My mother is trying to indoctrinate my 4 year old and I do not know what to do

by jwfacts 67 Replies latest jw experiences

  • jwfacts

    My mother lives a plane trip away from me, so does not get to spend very much time with Zac. However, she is in Sydney for 3 weeks and has been babysitting. I knew that she would be talking about Jehovah, but was very annoyed yesterday when Zac said my mother was speaking all day about Jehovah, such as how he made the stars.

    In the past, I was not overly concerned if Zac learnt about Jehovah's Witnesses, as I thought it would help with critical thinking skills to understand different points of view. However, today I am fuming and very worried.

    I am now worried that talking endlessly about her God will affect Zac's mind. Zac's other grandmother is also a JW and speaks to him about Jehovah occasionally. It did not concern me as she is not as influential or insidious or my own mother. Now that Zac is old enough to tell me what is being said, I recognise how it is shaping the development of his own ideas and beliefs.

    A child is born an atheist. At 4, Zac has been asking how he came from mummies tummy. At some point in time, and I do not know when that is, he will start wondering where the universe came from. But he has not asked yet and I do not feel the need to provide explanations.

    Since he is telling me about Jehovah, I have responded that I do not think that Jehovah is nice. I explained that Jehovah kills little children, and showed him the story in the Bible Stories book. I then said that it is not real and just stories.

    But how do you explain to a child that his grandmother believes in myths and what she is saying is not real? I think it is possibly more damaging that I am indicating to him that his grandmother is lying to him, or is deluded, then the teachings she is infecting him with about a God that only loves Watchtower followers.

    My mother now wants to start Skyping Zac. Unfortunately, my wife does not really care about what Zac believes or if he wants to be a JW. So my mother rings her when I am not around and uses her to speak to Zac. No matter what I say to Mum, I know she will still go behind my back to try to indoctrinate Zac.

    I have considered sending a message to Mum. Please let me know what you think, and if it should be toned down, or not sent at all.

    Mum, I do not want you speaking to Zac about your God or religious ideologies. Since Zac has not yet asked about the origins of lie, I do not feel it is appropriate that you force your opinions upon him at this stage, particularly as he is too young to be able to identify the rhetorical fallacies in your arguments. Please do not go behind my back on this, as I do not want to have to cut all contact between you and your grandchild. Act like a normal grandmother with him. With your background in teaching, I have no doubt that there are many ways you can help him develop and grow and enrich his life without having to attempt to indoctrinate him.

  • nancy drew
    nancy drew

    Maybe i'm just cold but I'd tell her that if i hear she's been talking about jw's to my child one more time that will be the last time you see him/her besides if your such a good jw why aren't you in the shun mode.

  • carla

    I think your message is fine and not overly harsh. You are protecting your child, what any parent should do.You need to get your wife on board here. Would she like it if you went behind her on an important issue?

    I won't even post the hell I went through to keep my kids safe from wt indoctrination. I was vigilant, my life mission for awhile and still he found ways to preach at them, to no avail thankfully.

  • blondie

    Tell her exactly what you don't want her doing. See if she agrees (can you tell if she lies?). My one aunt lost the privilege of being unchaperoned by her ex-jw/non-jw when she spent time with their children...she said she would not "preach" or read WT material to them and then did it anyway...lied. Also, be proactive in teaching your beliefs to your child.

    What would you do if she were a pedophile and knowingly let your children around a known pedophile? The WTS is an abusive organization.

  • troubled mind
    troubled mind

    You have every right to set boundries on what your Mother discusses with your child . What you wrote sounds like a good way to put your foot down with her . She should not be teaching him her views against your wishes .

    As for explaining it to Zac ,keep it as simple as "Grandma has her own ideas about the world ,but we have ours too " then give him an example such as "we have cake and ice cream for your birthday and you get presents on that day , Grandma doesn't do that she believes differently " . Ask him if he likes your way or hers on that example .....let him think on it and I think he will begin to see his family has some good ideas .

    I would be careful villifing Grandma's God or ways ....just point out to him that it is her way and NOT yours . You might also show him how the world is a big place with many different ideas give some examples of how other people are different in beliefs ,yet we can all get along and be tolerant even if we do not believe the same .

    Teach him to speak up to Grandma ...When she begins talking about her God he can tell her, "That's nice Grandma ,but that is not what MY family believes ."

  • moshe

    Until you open up a can of whoopass on your mother, she will treat you like a doormat. From now on, Grandma needs supervised visits.

  • NewChapter

    This is such a difficult situtation. JW's are trained to work around mandates when it comes to children. I remember a presentation given during our TMS, where an elder's son (let's call son: John and elder Mike) and his mother acted out a scene. The mother had been forbidden by her husband to teach John the religion. John came to his mother with a history assignment, and mother discussed history (Greece and such) bringing in Daniel's prophecy. After it was over, they revealed that John was playing the part of his father Mike, and this was a reenactment of an actual conversation. Isn't it wonderful? Because mom took every opportunity to teach the bible by being sly, Mike is an elder today, and his children and wife are strong in the cult!

    So you will ALWAYS be working against this. It's like holding termites back---they are always looking for a crack to infest. She is probably even bragging about teaching her grandson when she is in car groups. All of the group probably marvel at how open and receptive children are (after all, didn't Jesus say to be like children?) and are encouraging her and complimenting her.

    But the choices are not only lying and delusion. These are bad choices. Your mother has been lied to, and she is the victim of the lie. She doesn't know better. And that will resound with your son. Little children have a fierce sense of justice (at least my daughter did at 4) and you often hear the war cry "That's Not Fair!".

    They are also very talkative, which will work in your favor. It's so good he feels like he can come to you and chatter away. So take it point-by-point and reason with him. He is very young, but once he is in school, he will be exposed to all kinds of crazy thinking. Give him the tools he needs, (particularly critical thinking skills) to evaluate all the ideas that will be thrown at him in his life, and help him to pick it apart.

    And work on your wife. Tell her even if it is not important to HER, it is one of your priorities, and can she respect your top priority enough to fight with you, even if she doesn't feel it deep down? You aren't asking her to go against any deeply held principals. You are simply asking her to prioritize yours as highly as you do.

    It will be okay. Your little one has you on his side, and I think that influence will be profound.


  • tec

    I think there is nothing wrong with you setting the boundaries of what you will allow her to teach your son. I would also be worried and angry about it, especially since he is so young. I might not put be a 'normal' grandmother to him, because that is subjective, and I agree that you will probably be causing trouble for him by villifying her, or telling him that she lies. Because that could shape him to think that way about anyone who believes other than he does, and you don't want that either. Teach him that some people believe as she does, some people believe 'this or that', and also teach him what you believe... and why. You can probably do that without speaking badly about other people's beliefs, and that is best because it keeps the negativity out of his thoughts. He'll ask you for more than what you give him, if he wants more than what you give him, as long as he thinks its okay for him to ask those questions. And he is most likely to follow you (or his mother) until he is older and decides to follow his own path.



  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    Yikes The next thing she will be telling him is that you are controlled by Satan the Devil and you will die soon at Armageddon. And he will die too if he doesn't start believing what she tells him. That is a message your wife needs to get loud and clear too.

    I think your message to her is great except that your wife might not support it and finds ways to give her access when you don't know about it. Remember that JWs will make promises they won't keep when it comes to talking about their religious beliefs.

    You could say that you will put a limit on her visits to your son and she will not be allowed to see him when you are not around to supervise. If you already know that she can't be trusted then you have to work on the wife to help her see the dangers. And then you can present a united front when dealing with her.

    Four years old isn't too early to explain to your son that there are many different beliefs about God. His grandma believes things that you found out aren't true but she won't listen to you and still believes them. Let him know that you don't like it when grandma talks to him about what she believes about God and that he could say, "I don't want to talk about that Grandma. Lets go play or watch a movie"

    Gice him some things to say to her like:

    • Daddy doesn't want me to talk to you about that.
    • I don't want to read from that book.
    • Can you read me The Three Little Pigs please? or go to the park?

    He is too young to argue with her so saying "Daddy says. . . " is good. If she tries the "Let's let this be our special secret" let him know that he is not allowed to keep secrets like that from Daddy and he will tell Daddy about it.

    How sad that they can't be trusted. My grandchildren are never left alone with my ex. Not even in emergencies.

  • cedars

    I'm really sorry to hear you're going through this Paul, and so soon after losing your Dad. It really sticks the boot in to have your Mum trying to introduce your son to the very religious organization that has caused you so much pain and heartache only recently.

    I think you need to be extremely firm with your Mum, and leave her under no illusions as to what your wishes are.

    It may be helpful to use JW ideology in this regard. Tell her that by indoctrinating your son against your expressed wishes she is usurping your headship. Tell her that when he is old enough to think for himself objectively then by all means she can express her beliefs to him, but until that time she is barred from trying to manipulate him, and by doing so against your expressed wishes she is showing contempt for your headship and contradicting the very belief system she is trying to promote.

    I don't know if that helps? I hope it does.


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