How should I raise my children religiously?

United States
April 13, 2007 8:45am CST
I am a very devout pagan and have been for years. I am a solitary witch. Me and my husband have 2 young children, not old enough to understand yet, but I am wondering what I will tell them when they are ready to learn of religion. Me and my husband have talked and we have kind of realized that during my childrens school years, they may be judged and thought of as bad people for their religion. We all know that there are ignorant people in this world that do judge and think that Pagans "worship the devil." Well this is not true, but this is just what I do not want my children to have to deal with. Should I just teach them to beleive in what they want when they get old enough and not try to throw religion in their face? Maybe I should just wait until they come to me and ask what I believe. I would hate for my children to be made fun of because of being Pagan. What do you think I should do? Any advice would help.
6 people like this
9 responses
@Ravenladyj (22937)
• United States
13 Apr 07
Your children will have to deal with it at some point regardless...My kids, since we moved to the U.S and the were re-enrolled in school, have had to experience some pretty crappy things being said to them and in the beginning they were VERY bothered by it.....but I would ask them "are you a good person? are you kind? are you helpful? are you a good friend? (etc etc)" of course they would answer "yes" to which I would say "well isnt THAT whats important?...it doesnt matter what religion you follow or dont follow..what matters is that you are a good, loving person and if these kids cant see that then do you really want them in your circle of friends? and if not then why do you care? is it really worth feelign like this over something someone you dont even like said? The ppl who know you, love you, are your friends etc are the only ones that matter" NOW (and keep in mind they are 12 and 13.5 yrs old) whenever someone says something they usually respond with something like "Whatever, thats your opinion but if you had any brains in your head you'd get your facts straight first before shooting your mouth off" LOL Your little ones are still little like you said so UNLESS you are raising them Pagan they really dont need that added stress BUT if you ARE or are planning to raising them Pagan, I would talk to them about it and just explain (age appropriate of course) when the time comes that some ppl are really cruel/mean/etc and not to let it bother them or if it bothers them too much they should tell a teacher then you when they get home etc etc... I guess my thought is, once your kids start school they WILL have to deal with bullies no matter what..you cant stop it from happening they are everywhere and WILL bully over pretty much anything...it could be a stupid as the colour of shirt someones wearing...they're bullies, there is no set rule and pretty much everything is fair game...Your best bet IMO is to rather than concentrate on one thing (in this case religion), work on their confidence, work on them realizing that sometimes there are ppl in the world that dont know any better or have to hurt others becuase they hate themselves so much and so on.... make sense? I guess basically what I'm saying is rather than worrying about the "if it happens" worry about giving your kids the inner tools to deal with it with pride....
5 people like this
• United States
13 Apr 07
You have some very interesting points, and you are right. I should teach them to not care of what others say and give them pride in their religion. Thank you for the response.
3 people like this
@mtoxales (374)
• Canada
14 Apr 07
The points on confidence and other values instilled in kids you have stressed are helpful to prepare kids for any teasing or bullying. It does not focus on religion only. I can do this when my kids are a little older. Thanks a lot!
• India
15 Apr 07
I fully agree with the views of ravenladyj. Tell your children (at the right time) so that they are prepared to deal with any situation they face.
1 person likes this
@Galena (9123)
14 Apr 07
I was raised in a Pagan family, and I beleive in such a way that allowed me to reach my own conclusions. I was always taught of nature as something to be revered, but the idea of nature as a deity wasn't presented to me. I found that Idea was just something I beleived in anyway. if they ask you about things, answer them truthfully, and explain how there is no proof of any religion, so lots of people beleive in different things. if they ask you which is true, tell them you don't know, because no one knows, but that you beleive X,Y Z, and they have to make up their own mind what they beleive in, and if it's not the same as you, that doesn't matter. so basically, you shouldn't raise your children religiously. you should include them and be honest with them, but always offer them their own freedom of spirituality. because if they're old enough to ask questions they're old enough to find the path for themselves. give them a good grounding in ethics and morality, which Paganism certainly does offer, but in such a way that whatever they decide, those morals and ethics will always be relevant. you do this because that is the right thing to do, not because of what religion you follow.
3 people like this
• India
15 Apr 07
I do not know much about Pagan. I am a Hindu. In Himduism, there are people who believe in God (aastik), and also there are people who do not believe in God (nastik). Both are accepted as Hindus, have equal rights, have equal respect in the society. In a Hindu family father can be a aastik and his son can be a nastik. Religion is seen as a personal trait in Hinduism and every person is free to worship or not worship a Hindu God. The important point is that people should be good human beings. A criminal, going to temple everyday, will not be liked by God. On the other hand, a good person, but not going to temple, will be accepted by God.
1 person likes this
@Galena (9123)
16 Apr 07
you get theist and atheist Pagans too. I didn't know that about Hinduism. interesting to know.
1 person likes this
@academic2 (7009)
• Uganda
22 Apr 07
Looking at beautiful you here Jennifer21 and imagining you are a witch sort of scares me! But I note you are damn serious about your believe in paganism and that is your choice which all of us must respect! I wanted to know how you practice your religion-you admit you are a solitary witch, do you pray alone or have a congregation? Well about the kids, they shouldnt be given the freedom to stray to other religions-they should tow the family line and the family religion. I am Anglican Christian and my children cannot be catholics. So give them religious teachings and let them grow into the pagan faith!
1 person likes this
• Lithuania
15 Apr 07
I think you shouldn't talk about religion with your children. Your children should choose religion by their own. I have grown in religious family, but that doesn't matter because I'm Antitheist ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antitheism ) now.
1 person likes this
@pumpkinjam (5800)
• United Kingdom
15 Apr 07
With my oldest child, he started to ask about what I was doing when I would be spell casting or when reading about witchcraft, etc. so I told him. I explained to him "this is what some people believe". He goes to a school where Catholicism is dominant and, unfortunately, is taught as fact so he learns about that at school. I explained to him that he is free to make up his own mind. I don't think it's fair of parents to expect their children to follow the same religion just because they happen to believe it. I do think it's important that the children know what you believe and why. I think you should wait until they ask before you get them involved because as soon as they ask, you know they are old enough to understand. I would never throw any religion on a child. If your children become devoutly religious in any religion, they are likely to have problems with that at school also if they are from an unusual or little known religious background. Of course it should be up to you and your husband to decide in the end but my personal opinion and the way that worked for me is to wait until my child asked and explained that it's what some people believe while also explaining other things which other people believe.
@nancyrowina (3850)
14 Apr 07
Pagan religions are growing fast and soon it won't be uncommon for children to go to school and say they are Pagan I'm sure. Even so I don't believe in forcing a child to be any religion I think it's something a person should choose. The only thing is when they start school they will probably be encouraged to be Christian as we all seem to be so you have to prepare them for that.
@AdalieM (1135)
• United States
15 Aug 11
I think people should let the kid to decide whether he/she wants to be part of your religion. If you raised your kid pagan, that's more like brainwashing. Every religion brainwashes people. I was force to go to church when I was a kid, if I had kids they will never be force to believe in my gods. As for getting harassed, that happens to all of us even as an adult I have people questioned my faith and made fun of my gods.
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
4 May 07
Personally, I think you need to be honest with children first and formost. Secondly I would advise that you teach them about other religions as well as your own and encourage them to form their own beliefs, and that they don't have to be the same as your own. That being said, you should raise them as you see fit, and teach them about your religion, what you belief and why you do things you do in relation to other peoples religion. I understand religious persecution, as a lot of people do. I do not think I would encourage them to hide their religion from their peers, but I'm not sure it would be a good idea for them to be too vocal about it either. It really is a fine line that they, and you need to walk. When it does come out in the open (and I'm sure it will) as it probably should, as long as they know enough about their religion to educate their peers, they should be okay. There will be some who be offended, but there are always those who are offended at anything that is different what they know or believe. You just can't live in fear of those people, because they are shallow and often ignorant and people will see them for just that.