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Author Topic: Advice for Discussing New Religion with Parents  (Read 3404 times)

Jenett

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Re: Advice for Discussing New Religion with Parents
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2012, 09:14:52 am »
Quote from: Aine Rayne;41955

She's still essentially denying my adulthood, which makes it hard to feel validated in making my own choices and telling her I have my own lifestyle and am determined to have it. She's aware I'm an adult and am independent, but she certainly doesn't like it.


Here's the thing. That's a really common thing for parents to go through.

But that doesn't mean you have to let them treat you badly while you're dealing with it - as long as you're neither dependent on them, or living with them.

It takes some dedication, but if you say "Mom, it's not all right to yell at me/berate me about this/put me down. If you keep doing that, I will stop spending time with you until you treat me better."

And then *enforce it*.

Don't go anywhere with her unless you can leave on your own if you need to. Be prepared to hang up the phone after a "Mom, I've told you: I refuse to deal with you when you treat me like that. We'll try again tomorrow/next week/next month." (Extending the pause each time she pushes can work really well.)

And before you say "You don't know what you're talking about" - well, I didn't talk to my mother for about 5 years, while I was in my late 20s. We're doing much better now, largely because she learned to avoid three specific topics until she could talk to me about them civilly. (And interestingly, we're now at the point we *can* talk about those things again.)

[My father died when I was 15, so not in the equation: I think there's some stuff he would have had a much easier time than she did with, and some stuff that would have been much harder.]

At the same time, don't bait them. You have a variety of times to explore Tarot, read books, etc. You don't really need to bring them with you while you're working through stuff with your parents. You may have an easier time separating the two things for a while.

A lot of people find merit in starting with something lighter/more friendly - so for example, if the parent reads/watches fantasy (or paranormal romance), talking about that, then edging into some related topics, and then finally into the actual religious stuff can work. Or talking about, say, seasonal cooking, then about honoring the seasonal changes, and then into ritual approaches to doing that.

Likewise, the birth of a new grandchild's a really emotional time for them: you will probably do better not throwing complicated and hard-for-them stuff into the mix at the moment, and instead waiting to bring it up when you're calm, in a good mood, and so are they. (And they've had a reasonable amount of sleep, regular meals, etc.)

Since you're living with your grandmother, you also have some resources there - a) she's gone through this before and b) I bet she has her own ways of dealing with your parents. You may also have other family members who could be supportive - not necessarily of your path, but of your choice to be an adult.

(You may also want to re-visit some stuff with your grandmother, too, mind. You mention you've got restrictions because of your height and your asthma - but people deal with both, just fine. Restrictions because there's stuff she's uncomfortable with in her home, or, say, doesn't like people coming in late because it keeps her up/wakes her up is one thing. Things that keep treating you like a minor who can't make your own decisions about your well-being, not so great for your long-term goals. That's stuff you can demonstrate over time, though, by showing good common sense.)
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Maps

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Re: Advice for Discussing New Religion with Parents
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2012, 11:09:53 am »
Quote from: Jenett;41962



 
Everything you said, 100%.

Aine Rayne

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Re: Advice for Discussing New Religion with Parents
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2012, 11:42:26 am »
Quote from: Jenett;41962
Here's the thing. That's a really common thing for parents to go through.

But that doesn't mean you have to let them treat you badly while you're dealing with it - as long as you're neither dependent on them, or living with them.

It takes some dedication, but if you say "Mom, it's not all right to yell at me/berate me about this/put me down. If you keep doing that, I will stop spending time with you until you treat me better."

And then *enforce it*.

Don't go anywhere with her unless you can leave on your own if you need to. Be prepared to hang up the phone after a "Mom, I've told you: I refuse to deal with you when you treat me like that. We'll try again tomorrow/next week/next month." (Extending the pause each time she pushes can work really well.)

And before you say "You don't know what you're talking about" - well, I didn't talk to my mother for about 5 years, while I was in my late 20s. We're doing much better now, largely because she learned to avoid three specific topics until she could talk to me about them civilly. (And interestingly, we're now at the point we *can* talk about those things again.)

[My father died when I was 15, so not in the equation: I think there's some stuff he would have had a much easier time than she did with, and some stuff that would have been much harder.]

At the same time, don't bait them. You have a variety of times to explore Tarot, read books, etc. You don't really need to bring them with you while you're working through stuff with your parents. You may have an easier time separating the two things for a while.

A lot of people find merit in starting with something lighter/more friendly - so for example, if the parent reads/watches fantasy (or paranormal romance), talking about that, then edging into some related topics, and then finally into the actual religious stuff can work. Or talking about, say, seasonal cooking, then about honoring the seasonal changes, and then into ritual approaches to doing that.

Likewise, the birth of a new grandchild's a really emotional time for them: you will probably do better not throwing complicated and hard-for-them stuff into the mix at the moment, and instead waiting to bring it up when you're calm, in a good mood, and so are they. (And they've had a reasonable amount of sleep, regular meals, etc.)

Since you're living with your grandmother, you also have some resources there - a) she's gone through this before and b) I bet she has her own ways of dealing with your parents. You may also have other family members who could be supportive - not necessarily of your path, but of your choice to be an adult.

(You may also want to re-visit some stuff with your grandmother, too, mind. You mention you've got restrictions because of your height and your asthma - but people deal with both, just fine. Restrictions because there's stuff she's uncomfortable with in her home, or, say, doesn't like people coming in late because it keeps her up/wakes her up is one thing. Things that keep treating you like a minor who can't make your own decisions about your well-being, not so great for your long-term goals. That's stuff you can demonstrate over time, though, by showing good common sense.)

 
I wouldn't have gone "you don't know what you're talking about." I do know my mother wouldn't be happy with that approach though. She'd get very upset and probably pull out the respect card or something. Ya know "you're still my kid so you have to respect me" and it's like well how about my respect >.>" and I wouldn't start this conversation today or anything. Nope, it's all about my nephew for now. It's just something I need to consider and seek advice on because it'll likely come up eventually.

And I have no intention of baiting them. My tarot cards have been in the same obvious spot on my dresser for the last two weeks, I didn't think about moving them because it never occurred to me that my father would question about them. My room is usually closed and left alone by my grandmother, and she's determined to let me develop my independence, she has rules for safety's sake and chores because I live here, especially since I live here rent free. I don't take my books with me because I don't want to bait anyone or start anything. Trust me, it's not worth it.

Books wouldn't work. My mom loves the paranormal romance and such, but that doesn't mean anything to her besides being good stories. That wouldn't help ease into a religious conversation. It would lead to a writing conversation because we both write, but that's about it. I will give the "respectful demand of mutual respect" scenario you suggested the next time we get into an argument, which hopefully won't be any time soon. Really, if I can help it, this subject won't come up with my mother for a while. My dad will be relatively easy though. Yeah, pray for me about this *sigh*
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Jenett

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Re: Advice for Discussing New Religion with Parents
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2012, 12:03:40 pm »
Quote from: Aine Rayne;41982

Books wouldn't work. My mom loves the paranormal romance and such, but that doesn't mean anything to her besides being good stories. That wouldn't help ease into a religious conversation. It would lead to a writing conversation because we both write, but that's about it. I will give the "respectful demand of mutual respect" scenario you suggested the next time we get into an argument, which hopefully won't be any time soon. Really, if I can help it, this subject won't come up with my mother for a while. My dad will be relatively easy though. Yeah, pray for me about this *sigh*

 
On the mutual respect: I know people who've had luck with "Mom, I know you love me, but right now, I don't feel that, I feel like you're just yelling at me, and it means I can't think about what you're trying to share."

It totally doesn't work in my family's communication mode (we don't yell, for one thing, and outward expression of emotion not so much, either.) But there's lots of variations on the basic idea once you adapt it for family culture.

Chances are your public library has a bunch of books about having difficult conversations: they have great ideas for navigating this kind of thing. (The one I've read is Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen, but there are bunches out there.)

For the "But you have to respect me", you can try "Mom, I do respect you, and I take your opinions very seriously. But I'm also growing up, and part of that process is trying different things. I want to keep being able to talk about complicated things with you, but only if it's an actual conversation, where we both get to share, not just you telling me what to do."

On books - honestly, give it a try. (And when I say, gradually, over time, I mean over a few months at least.) Those paranormal romances? Start there. Slide over into a series that does a decent job with its folklore. Talk about where that folklore comes from, and why it's so effective with people. (Demonstrate that you can tell truth from fiction.) Bring up a series that has some well-designed magical or ritual work in it. Talk about why that holds together, compared to a series that doesn't. Slide over into what might be appealing about a community of people who share those beliefs/practices/etc. And after half a dozen or more conversations, you've shifted from "This is a fun series" to "We're sort of talking about the benefits of X"

You can do this with other topics: your parents know your hot buttons, but I bet you know theirs, too. One of the things that got my mother past the reactionary stage about my own practice was my focusing in a lot of our early conversations on the fact I could -regularly and reliably - have deep and serious conversations with co-religionists about complex topics. (Here, but also my training group, and various friends.)

She's a devout Catholic, and it's something she's had a hard time finding outside of very specialised settings (lay minister training or things like that.) But by starting there, she could immediately see why I might find that sort of appealing (and it gave us a relatively neutral area in the topic to start with - community structure, rather than say, polytheism or magic. And then I worked around to my definition of magic (not what she assumed), and so on. Again, took quite a while (a couple of years, since I was living 1500 miles away at the time, and we don't talk much on the phone either.) But it worked.

(In my case, she was okay with polytheism as a theory of things long before she was okay with thinking about it as a practice - but my father was a specialist in Greek theatre, so the basic concept had been part of her life long before I was born.)

On your side, you do have to sort of plan out the conversations (or at least, be aware of where you could take specific topics, if you choose.) But that's part of being an adult - and part of being a magical practitioner. Deciding what you say, and when, to nudge what you want into being.
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Etheric1

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Re: Advice for Discussing New Religion with Parents
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2012, 12:08:50 pm »
Quote from: Aine Rayne;41982
I wouldn't have gone "you don't know what you're talking about." I do know my mother wouldn't be happy with that approach though. She'd get very upset and probably pull out the respect card or something. Ya know "you're still my kid so you have to respect me" and it's like well how about my respect >.>" and I wouldn't start this conversation today or anything. Nope, it's all about my nephew for now. It's just something I need to consider and seek advice on because it'll likely come up eventually.


 
She wouldn't be happy with it, but that's her problem, not yours.  If she wants to play the respect card, tell her that goes both ways.  She's disrespecting you, and no you do not HAVE to respect her in this.  That's her again enforcing her beliefs.  I think Jenett said it perfectly in both her posts - you might have to be more aggressive and show her you will not talk to her if she continues to act as she is.  You can respect her love and be grateful for what she has done, but that doesn't mean you have to accept everything she says and does.  You are not her slave.  

If it comes to this, you do have to enforce what you say, she may not learn any other way.  It sucks for everyone, but she needs to grow up and realize you are your own person.
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Aine Rayne

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Re: Advice for Discussing New Religion with Parents
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2012, 09:13:55 pm »
Quote from: Etheric1;41989

 
I would like to revive this thread to update everyone on the situation. I've actually begun dialogue with my parents about this. I am very surprised by their reactions. My mom reacted extremely well, absolutely nothing like I expected. She wants to know more, for the purpose of understanding why. My dad is the one acting a little bit like a nut. He's trying to have a dialogue, but he's really very upset because whatever source he used to learn about Kemeticism mentioned something about sacrifices. Like, he's upset to the point that he called my mother saying I'm practicing witchcraft (which we all know tends to be seen as evil by Christians) and have idols in my room. Certainly not what I expected.

Btw, something I should have mentioned, my mom is usually fine and reasonable or at least willing to listen, after she's calmed down from her rage or emotional uprising. I still have to reapproach my dad, because this behavior of his is very annoying and it's like he's trying to cause trouble to block me. Can I get resource suggestions for them please?
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Aster Breo

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Advice for Discussing New Religion with Parents
« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2012, 10:51:18 am »
Quote from: Aine Rayne;52065
Can I get resource suggestions for them please?

There are a couple of resources here on TC that might help:  the Pagan Primer and the Teens and Paganism FAQ (which has lots of good info and tons of links for people of all ages -- just ignore the specifically "teen" parts).  I'm posting from my phone, so can't give you the links, but if you look at the top of the screen, there should be a menu item for "pagan resources" or something like that.  Poke around or just do a search -- if you don't find them directly, a search for the terms should give you other threads that do have the links. I know I've provided them many times, as have other posters, so they shouldn't be hard to find.

I can't speak to resources on Kemeticism specifically, since it's not my path.  But you'll likely get a better response on that if you specify "Kemetic resources" in your subject line and/or post in the Kemetic SIG.

Congratulations on starting this difficult conversation with your parents!  It sounds like they love you very much.  I hope your dad will be willing to have an open mind about your path.

Good luck!

~ Aster
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Elani Temperance

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Re: Advice for Discussing New Religion with Parents
« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2012, 12:30:30 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;53159
There are a couple of resources here on TC that might help:  the Pagan Primer and the Teens and Paganism FAQ (which has lots of good info and tons of links for people of all ages -- just ignore the specifically "teen" parts).  I'm posting from my phone, so can't give you the links.



~ Aster

http://www.ecauldron.net/newpagan.php <-- Pagan Primer
http://www.ecauldron.net/teensandpaganismfaq.php <-- Teens and Paganism FAQ

Good luck with your parents and good on you for starting up the conversation :)

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« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 12:31:41 pm by Elani Temperance »
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Mac Gobhann

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Re: Advice for Discussing New Religion with Parents
« Reply #23 on: May 06, 2012, 12:30:01 am »
Quote from: Aine Rayne;52065

 
Good luck, remember their your parents they'll understand.

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