Hello everyone! I could use some advice

by SnailsPace2 28 Replies latest social family

  • SnailsPace2

    Hi everyone here!

    Most of the time I just lurk . . .everyday . . . lots of times throughout the day. However, something has come up that I would like some advice on, especially from members who were exiting the JW religion with young children.

    Let me give you a brief history of my journey to this point. My husband and I were both raised as JW's. We met while we were both out/inactive in our very early twenties. We married and wanted to be serious and do things the right way so we starting going to the meetings again. I finally got baptized. Fast forward a few years and my husband is inactive and has done his research about the JW religion and no longer wants nothing to do with it. I continued to attend meetings with my son a few more years. Then the July 2013 Watchtower happened, and I began my mental journey out of the religion.

    Our son is now 6. He is bright, kind and caring. He has a very evident spiritual side (not due to me or my husband, but mostly it's just his nature.) Now that its becoming apparent to my husband's parents that I will no longer be attending the meeting , they are worried about our son. They want to pick him up to attend meetings and go out in service. My husband and I agree we want to limit his interaction with the religion, but not necessarily his grandparents. My father in law wants us to allow my son to make the decision if he wants to attend the meetings or not. If I gave my son that option, I know he will decide to attend.

    So my question is, if any of you had children around this age, what did you tell them? How did you convince them? Like I said before, he's a bright boy. He understands a lot of the JW doctrine already. A simple solution would be to show him how fun the holidays and bithdays can be, but he's too indoctrinated for that. Plus that is not my parenting style. I prefer to reason with him and he responds to that sort of parenting. I have always tried to raise him to be a thinker. My original plan was to continue this process of emphasizing how important it is to think critically, and ask questions, and look at the evidence. Then when he is a little older he could see the Witnesses for what they are. Now I realize I don't have that time. He is also starting to ask questions about why I dont attend the meetings anymore.

    I'm not 100% sure what I believe, which makes it even more difficult. My husband wants him to live his life in the belief that there is someone out there to who we are are accountable to. Although at this point, I dont necessarily believe that, I'm willing to go along with it. I live in what's known as the Bible belt of the U.S. So his life will be easier if he had some belief in God. My husband likes the arguement that when Jesus was preaching, he wasn't trying to set up a church or organization, but basically telling people how to live a good life. I could tell him about this and then explain that people believe many different things, most of it is directed by the church and not Jesus. At four years old my little boy would pray that his preschool friends not be destroyed. He still believes this. My response used to be "keep praying about it." Now what do I tell him that won't confuse him anymore? I just feel like he's going to walk away from this very very confused more than anything else.

  • losingit

    Im interested in the responses you get as having a difficult time with my oldest about JWism. She just won't let go! It is my fault, mostly,because I did a good job indoctrinating her/ raising her. Not to mention she has a little friend in her classthat is also being raised JW. so there is peer pressure to follow along even thoigh i no longer practice this garbage. My youngest , however, has let go with gusto. Missing birthdays and celebrations really hurt her. i completely relate to your situation. Im just happy the girls don't have family members around that are in.

  • cofty

    Hi welcome to JWN.

    Even the most mature 6 year old is not able to make a decision like that. His grandparents don't want him to make his own decision, they want him to choose their opinion.

    Please fill his life with schoold friends and sport and hobbies and fun things to do on a Sunday. Prohibit his grandparents from saying a single world in his presence about their religion.

    He will be so grateful when he is old enough to understand.

  • Iamallcool

    Well encourage him to hang out with his non JW friends more often, the more he is involved with Non JW stuff, his mind will stray from JW stuff. Ask him if he would like to play organized sports, if he says Yes, let him play. He will eventually forget about the witnesses, it will not be overnight thing.

  • Giordano

    We got out before my son was born so he was never subject to the Dogma of JW. My mother and uber sister hoped they would be able to influence him and take him to meetings. We said no, they asked if they could study with him we said no. Could he come for extended visits we asked them if there was a serious accident and he needed a blood transfusion and we couldn't be reached to give permission would they make sure they respected our wishes. They sputtered around that issue. I told them to think about that and let us know otherwise he could visit when we were able to visit as a family.

    If your no longer a JW believer he should not be allowed to be indoctrinated in a religion that will hinder his education, sports in school, holidays, and have a variety of friends.

    Time spent at meetings is time where he will be indoctrinated into a failure of a belief system and learn billions dieing at Armageddon. He's a 6 year old he doesn't get decide. When he is 18 he can revisit it. He will be better off spending family time and enjoying family activities with you and his father.

    Our son grew up in the South and other people's religion wasn't an issue.

    His grandparents need to understand that you as a family are taking a break about religion and you'll tend to his spiritual needs. Meanwhile gently explain to your son about the many religions and different ways people believe.


    Hi SnailsPace2, welcome!

    We're unable to make life decisions like who we should marry until we're old enough. 6 years old isn't old enough to decide who we're going to spend the rest of our life with and neither should it be old enough to commit to a religion. You're his guide.

    Be honest. Your son sounds a very mature and kind child. I'd tell him you've read a lot of things in the bible about Jesus warning us to be careful of false prophets. That the people in charge of JW's have been teaching some wrong things about Jesus and the bible. Ask your son if he thinks it's more important to do what God & Jesus want us to do in the bible or what some church leaders want us to do.

    Clearly this approach will raise questions about his grandparents and why they believe it. Maybe let him know that they have believed it for so long they can't change their minds over things and that you need to be respectful of what they believe.

    The toughest part will be to set boundaries for the granparents. Give then an inch and they will take a mile. I'm sure your son will be fine.


  • notjustyet

    The sooner you take the control of your child's upbringing away from the grandparents and give it back to yourselves you will feel so empowered. You already know the answer to this question and that is that you should prevent your child from attending any meetings with ANY jws.

    Jw Grand parents are hard wired into bringing their offspring into the cult, no way around that fact. They will look you in the face and promise not to share any WTBTS propaganda to the child and as soon as you leave, it's on. They cannot help it,..but it will happen.

    You have to figure out if you vslue your child's future and his sanity more than you value pissing off your parents/inlaws.

    If and when you feel comfortable explaining that you were duped I would draw out a stick figure of a child, parents, Grandparents, elders in that order.

    Explain how sometimes parents "mislead" the child into believing that their really is a Santa Claus And eventually the child finds out that they were not told the truth about Santa Claus. Then go on to explain that sometimes even parents and grandparents are told stories for years about certain things that are not true. I'm sure you see Where I'm going here.

    Bottom line, get that child away from those people.


  • Ding


    Age 6? YOU decide the religious contacts, not your son. If you leave it up to him at this age, your parents will pressure him into attending.

    He is only 6. When he grows to maturity, THEN it will be up to him to choose his religion or lack of religion.

    Also, you don't want him brought up in the organization or when he is older he will be pressured to get baptized and have to shun you. You don't want him being taught that his parents are about to be annihilated at Armageddon. You don't want him pressured to choose between you and "the truth". You don't want to put yourselves or him through that.

    Give him a better alternative environment (friends and activities, etc.) rather than just taking him out the Kingdom Hall and replacing it with nothing. Make sure he understands that you aren't punishing him by keeping him from the hall or service. Even if he thinks Jehovah wants him to go, say no. If he has Armageddon fears, get good counseling for him right away.

    With regard to the grandparents, are they shunning you? My thought is that if you aren't good enough for them, then neither are your children. Don't let them put you on a guilt trip over this. It's the Watchtower that requires shunning, not you. If they choose the GB over their own family, the guilt and responsibility for lack of contact with your son will be theirs, not yours. Again, make sure your son understands that you aren't punishing him and that his grandparents aren't punishing him. It's about religious differences, not about him.

    I hope you will have a civil relationship and that your son can have quality time with his grandparents. However, make it clear that he is your child, not theirs. You will determine his religious upbringing -- not the grandparents, not the elders, not the Circuit Overseer, not the Governing Body. If your parents want to have contact with him, fine, but he isn't to go to meetings or out in service and they aren't to preach to him or give him literature. No scaring him with talk of Armageddon. I'm sure you know how important "the truth" is to your parents, so you may have to supervise his time with them to make sure they comply. If that doesn't work, if they disobey your instructions, then they don't get to see him -- period. Make this consequence absolutely clear. Don't let him get put in the middle of a tug of war where he has to choose between you and his grandparents or where he has to live in fear of his parents being destroyed at Armageddon. You are the parents. Your rules govern -- not theirs, not the Watchtower's.

    With regard to holidays and birthdays, I would say that if he has been indoctrinated to believe they are evil, don't try to force them on him and so violate his conscience. Instead, re-educate him over time. Let him know that you don't agree with that teaching any more but that you aren't going to force him to participate if he feels it would be wrong for him to do it. Make sure he knows that you love him whether he participates in such things or not. At some point, he will be mature enough for you to explain things to him so he can make his own decisions without being plagued by guilt.

    If you reach a point where you can trust your parents to supervise him alone without pushing their religion on him (a big if), then the blood issue becomes important. Make sure the grandparents understand that they are not to deny him a blood transfusion in an emergency, that you are the ones who decide that... not them. If they can't abide by that, then they can't supervise him alone. They may be willing to sacrifice themselves on the say-so of the GB, but they are not to sacrifice their grandchildren.

  • Giordano

    Pardon me Snailspace2 I failed to welcome you to the forum. Your question was excellent and thoughtful.

    We have former Elders and some currant Elders and MS on this forum some are new and trying to get out others are holding in place trying to leave with their families.

    We have believers and non believers. You will get good advice. Think again about the role his grandparents can play in his life for the good or how much their insistence to teach him the Armageddon belief the blood issue etc. can affect his future decisions.

  • SnailsPace2

    Thank you so much! I knew you guys would offer some great perspectives on the issue, including stuff that has not even crossed my mind yet. I am writing some of this down to discuss with my husband.

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