Question about childs friend' family with different beliefs

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kitsunetsuki
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16 Nov 2007, 3:51 am

So what would you say if your child's only friend was a different religion then you and the friends family was the trying to convert type of people(like say you are Jewish and they are Baptist ), like inviting to prayer groups bible study and stuff also, their child would threaten your child with hell because of differences in belief, Right now I will not let my daughter go play at their house but will watch them play at the park and let the friend come over. Do you have any nice way of dealing with this ?



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16 Nov 2007, 5:51 am

Wow, that's a really, really tough one. All I can say is to talk to your daughter as much as possible about how it's perfectly okay to believe different things, so that if/when the parents try that nasty guilt crap (or their child repeats it), your daughter is confident in her own beliefs instead of taking it to heart. Telling a child that he/she will go to hell just by having a different belief is SO unacceptable and downright disgusting and awful. If that's really what they say, I'd call that borderline abusive. I mean, their child would have had to hear it from the parents if he/she is saying things like that.

I just found this book, and I totally recommend it for open communication about acceptance of all religions: The Usborne Encyclopedia of World Religions

I wish I had something more to say, but we haven't dealt with anything like this at all. That makes me sad for you and your daughter, though. :(



ster
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16 Nov 2007, 6:14 am

depending on your relationship with the friend's family, i'd try to talk with the parents about not discussing religion with your daughter.



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16 Nov 2007, 6:59 am

Hey, you just described the reason why I home schooled my children. Darn public school kept wanting to preach its religion on my children, so I simply said, "Thanks, but no thanks." First I had to be sure I raised my children to think for themselves, then I let them out among the wolves and now they're doing fine.


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16 Nov 2007, 9:27 am

Wow, that's a really uncomfortable situation.

Let's see what you think of this option:

You could prep your child to say the following whenever the other child goes on and on about their beliefs - "Hey, I really like playing with you a lot, but I'm going to have to stop playing with you if you keep making me feel bad about my religious beliefs. If we just don't talk about it, then we can keep playing together, which is fun. What do you want to do? Play, or talk about religion? I just want to play."

Depending on her age, you may have to tweek the wording to make it shorter or more age-appropriate.

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16 Nov 2007, 10:05 am

If these people are evangelical, they may be instructing their daughter to "save" her friend. I belonged to that kind of church and that's how we were taught. Though my family never participated in recruiting, witnessing or even discussing religion to "unsaved" people. These churches use all types of tactics hidden in socializing to lure people into their church. They hold contests for children (come to my church so I can win a bike), ice cream socials, peer age clubs and sports.
Witnessing as an act of faith in a denomination that believes in a "personal Jesus" or "personal relationship with God" seems like a paradox. There are all sorts of interpretations of how to witness.

I would talk to the family and find out if these are their beliefs or if they are just not in touch with what their daughter is saying. She could be just repeating stuff she heard in Sunday School.
Again, some churches (sects) believe a child can and should be "saved" as early as possible. If they can parrot religious teachings, they are old enough to understand sin and salvation. There are other churches that believe there are particular ages at which a child has no spiritual responsibility and then eventually becomes "an adult" and able to accept salvation.



siuan
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16 Nov 2007, 8:48 pm

kitsunetsuki wrote:
So what would you say if your child's only friend was a different religion then you and the friends family was the trying to convert type of people(like say you are Jewish and they are Baptist ), like inviting to prayer groups bible study and stuff also, their child would threaten your child with hell because of differences in belief, Right now I will not let my daughter go play at their house but will watch them play at the park and let the friend come over. Do you have any nice way of dealing with this ?


That's an irritating situation. First, explain to your daughter that all people have different religious beliefs, and let her know that's okay. Exposure to different beliefs, religions and cultures is a good thing. I wouldn't necessarily have much issue with them inviting her along to things. HOWEVER, also speak to the parents and let them know that, while you value the friendship that your children share, you don't feel it is approriate for them to be threatening your child with hell because of her difference in belief. I would make it extremely clear that this sort of thing can torment a child. Let them know that while you respect a person's right to hold any religious belief they choose, forcing it upon someone else is wrong on many levels - especially when that person is a child.

In my experience with religious fanatics, the outcome has never been positive. A friend of mine was a very devout self-proclaimed born-again Christian. I'm a Buddhist. She would tell me how horrible it was to let children watch shows with dragons in them (apparently they're evil in Christianity?) and she once told me a story of how proud she was that her granddaughter refused to play with a little girl who was reading dragon books in a book store, saying, "I can't play with you and read those books because I love Jesus and he would not like those books." I'm pretty sure that poor kid is going to be sitting in a shrink's office one day on a handful of medications trying to overcome her fear of everything. I finally had to end the friendship, I just couldn't stand it anymore and I wasn't going to have her feeding that guilt and shame routine to my children. Sometimes the unfortunate things outweigh the good.

If all else fails, involving your daughter in activities that provide opportunity for her to make more friends is a great idea. I got my daughter into gymnastics and a library group, which worked really well.

Good luck.


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mom2bax
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16 Nov 2007, 11:54 pm

i would have to agree with the people who say talk to the parents first and let them know why you are uncomfortable with it.
it may have been in response to a question about their beliefs or an explaination as to why they did something, or perhaps they do use the turn or burn approach.
i know some christians give the church a bad name, and everyone is entitled to their beliefs, maybe her friend is just doing that because she cares, and in the way she is being raised that is what you do, "save" your friends.
i think a lot of christians miss the mark, and don't look at who Jesus hung around with either, and that He broke many of the cultural norms of His day, but this isn't a religious debate.
i hope this all works out well for you and your daughter, and the issue can be resolved without the friendship being dissolved.



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17 Nov 2007, 1:21 am

You have a right not to have your daughter exposed to hellfire and brimstone. I'm sure the other family believes sincerely in what they are telling their child, but it sounds to me like both kids are to young to get involved in all of that. A simple "That's not what we believe, honey, and you aren't going to hell, and don't worry about it," is one way. Not allowing the girls to play with each other is another way, and telling the other parents why is another way.

You are entitled to your beliefs, they are entitled to theirs. But no child (or an adult for that matter) has the right to scare your child. There are also stronger things to say about them to your daughter (after all, she is the important one here), but be assured that it will get back to the other family. Maybe you want it to. If they don't allow their kid to play with your kid, it's not that hard to explain why.

Afterall, it is the same God, and the old testament differs little in translation. The hellfire and brimstone is the new testament. I'm not questioning it. I just don't believe in it. If someone else wants to, well, I don't have a problem with that, but I sure wouldn't have let them scare my kid when he was little.

As for prayer meetings, I'd say no. It is their religion, not yours, and if that means the kids can't play together, there are other kids.



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17 Nov 2007, 10:37 pm

maybe teach your daughter to say 'its not fun to play with you when you talk like that"

I'm not sure how I'd handle this. My family are all Christians with quite a few ones who strongly believe Jesus is the greatest thing to ever happen on earth by a margin of 1 billion percent. I'm currently dating a man whos family is orthodox Jewish. His parents have never attempted to convert me, and my family has never attempted to convert him. He only got a bible from them because he made it kown he wanted one, and I only know the significance of the rituals behind a Shabbat dinner and Hannukah because I asked. I'm not sure how I'd react if they started trying to convert me. i'd probably play along just long enough to satisfy my curioustiy then stop seeing his parents



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18 Nov 2007, 5:13 am

siuan wrote:
In my experience with religious fanatics, the outcome has never been positive. A friend of mine was a very devout self-proclaimed born-again Christian. I'm a Buddhist. She would tell me how horrible it was to let children watch shows with dragons in them (apparently they're evil in Christianity?) and she once told me a story of how proud she was that her granddaughter refused to play with a little girl who was reading dragon books in a book store, saying, "I can't play with you and read those books because I love Jesus and he would not like those books."

I guess I'm going to Hell then.

I'm a Christian and I think dragons are awesome.


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kitsunetsuki
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18 Nov 2007, 7:17 am

Thank you for the suggestions, I am generally somewhat tactless(straightforward?) when I give my opinion and people tend to take it as an attack , right now they aren't playing together they got into an argument about whether it's required for girls to like pink and are not talking but as soon as thats resolved I think I have a better way of dealing with talking to her parents.



siuan
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18 Nov 2007, 2:01 pm

beau99 wrote:
siuan wrote:
In my experience with religious fanatics, the outcome has never been positive. A friend of mine was a very devout self-proclaimed born-again Christian. I'm a Buddhist. She would tell me how horrible it was to let children watch shows with dragons in them (apparently they're evil in Christianity?) and she once told me a story of how proud she was that her granddaughter refused to play with a little girl who was reading dragon books in a book store, saying, "I can't play with you and read those books because I love Jesus and he would not like those books."

I guess I'm going to Hell then.

I'm a Christian and I think dragons are awesome.


LOL yeah, most of my family is Christian, and my dad loves dragons. I never heard of that nonsense until my ex-friend mentioned it. I think she was just super fanatical, bordering disorder.


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Triangular_Trees
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18 Nov 2007, 4:28 pm

Quote:
LOL yeah, most of my family is Christian, and my dad loves dragons. I never heard of that nonsense until my ex-friend mentioned it. I think she was just super fanatical, bordering


I'm pretty sure my Christian church had a dragon tail's theme for vacation bible school the one year. Maybe the entire congregation is going to hell now.



beentheredonethat
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18 Nov 2007, 9:15 pm

You mean it's not required for girls to like pink?

(beentheredonethat ducks quickly out of forum before most of the women here start throwing things at him).



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18 Nov 2007, 10:11 pm

beentheredonethat wrote:
You mean it's not required for girls to like pink?

(beentheredonethat ducks quickly out of forum before most of the women here start throwing things at him).


Pik is solely for boys. If you don't believe me look at clothing patterns from the early 1900s (Pink should be used for little boys, while the calming blue should be used for little girls)