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A few months ago without our permission and knowing we were against involving the kids with religion until they are of the age to independently decide what they believe, my ILs took my kids to their Christian church for services. We had discussed it, and they said they had no issue missing church in exchange for 3 days with the kids.

 

I come back to find that they used the key we left for emergencies to go to our house, get them dresses, and took them to church. DH and I both were very angry as we don't want anyone of any religion pushing their views on our kids. At the time, MIL swore they only went to Sunday school and learned about the Ark.

 

Today during school we were discussing early Christianity in history when my 8yo pops up that "yeah, MIL and FIL tried to get me to say I believed Jesus was my savior and got mad when I wouldn't" and my 6yo says "I said it just to make them happy but I didn't believe it either it was too much like a fairy tale".

 

I could spit nails. Actually, at the moment my daughter said that I wanted to be physically violent towards them. They know I was abused in nearly every way possible by someone who was in a position of religious authority. At the time we had a major argument about this. The kids haven't visited on a Sunday or Wednesday since we found out and they no longer get a key to our house. DH says to just let it go and not to let them keep them when church is in session. His family is aware that another incident like this will end them keeping the kids, period.

 

I'm trying to be calm. Part of me just wants to look them in they eye and say, "I know what you two lying sickos did. Stay away from my kids."

 

Maybe this is a JAWM post. I don't know. I'm probably just venting. I just don't like children being pressured into another soul notch on their belt.

Edited by mamajag
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A few months ago without our permission and knowing we were against involving the kids with religion until they are of the age to independently decide what they believe, my ILs took my kids to their Christian church for services. We had discussed it, and they said they had no issue missing church in exchange for 3 days with the kids.

 

I come back to find that they used the key we left for emergencies to go to our house, get them dresses, and took them to church. DH and I both were very angry as we don't want anyone of any religion pushing their views on our kids. At the time, MIL swore they only went to Sunday school and learned about the Ark.

 

Today during school we were discussing early Christianity in history when my 8yo pops up that "yeah, MIL and FIL tried to get me to say I believed Jesus was my savior and got mad when I wouldn't" and my 6yo says "I said it just to make them happy but I didn't believe it either it was too much like a fairy tale".

 

I could spit nails. Actually, at the moment my daughter said that I wanted to be physically violent towards them. They know I was abused in nearly every way possible by someone who was in a position of religious authority. At the time we had a major argument about this. The kids haven't visited on a Sunday or Wednesday since we found out and they no longer get a key to our house. DH says to just let it go and not to let them keep them when church is in session. His family is aware that another incident like this will end them keeping the kids, period.

 

I'm trying to be calm. Part of me just wants to look them in they eye and say, "I know what you two lying sickos did. Stay away from my kids."

 

Maybe this is a JAWM post. I don't know. I'm probably just venting. I just don't like children being pressured into another soul notch on their belt.

 

I think I'm getting the timeline confused. I was under the impression that you confronted them about what they did, but then you said, " Part of me just wants to look them in they eye and say, "I know what you two lying sickos did. Stay away from my kids."

 

Am I right that you confronted them about a past issue (the Sunday school thing,) but that the part where they tried to get your kids to say that Jesus was their savior, was something more recent, and that you haven't said anything to them about it?

 

Sorry to be so clueless!

 

As I understand things thus far, though, I would say that I think it would be way out of line to call them "lying sickos." Their beliefs are different from yours. That doesn't make them sickos. BUT... as far as I'm concerned, your kids' religion or lack of religion is 100% up to you and your dh, and it is perfectly reasonable to expect that your ILs should keep their mouths shut. But I have a feeling that they mean well, and that their religious beliefs are leading them to worry about your children's future if they never accept Jesus as their savior.

 

Again, they don't have the right to interfere with what you're teaching your kids, but I don't think anyone will be well served by calling them names, unless you are absolutely certain that they have malicious intentions toward your children. As far as I can tell, they aren't child molesters; they're just very religious people who don't want to accept the boundaries you have set for them. I think you may be viewing them as being far more sinister than they really are, because you had such horrible experiences, and rightfully want to protect your own kids. I'm just not hearing any evidence that your dh's parents want to abuse your kids. Overzealous? Quite possibly. Abusive sickos? I seriously doubt it.

 

But I do think that your dh needs to lay down the law with them -- and I don't think you can leave your kids alone with them any more, if you feel so strongly about this issue, because it will come up again.

Edited by Catwoman
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After just reading the title to your post I was ready to say "its ok, exposure to a church service is just that, exposure." However, after reading your post I agree I would be irate and I think it would be the end of any visits with grandparents on church days and maybe the end of unsupervised visits at all. It sounds like you have been very clear about your stand regarding organized religion. It sounds like you have very strong opinions on that issue. I am sure your in-laws are quite clear about your opinions. Knowing how you would feel they went behind your back and not only took them to church/Sunday school but also tried to do a little indoctrination on their own. You are right to be mad. You have every right to set guidelines for your kids and expect those guidelines to be upheld by other people they spend time with. Good luck.

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It was totally out of line for them to secretly take your kids somewhere you didn't want your kids to be, when they had stated that they wouldn't. Even worse for them to bully your kids into an insincere expression of faith (and in any case, all the Christians I know irl would agree that this isn't the right way to bring people to Christ). I'd be giving your in-laws an explicit warning (preferably getting your husband on board first, so you know he's ready to back you up) and if they do anything like this again that would be the end of their contact with their grandchildren.

 

It's not about church and Sunday school. (I don't think they're harmful. We are atheistic but I have personally taken my kids to Sabbath school, and church, and mosque, and they are none the worse for it.) It's about the fact that you can't trust these people because they don't have any respect for you as the kids' parents.

Edited by Hotdrink
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what I don't get is why your kids didn't call you about this. If my kids had been told they weren't going somewhere ever until they were older and their grandparents took them home to get dressed and go to this place my kids would have said no and then asked to call me.

 

In fact when we visited my mom/stepdad last month grandpa offered the kids to ride up front. I don't allow it. Both said no. He offered again. They said no. And as soon as I got home they both came to tell me he offered :glare: My kids know to call me if they are with another family or adult to ask me anything, anytime if they have doubts or concerns about a situation. They know even grandparents don't follow our family values and to stand their ground. And even at 5 my son would have said to call me first.

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what I don't get is why your kids didn't call you about this. If my kids had been told they weren't going somewhere ever until they were older and their grandparents took them home to get dressed and go to this place my kids would have said no and then asked to call me.

 

It doesn't sound like her kids were ever told this--it sounds like the grandparents were told, though. I'd never make a big deal out of something like this with my children.

 

Mamajag, I'd be very, very angry. That's a very blatant deception, and I'd have a huge trust issue after that, especially given that you have trust issues with religious authority already :( I think it would be awhile before I could let them be alone with my kids again. But I think I would also have DH be the one who communicated my feelings to them.

 

I'm sorry :grouphug: Having ILs (anyone, really, but especially family you thought you could rely on) break your trust WRT to your kids is devastating.

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:grouphug:

 

Well, for myself, I would find it difficult to keep my grandson on a weekend and not take him to church with me. My adult children know this, of course. One of my dsils claims not to believe in God; I might have more "problems" with him over it, but it is what it is: I would take my grandson to church if he were in my care on a Sunday, and I'm going to sing "Jesus Loves Me" to him, and for Christmas this year, I'm sending him a Golden Book of Children's Prayers and one that tells the story of Jesus. (He's just 2½ yo, BTW, and lives in Seattle.) That is NOT forcing my religion down his throat.

 

Also, I believe that giving children some sort of religious training when they are young is important, rather than giving them nothing at all to work with so they can make their "independent decisions."

 

Nevertheless, I would not have snuck into my daughter's home looking for dressy clothes for my grandson, nor pressured my grandson into saying or doing anything. That's just wrong on so many levels, and I am truly horrified that your ILs did it. I don't know if it would do any good to talk to them, though, but it should be your dh who does the talk, if that's what y'all decided to do. They are his parents, after all.

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Based on what you described you are going to have to cut these in-laws out of your lives. They will definitely proseyletize your children no matter what they say. Perhaps you can resume contact when your children get to whatever age you deem appropriate to be exposed to religious belief.

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A few months ago without our permission and knowing we were against involving the kids with religion until they are of the age to independently decide what they believe, my ILs took my kids to their Christian church for services. We had discussed it, and they said they had no issue missing church in exchange for 3 days with the kids.

 

I come back to find that they used the key we left for emergencies to go to our house, get them dresses, and took them to church. DH and I both were very angry as we don't want anyone of any religion pushing their views on our kids. At the time, MIL swore they only went to Sunday school and learned about the Ark.

 

Today during school we were discussing early Christianity in history when my 8yo pops up that "yeah, MIL and FIL tried to get me to say I believed Jesus was my savior and got mad when I wouldn't" and my 6yo says "I said it just to make them happy but I didn't believe it either it was too much like a fairy tale".

 

I could spit nails. Actually, at the moment my daughter said that I wanted to be physically violent towards them. They know I was abused in nearly every way possible by someone who was in a position of religious authority. At the time we had a major argument about this. The kids haven't visited on a Sunday or Wednesday since we found out and they no longer get a key to our house. DH says to just let it go and not to let them keep them when church is in session. His family is aware that another incident like this will end them keeping the kids, period.

 

I'm trying to be calm. Part of me just wants to look them in they eye and say, "I know what you two lying sickos did. Stay away from my kids."

 

Maybe this is a JAWM post. I don't know. I'm probably just venting. I just don't like children being pressured into another soul notch on their belt.

 

Whoa. That's, um, insane.

 

I'd have myself some rightous anger going on about that, too. In fact, I'd confront dh's parents if they did that. I'd ask them why they deliberatly went again our expressed wishes and went ahead and took the kids to church. I'd make them answer for it. And then after they did, I'd inform them that they would no longer be keeping the children while their church was in service. And if they ever went against one of our expressed wishes regarding the children again, they'd not have any unsupervised time with them again.

 

I'm sorry, but that's just wrong, and they know it. And it would not be allowed in *my* family, by either me OR my dh.

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They were totally out of line and i'd be angry too - but also be cautious that you dont get stuck reprocessing old stuff without realizing it, kwim? I mean, your past will make you extra-sensitive to the specific kind of manipulation they are displaying here. Your inlaws need to get a clear message that this will not be tolerated, but you also need to make sure you have as much help as you need to process this re-stimulation of your past.

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I see a couple problems:

 

1--They should not lie and go behind your back to do something that you have specifically asked them not to do. That's rude and wrong, no matter what topic it's about. I would not react well towards anyone who did so with my children.

 

2--Your position on religion does not seem like you are actually allowing your kids to make a decision when they are older. Rather, you seem downright hostile and anti-religion. If you truly want your children to be able to evaluate their thoughts on God fairly someday, then you, too, need to treat the subject fairly. People around you have all manner of opinions about God, and because those opinions are so precious to them, those opinions find expression in the way people talk and the traditions they choose to uphold. If you condition your children specifically that this topic and those traditions are WRONG, then you actually are not giving them the freedom to choose that you claim you want them to have. Just food for thought.

 

3--Your in-laws are behaving the way they are out of a deep-seated worry and anxiety for the grandchildren they love. They should NOT disrespect your rules as the parent. However, I think you could try harder to understand what is actually motivating them. Telling them that they cannot express their most cherished beliefs will naturally be very difficult for them. You need to also understand that your beliefs and your choices will sound to them like you are anti-God, and that their beloved grandchildren will suffer because you are conditioning them to separation from God. You may not intend to come across this way, but nevertheless, this is what they hear/see. This will cause anxiety.

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1) I would calmly tell my kids "that's what some people believe" and not make a big deal out of it with them.

 

2) Knowing the grandparents are Christians, I would accept that they considered this a good thing to do and now it's done and over. I would not let this eat me up after the fact. It shouldn't be that much of a surprise, actually. No harm was done, other than to your ego (you want to be 100% in charge of this stuff).

 

3) Even if they didn't take your kids to church, grandparents are going to reflect their religious beliefs during their everyday life, including time with their grandkids. I think it's wrong to expect otherwise. I think it's on you to make sure your kids know that there are different views and whatever the grandparents say needs to be heard respectfully but not necessarily believed.

 

4) If this is the only thing you don't like about the grandparents, the only thing I'd change is what you did already - give no opportunity to drag them to church.

 

5) Just because you were abused in a religious setting doesn't mean it's harmful in any way for your children to be exposed to religious beliefs.

 

6) Your kids sound old enough to have independent thought. My 5yo has her own opinions about religion though she's had plenty of exposure to church etc.

 

7) There is much benefit for children in spending time with diverse caregivers. To insist that the grandparents mirror exactly what the parents believe / prefer is to deny your children some valuable experiences that will actually make them better equipped to make independent decisions in the future.

Edited by SKL
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This is one of the reasons i'm very careful when we visit my mother. I am raising my kids as i believe. She feels it is completely wrong. She is mad that my kids will not grow up "knowing" jesus or god. When we visit, she is constantly trying to get the kids alone. She gets mad that i will not allow them to go to church.

 

We do not celebrate christmas for multiple reasons, yet people insist on sending them carp. I am messing them up for life because they dont have hundreds of things to open on dec 25. I am also messing them up by not allowing them to participate in prayers if we go somewhere for thanksgiving (another we dont celebrate).

 

I would not allow them to spend any time alone with a person pushing their beliefs. And i was not abused in any way by any religious people.

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Just a couple thoughts.

 

 

They were wrong in the way they handled this, sneaking into your house, lying, pressuring the kids about religious matters....that said, I do think that your past issues are being triggered to help you overreact a bit. It's okay, we all have hot buttons like that.

 

However, switch the situation around....suppose you were very devout. Would you insist upon the non religious grandparents take the kids to church if the kids were in their care on a Sunday? It's sort of the same thing. From this point forward, you know that you cannot count on the grandparents to miss services to care for the kids.

 

I don't think that exposure to church/religion is shoving it down their throats. Shrug and say, "Some people believe that. I don't, but as you grow up you will decide for yourself."

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I'm not picking on anyone in particular, but I feel like there's some minimizing going on here. And I do wonder, if the situations were reversed and the grandparents took the kids to a secular humanism meeting and tried to get the kids to accept that there is no god and Jesus is a myth, how strongly religious parents would react to this deception, and how they'd view the grandparents' inevitable regular sharing of their deeply held atheist beliefs.

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I'm not picking on anyone in particular, but I feel like there's some minimizing going on here. And I do wonder, if the situations were reversed and the grandparents took the kids to a secular humanism meeting and tried to get the kids to accept that there is no god and Jesus is a myth, how strongly religious parents would react to this deception, and how they'd view the grandparents' inevitable regular sharing of their deeply held atheist beliefs.

 

Exactly!

 

I'm wrong for pushing my lack of beliefs on my kids, but theres nothing wrong with sharing (pushing, forcing, whatever) religious beliefs.

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I'm not picking on anyone in particular, but I feel like there's some minimizing going on here. And I do wonder, if the situations were reversed and the grandparents took the kids to a secular humanism meeting and tried to get the kids to accept that there is no god and Jesus is a myth, how strongly religious parents would react to this deception, and how they'd view the grandparents' inevitable regular sharing of their deeply held atheist beliefs.

 

 

Amen to THAT.

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However, switch the situation around....suppose you were very devout. Would you insist upon the non religious grandparents take the kids to church if the kids were in their care on a Sunday? It's sort of the same thing. From this point forward, you know that you cannot count on the grandparents to miss services to care for the kids.

 

It's not really the same thing at all. The grandparents agreed that they wouldn't mind missing services to spend the time with their grandkids. If they didn't want to, they were free to set needing to attend services as a condition. People miss services all the time, for lots of different reasons, and typically services are offered more than one day a week because of this. Also, asking non-religious grandparents to take the kids to a service is like asking religious grandparents to take kids to a secular humanism meeting, NOT like asking them to miss a service that they could attend at some other time.

 

And anyway, the point is not even the attendance at the service. It's the complete and utter premeditated deception. People who will knowingly deceive me over issues that I consider important as a parent are not people I will trust with my children, because they've just shown me that they don't really care what my beliefs are about anything. And if I have to accept that religion is important to religious people, then they also have to accept that holding off on religious teaching is equally important to me. It goes both ways.

Edited by Sweet Morning Air
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I'm not picking on anyone in particular, but I feel like there's some minimizing going on here. And I do wonder, if the situations were reversed and the grandparents took the kids to a secular humanism meeting and tried to get the kids to accept that there is no god and Jesus is a myth, how strongly religious parents would react to this deception, and how they'd view the grandparents' inevitable regular sharing of their deeply held atheist beliefs.

 

Each and every post has affirmed that the grandparents in question were absolutely wrong to lie and to go behind the parents' back to do something the parents expressly forbid. I said in my post that I would not react well to that on any topic.

 

I am a devout Christian, as anyone reading my posts will easily know. However, I have many friends who are non-Christians. One of my dearest friends--someone who has been a surrogate parent to me and grandparent to my kids--is an atheist and not shy about expressing those beliefs. My siblings also have beliefs that are distinctly different that mine. My children have spent time with these people, with my blessing, and I have never forbid any of these people to discuss certain topics. Rather, I choose to engage my children in open, frequent, frank discussions on any and all topics, including and especially the diverse beliefs of the people around us. Exposure to the beliefs of others has always been carefully balanced with saturation in biblical understanding and practice in our home. So far both kids seem comfortable with their own faith and respectful of others.

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It's not really the same thing at all. The grandparents agreed that they wouldn't mind missing services to spend the time with their grandkids. If they didn't want to, they were free to set needing to attend services as a condition. People miss services all the time, for lots of different reasons, and typically services are offered more than one day a week because of this. Also, asking non-religious grandparents to take the kids to a service is like asking religious grandparents to take kids to a secular humanism meeting, NOT like asking them to miss a service that they could attend at some other time.

 

And anyway, the point is not even the attendance at the service. It's the complete and utter premeditated deception. People who will knowingly deceive me over issues that I consider important as a parent are not people I will trust with my children, because they've just shown me that they don't really care what my beliefs are about anything. And if I have to accept that religion is important to religious people, then they also have to accept that holding off on religious teaching is equally important to me. It goes both ways.

 

 

I do agree with you. I absolutely believe that the grandparents were in the wrong.

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Boundary violations, lying, manipulation, and coercion are not mitigated or excused because a person is "devout."

 

The behavior of the g'parents in the OP are not acceptable, period. End of story.

 

Any form of "please be understanding" is simply believing that your right to "believe" trumps a another family's right.

 

And the feedback that the OP's family is not *actually* offering the children a space in which to grow up and THEN decide was uncalled for.

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This was a MAJOR boundary stomp. Major! I would not let my kids stay with them again, period. I would also take a break from them.

As for a grandparent who gave my children religious items as gifts knowing we wete not intersted in religion for our kids, those would be immediately donated. I also would consider it pushy and weird to constantly have Jesus in their faces through song, etc. It seems very PA.

I am a Mormon, but I wouldn't shove that in my relatives' faces. I am having my opportunity to raise my kids now. I hope as a grandparent I would back off and not try to co-parent. It's creepy and offensive.

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I'm not picking on anyone in particular, but I feel like there's some minimizing going on here. And I do wonder, if the situations were reversed and the grandparents took the kids to a secular humanism meeting and tried to get the kids to accept that there is no god and Jesus is a myth, how strongly religious parents would react to this deception, and how they'd view the grandparents' inevitable regular sharing of their deeply held atheist beliefs.

 

Exactly!

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Boundary violations, lying, manipulation, and coercion are not mitigated or excused because a person is "devout."

 

The behavior of the g'parents in the OP are not acceptable, period. End of story.

 

Any form of "please be understanding" is simply believing that your right to "believe" trumps a another family's right.

And the feedback that the OP's family is not *actually* offering the children a space in which to grow up and THEN decide was uncalled for.

 

Joanne--it is common on many posts, on many topics, to try to consider all perspectives and understand motivations. Just because this one is about religion does not mean it is invalid to try to understand why people would behave so badly. (And I do believe the grandparents in question behaved badly.)

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I see a couple problems:

 

1--They should not lie and go behind your back to do something that you have specifically asked them not to do. That's rude and wrong, no matter what topic it's about. I would not react well towards anyone who did so with my children.

 

2--Your position on religion does not seem like you are actually allowing your kids to make a decision when they are older. Rather, you seem downright hostile and anti-religion. If you truly want your children to be able to evaluate their thoughts on God fairly someday, then you, too, need to treat the subject fairly. People around you have all manner of opinions about God, and because those opinions are so precious to them, those opinions find expression in the way people talk and the traditions they choose to uphold. If you condition your children specifically that this topic and those traditions are WRONG, then you actually are not giving them the freedom to choose that you claim you want them to have. Just food for thought.

 

3--Your in-laws are behaving the way they are out of a deep-seated worry and anxiety for the grandchildren they love. They should NOT disrespect your rules as the parent. However, I think you could try harder to understand what is actually motivating them. Telling them that they cannot express their most cherished beliefs will naturally be very difficult for them. You need to also understand that your beliefs and your choices will sound to them like you are anti-God, and that their beloved grandchildren will suffer because you are conditioning them to separation from God. You may not intend to come across this way, but nevertheless, this is what they hear/see. This will cause anxiety.

:iagree:

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These grandparents lies and distegard for your values and instructions are foul, wrong and also, wrong, wrong, wrong. Thier inability to control their conduct means that boundaries are going to be a critical part of your continuing relationship with them (if you continue).

 

However, it's important that you understand the heart of their choices, so you can understand, a little of 'why' their inability to control their conduct is so strong. Honestly, some people have been conditioned to believe that children who don't "accept Jesus" are at real, tangible, physical risk of burning forever in real, tangible, physical hell. This is a terrifying thing to believe. To them it's like you are saying, "I've decided to let my children, who you love, play in traffic. I expect you to respect me enough to never try to run out and bring them to safety." -- I don't mean that that's how it is... I mean that people conditioned to this belief, including this theology of the child, have quite enormous emotional tumoil when they love children and can't 'save' them. The more they love the child, the more terror, urgency and grief grips them. They think, "What matters more? The child's life or the mother's feelings?"

 

So they make stupid decisions that are wrong, wrong, absolutely dead wrong!

 

But they aren't really in a position to be able to resist the real feelings and sound logic that flow from that false teaching. That's why your boundaries, limits, wisdom and supervision are going to need to be the strong part of this shaky situation.

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Boundary violations, lying, manipulation, and coercion are not mitigated or excused because a person is "devout."

 

The behavior of the g'parents in the OP are not acceptable, period. End of story.

 

Any form of "please be understanding" is simply believing that your right to "believe" trumps a another family's right.

 

And the feedback that the OP's family is not *actually* offering the children a space in which to grow up and THEN decide was uncalled for.

 

Yep, this. I would add that it won't help to alienate them, just be honest and frank. Now your relationship with them changes and it will be hard on all of you. My mother has been doing this to us for years and she loves to do things for our own good or in spite of us and our immaturity or some such. Now you know you can't trust them on Sundays and Wednesdays. Now you have to constantly discuss those religious views with your kids, which isn't all bad. My oldest are now in college and we have had to have honest and absolutely gobsmacking conversations with them since they were small, we love it. Don't punish the in laws and stop being angry, it only makes you age. Just get over it and know what they will do if given the opportunity and don't let them do it again. Sad, I am sorry.

Funny story. My mil is holy rolling, Pentecostal, Bible thumping and is pushing 80 years old. We are non religious and had to set boundaries with her years ago while respecting and honoring her beliefs. Saturday she was out "soul winning" with her church and evidently they were working my neighborhood. I was inside cooking and my 13 year old and his friends were outside playing basketball. My son came running in the house and handed me a book and said grandma had driven by in her swag wagon and gave him that to give to his dad. :lol: she barely even stopped! We love her, we are happy that's all she feels she can do. Itis a great place that we have come to after many years of being mad and hurt over one thing or another.

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I'm not picking on anyone in particular, but I feel like there's some minimizing going on here. And I do wonder, if the situations were reversed and the grandparents took the kids to a secular humanism meeting and tried to get the kids to accept that there is no god and Jesus is a myth, how strongly religious parents would react to this deception, and how they'd view the grandparents' inevitable regular sharing of their deeply held atheist beliefs.

 

Speaking for myself, I think anyone whose family or community has diverse beliefs needs to expect and prepare their kids to be "enthusiastically exposed to" those diverse beliefs. My mom's and dad's families both had very different beliefs than my parents. My parents were open with us about that fact and were very matter-of-fact about it. It does not matter whether you're talking about a holy roller or an atheist. "That's what some people believe" works for all.

 

Making such a big deal about it, IMO, teaches kids to be intolerant as well as ignorant of different beliefs. Religion is just one part, but an integral part, of who someone is. I don't know how kids are expected to love and care for their grandparents if they are taught to disrespect and be offended by their religion (or lack thereof).

Edited by SKL
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Making such a big deal about it, IMO, teaches kids to be intolerant as well as ignorant of different beliefs. Religion is just one part, but an integral part, of who someone is. I don't know how kids are expected to love and care for their grandparents if they are taught to disrespect and be offended by their religion (or lack thereof).
:iagree:

 

I'm agnostic leaning more toward atheism than anything else. With that said, I wouldn't have a problem with my 7 year old going to church with a friend or family member. I want my son to make up his own mind and an over the top reaction one way or the other could affect his decision making process. Having said that, I guess it is all of these things in our lives that bring us to our beliefs, so at this point it is what it is. My husband would react exactly as you have and I would remind him that pushing hard from his direction could push him to exactly what he doesn't want. Although I doubt that will happen simply because of the path his education has taken thus far.

 

I don't believe in pushing my beliefs or lack thereof on my son and my husband doesn't either. We answer his questions when he asks them. We give answers about what what many different religions believe and we also tell him what we believe and we tell him that it's up to him what he will ultimately believe.

 

If I knew ahead of time that he would be going to church with a friend or a family member, I would have a talk with him about what to expect, how to behave, and that he shouldn't feel pressured at any time to do or say anything that makes him feel uncomfortable. At this age, I think he would be fine. I want him to have as many experiences as possible not only with various religions but in life in general. Unfortunately since the grandparents weren't honest with you, you weren't able to have this discussion with them before the experience.

 

The problem with your situation is that the grandparents went against what was previously agreed upon. This is what I would focus on with them, my husband and my children ... not the religious beliefs that they were exposed to. You can simply tell your children that everyone has different beliefs and what they saw are what their grandparents believe and they should respect their beliefs whether they or you agree with them or not. What you do not respect is the fact that they told you one thing and then did another. Going to a church service here and there with a friend or family member isn't going to brainwash your children. Right now you will have the most influence over their beliefs. Make the most of it while you can, and try not to confuse them or turn them against other people's beliefs. (I'm not saying that you did, but it can be a fine line to walk in situations like these.)

 

I think it's very important for your children to understand why you are upset with their grandparents and it's because they weren't honest with you, not because you don't respect their beliefs.

Edited by Cindyz
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I don't know about anyone else, but I didn't see ANYONE approving what the grandparents did. I think the part that I found over-the-top was when the OP referred to them as "lying sickos."

 

I know the OP has had horrible experiences relating to someone in religious authority, but I do think it is an extreme over-reaction to resort to that level of name-calling.

 

Again, I absolutely understand why she is terribly upset that her in-laws would expressly violate her trust and intentionally go against her wishes -- but I would feel the same way if it wasn't about a religious issue.

 

I don't view this as being a religious issue as much as a trust issue, an intentional deception issue, and a serious lack of boundaries on the part of the grandparents.

 

I think we're missing the big picture here if we turn this into a Christian vs. Atheist debate, because that's not really what it's about.

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I'm not picking on anyone in particular, but I feel like there's some minimizing going on here. And I do wonder, if the situations were reversed and the grandparents took the kids to a secular humanism meeting and tried to get the kids to accept that there is no god and Jesus is a myth, how strongly religious parents would react to this deception, and how they'd view the grandparents' inevitable regular sharing of their deeply held atheist beliefs.

 

:iagree:

 

And SKL, I agree that it would be harmful to the kids to make a super-big deal about this, as if it's threatening for other people to have their own religious beliefs.

 

I would downplay the incident with the kids. I'd calmly re-state our family's convictions and say, "You know church is very important to Grandma, and that's why she acted that way." For the sake of the greater humanity I would mention that not all Christians would corner you and try to make you say things, that's just Grandma.

 

But to the grandparents, I would make it a big deal. I mean a sky-high big deal with a cherry on top. Taking them to church against the parents' wishes was pretty bad, but the business about trying to get the kids to make Christian confessions was so incredibly, amazingly without boundaries that Grandma and Grandpa would be off my childcare list permanently.

 

Plus, when I did let them be around the kids, I'd not leave them unattended. Ever.

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I'm not picking on anyone in particular, but I feel like there's some minimizing going on here. And I do wonder, if the situations were reversed and the grandparents took the kids to a secular humanism meeting and tried to get the kids to accept that there is no god and Jesus is a myth, how strongly religious parents would react to this deception, and how they'd view the grandparents' inevitable regular sharing of their deeply held atheist beliefs.

 

Lol! This is exactly why it's a good idea for children/people to be exposed to all sorts of different beliefs. If you attended a few, you would find that this is not what goes on. I've never been to a secular humanism meeting where they tried to convince anyone that there is no God and Jesus is a myth. I have seen debates with willing participants from both sides, but that's quite different from what you're portraying.

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I don't know about anyone else, but I didn't see ANYONE approving what the grandparents did. I think the part that I found over-the-top was when the OP referred to them as "lying sickos."

 

I think you posted initially about not understanding the timeline, right? The way I understood it, it sounds like the parents picked the kids up and found out that not only did they attend services, but they used the emergency key to sneak into the house and get church clothes (so, already, not an impromptu, "You know what, let's hop over to services after all). When they asked the grandparents, the grandparents said they kids only attended Sunday school, and that was it. Then, a few days later, it comes out that "...when my 8yo pops up that "yeah, MIL and FIL tried to get me to say I believed Jesus was my savior and got mad when I wouldn't" and so on.

 

Soooo, yeah, that last part kinda elevates it to "lying sicko" level in my opinion.

 

This is not "discussing our beliefs with our beloved grandchildren." I can get behind that. I let my mom and MIL do that. Trying to drive affirmations of faith and getting angry over not hearing them is a whole other thing, IMO.

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A few months ago without our permission and knowing we were against involving the kids with religion until they are of the age to independently decide what they believe, my ILs took my kids to their Christian church for services. We had discussed it, and they said they had no issue missing church in exchange for 3 days with the kids.

 

I come back to find that they used the key we left for emergencies to go to our house, get them dresses, and took them to church. DH and I both were very angry as we don't want anyone of any religion pushing their views on our kids. At the time, MIL swore they only went to Sunday school and learned about the Ark.

 

Today during school we were discussing early Christianity in history when my 8yo pops up that "yeah, MIL and FIL tried to get me to say I believed Jesus was my savior and got mad when I wouldn't" and my 6yo says "I said it just to make them happy but I didn't believe it either it was too much like a fairy tale".

 

I could spit nails. Actually, at the moment my daughter said that I wanted to be physically violent towards them. They know I was abused in nearly every way possible by someone who was in a position of religious authority. At the time we had a major argument about this. The kids haven't visited on a Sunday or Wednesday since we found out and they no longer get a key to our house. DH says to just let it go and not to let them keep them when church is in session. His family is aware that another incident like this will end them keeping the kids, period.

 

I'm trying to be calm. Part of me just wants to look them in they eye and say, "I know what you two lying sickos did. Stay away from my kids."

 

Maybe this is a JAWM post. I don't know. I'm probably just venting. I just don't like children being pressured into another soul notch on their belt.

 

So, are these separate incidents? Breaking into your house and taking the kids to church=one incident and badgering them to confess Christ as their Savior=a second incident? I would be hesitant to let my kids visit them when my wishes were blatantly and repeatedly being ignored.

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Lol! This is exactly why it's a good idea for children/people to be exposed to all sorts of different beliefs. If you attended a few, you would find that this is not what goes on. I've never been to a secular humanism meeting where they tried to convince anyone that there is no God and Jesus is a myth. I have seen debates with willing participants from both sides, but that's quite different from what you're portraying.

 

I never said the secular humanists at the meeting try to do any convincing. I said that the grandparents in the analogy try to do the convincing, as the grandparents in Mamjag's situation tried to get the kids to say that Jesus is their savior. I've been to secular humanism meetings, but thanks for your concern about my exposure :confused:

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what I don't get is why your kids didn't call you about this. If my kids had been told they weren't going somewhere ever until they were older and their grandparents took them home to get dressed and go to this place my kids would have said no and then asked to call me.

 

In fact when we visited my mom/stepdad last month grandpa offered the kids to ride up front. I don't allow it. Both said no. He offered again. They said no. And as soon as I got home they both came to tell me he offered :glare: My kids know to call me if they are with another family or adult to ask me anything, anytime if they have doubts or concerns about a situation. They know even grandparents don't follow our family values and to stand their ground. And even at 5 my son would have said to call me first.

 

Good for you. As a child, I would have gone along with my grandparents, both because I was taught to obey them when I was under their care, and because I loved them and wanted to please them. I suspect the OP's kids fall into this category. Or it has never been discussed that they aren't to go to church. I hope to raise my children to be able to say something if they know what they're being told to do is not allowed.

 

OP: I would be livid. I would have a hard time ever letting the in-laws take the children without supervision. Perhaps the next time they want to take the kids, bring up this new information.

Edited by extendedforecast
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Guest submarines

 

2) Knowing the grandparents are Christians, I would accept that they considered this a good thing to do and now it's done and over. I would not let this eat me up after the fact. It shouldn't be that much of a surprise, actually. No harm was done, other than to your ego (you want to be 100% in charge of this stuff).

 

 

These people forced young children into an uncomfortable situation, disregarded the mother's wishes, and lied about it. And a Christian would consider this to be a good thing to do? :confused: :confused: :confused: Really? I can't wrap my mind around it.

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I see a couple problems:

 

1--They should not lie and go behind your back to do something that you have specifically asked them not to do. That's rude and wrong, no matter what topic it's about. I would not react well towards anyone who did so with my children.

 

2--Your position on religion does not seem like you are actually allowing your kids to make a decision when they are older. Rather, you seem downright hostile and anti-religion. If you truly want your children to be able to evaluate their thoughts on God fairly someday, then you, too, need to treat the subject fairly. People around you have all manner of opinions about God, and because those opinions are so precious to them, those opinions find expression in the way people talk and the traditions they choose to uphold. If you condition your children specifically that this topic and those traditions are WRONG, then you actually are not giving them the freedom to choose that you claim you want them to have. Just food for thought.

 

3--Your in-laws are behaving the way they are out of a deep-seated worry and anxiety for the grandchildren they love. They should NOT disrespect your rules as the parent. However, I think you could try harder to understand what is actually motivating them. Telling them that they cannot express their most cherished beliefs will naturally be very difficult for them. You need to also understand that your beliefs and your choices will sound to them like you are anti-God, and that their beloved grandchildren will suffer because you are conditioning them to separation from God. You may not intend to come across this way, but nevertheless, this is what they hear/see. This will cause anxiety.

 

:iagree: Absolutely.

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Maybe this is a JAWM post. I don't know. I'm probably just venting. I just don't like children being pressured into another soul notch on their belt.

 

I would be furious myself. Unfortunately, many well meaning Christians, don't understand that repeating words do not a Christian make. But fear often makes them think they get to control the condition of a person's soul.

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I think you posted initially about not understanding the timeline, right? The way I understood it, it sounds like the parents picked the kids up and found out that not only did they attend services, but they used the emergency key to sneak into the house and get church clothes (so, already, not an impromptu, "You know what, let's hop over to services after all). When they asked the grandparents, the grandparents said they kids only attended Sunday school, and that was it. Then, a few days later, it comes out that "...when my 8yo pops up that "yeah, MIL and FIL tried to get me to say I believed Jesus was my savior and got mad when I wouldn't" and so on.

 

Soooo, yeah, that last part kinda elevates it to "lying sicko" level in my opinion.

 

This is not "discussing our beliefs with our beloved grandchildren." I can get behind that. I let my mom and MIL do that. Trying to drive affirmations of faith and getting angry over not hearing them is a whole other thing, IMO.

 

I'm sorry, but I think "sicko" is way out of line. We're not talking about mass murderers or s*xual predators here.

 

Yes, they were wrong. They were VERY wrong. I would be livid if someone tried to force their beliefs on my ds, too. But let's not go overboard with this. Obviously, the OP can't leave her kids alone with them if she wants to ensure that the grandparents won't talk about religion to her kids; I think that's a given. But I haven't heard anything that would suggest that the grandparents would ever beat the kids, molest them, or kill them and hide the bodies, so to refer to them as "sickos" seems completely inappropriate.

 

Again, I think this is a deception issue more than anything else.

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:grouphug:

 

Well, for myself, I would find it difficult to keep my grandson on a weekend and not take him to church with me. My adult children know this, of course. One of my dsils claims not to believe in God; I might have more "problems" with him over it, but it is what it is: I would take my grandson to church if he were in my care on a Sunday, and I'm going to sing "Jesus Loves Me" to him, and for Christmas this year, I'm sending him a Golden Book of Children's Prayers and one that tells the story of Jesus. (He's just 2½ yo, BTW, and lives in Seattle.) That is NOT forcing my religion down his throat.

 

Also, I believe that giving children some sort of religious training when they are young is important, rather than giving them nothing at all to work with so they can make their "independent decisions."

 

Nevertheless, I would not have snuck into my daughter's home looking for dressy clothes for my grandson, nor pressured my grandson into saying or doing anything. That's just wrong on so many levels, and I am truly horrified that your ILs did it. I don't know if it would do any good to talk to them, though, but it should be your dh who does the talk, if that's what y'all decided to do. They are his parents, after all.

 

Absolutely everything Ellie said. I will be the grandparent that I am, when I get there. Take it or leave it. BUT I'd never directly go against a parent's wishes, and certainly not sneak into their house and get clothes or pressure my grandchild.

 

I'd confront them on this, when you are calm enough to do so and to stick to the trust issue, leaving faith and church out of it. They won't hear you otherwise and you won't hear them.

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Based on what you described you are going to have to cut these in-laws out of your lives.

 

Oh for goodness sakes.

 

This seems to be the go-to solution for anything having to do with parents who cross a line.

 

These parents love their grandkids. They acted out of love, even if they did cross a line, and they certainly did.

 

They didn't offer the kids in a satanic sacrifice or something. :confused:

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They were totally out of line and i'd be angry too - but also be cautious that you dont get stuck reprocessing old stuff without realizing it, kwim? I mean, your past will make you extra-sensitive to the specific kind of manipulation they are displaying here..

 

Yes, this. Don't overreact. Just react appropriately when you are cool-headed enough to do so.

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Speaking for myself, I think anyone whose family or community has diverse beliefs needs to expect and prepare their kids to be "enthusiastically exposed to" those diverse beliefs. My mom's and dad's families both had very different beliefs than my parents. My parents were open with us about that fact and were very matter-of-fact about it. It does not matter whether you're talking about a holy roller or an atheist. "That's what some people believe" works for all.

 

Making such a big deal about it, IMO, teaches kids to be intolerant as well as ignorant of different beliefs. Religion is just one part, but an integral part, of who someone is. I don't know how kids are expected to love and care for their grandparents if they are taught to disrespect and be offended by their religion (or lack thereof).

 

:iagree: Very nicely stated.

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1) I would calmly tell my kids "that's what some people believe" and not make a big deal out of it with them.

 

2) Knowing the grandparents are Christians, I would accept that they considered this a good thing to do and now it's done and over. I would not let this eat me up after the fact. It shouldn't be that much of a surprise, actually. No harm was done, other than to your ego (you want to be 100% in charge of this stuff).

 

3) Even if they didn't take your kids to church, grandparents are going to reflect their religious beliefs during their everyday life, including time with their grandkids. I think it's wrong to expect otherwise. I think it's on you to make sure your kids know that there are different views and whatever the grandparents say needs to be heard respectfully but not necessarily believed.

 

4) If this is the only thing you don't like about the grandparents, the only thing I'd change is what you did already - give no opportunity to drag them to church.

 

5) Just because you were abused in a religious setting doesn't mean it's harmful in any way for your children to be exposed to religious beliefs.

 

6) Your kids sound old enough to have independent thought. My 5yo has her own opinions about religion though she's had plenty of exposure to church etc.

 

7) There is much benefit for children in spending time with diverse caregivers. To insist that the grandparents mirror exactly what the parents believe / prefer is to deny your children some valuable experiences that will actually make them better equipped to make independent decisions in the future.

 

Wise words here, and from Strider in previous post.

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I'm not picking on anyone in particular, but I feel like there's some minimizing going on here. And I do wonder, if the situations were reversed and the grandparents took the kids to a secular humanism meeting and tried to get the kids to accept that there is no god and Jesus is a myth, how strongly religious parents would react to this deception, and how they'd view the grandparents' inevitable regular sharing of their deeply held atheist beliefs.

 

It wouldn't bother me, especially if the kids were older. I'd simply tell the kids why we have totally different beliefs, and they know a lot of the reasons we have already. I'd also try to work around Sunday visits so the kids could still go to church.

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