I have four kids - ages 18, 13, 10 and 6.
First some clarification: I have been in the "truth" for 35 years, and although I have never been particularly active in the ministry I have followed the JW "lifestyle" whether we were attending meetings or not. Now it's gotten to this: I no longer believe that the org is God's representation on earth and no longer find it necessary to refrain from engaging in certain activities.
For example: My 18 year old son really wants his ear pierced. For that matter, so has my husband, and the only thing stopping us was the congregational attitude regarding it. Well, now I'd like to take them both to the mall and have it done - but I'm honestly scared! Of what, I can't say - but I am. It seems like such a line to cross.
All of my children have been heavily involved in afterschool activities (another no-no I know), but I never saw anything wrong with it. So they have more than the usual amount of worldly friends. In the past we would always turn down birthday invitations (naturally) - and I always regretted having to do it. Last week, my 10 year old was invited to a pretty cool birthday celebration - and i want to tell him yes he can go, but it's sticking in my throat. I know he'll be thrilled about going - but he's going to ask me why after all this time is it now okay to go to a birthday party.
I have never had a problem talking to my kids about anything. But for the last two years my answers have felt hollow even to me. I just want to handle this conversation right and would appreciate it if any of you have had to deal with these issues and shed some light on what might happen. Thanks.