept your baby away from her toxic poison! I'm also glad your baby survived.