When can I let my guard down?
Born-in, but never baptized. Remainder of family still (by all appearances) loyal dubs. They have largely stopped trying to get me into a Kingdom Hall, and have (by all appearances) accepted my decision to leave the cult life.
These days, I have a family of my own. I have been trying to keep a relationship with the JW family, but am VERY wary of any possible JW influence on the kids (10 years old and younger), and have been very rigidly resistant regarding any attempts to give them any religious 'education'.
I recall folks saying that once a young mind is taught critical thinking, that person is mostly insulated against, not just JW nuttery, but all sorts of flawed (damaging?) ideologies.
My question is about timing. This level of scrutiny I am applying to the JW family regarding the kids is exhausting, and I am looking forward to the day that I can stop worrying about the JW influence because the kids will, at that point, have enough sense of their own to balk at the JW nonsense.
What age do you think that kids can stand on their own against this stuff? Thanks.
My personal recommendation would be 16-18 depending on the child. At younger ages (10-13 perhaps) you could even take the initiative and use the JW beliefs to help them sharpen their critical thinking. Show them JW beliefs and explain how they are flawed. Show them the controlling techniques that are being used and explain how to spot them elsewhere.
There are adults that are taken in by it. I would focus more on boundaries (keep your cult garbage to yourself) than I would hoping my kids could overcome it. Get those grown adults to mind their manners and respect your boundaries if they want to see your kiddos.
Teach young ones to use analytical thinking in little things like comparing the claims on products at the supermarket... (eg "why does the packet claim "new and improved" or "why does it say "100% natural" etc)
If they can learn to question things like that, then slowly they can apply such skills to larger issues of faith...
Have regular discussions especially after contact,
jws will push their EMOTIONAL BUTTONS, acts like the offer of candy to lure a kid into a windowless van
Remember that Home Bible Studies are started with ADULTS daily!
I have two young children - ages 5 and 7. Personally I am in between an agnostic and atheist at this point. Their father is a lapsed catholic. Influences aside from us parents include my former 2nd generation pioneer and elder wife JW mother who is now a fundamentalist christian, my 2nd generation still in JW dad and wife/stepmom, and several diehard Catholic relatives on their dad's side.
My strategy has been to be open, honest, and non-judgemental about beliefs - my own and that of others. I have bought several child-friendly books that cover most of the religions of the world to give them a basis. We have even read the My Book of Bible Stories book - but with the view towards this is just one belief system and not necessarily non-fiction.
We recently had a death in the family and that brought up a lot of questions. I answered them the best way I could, including what and why I currently believe the way I do and the fact that I don't have all the answers.
My son who is 5 has chosen at this time to believe in a God and heaven. My daughter who is 7 waivers between not believing at all and believing in a malevolent and horribly mean God who chooses not to save people despite the ability.
As they grow, although not totally possible, I hope to educate but stay out of their personal beliefs and choices as much as possible.
I view my job to be teaching critical thinking and questioning. The earlier you start with this I think the better. I think that way you keep the line of communication open - so if and when they come home after being told certain beliefs they will feel free to talk, ask questions, and be open to a critical though process.
It is always helpful for young ones to learn that the use of fear to motivate interest and service is as old as the hills.
More relevantly, JW organization has been jumping on any and all world "conditions" as proof of the end being near since at least 1876.
Generation after generation after generation after generation has lived in expectation that the end will be in their day, and each onedisappointment as when the Bible Students expected the (so-called) "end of the Gentile TImes" in 1914 would lead to the rapture of the saints.
It is also an eye-opener to young ones that the Watchtower's own publications have advised against furthering one's education, even for employment purposes because the end is so close. It is hard to forget the Awake! from 1969 that warned as much. I was a young eager man then, keen to further my education, but, on the basis of the magazine, told by grandparents and parents the end was so very close I would not get to graduate. I am less than two years from retirement at 65.
Young ones need to know this before being tempted to submit to ongoing warnings about "conditions" in the world meaning the end is so very close. Once bitten...
When can I let my guard down?
JW`s are sneaky, under handed and deceitful, especially JW Relatives..
They won`t stop....Ever..
Outlaw, I agree 100%!!!!
Hybridous, It is highly recommended that you stay with your kids when they interact with JW relatives.