Parenting through seperation

by rathernotsay 17 Replies latest jw friends

  • rathernotsay

    Hi everyone, was hoping I could share my experience, read other people's, and perhaps receive some advice regarding parenting through seperation.

    So my wife of 8 odd years, and mother to my 3 children (8,6,3) and I have separated. Largely due to our differences not just with religion but all areas of life. The breakup was amicable, and we remain somewhat friendly to one another while we work all this out. We have been separated nearing a year now, I have moved on and met someone that I'm very compatible with and have plans to move in together in the near future. She remains single and not even entertaining the idea of dating.

    She is a JW, I never have been (or any other religion). I have always allowed my children to attend the meetings, as I want them to make their own mind up, and have just encouraged them to learn about dinosaurs and space etc. I always had rules for my household that included things like I didnt want grace said at my table, the kids can thank me for earning the bread and mum for cooking it.

    However, having separated I have lost that control. Shes obviously free to teach them what she likes now I'm not around. This scares me. I can see my children slipping further into the belief system and I dont know what I can or should do about it. I sat down with mr 6 and explained to him that I dont believe there is one god but many. This isnt entirely true, I dont believe in any, however trying to explain that I dont believe in anything to a 6 year old is difficult and it seemed it would be easier for him to understand if I could give him an alternative.

    I dont want to ramble on too much, so just wondering how others have dealt with similar situations?

  • Vanderhoven7

    You haven't explained if you share custody or not. If she has full custody, good luck in promoting athiest thinking and undermining her parenting role.

    If you have partial custody my advice is to be honest with your children about your atheism and not invent a false polytheistic position and ultimately lose all credibility. Just say how and why you differ from their mother and leave it at that.

    Never lie to your children, or to anyone for that matter and you will have their respect later on.

  • rathernotsay

    I agree with you about not lying, was kinda put on the spot and it felt like I wasnt going to get through to him without explaining that there are other gods.

    As for custody, we dont have a set arrangement, due to my work I can only have then sporadically, usually one or two nights a week. It's been a case of juggling things and working together.

  • carla

    Learn everything you can on critical thinking skills and instill that in them while you are around them. Naturally age appropriate. Have you considered bringing children to different belief systems in your area even though you yourself may be an atheist? Expose them to different cultures and beliefs from all over the world. Your wife will have a hissy fit, but so be it. If you do not get them out of the cult as soon as possible your time with them will be short. (exposing them to different cultures & religion does not mean one must agree with them, you all are simply learning about the world around you)

    If they become fully indoctrinated they will eventually shun you in all likelihood. What purpose will they have for someone who is due to be snuffed out by jah anyway? who is part of satan's world?

    Find an attorney who is fluent in jw-ism and keep the kids out of kh to begin with. If they want to choose when they turn 18 then there is nothing you can do about it but at least they will have a chance.

    If you don't currently celebrate holidays and birthdays I suggest you do now without delay. Become the fun parent with fun outings and activities. Make sure school, doctors, hospitals and non jw family know you WILL accept all blood and blood products for children in case of emergency. Make sure you are called first or at the very least at the same time. Make sure you are there for ALL school functions and teacher conferences. Do not depend on your soon to be ex wife to give you accurate information regarding your kids and school, get the information yourself and insist on it from the school. You have that right as a parent. Allow your children to participate in sports, music, theater etc.... Stay involved now while they are young and they will be less likely to join the cult later and cut you out of their life.

    Wishing you the best in such a difficult situation.

  • nonjwspouse

    Begin teaching about high control religions/organizations. Teach them the red flags and why such high control is a very dangerous thing.

    Teach them about learning from more than one source to get a balanced, true, viewpoint to base a decision, and that high control religions/organizations will try to make them believe that is a bad thing to do.

    You have a looong road ahead.

    Actually you should go ahead and divorce. Then get a court agreement as to you having them equal amounts of time, and during your time the children do not attend the meetings.The break from the indoctrination is very important.

  • rathernotsay

    Some valid points raised there. I've tried to be respectful of their mother and her beliefs but I can see where that's going to lead. As far as getting divorced and getting an attorney to put stops in place, that's not possible in my country. You have to be separated for 2 years before applying for a divorce, and the courts will ot interfere with religious activities. According to my lawyer the best outcome I could have is a court order regarding their healthcare and blood transfusion. But I have spoken with their doctor and it is already set that way on their records.

  • tiki

    Stay close as you can to them hugely and make sure they know it and are secure in it. Do fun things with them...nothing having to do with religion. You don't have to convert them...only provide the opportunity for a normal childhood experience. In time they will see the difference from the regimented narrow minded cult way....but for now they are young enough to simply be able to grow painlessly. And when they do reach an age of may need to deal with more intense issues...or maybe not. Good luck!!

  • Vanderhoven7

    Some really good advice here. Separation and divorce when children are involved is never easy and often expedentially more messy when religion is involved.

    Summing it up. Love your kids, do fun things with them when you have them, teach them critical thinking skills, share the truth as you believe it when they ask, speak well of their mom even though you disagree with her religion. Try to get their mom to agree to do the same and things may go easier for all involved.

  • millie210

    Reading between the lines, the fact that you can be in a "working" relationship with your soon to be ex wife tells me you are probably a fairly even tempered guy. You are probably very capable of playing the long game. That will be in your favor because JWs have an extremely low retention rate in keeping young people interested in their organization. Their natural desire as they become teens will be to leave.

    As others have mentioned above love them, keep alternatives to what they are being taught by your wife available to them, no need to force it just expose them to different ways of viewing the world than she is.

    Time is on your side.

  • peacefulpete
    Its not terribly different from any parent's dilemma, how to instill good positive character and strong thinking skills without smothering. Be yourself and be a good Dad. Really, the controls of the religion work best when the convert/child has limited exposure to positive close relationships outside the church. You simply being yourself will make the programming ineffective.

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