Parenting Quandary

Balancing family life and the Dhamma, in pursuit of a happy lay life.
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Vsavatar
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Parenting Quandary

Post by Vsavatar » Sat Jan 23, 2016 1:36 am

Good evening everyone. This is my first post here, hopefully of many. I need some advice, and I'm looking for insight to make the right choice here. I have been Buddhist for about five years now. Before that I was Baptist. My wife is and always been Catholic. Our son is 9 months old.

We agreed before he was born that we would expose him to both Buddhism and Christianity, and that when he was old enough, he would make his own choice. But we weren't going to indoctrinate him. We have used a daycare provider up until now who is secular. However the lady my wife wants to use is in a family of fundamentalist Christians. They agreed not to directly proselytize to our child, who is too young to understand anyway, but all television programming in their home is Christian centered.

I have no problems with Christians in general, but am concerned that in a year or so he'll start picking up on the belief system and practicing it because that's what he sees them doing. This may cause problems down the road. My experience with Christianity led me down a road that was not positive. The problem is my wife and mother in law are pressuring me to use her. I don't know what the right choice is. They appear to be good people, but I don't want him learning the Christian belief system as gospel, pun intended.

What do you think?

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Ben
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Re: Parenting Quandary

Post by Ben » Sat Jan 23, 2016 1:57 am

Greetings Vsavatar and welcome to DW.

I think this is something that may require some delicacy in discussion with your wife. I suggest you continue to seek a secular childcare facility and remind your wife of your agreement with regards how you want your child brought up. And if any other family member is attempting to influence your wife then you need to nip the meddling in the bud.

My own experience has been that my youngest son when he was at child care was exposed to bible stories by a rather enthusiastic vietnamese woman. My son ended up with hysterical fear of rain as a result of being terrified of the story of Noah's Ark - and this phobia persisted for years. He was only three years old at the time and his phobia persisted for years. A few months ago, and at 15 years of age, he told my wife and I that he still experiences anxiety when it rains.
all the best,
Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

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Pinetree
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Re: Parenting Quandary

Post by Pinetree » Sat Jan 23, 2016 9:01 am

I wouldn't make it too much about religion. There are many scary Buddhist stories.

Fear is a practice that helps us stay away from harm, and if the adults around are practicing fear, the kid will pick up on it. Which cannot be fully avoided.

If the kid wouldn't have had rain phobia, he would have had another phobia.

I'm more concerned about television generally, and not sure if Christian TV is the worst the kid can get.

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Ben
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Re: Parenting Quandary

Post by Ben » Sat Jan 23, 2016 9:54 am

Pinetree wrote: If the kid wouldn't have had rain phobia, he would have had another phobia.
I doubt it.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

dagon
Posts: 526
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:45 am

Re: Parenting Quandary

Post by dagon » Sat Jan 23, 2016 1:18 pm

Vsavatar wrote:Good evening everyone. This is my first post here, hopefully of many. I need some advice, and I'm looking for insight to make the right choice here. I have been Buddhist for about five years now. Before that I was Baptist. My wife is and always been Catholic. Our son is 9 months old.

We agreed before he was born that we would expose him to both Buddhism and Christianity, and that when he was old enough, he would make his own choice. But we weren't going to indoctrinate him. We have used a daycare provider up until now who is secular. However the lady my wife wants to use is in a family of fundamentalist Christians. They agreed not to directly proselytize to our child, who is too young to understand anyway, but all television programming in their home is Christian centered.

I have no problems with Christians in general, but am concerned that in a year or so he'll start picking up on the belief system and practicing it because that's what he sees them doing. This may cause problems down the road. My experience with Christianity led me down a road that was not positive. The problem is my wife and mother in law are pressuring me to use her. I don't know what the right choice is. They appear to be good people, but I don't want him learning the Christian belief system as gospel, pun intended.

What do you think?
Hi Vsavatar, welcome to DW

I can only speak from my own experience.

My care was given to the people we employed in the house and family friends most of who had different religious beliefs to my parents. As a result of which I adopted the beliefs of my carers. Later (after I was 7) my mother took responsibility for my care and I was never interested or able to adapt to her beliefs.

I am very thankful to my parents for those 7 years and while I drifted away from what I had absorbed, later like most people I returned to the vales and beliefs I had been taught in those most influential years.

Ben provided a nice video (first30 seconds) that shows the exact neighbourhood that my carers exposed me to http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=25457" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. Thank again Ben :clap:

As far as you situation goes - is there any reason to change your child's care arrangements - away from where the child is already settled.

metta
dagon

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SDC
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Re: Parenting Quandary

Post by SDC » Sat Jan 23, 2016 5:18 pm

Vsavatar wrote:What do you think?
I agree that you should try to keep your child where they are.

What about Sunday school or Catechism when the child is a bit older? I am sure the church has such a program. Seems like more of a compromise. It is not like you are trying to shut the door on the Christian side, but you would just like to wait longer.

But as others have indicated this is a delicate matter and must be calmly and courteously negotiated, probably over a period of time. This is not something you should fight over, so if you feel it getting tense then back off for a bit. My wife wanted our children to go to Catholic school up until college. At first I was against Catholic school altogether, but then we agreed to do Catholic school for the first 8 years and then public for the last four. This agreement to about 2 years to reach.

There is something very important to keep relevant in the discussion: that the values and guidance that come from you and your wife in the home are super important and your wife should be confident that it will serve a significant purpose and that Christian daycare is perhaps more involvement than necessary to give that exposure to your child.

Here is another relevant topic: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=23885

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Diego Hemken
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Re: Parenting Quandary

Post by Diego Hemken » Sat Jan 30, 2016 7:51 pm

I would use this christian daycare lady. You are fortunate to find someone with good values. As far as the beliefs and stuff, I think that as he grows up he could easily understand that the values of goodness aren't inseparable from the crazy stories in the bible.

R1111 = rightviewftw
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Re: Parenting Quandary

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw » Sun Jan 31, 2016 1:11 am

del
Last edited by R1111 = rightviewftw on Sat Jul 09, 2016 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Vsavatar
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Re: Parenting Quandary

Post by Vsavatar » Wed Feb 10, 2016 4:40 pm

Thank you for the responses everybody. I had agreed to let him go there, as long as it was limited to two days per week, because we have her mother who can provide the daycare other days when needed, but she can't do it full time. However, the daycare provider said that she didn't think we'd be a "good fit". I can't necessarily say I disagree with her. I was also a little concerned about their frequent use of spankings to discipline their children, something that we do not believe in, except maybe (and I stress maybe) for extraordinarily dangerous conduct, i.e. something that cannot be repeated without danger to life or limb. We then found another provider, but then that fell through when the child that was supposed to be leaving did not end up leaving. Our search continues, however.

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