Ok Michelle, after a bit of scouring the web here's the booklet text, along with Randall's comments: http://www.freeminds.org/legal/custody.htm
Has anyone tried to prevent ex-spouse from training the kids as JWs?
Again I have to agree with blondie. Did you say how old these kids were?
Especially agree with blondie if they are pre-teen.
marking for reflection
I was brought up in a home where my non JW father let me participate in assemblies and celebrations. However I still grew up to become a witness. all the time I celebrated I felt guilty and worried because the meetings told me those things were wrong.
When we decided to quit the religon I was shocked that at 9 my daughter was already deeply indoctrinated and felt very uncomfortable about getting involved in Christmas celebrations. On the plus side with encouragement and support both my children have adapted well and are begging me to buy easter eggs this year.
When there is pressure to conform children will do as they are told. The JW religon is very good at instilling guilt at a very young age. What I would do is make it a stipulation that they are not with their JW parent during any holiday times or celebrations. The mothers day example shows how much they worry about upsetting him and how they were prevented from doing an activity they had wanted to do because of their father's beliefs. As the JW parent does not celebrate then the holidays have more significance for you.
You may have to compromise for assemblies but your girls will be able to enjoy celebrations without distress.
Great link Teel! Thank you!
Blondie & JWoods
You guys are right. I agree and WANT to do it that way. My girls are 8 and turning 7 next month. I guess I just don't feel confident that what I'm doing is enough. It was dumb to try to do the school Mother's Day thing when we could just as easily do it at home. I didn't want them to feel left out in class, but I just created more stress. Thanks. Sometimes, I need someone to point out the obvious. It's so hard for me because I like to dicuss and analyze things but don't have anyone IRL going through the same situation. So when I don't have that "sounding board" I sometimes miss the obvious stuff by focusing on the big picture. lol.
Michelle - the biggest worry I would have on trying to do this legally is the possibility that it might not work, even if it costs you a lot of time and money to prepare the court argument.
Afterwards, no matter what the court does or says, this ex of yours is for sure going to try to indoctrinate those kids anyway.
So, you are still on your own to balance their religious education. As young as they are, you have a good chance of that if you work at it positively.
Nugget- the guilt my kids feel is enormous. That's what makes this so hard for me. Do I just not do holidays to spare them guilt? Or do I keep doing it so that eventually they won't feel guilty? In essence I am encouraging them to live the dreaded "double life" lol. Basically in a normal day I am just living my life. I spend time with the kids and try to lead by example. I don't talk bad about the religion or their Dad, but sometimes I have to make a stand. I've just started reading Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing by Richard Ades Warshak it's great on the times when you do have to make a stand and how to do it. I like it so far.
If you don't mind sharing-- did you ever feel compelled to limit or cut off your association with your non JW father?
PS-How did your daughter's bday party go?
Michelle, this incident: "He takes them out of school anything there is a party for a holiday. (they are in 1st & 2nd grade so they still do that) Here's a recent example, Mother's Day is coming up and the school is doing a fundraiser where I can buy little cakes for them to decorate and bring home for me. I asked the girls if they wanted to. They said yes. I sent the money in. They went to their father's for a visit. They call me crying that they can't make the cakes and that Daddy will get mad and they don't want to get in trouble and will I please not *make* them do it...."
GET IN TOUCH WITH THEIR TEACHERS, and have them put something - IN WRITING - about the trauma the father is putting these little girls through...
That is, if the teachers are willing, and keeping in mind that the teachers may be called as witnesses in the case - hopefully not; the letters combined with confirmation of their qualifications as teachers should be enough to present in court - your lawyer can advise you on that...
If your children ever play with any non-JW children, perhaps you could approach their parents with a similar request... Do they notice any bad effects from the father's [hubby's] edicts as imposed upon the children?? Non-JW relatives?? Health-care professionals who've recently seen the children??
The more information of this sort that you can obtain - from impartial, third-party observers - the better off you will be.
And above all, STAY COOL!! JWs are indoctrinated into the cult by the use of "mind-games" - and many, many of the individual JWs become awfully good at running mind games, themselves... I would bet my BOTTOM dollar that "Hubby" will do his utmost to push you off-balance emotionally...
"Wreck your game", so to speak... Wouldn't be too surprised if hubby has already had the occasional "football strategy" meeting with the stray elder or two....
DON'T let him break your mental focus or your cool!
James- I agree. He will do it against any court order. After all we must obey God as ruler rather than men. Sigh. I honestly don't WANT to fight this out in court. I just don't know if I can save them from such a powerful high control religious cult. I feel so inadequate to do this on my own.
For example, if you allow the kids to continue to go, how do you handle these types of issues. At this point, I roll over everytime my ex tells them "no". I don't want to force them to do something they will feel guilty about or may get in trouble for. However, that makes me feel as if I'm not making any progess at all. We wanted to watch Harry Potter but Daddy told them they can't. So, do I say "mom's house, mom's rules" or do I say ok, we'll watch Lord of the Rings because for some reason he lets them watch LOTR by not Potter. Grrrrr