guidelines for child-rearing
As a parent, I have a responsibility to equip my offspring to deal with life in an effective way. Lots of people feel this way about parenthood, and fear for their little ones being influenced by dangerous ideas they know are wrong. Now, I have a pesky habit of arrogantly thinking I’m right all the time. I’ve noticed a lot of other people feel this way too, and I’m quite sure we can’t all be right. Therefore, someone is wrong. I don’t think it’s me, but then no-one else thinks it them. How do we resolve this dilemma?
1. feel free to discuss your dearly held beliefs with your children, but present them as an opinion, not fact, e.g. I will tell my child I don’t believe invisible deities exist in another dimension but that many people in the world do believe this to be the case.
2. allow your child to mix with other children from different backgrounds and receive instruction from adults who aren’t like you, e.g. don’t homeschool your children and restrict their input to what you know or what they can find on the strictly controlled computer.
3. let your child choose to do things that interest them, not things that interest you, e.g. take your child to a library and let them choose the books, don’t pick out books you think they should be reading OR if they don’t like reading, take them to the park.
4. encourage your child to analyse situations and think critically, e.g. discuss issues for which there are no ‘correct’ answers (even if you secretly think there are), explore different opinions and listen to their take on the subject.
5. brace yourself for them turning out to be the opposite of what you’d imagined and accept that it’s their life.
If you are unable to follow these simple guidelines, consider retraining as a computer programmer and buy a robot.
Are you suggesting those unable to follow these simple rules should consider have a robot for a baby? I guess they would still hurt robots, I was going to propose they become hermits
How callous of me! You’re completely right. 🙂
I wonder if you would be willing to offset telling your child you do not believe in deities with taking her to Sunday School or synagogue or letting her explore Buddhist chants? By not doing any of these things, aren’t you doing the equivalent of a devoutly “religious” parent choosing her child’s library books?
You can’t really know anything about religion by knowing some people are religious any more than you can know anything about atheism because you know some people don’t believe in gods.
The reality is that children reflect, to a large degree, the good and bad of their parents. My hope is that atheists and religious people are all trying to show their children more good than bad.
I beg to differ. Unlike the myth of Santa Claus for instance, religion is based on lies propagated as truth. Some withstand the nonsense and reject it, as most of us do with Santa Claus or the local cultural equivalent. Yet many do not, and the world reaps the blighted corn religion has produced.
Normal people would not consider it right to raise a child to be a Holocaust denier so why flirt with crap such as religion when the option is available to simply tell the truth?
A child brought up in a stable, caring environment has no need for religion and will cope with any nonsense they get from their peers. In fact, it will likely be the children of religious parents that will have all the explaining to do if they are exposed to any atheist friends.
Then the midden will hit the windmill, and good job too!
Ark, I was just wondering, are either (I think you have two?) of your kids not atheists?
My children are not atheists..
Your reply reflects your objections to Christianity; but there are other religions.
And while the Christian god or the Muslim god or the Hindu gods may not be the “true” god, atheists cannot prove that there is NO god; they just have their “faith” that one does not exist.
My daughter still believes in Santa Claus, but she will learn that Santa does not really exist as a person in a red suit that goes around Christmas Eve delivering presents to all the good little boys and girls. And even after she stops believing, she will still, I am sure, enjoy Santa and all that he stands for. Most of us do not try and keep children from enjoying Santa as real during their early child-hood and most of us do not try and keep our children from reading about Santa because he is not real.
A person brought up in a stable, caring environment has no need to learn about WWII, or Greek Mythology, or the Middle Ages, or a host of other things, but we expose them to these things to enrich their knowledge of the world and its history.
But not every child is reared in a loving, caring, nurturing environment and not every atheist feels compelled to help those less fortunate. I, for one, am thankful that many religious people (though not enough of them) feel compelled to care for the suffering peoples of the world.
Caring and empathy have nothing to do with religion; which based on history and even current events clearly demonstrate that they are almost mutually exclusive. I mentioned Christianity merely because, like you, it was what I was brought up with it. I have the same objections to all religions and all gods.
Your silly man-god and the accompanying doctrinal diatribe is nothing special, believe me.
Teaching children about WWII is not necessary, yet it is part of human heritage and warning them about such atrocities as the Holocaust, which incidentally was largely rooted in hatred for the Jews because they were the killers of the character Jesus,can only be good to enlighten them of the potential disasters religion is capable of fostering.
To advocate bringing children up in a religious environment merely demonstrates an immaturity and ignorance that stunts growth and restricts critical thinking.
Despite you trying to relegate me to the dark cave of immaturity and ignorance, I will continue to believe that exposing my child to Jesus is neither harmful to her, you, or my community. She has an inkling of what I believe, but I do not push her to any personal proclamation of a personal relationship with Jesus. I happen to believe that that is a personal response to a calling felt in the heart.
If she does not hold my beliefs at some time in the future, I will not be overcome with grief because no one can come to a personal relationship through anyone else; god or man. That will always be between her and god. I do hope, however, that if she chooses atheism, she will have learned enough good manners than to call people names who believe differently than she does.
Also, by choosing to focus solely on the Holocaust (which was much more than Jews being Jesus killers and I would argue that Hitler was more an atheist than he was a Christian) or the Crusades or the Inquisition (both of them terrible blights on Christianity) you fail to see the many positive things that religious people do and have done from Mother Theresa to Ghandi. Also, will you acknowledge that many atrocities have been perpetrated by atheists (even if you do not want to acknowledge Hitler as a brethren – who does) such as Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong? China, even today, is not known for its valuing of human rights and is effectively an atheist nation.
Being an atheist, or upholding atheist beliefs, does not rid the world of evil or ignorance or immaturity.
You berate me for suggesting you are ignorant yet you raise the spectre of Mother Theresa? How odd, and then throw the old canard about atheists being bigger murderers that religious folk. Oh, dear. Again, more ignorance.
And worse, you have the temerity to suggest I would consider Hitler “brethren”.
My goodness, did you get out of the wrong side of the bed today?
Ah, I get it. This must be an example of that warm generous enlightened and good mannered Christian heart you have been going on about, yes?
Dear oh dear….
”Being an atheist, or upholding atheist beliefs, does not rid the world of evil or ignorance or immaturity.”
Of course not! What a nonsensical thing to say.
But ridding the world of religion is one step in the right direction of bridging cultural divides, removing fear of stupid supernatural beliefs, stamping out the heinous crimes and ongoing abuses perpetrated by members of the Catholic church, the subjugation of women in all religions, and removing one more reason to go to war, to name merely a few reasons.
The benefits for pushing for the eventual collapse of religion far outweighs any paltry benefits claimed by its adherents, who so often extend their helping hand with a tacit proviso.
I do not believe that a reasonable person would conclude that I “berated” you. The worst I did was restrainedly hint that you were being impolite. Am I wrong in concluding that atheists might not want their children to call other people names?
Convince me that removing all religion from the world would produce a better world or is even possible.
If saying that atrocities under Stalin or Mao Zedong are canards, then so are the examples you provided.
Ark, you continually practice the fine art of berating and belittling anyone who doesn’t agree with you, so I find it very interesting, indeed, that you would accuse me of the same.
And by the way, attacks against women and their rights is not the sole domain of Christian or even Muslim men and women. And just because someone professes to be a Christian or a believer of any other faith does not make them so. Their actions will speak louder than their proclamations. Does the fact that you like throwing around words like silly, immature, ignorant and liars speak to the character or quality of all atheists? Does it even do the whole “you” the proper service?
Slept just fine, thank you.
“Convince me that removing all religion from the world would produce a better world or is even possible.”
Rather than me offer you my opinion I recommend you do a little research into any country where the majority of its population has voluntarily eschewed religion. You will be surprised, I guarantee it.
‘If saying that atrocities under Stalin or Mao Zedong are canards, then so are the examples you provided.”
Atrocities committed under these regimes were because of political agenda, not atheism. The fact that Stalin etc were atheist is irrelevant. You might struggle to understand the distinction but it won’t diminish the truth.
”Ark, you continually practice the fine art of berating and belittling anyone who doesn’t agree with you, so I find it very interesting, indeed, that you would accuse me of the same.”
Religions and their adherents have had many thousands of years to find an equitable solution to the world’s ills and have failed dismally. Religion has almost always in the first instance been spread across the globe from behind the point of a sword. To deny this is to tacitly support belief systems that continue to subjugate humanity in the most insidious of fashions.
As your religion in particular considers that any non believer will go to hell I feel any ‘name calling’ is justified, especially if it calls attention the disgusting belief in the unworthiness of any non believer.
If you object , I suggest you arm yourself against it and start a course of critical thinking.That I believe is where you will find true enlightenment. And if you balk at this, may I suggest you visit a blog such as Nate’s and read his deconversion story. http://findingtruth.wordpress.com/
Then come back and plead your case for rearing children in a religious environment.
”Does the fact that you like throwing around words like silly, immature, ignorant and liars speak to the character or quality of all atheists? Does it even do the whole “you” the proper service?”
Switch and bait, I believe this is called. My response lies in the preceding paragraph.
You are being argumentative. I’m not trying to convert you. I don’t believe you are going to a burning hell and many other religions and religious people do not either. Yet, you would dismiss them all.
Can you give me one people, state, region, or country that has collectively chosen of their own accord to be atheist? I don’t have time to search for a needle in a haystack. However, a 2012 Gallup poll (if you take stock in such things) and reported in the Washington Post indicated that worldwide 13% of the world’s population identified as atheists. The highest share (47%) is in China, while Japan has 31%. The Czech Republic has the same color code as China, while France looks to be one color code down from Japan which I think equates to 20-29%. Are those countries better than others that identify as being more religious?
If a person is an atheist and does awful things to atheists and non atheists alike in advancement of their world view, I can blame that on their “religion” or lack thereof just as much as you can blame the opposite on other religions based on what individuals or groups of individuals do in the name of a religion. And if you can’t see that, then it is you who is not using reason.
In my opinion, you are more likely to be harmed in a society that demands “no religion” or expects you to adhere to “one religion”. A secular society that allows the free practice of no religion or the religion of your choosing produces the best society for all.
”In my opinion, you are more likely to be harmed in a society that demands “no religion” or expects you to adhere to “one religion”.
This is the most important point that needs to be addressed.
I am NOT talking about a society that demands ‘no religion”, which is just as bad as a society that has religion forced upon it., and this was the thrust of my comment concerning the spread of religion worldwide. It was NEVER voluntary. Read your history.
The communist regimes would never have had any need to ban religion if there was no religion in the first place!
”A secular society that allows the free practice of no religion or the religion of your choosing produces the best society for all.”
The danger/problem arises when an aggressive expansionist religion begins to flourish in a secular society and then demands to institute religious laws above secular laws.
Is this happening? What do you think? Hint: Sharia Law.
You continually perceive worldwide religion from a Christian perspective. How arrogant! Christianity has reached it (current) lofty position by initially liquidating most of the opposition in Europe and attempting to do so in the near middle east.
But then the protestants flee to North America, and we now have over 40,000 different denominations.
You are merely a bunch of sects maniacs it would seem.
Now Christianity considers itself top dog and is more or less able to languish in all its smug, conceited glory, Hallelujah. But wait….oops, up pops Islam.
Oh dear, and the Midden is already hitting the windmill.
Ah, yes, religion. I would say god help us, but the question is , which one?
That’s a nice idea about exposure to world religions, rather than just reading or watching on TV. I actually wasn’t thinking of religious parents in libraries, rather that parents in general can tend to direct their children’s attention to things they think they should be reading or doing, and not pay much attention to what the child wants to do if they’re personally not interested. There’s such an emphasis on achievement by our society’s standards, and even an unfortunate edge of competitiveness about what children do.
I realise I probably didn’t reflect on how difficult it is to state things without your personal judgement coming through. But I think that’s why number 4, critical thinking, is so important.
I happen to agree with you, especially on your first paragraph. I saw so much of that in public school; it was wearying. I am trying to get my daughter to give up something, but she is not ready to do that yet. At some point, I am going to have to help her make that decision (I think).
As to directing attention to what kids should be reading or doing; that is not all bad. When you see second graders being given picture books to read, it is not a hard decision to want to put good literature in their hands.
It is a balancing act. I believe in letting kids explore their interests, but I also believe it is important for kids to learn about working hard at something; not just the things that they are most interested in or excel at naturally.
Having re read my last comment I realise it lacked a solution the problems of religion.
One cannot ban religion; it will eventually collapse, but there is no harm in gently giving it a nudge in the right direction. One can neither force compliance to atheism. To do so would ensure one becomes what one hates.
However, as the insidious nature of religious is inculcated from birth, it would be just to pass laws that prevent children undergoing such practices as baptism or circumcision until they are adults and are capable of making an informed choice.
I often wonder how many women would subject themselves to genital mutilation in the name of their religion? I would wager, pretty much none. And a fair proportion of men would balk at circumcision too I suspect.
Critical thinking should be taught as a mandatory school subject.
This is crucial, and before long children would soon see for themselves how they have been lied to regarding religion.
Creationism and any of it derivatives should be banned from being taught as factual at school.
I would prefer that these topics be banned outright, and especially ACE schools, however, one must be realistic. One small step at a time right?
All religious organisations should be subject to taxation like any other business.
Not perfect, but a good start.
I agree with all of the points you’ve presented in this post. It reminds me of the different types of parenting I learned about in my psychology class last year – loose, authoritative, and authoritarian. Loose parents (there was another name for this one, but I forget it… oops) just let their children do whatever they please without guiding them or aiding them. Authoritarian parents dictate their children’s lives and force them to do what the parents wish – the children of these parents are punished without explanation. Authoritative parents have guidelines and explain them to their children; they have many of the qualities you’ve highlighted in this post. I feel like this is a post I will come back to in the future, great work!
You okay? Been four days….
Aw, thank you for noticing my absence! 🙂 Been really busy, and made me realise I don’t actually have time for obsessive blogging habits. I need to think how I can keep it up while managing to do other things.
Yes, I know what you mean. I work at a computer so I have at least a half-arsed excuse.
I have no idea what you do, but with a young child you’re ‘reasons’ have to be a ,lot stronger than mine!
How’s haggis land?
Well, I’m neglecting looking for work, neglecting playing with my child and neglecting many other things when I’m blogging. Probably not a good idea in the long run. 🙂 It’s a bit chilly here, but generally enjoyable. Let me know when your sun bird photos are up and I’ll come running!
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