Saturday, February 21, 2015

When People Undermine your Secular Parenting

secular atheist parenting
Thank you to a reader, L, who asked this question:
My 8-year-old's father and my aunt decided behind my back that for Christmas this year they would tell (my daughter) that Santa made a special stop in heaven to pick up a present for her from her grandmother who has been dead over a year and a half now.

I didn't know about it until about a week later when (my daughter) said,
Is Santa real? Please don't lie to me mom, I want the truth. So I gave her the truth & her next question is So does that mean grandma rose isn't real? I told her that of course grandma rose is real, that all we are is energy & that energy gets released back into Tue universe, but I feel like they really messed her head up with this one.

What can I say/do to make reentering the grieving process easier on her?

L, I love it that your daughter asked Please don't lie to me, Mom, I want the truth. Good for her and her precocious, intelligent way of moving through the world. I honestly think that her questioning will help her through all of the mixed messages and storytelling.

First, relax a bit. I would be terribly upset at that little game behind my back, and on such an important topic, too! The best way to address that one is with direct questioning and spoken expectations to your husband and aunt. I recommend planning a day to talk with them, a day when everyone is calm and in a good frame of mind.

As for your daughter, frequent hugs, conversations, reassurances, gentle questions, reminders that we are living this life in a healthy and loving and meaningful way... Remind her of her admirable ability to think and process things in the world around her and let her know that you admire her insistence on honesty, even hard honesty.

The grieving process is just that, a process. It will continue on indefinitely.Your relationship, your conversations, and your loving ears are all that she will need to figure this one out. There is time.
I believe in her intellect and bright heart.

I, too, have had loved ones attempt to undermine my parenting, behind my back.
Anger, shock, disbelief, hurt!
I hope you are doing well. 

Peace, Karen  

Have you had people
try to undermine your parenting?
What did you do?

I'm curious. What would you have said to L? 

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:
Atheists Talking to Our Kids about Death and Grief
An Unfortunate Necessary Evil
The Big Question:  Death
Dealing with the Confrontational Family Member
SecularTv:  Dealing with Religious Family Members


  1. Loved this! Great advice for not only when your secular parenting is undermined, but really applicable to any situation where your belief system/educational choice is undermined. Thanks for sharing!

    As much as I appreciated this post, I think others would as well. So, I shared it in a secular homeschooling group I belong to over at LinkedIn. If you aren't already a member of that group, it's worth a join. Great info, tips, and resources shared. Hope to see you there! :)



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