trying to reach teenage daughter

by Aussie Oz 21 Replies latest jw friends

  • Aussie Oz
    Aussie Oz

    Had some interesting chats with my daughter today about whether she believes everything she hears at the meetings and reads in the watchtower.

    Turns out she does.

    Until i pressed on a few subjects... turns out she does not think worldly people are bad, that the WT is wrong for blanket statements about how evil they all are, that she does not think it is right that they have failed predicting the end for over a hundred years and disagrees when they keep pushing the end,

    And i find this all rather alarming!

    because although some lights are firing (and i mean that in a nice way!)

    the cult dumbing down is working on the whole... unless probed to think she just figures its 'the truth' and it makes sense.

    I really tried to challenge her when it comes to beleiving everything she hears whether on the news or from the platform.

    Basically my message for the day was don't beleive a god damn thing you get told by anybody including me! You have to prove it to yourself, you have to look at all sides of everything before you can decide what you believe about anything, whether it is a news report or a bible teaching.

    I hate that kids being raised as JWs have to be dealt this lesson so young when all they want is to be left alone to be and do teenage stuff...I hate having to disrupt the simplicity of life but her future is at stake...


  • Broken Promises
    Broken Promises

    She's only 13, right?

    At that age, she's more concerned with what her friends think of her, and who the latest pop sensation is.

    I wouldn't worry too much just yet. I remember at her age, my main concern at school was writing essays that got the most marks. I didn't really care what the information was or how it applied to me. If she's in a decent school, they'll teach her to analyse information as she gets older.

    If you want to talk about analysing information, use examples in the news, such as the shooting of Bin Laden. Some people believe he's dead, some don't. How do we determine who is telling the truth? What is the source of this information? What is their motive for what they say?

    But don't stress too much. With a non-JW father, the odds are in favour for her not becoming a Witness in later life.

  • cantleave

    Broken Promises, I disagree. At thirteen I had a opinions but wasn't thinking deeply about anything, HOWEVER, I was making friends and embedding myself in the congregation. I was brought up by mother, and felt deep loyalty to her, my father had no influence. The decisions I made at thirteen kept in a cult until I was 42.

    Aussie you need to keep influencing her. My dad didn't. No one told me to think for myself. I really wish they did.

  • Joey Jo-Jo
    Joey Jo-Jo

    yes influence her but dont push her away, love is the best treatment (im sure you have read combatting cult mind control).

    At 13 I believed in the truth but I also liked violent video games and movies.

  • nugget

    Aussie it is unsurprising that she believes this stuff after all most of the time she is in a household where the words in the books go unchallenged and where everyone accepts what is printed without question. That is a very powerful thing. Coupled with that the fact that at 13 she doesn't want to make waves her response allows her to sit on the fence between both parents and not be disloyal to either. She may also suspect that Mums love is conditional on religion so it is safer to agree with mum.

    What may be more powerful is to give her an example where the publications have been untrue or disingenuous. They often misquote from sources or use material from questionable sources presenting it as reputable and scientific. Find something from a publication they are studying and show her the original material so that she can see for herself how the words have been misused. Make her aware that before she commits her life to a faith she needs to be sure they are worthy of her after all if you call yourself the truth no lie is acceptable.

    You can also advise her that there is some pressure for young ones to get baptised but if Jehovah is a loving god he would not want someone to rush such an important decision he would give her the time she needs to be sure.

    Don't be heavy handed just a couple of things to think about and show her how to check things out. She is a smart girl but smart people can be taken in, the watchtower has a way of reinventing itself so that mistakes are glossed over and everything has a positive spin. It is a wolf in sheeps clothing.

  • sizemik

    I feel your approach is reasonably sound Oz . . . simply encouraging her to use critical thinking . . . on any matter.

    I always avoid the term "critical thinking" as the label is used often in XJW circles . . . but you can still teach her the process.

    She is rapidly taking ownership of her own mind and decision making at that age, albeit inexperienced and vulnerable to cult indoctrination, and her eventual decision regarding the JW's will have to be a product of her own conclusions.

    Direct questioning of JW teaching and beliefs is fraught with danger . . . teaching her to have a questioning mind however, is more likely to keep her closer and bring about a favorable result in the end.

    Well, that's my feelings anyway . . . keep doing what you're doing in a way that is not too full on . . . cos you're right, her future is at stake.

    All the best with her.

  • blondie

    At 13 many children are trying to process their parents flaws and still keep loving them. But when flaws become abuse and then severe abuse and they can feel and see it, then self-preservation steps in. Even as an adult I recognized the flaws in the organization but the fear of what my life would be when my family and friends cut me off kept me in trying to fix things. When she has more choice and independence, she may act on her dissonance.

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    Have you two read Dawkins' "letter" to his daughter together? Sounds like you're teaching her many of the same things but sometimes with our kids the words of other people get through where ours don't.

    Keep us posted. Good luck.

  • jgnat

    The best advice I ever received on raising teenagers was an illustration of a stormy sea, with our teen in the boat. From the teen's perspective, everything is changing including their own body, their mind, and they have no idea if they are going to survive it. Recall the pain of surviving your first crush. Too often, the parents are in the rocking boat screaming, "We're all going to dieeee!"

    Keeping that illustration in mind, I resolved to be the calm one, reassuring my young adults that they knew how to steer their boat, and reminding them that all is survivable.

    Continue to honor your daughter's opinions, even if some differ from yours. The important thing is recognizing and valuing the awakening. Does she get visitation with you? Perhaps find some worldly peers she can hang out with when you take her to fun stuff on the weekends.

  • Scully

    The best thing you can teach your daughter is that The Headship Principle™ is a steaming pile of horse$h!t.

    Build her confidence, encourage her to develop leadership skills that will help her when she needs to start thinking about getting a job.

    Don't, under any circumstances, support the idea that she must obey or defer to anyone with a penis, especially if the goal of doing so is to put her interests on the back burner in favour of their own. Remind her that she has the right to be treated fairly and as an equal in all areas of life. Part of overcoming the Headship™ spell is letting her know that it is okay for her to say NO when a man is trying to get her to do something unreasonable that she doesn't want to do, or is attempting to prevent her from doing something reasonable that she wishes to do. Let her practise that with you, by teaching her negotiating skills.

    You'll probably hate it at some point, but you don't want her to turn into some JW's Submissive™ little wifey, do you?

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