When you left JW, how did you help transition your kids?

by merfi 14 Replies latest jw experiences

  • merfi

    My situation: I DA'd this past March. The ex is still JW, in a city nice and far away so isn't able to give me any local grief. I have three kiddos, 8, 10 and 12. The 8yo (boy) could really give a crap, I think. He's the one who, during meetings, would draw out times tables on the graph paper I bought him... or draw whatever else etc. Anything but pay attention. I never discouraged this, TG.

    My 12yo is going through the motions fairly well, but I think does believe most of it. Only because she hasn't been given much opportunity to see the "other side" -- the truth about the "truth". I didn't turn off the video someone posted here about JW (can't remember what it's called... hour long and quite damning). She asked "is that against JW?" I told her, "no, it's truth about them." She was like.. "ok..." and kept watching. She has also read and seen Da Vinci Code, paints her nails black at home (picked it off at her dad's ) and is encouraged by me to "embrace your individuality!" as she's somewhat of a natural "hippie" and has been since tiny days. Loves rainbows, peace stuff, groovy things and swears she will own a Bug someday... In short, a very open-minded intellectual I have here.

    My 10yo is kind of dogmatic. ~sigh~ She gets a bit self-righteous and it's annoying. LOL A for instance: during the JW video, they mentioned the 144,000. She stuck up her nose, and said "yep!" in agreement. Didn't stick around for the argument against (not b/c she knew it was anti-JW vid, but there was something else to do...) She also said "no he didn't!" at the movie screen during DVC... so, she's kind of indoctrinated. On the other hand, she is very very social with her wordly friends.

    JW dad is at best, weak. I say this from a JW point of view... drives a convertable Mustang that's pimped out, shaves his head, wears weird silver jewelry and listens to techno (yes, he is odd). He's a slacker as far as studying for meetings, but is pretty good with and at FS. I think he somewhat romanticizes the whole JW thing, believing that it's the "best way of life for the kids" blah blah. But doesn't really live it himself... The kids are with him for the summer, except for "my" weekends. I haven't set foot in a KH since a Thurs eve of CO visit (and we left before that gaggy movie thing was done) and don't intend to again.

    So, anyone with experiences on what worked to help their kids "see the light" or ease them from "mom was a JW but she doesn't go to meetings... I don't know what to think?!" etc and so on. Any issues that came up during transition and how you dealt. Any and everything welcome!


  • KW13

    well, i can tell ya what it would mean to me if mum left.

    see with her being in the org its difficult for me to know her. at the moment its like she has two layers and the real her is also turned off right now. i know that she could enjoy her life really but she just has to make the jump.

    it'd be nice to have her real love and a great friendship rather than a conditional one through the organization.

  • merfi

    Hey KW...

    I think that's the route I've been instinctively taking. I'm a more funner mommy. LOL I no longer threaten, cajole... etc. I don't say "Jehovah wouldn't like that" or threaten "What would Joe & Dwight say?" (moron elders) even in joking (as it *mostly* was, but they knew there was a ring of truth to the veiled threat...) I no longer prod them to get ready for meetings (8yo going thru a thing of hating showers, stinky lil thing...) cuz we don't GO to meetings. I do lots more fun things with them, even if it's just sitting at home hanging out together, making brownies, watching Tommy Boy for the 1,000th time... we do more as a family now than we ever did as a JW "family". And interestingly, since my DA, the "friends" have pretty much dropped my kids, also. I feel sad for them, but at the same time, relieved as the benefits to this are twofold: no association and now the kids see 'conditional' love (sometime, someone somewhere is going to have an 'aha' moment and translate "agape" = "conditional" in old Hebrew or something ) And I'm letting them THINK and express without judging or correcting them. I know this is going to take a LOT of time and I only hope that I'm going down the right road with it. I have the added weight of having to deprogram them from the ex, too. But it's kind of funny -- when they come home, it's almost as though they can finally breathe.... and be themselves.

    I guess a part of this question is also -- what kind of rules to lay down? I've only known the stupid JW rules of parenting, and my own upbringin's were pretty "eh, whatever you wanna do Rach..." so I know there exists a balance between the two, I just need to find it. My own beliefs and thoughts right now are pretty agnostic, if not atheist. Even if it's a phase... I have a basic morality and ethics, but it's not defined by any religion. "Golden Rule" is the idea I live by, it seems, as it just makes sense. I think I'm in a way, trying to mold the kids into this as well...

    ramble ramble.

    Ok, sitting back, being quiet and letting you guys have a go...

  • AudeSapere

    My pain meds are kicking in so I can't remember specific strategies but there are a few people that come to mind who posted their experience with this. Maybe look back at some of their posts.

    Chris and Nina (BigTex and Cruzanhart)

    Ithinkisee and freedomlover

    panickattack (I think)

    someone else but can't remember just now...

    Ahhh nice pain pills


    Edited to add - I should have actually read your thread before posting. The people I mentioned above have a different circumstance than you. I forgot that your kids still have an active witness parent. My mistake. Sorry!! I'm going to go lay down before I cause more damage. -Aude.

  • blondie

    Divorce is hard on kids no matter how you cut it up. Add in the JW element and it can be a device the ex-spouse uses in a way to divide the children from the non-JW parent.

    My advice is to avoid talking bad about the non-JW parent. Realize that legally they may have the right to expose the child to the WTS nonsense. Just give the child an alternative, another choice. And love them.

    Blondie (grew up in a non-JW/JW home; divorced parents)

  • merfi
    My advice is to avoid talking bad about the non-JW parent. Realize that legally they may have the right to expose the child to the WTS nonsense. Just give the child an alternative, another choice. And love them.

    Yay! I'm doing this! My comments about the ex are never spoken in front of the kids or spoken to anyone who would say anything bad about him to the kids. Emails of vents and rants are on my side of the puter, as is this site and others where I've talked about him when he's irritated me. We remain friends, despite everything weird that happened in the divorce (been over three years since he's lived here) I realize that the kids love him, unconditionally... he's their father and on that pedestal. :) Which is how it should be. He's a really good dad to them, thank goodness.

    The alternatives that I'm putting before them isn't necessarily to convert them away from JW (even tho they're barely "in"), but to open their minds to all possibilities out there.

    I think I just threw all my "what I'm doing for/with the kids" here to see if you think I am doing ok.. (you know, that self-esteem thing...)


  • lovelylil

    Hi Merfi,

    I have two kids, a girl age 13 and a boy age 11. I wanted to leave before my hubby so what I did about a year ahead was to start deprogramming my kids. I told them that although they did learn some truth at the KH, some of it was only the opinions of men and not the only truth. When they asked me like what, I would give examples such as I would ask if they thought that all "worldly people" were bad, and why? Well, it turns out that they liked a lot of the kids at school and felt they were basically good and not evil. So I would say, that is one example where some of the "brothers" would exagerate the truth.

    I also told them I was sorry that I taught them the exagerations as if they were truth. And that I found out that God and Jesus are much more loving than we learned in the KH and that the future is good for their friends at school too. They liked this idea because they both said it made them afraid to think everyone would be destroyed that they knew and even their family who were not witnesses.

    It took time but I kept the communication open and let them know that in my case, I was not totally leaving God and the Bible but wanted to worship God in a different way for a while and that this would mean some changes. Like me not going to the meetings, etc. But it would mean good things too because they could have some school friends over and widen out in their associations.

    Basically, I used the JW terminology but against the society. I also asked the kids what they liked and disliked about attending meetings, conventions, field service, etc. And I told them it was o.k. if they didn't like any of it, I would not get mad and they could tell me why. It turns out most of the routine they were doing just for me and their dad anyway.

    My hubby flipped out at first especially when the kids decided to stay home with me on meeting nights. But it was more because of his ego then actually wanting them to become JWs because he never trained them spiritually anyway. I always did. One thing that worked in my favor is a was never a staunch Witness, I was always open minded. I had my bible studies over to my home for dinner, movies, etc. Even very early on. So my kids got to see a difference between the Witnesses and the outside world.

    My daughter who is older, did have depression problems but that was because of being a Witness. Once we left and were out about a year, she started to change drasically and is doing very well now.

    Anyway, I hope some of this will help, if you have other questions, feel free to pm me. I will be praying for you. It will take the kids some time to get fully adjusted. My family has been out a little over 2 years now. It took a good year, maybe 18 months for the kids to really settle into their new life. If your hubby leaves too, that will help. Meanwhile, let him go if he wants to and encourage the kids to support him too, but hopefully your hubby will let the kids decide for themselves whether they want to go or not. Good luck, Lilly

  • littlemillcreek

    when i left jw's my two youngest children were 12 and 16. they were happy that they didn't have to go to meetings anymore. the 12 year old sometimes felt guilty and fearful, but got over that soon. i divorced their dad and moved to another community. the 12 year old chose to go to a catholic school and soon learned that religious hypocrisy and brainwashing wasn't contained to jw's. it sounds like you are doing great with your kids. it will mean a lot to them, to see you happy. make sure you have rules for them, watch their assoc. with friends. if you are unsure of what they might be getting into be sure to supervise their activities. get them involved with productive activities...music, sports, drama and most of all their education. if they seem confused about your present decision and start talking about how they felt about things when they wentt to the kh, just tell them that adult's make mistakes and you are sorry for the one's you have made. best wishes

  • Momofmany

    I did it kind of slowly. First family study stopped. Then we would talk over the dinner table about things I found out about the borg. I wrote to the society when I could not get answers at home. Then I read the letters to the kids, and said, this is wrong, and used an encyclopedia to back up what I was saying. Then we talked about what they found wrong with meetings, a book, or something. The older ones were glad to leave.

    I have my mom with me. She is an active witness, and goes out in service three times a week. So there are many nights she will start with what she learned at the meeting, and I have a counter to what she is saying. It's on going at all times.

    When we stopped all together, the kids felt freedom, but then they started to feel like they were lacking something. So I started taking them to different churches, and learning other religions. #1 son doesn't want anything to do with religion, same with #2 son. #3 son questions everything, and if anyone tells him such and such is in the bible, he says prove it, give me scriptures to back it up, and then he will research it on his own. (he's 11, 12 next month) #4 son love going to a church with Sunday school, my daughter loves church with lots of kids to play with, and my youngest #5 son just turned 6, so he really doesn't care. He was 3 1/2 when we left.

    Just give your kids the chance to find answers on their own. If there is a belief that is wrong that they are holding on to, ask them to show you why it is right. How, with the bible and/or a non biased source, to prove it. Use the same way to show them what it really means/says.

    Teach them to think on their own. I did find, if you take away all the meetings, family study time, etc. away, you need to replace it with something. Sports, friends, clubs, something. That way they don't feel a void.

    Hope I was of some help.

  • Erenora nz
    Erenora nz

    How did my chidlren cope with the transistion??? They didnt cope very well, they accepted the fact that 'Mummy's not with us because she doesnt love Jehovah anymore' but I think they accepted it very well, especially for children of 1,4,6and 7 years of age. At that age, I felt that they were too young to know what was really going on, BUT they knew what they wanted,,"Mum and Dad. to be together.Thats how kids feel when Mum and Dad are not together.Its a devastating issue for children and more so, when kids don't understand what's happening with Mum and Dad.

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