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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Melon Offline
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Question Telling my Parents - July 13th 2013, 04:57 AM

So I've posted several other threads like this on various other forums, because I'm trying to gather as much information as possible. My problem is: I've been going to church (Methodist) for a while and about a year ago I began to question my beliefs. Now, I am an Athiest. I am eventually going to have to tell my parents this, because they are going to sign me up for confirmation classes. I am friends with many people at the church and I don't want to lose them. At the same time, I don't feel comfortable living a lie. I have checked out many sites, but they all support open discussion with parents. I suspect that would not work, at least with my mother, as she would dismiss my belief on the grounds of me being too young to make this decision, or she would just refuse to accept it. Although she is pretty relaxed most of the time, underneath her shell of calm whirls a raging maelstrom of stress and general anger. I am usually punished for disagreeing with her. So in a worst case scenario, I would be punished and possibly cut off from friends and technology as they are a "bad influence".

So to recap, I need to tell my parents I'm an atheist or risk being stressed and living a lie. I need to do it carefully because one wrong move could shatter once healthy relationships. I have thought of a couple of solutions, such as:

Writing an essay detailing why I'm an Athiest

Telling them bluntly and leaving the room

Dropping hints until they figure it out (I'd be bad at this)

Having a discussion (hasn't worked with other issues in the past)
So, if you have any suggestions or think one of these options is good, I would appreciate it if you said so.

And as always,
Thank you for your time.
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Re: Telling my Parents - July 13th 2013, 06:18 AM

Hello there!
I'm an Atheist myself, both of my parents are Christian.
I was once in your position, except my parents aren't what I call "extreme" Christians, and what worked for me was just straight up telling them. Of course, it turned out that my mom already knew because she picked up on it from things I would say.

What I would recommend for you is to either write the essay and give it to them, or you could always just write a simple letter saying "I'm an Athiest" and tell them that you are concerned on how they will take the news.

No matter what you do I think it's best you tell them your concerns. You are obliviously worried how they will react to finding out, which is understandable under the circumstances. I think explaining to them why you are an Atheist is entirely up to you, some like to explain while others find it offensive when people question them.

But to answer your question I would write the essay and give it I them, since you seem hesitant to sit down and talk to them about it because of past experiences.

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Re: Telling my Parents - July 13th 2013, 07:20 AM

There's no need to. Don't tell them.
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Re: Telling my Parents - July 13th 2013, 12:11 PM

Originally Posted by Up In The Clouds View Post
There's no need to. Don't tell them.
Sorry, I completely disagree with this.

You should be honest with them, I agree.

I don't know whether putting things bluntly then leaving are a very good way of doing it - either write your essay (which would likely end up being interesting for you, exploring your own beliefs) - or tell them and remind them about your right to personal belief and open-mindedness. If they challenge you, then you can be blunt.

Assuming you go for the essay, don't try to convince them to be Atheists in it - it would then be hypocritical to use the defence of free belief.
I was in the same situation as you a few months ago (congratulations on logic, by the way ), and I did just tell my mum and she didn't really get much opportunity to challenge it without violating my rights anyway. All she could get was "be open minded". Which, I feel, Humanism is.

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Re: Telling my Parents - July 16th 2013, 02:05 AM

Ordinarily I'd say there is no rush for you to tell them and that you can simply do something subtle, like showing less interest in religious/church functions and such... But if they're going to sign you up for confirmation classes, well, yeah, you better get a move on it. After all, why confirm a religion you don't follow. Clearly, you know that though.

It's hard for me to relate because my parents are atheist like me, and even if I converted I am an adult so it's not like they can punish me for choosing something different. But I can totally understand your position vicariously (through a friend?) as one of my friends actually went the opposite way of you, her family was Anglican, not super strict, and she went super hard core-skirt wearing-god blessing-Pentecostal. It was hard for her because her parents tried stopping her from wearing the skirts, going to the church and from seeing the friends at the church. The church was close to her house so that was hard to do but still. Fact of the matter is that you have to be clear, persistent and as un-agressive as possible, they'll accept it eventually.

No one says you have to relinquish your phone or anything simply cause they're mad, don't hand it over, if they can block service to it, then so be it (just a tip: call you provider, use the parents name and reactivate it if it gets to that point). Just go in calmly, tell them that you've got to tell them something that you feel is important for them to know but that you've been afraid to approach them because you're afraid they won't accept what you have to say. Then you can tell them that you'd like to put off the confirmation for now because you were questioning you're beliefs and feel like you don't have the faith in God that you should have to go through with it. If they question what you mean by that, tell them you are leaning towards atheism, and that's what you meant.

You have to tell them. And I know it's hard when you know that NOT confirming is the right choice and that you don't want to waste anyones time but you know your parents will flip shit. Frankly, you just have to find a way to tell them and hopefully some of my suggestion will be helpful. The punishment can't last forever, they'll only hold out on any potential punishment as long as they think it'll break you and get you to change your mind. That can't last forever if you make it clear that the punishment is ridiculous and that your not changing your mind about being an atheist. It's not like you've actually done anything to misbehave and you can always have another adult intervene if they are being ridiculous, just tell them ok. One way or another.

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Re: Telling my Parents - July 16th 2013, 09:50 PM

I thought only Catholics did confirmation. Silly me. Anyway, I would tell her you are questioning the church and would rather have some time to sort through your feelings before you get confirmed. There's really no simple way to do it.

I don't remind my mom constantly that I am an atheist. Being an atheist is a part of who I am, but it does not define me.

If it is going to be more stressful living in the house, then I would consider living a lie till you are in a position where you do not depend on her. Believe it or not, it is sometimes recommended to "stay in the closet." It will only be until you are on your own. If it will cause that much strife where you may be kicked out or become even more stressed out, then don't do it.
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Re: Telling my Parents - July 16th 2013, 11:27 PM

Eh, I do disagree with some people and don't think it is necessary. Although I agree with my.parents spiritually, we don't agree politically. If I was honest with them about my feelings with the Zimmerman trial, there would have been screaming. Same with how I don't tell my Methodist grandmother that I'm an atheist who teaches sex-ed. There's no need. If you're very close with your parents and feel that it is necessary, by all means, I'm.not discouraging it. I also don't think it's your only "responsible" or "moral" option. You have the right to choose when and if you should tell them.

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Re: Telling my Parents - July 17th 2013, 12:54 AM

I have to agree with Coexist, you don't really need to tell your parents, but if you don't want to do confirmation or you just want them to know, then you can

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Re: Telling my Parents - July 17th 2013, 01:21 AM

As long as you financially depend on them, DO NOT TELL THEM. Seriously, don't.

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Load it, check it, quick, rewrite it"
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Re: Telling my Parents - July 18th 2013, 05:15 AM

Hey there,

So, if you don't want to have to go through confirmation then you should probably tell them. There is no simple way to go about telling them though and each of the ideas you listed has their pros and cons.I don't think telling them and walking out of the room would be the best idea though. If you write the essay you should be prepared to answer questions that they might have for you. Instead of fully proclaiming yourself as an atheist it might be easier if you just told them you were questioning your religion at this point in time and felt the need to put off the confirmation. Doing that might not cause as much strife between you and your family because they will still hold hope that you will come back to your faith. It might cause them to pressure you a bit and push religion onto you a bit more but they might not get as mad as they would if you were to say "I am atheist and don't want to practice religion any longer."

However, if you wouldn't mind waiting till you were a bit older that might be the best thing to do. I know you don't want to live a lie but coming forward as an atheist might come with a price and while you are living with your parents house you might not want to have to deal with that. The fact is that if they don't agree with the decisions you are making they have the power to take a lot of your privileges away and that might end up making you upset.

I am not trying to discourage you from telling them because I think you should do what you want to do but I am just trying to be honest. If you feel that you need to tell them then go for it but be aware of the consequences that could result.

Wishing you the best of luck.

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