Question for parents with a believing co-parent

by Anony Mous 10 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Anony Mous
    Anony Mous

    My daughter is being raised in a PIMI household and spends a significant time with me in a POMO household. I don’t pressure her to believe, so she is thinking/pressured about becoming a JW from the other end, so she is reluctant about celebrating holidays and birthdays, but as any kid, she loves the gifts and attention, so she will “not celebrate but still do things”.

    She is becoming a teenager however, and showing interest in not-so-JW-things. Her mother forbids Star Wars for violence and magic, but she wants to watch it, she wants a few horror video games, she wants to shoot things and go hunting but guns aren’t allowed, so I’ve compromised for archery.

    What do parents of teenagers do? I have full legal right to do whatever I want with her as far as believes and healthcare according to the custody papers, so I won’t lose anything there. I want to ease her into the things she wants to do, on the other hand I don’t always want to compromise and choose a middle road. I also don’t want her to feel bad that she’s feeling like she has to hide things from her other family. I’ve tried to discuss “the deeper things” about the JW, but these days it seems they don’t teach all that much substance anymore, so there is little to latch onto since there is no logical buildup, just a statement of facts.

    Anyone navigate these waters before? It’s an entirely different experience from what I had as a child. What would you have liked as a child?

  • truth_b_known

    Anony Mous:

    I am not sure where you live. I live in the U.S. and the state I live in treats teenage children of divorced parents a little different then when the child is younger. There comes a point in time where the court will let the child decide which parent he or she wants to live with.

    Of course, this would mean filing to modify the orders previously handed down and that will require money. If your ex decides to contest the modification you will need an attorney. That will require a lot of money.

    Here's a comprise - when your daughter is with you she is free to decide on her own to do as she pleases as long as it is legal, safe, and not against your house rules. In exchange your daughter is free to have your ex impose her religious practices on your daughter with one caveat - no baptism until your daughter is a legal adult and living outside your ex's home.

    If your ex is not agreeable to the arrangement I would sue for primary custodial parent under the premise that your ex is damaging our child's growth by imposing the Jehovah's Witness religion on her. You are agreeable with your daughter attending meetings, assemblies, etc., but your daughter should be able to chose whether she is going to dedicate her life to a publishing company once she is an adult.

    My wife got out before I did. I agreed that our children would choose their own path. In fact, I think the only thing I was opposed to was having a Christmas Tree in the house. There was no argument. A few months later I was out and that December I bought our first Christmas Tree.

  • Anony Mous
    Anony Mous

    @truth_b_known: thanks for that advice, but we already have the situation arranged as such that she is free to do what she wants with me, at least on paper, and I already have primary custody on healthcare decisions. I highly doubt I can get primary custody currently.

    The problem is that a lot of the rules are bleeding into her decision making at my house, which I don’t want to order her to do things like celebrate a birthday, or force her to participate in activities, but I see she wants to do it but she feels bad saying yes, because she doesn’t want to upset her JW family.

    Basically I would like to help her to “fade”, at this point she literally doesn’t care about the details of the religious, but without being disruptive to her relationship with her family or without being deceptive.

  • TD

    Anyone navigate these waters before?

    Yes. Raised daughters with a believing JW spouse. --Not quite the same situation as yours, but I can certainly empathize.

    What do parents of teenagers do?

    This is what I did: (Other people's mileage may vary - It really depends on your child's personality...)

    Be involved in their education. Know their teachers. Know what they believe themselves

    Encourage the child to be informed. Show them how to do proper research.

    Encourage them to have opinions on everything. Encourage them to defend those opinions. Above all, respect those opinions even if you don't agree with them. (I have no sons, so mine were especially sensitive to women's issues.)

  • Biahi

    So glad I married a “worldly” guy. 😇

  • StephaneLaliberte

    Is your daughter baptized? Is she a publisher? Or does she believe in JWs? I would be very careful about doing things that are judged "bad" by the JWs if your daughter isn't a PIMO. The only thing that could counter the excessive brain washing JWs do is by doing a bible study of your own, even if you are an atheist! For instance, read a book that offers a quick cover to the bible, or you could even review JWs content with her and ask questions. If you try to do things while she believes these things to be wrong, she will act against he conscience and will ultimately blame you as a bad influence.

  • truth_b_known

    Telling your daughter you want her to be free to be herself would probably be the single greatest thing you can do. Let her know whatever decisions she makes for her life you will support. I find it highly hypocritical that Jehovah's Witnesses sing a song about "Make the Truth you own" and yet they demand that the religion be imposed on their children.

    If your daughter wants to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses let her know you would support her decision. Let her know it would make you feel better if she made that decision after:

    • She thoroughly examined the history and teachings of the Watchtower
    • She is familiar with the practice of Disfellowshipping based on the Watchtower's own articles
    • She makes the decision as an informed adult
    • She makes the decision because that is what she wants and not because it would make her mother happy or our of fear from being kicked out of her mother's house.

    In other words, she really does make it her own.

  • TD

    With a daughter, I would make sure she understands the position of women in the JW faith.

    (Which is why strong, smart, opinionated and informed is the Xenon in the reaction, so to speak...)

  • Anony Mous
    Anony Mous

    Thanks all, I hope I can be successful in this endeavor. Are there any “apostate” sites that are geared towards kids? I think there is a bit of a gap in our outreach there. Any parents willing to join me in this effort?

  • Diogenesister
    I also don’t want her to feel bad that she’s feeling like she has to hide things from her other family.

    I think this is important. We know they work on guilt....yet you also don't want to teach her to lie by omission or become secretive. Secrets are never healthy.

    I think the only solution is training her how to think, rather than what to think.

    For example, with regard to magic and violence in Star Wars. You could ask her whether she thinks an aeroplane would seem like magic to a bronze age shepherd? Therefore is it magic, or just future science?

    (I think there is no real violence in Star Wars but anyway). You could ask her, if it's not the most terrible violence when she visualises Armageddon and all of those millions of children being killed for the crime of not being lucky enough to be born into a witness family?

    Isn't Darth Vader using the Death Star to destroy worlds not the same thing as Jehovah destroying billions here?

    If she says that Jehovah is just, you could ask the following: "Would a child being killed on Earth view Jehovah any differently than a child being killed on Alderaan would view Darth Vader? Would either be any less evil from the point of view of the murdered child?"

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