too many invites to church



  • amymrls
    amymrls Posts: 1,673 Member
    I'm not really a church going person but wouldn't mind my kids going if they actually enjoyed it. Does it make your kids uncomfortable or is it something they like and enjoy?
  • Yes2HealthyAriel
    Yes2HealthyAriel Posts: 453 Member
    I dont think they are trying to push anything on your son. I agree with another post that there are many activities at churches for children and it can be fun. I strongly believe that you should leave this completely up to your son. If he wants to go, let him. Also if he wants to be a Christian or any other religion, let him. I think these are things you should leave to your child.
  • triciab79
    triciab79 Posts: 1,713 Member
    LOL I doubt they are saying your kid is going to hell. Christian churches are heavily focused on young people. Many of them almost become clubs for kids. It keeps them out of trouble and teaches them to think about other people and charity. They often participate in feeding the homeless or habitat for humanity. Sometimes they do crazy things like play video games and eat pizza. I am certain they would welcome you attending to see if it is appropriate for your son. If you are worried, go see what they are teaching. I can tell you from my own experience that church is not nearly as scary as people seem to think.
  • wikitbikit
    wikitbikit Posts: 518 Member
    I'm assuming your son's friend still wasn't home/with his parents when they showed up to take him to church? I would be very, very bothered by that as well.

    Overall though, we're in a similar situation. My daughter is 11; the neighbors' kids are 10 and younger, 3 girls and a boy. They are very religious and home schooled. They invite my daughter to a lot of church functions (and they have invited me in the past, but I told them "I'm not into that kind of thing" and that was the end of that, lol) and she likes to go. Sometimes the oldest girl isn't with them, but my daughter likes all the kids, so it's no big deal. If it were just the parents... that would be very upsetting to me.

    I think it's great for my daughter to learn that other people have different beliefs and they're still good, cool, nice people to hang out with. If she was coming home and telling me that she was threatened with hell (or that I was)--from someone other than a small child--that would be very uncool. Once when she was 9 or so, some kid-friends of the neighbors' kids told my daughter she was being "immodest" because she was wearing a tank-tini bathing suit and that she shouldn't do that, and that ruffled my feathers a bit--this was from an older child, maybe 11 or 12 at the time.

    But anyway, we talk about what they believe, and what I believe, and what other people who we don't even know believe. Learning about religions is a good thing, in my mind, but that slight pressure or assumption on the part of your neighbors was inappropriate. Lots of time the girls next door will mention they're doing something churchy later and then when the time comes, they'll come over to ask if my daughter wants to/can go, they're leaving, but again--it's the kids.

    But! As someone else said, I think, I would feel this way no matter WHAT they were going off to do--if it was just the parents and no kids. I can't think of a single reason why someone would need to go anywhere alone with my kid unless I'd asked them to.
  • SJ46
    SJ46 Posts: 407 Member
    The next time your son is invited a simple - "I'm glad our children are such good friends and enjoy spending time together. Our family is not interested in attending church but thanks for thinking of *insert your child's name here*."

    There is no need for any type of sit down conversation about your beliefs or their beliefs.
  • shrinkingsusie
    shrinkingsusie Posts: 40 Member
    I'm not really a church going person but wouldn't mind my kids going if they actually enjoyed it. Does it make your kids uncomfortable or is it something they like and enjoy?

    He loves going! It's the Wednesday night church where they have activities for the kids.
  • Timshel_
    Timshel_ Posts: 22,834 Member
    I am borderline agnostic/Christian/Ancient Alien theorist (Really, I LOVE that series). If things come up in conversations I will invite people to church functions, but rarely to church for church's sake. I believe others need to find that on their own. Both of my boys have invited other friends as well, but again, just for activities.

    We have an excellent, community active church that focus's on fellowship of people as much as following gospel.

    If I know folks don't wanna even hear about church, so be it. I know in the past I've met very pushy Christians, Mormons, etc, and I have had to shut them down.

    Good luck.

    You don't have to be crass or hash about it though, like some others have suggested.
  • tetecia
    tetecia Posts: 75 Member
    If your son loves going, like you've stated, i suppose just let him go. Myself and My husband are Atheists and we raise our 2 children in a secular household. I was raised as a Catholic so i had to attend Mass every Sunday and go through the motions of being a Catholic Girl (Eucharist/Communion/Baptism ect).....When i got to be around your sons age i started doubting all forms of religion, especially christianity (since that's what i knew). However, i still had to attend Mass. When i got into High School the only way out of attending Mass was if i went to Church with another friend. That i did. I attended Baptist, Non-Denominational Xitian, Lutheran ect. I turned out completely fine, but i have come away from it as being staunchly Atheist. I even Major in Religion/Philosophy.

    Sit down and talk with your son, he's old enough to at least know what you and your husband believe in and that he is old enough to see for himself and test the waters so to speak as to what he feels is right for him. When my children are his age, if the subject comes up i'll let them attend church if they wish. But, i would also talk with them about what they learned at said church and what my thoughts on it were as well. Currently my mother undermines me and talks to my son about god and jesus. I didn't realize it until recently because he asked me about God and Jesus and i found that a bit odd since we don't talk about it home. But, i sat him down and explained some people believe "x,y,z" and others believe "a,b,c" and left it at that. He's too young to be fed all of that, i feel.

    Hopefully nothing weird comes from all of this. Like the other posters said: have a chat with the neighbors about how their actions of simply showing up announced to take him to church made you feel undermined and uneasy and go from there. Good Luck.
  • shrinkingsusie
    shrinkingsusie Posts: 40 Member
    Thanks, everyone, for giving me a lot to think about. I do believe that my kids are their own people who need to learn from their own experiences. My mom, the Buddhist, always let me go to church with my friends but I seem to have forgotten about that.

    I've been to the church and have sat in on sermons. I was curious, of course. I didn't feel right about some of the things I heard and left with the impression that they go to a very conservative church. I'm sure we can handle these things at home.

    As for the invite, I'll make it clear to the kids that they can't go anywhere without clearing it with me or dad beforehand. I can't control my neighbors behavior but I can control my kids and they should really know better anyway.

    I'll use the pentagram idea as a last resort :wink:
  • kacysuzanne
    kacysuzanne Posts: 27 Member
    I think that it is a good plan to just talk it over with the neighbors in a friendly manner. If you have been friends for two years, your son has gone to church with them in the past and enjoyed it and the boys had not had a chance to see each other that day, the dad may not have thought a thing about inviting and picking up your son. Whatever activity your children are going to, each and every time they are going, requires your approval as the parent. Familiarity can blur those lines, as it does with my son & his friends. It's fine to set limitations - whether you, your husband and your son decide those are going every Wed night, going once a month, going only when your son comes to you and specifically asks to go or not going at all - just let them know it bothered you that you didn't know he was leaving until they came to the door.
  • MoreBean13
    MoreBean13 Posts: 8,701 Member
    When I was a waitress years ago, for some reason I got a lot of people who wanted to save me. I started wearing a little star of david necklace and nobody ever offered to save me again.
  • sunsnstatheart
    sunsnstatheart Posts: 2,544 Member
    I'm not really a church going person but wouldn't mind my kids going if they actually enjoyed it. Does it make your kids uncomfortable or is it something they like and enjoy?

    He loves going! It's the Wednesday night church where they have activities for the kids.

    Then let him go, and be prepared to sit down with him and discuss what goes on there. He will certainly have questions. It's a great way to educate your child on your beliefs versus other beliefs. Children can be incredibly intelligent when it comes to these conversations. Besides, these are issues he will have to deal with sooner or later. Better to prepare him.

    My wife and I are worlds apart from my MIL when it comes to religion, but we want our children to be close to her, and this approach seems to work for us.
  • ScottFree_66
    have you checked out the GROUP FORUM - "Atheists on MFP".

    Fun group of like minded individuals.
  • WendyTerry420
    WendyTerry420 Posts: 13,274 Member
    I think giving your kids proper education and critical thinking skills/ common sense is all the protection they ever need. Let him go to church and even buy him a copy of the bible. Kids can be surprisingly good at detecting bullshyt

    ^^ This

    And talk to your son about the church. Be open-minded and listen. If you aren't cool about it, then it could end up badly.
  • sarahisme18
    sarahisme18 Posts: 574 Member
    Well... it sounds like you don't want your kids to go to or be exposed to church, actually, because it is something different than what you and your husband believe. And if that is the case, then it is totally OK to respectfully call the parents and let them know. I would hope that they could respectfully say the same thing to you if you were trying to invite their children to do or participate in something they didn't agree with and didn't want their children involved in, and that you could respect that.

    Because if they are not saying disrespectful things to you or your kids, or pressuring you or your kids to do something they don't want to do (it sounds like your kids are OK with going with them and don't feel pressured or made to feel inferior about it?), then I don't see that you can be angry with them. :/

    I feel like, from what you've said about being afraid of them talking about you going to hell or thinking you're a heathen that YOU are the one worried about that, not them. Again, if they haven't said things like that to you or to your kids, then all you can do is decide for yourself... do you want your kids to go? If not, then ask everyone involved to respect that, and I hope that they would respect it. If they then do not, then you have a problem. Right now you do not have a problem.

    Hope that helps. :)
  • GiddyupTim
    GiddyupTim Posts: 2,819 Member
    I am a believer, and I go to church. And, I think it is incredibly presumptuous of your neighbors, if they are being pushy about it. I suspect they want him to convert. In which case, they are trying to indoctrinate him. That is wrong and it is not fair !
    Now, if it is just something their family does, and your son wants to go, and their son wants him to go, I would have no problem with it. Personally, I think it is great to be exposed to religion.
    You could easily talk to them about it. But, I suspect one reason you haven't is because you are afraid you will offend them. The only reason mentioning it would offend them is because they are trying to indoctrinate him, and you know it.
    But, if that is the case, you really do need to talk with them, and let them know that they are not the ones who should be teaching your kid.
  • nashsheri33
    nashsheri33 Posts: 225 Member
    well, there are different ways to look at it.

    when i was a kid, i grew up in a non-churchgoing home, and i was always looking for an opportunity to go to church. i couldn't find anybody to take me.

    as an adult, i could take myself to church. now i am a Christian. i took my kids to church. they had a million friends (usually all in my house eating all the food and making enough noise to alarm the neighbor's elderly dog) and when it was time to go to church, either my kids would ask if so-and-so could go with us or else so-and-so would ask pleeeeeeeaase could they go with us. my answer was - you have to ask your parents and if they say it's ok, no problem. and often i would talk to the parents to double check.

    but i recommend that if you let them go, you should go too, just to find out what your kids are learning and what they think about it and if they understand it.

    kids are very literal. especially little kids. i remember one sunday we started singing a hymn that had the words 'washed in the blood of the Lamb' and i was a little concerned that the 4-year-olds were going to have nightmares that evening.
  • jenj1313
    jenj1313 Posts: 898 Member
    If it's a regular thing that your son goes to church w them, it's not so weird. Maybe the other kid had actually mentioned asking him so the dad just did it instead.

    BUT... it's bugging you and these are people you are friendly / social with, so you should find a polite way to bring it up. If your son likes going, is there really any harm in it? I mean you might have a son who develops his own opinions, but at least he's not hanging with the druggies down the street.

    For the record, I grew up and am currently on "your" side of the Christianity spectrum. All my friends growing up went to church and I often got invited along, and went... even went to vacation bible school a couple of times in the summer. I did ask my parents why we didn't go, and they explained their reasons. In the end, church just wasn't something I picked up on, but I don't think they'd have been against it if I did.
  • SlickFootAnna
    SlickFootAnna Posts: 611 Member
  • nz_deevaa
    nz_deevaa Posts: 12,209 Member
    My kid goes to a Christian Private school, but we aren't Christian. Its just a really good school.

    A lot of his friends ARE Christian and he gets invited to a lot of Christian events. I let him go to whatever he wants to go to.

    He enjoys the youth activities that Youth Groups have, and has a great time with his friends.

    In all the activities that he's been to he's never had any beliefs forced upon him, all the activities are well supervised and are honest, clean fun... Just the type of thing that you WANT your kid to enjoy.

    If your kid wants to go, then let him.

    It makes a change from computer games.