04-12-2020 02:26 PM
I'm seeking some advice regarding religious differences in blended families.
I am not religious - I have not had much exposure to any faith as my family was not religious growing up. My husband is not religious either. He has a daughter from a previous relationship and her mother is Catholic. When they were together they did not discuss how they would bring up their daughter in relation to religious identity, but lately she has been saying things while at our place like:
"Did you know Jesus made everything in the world" and things along those lines. Very basic understanding given her age (almost 5).
My question is, how do we handle differences in opinion about creation and such?
This is not a step mother / mother battle - this is two families with very different spiritual identities, and me and my husband asking for help to ensure we are respectful, whilst still ensuring we are true to our own beliefs as a family.
In the long run being in dispute over these matters will only have a negative impact on our daughter, so some insight also on how we can incorporate some other aspects of faith into our family life (without bible teaching) would be welcomed.
Thanks in advance!
04-20-2020 04:56 PM
Apologies for the delay in responding to your post!
It sounds like you're a really thoughtful and respectful stepmother, and I imagine that differences in fundamental things like religion and belief in God must be especially tricky to navigate in a blended family type of situation.
Personally, I think it's completely okay for your stepdaughter to be aware that you may have different belief systems to her mother, as long as one guiding principle is being respectful of the other family - and it sounds like you are definitely doing that. You can do that in an age-appropriate manner- for example, once your stepdaughter is a bit older, say 10-11, she will probably be aware that people have really different beliefs about the origin of the world, and not everyone believes that Jesus/God created everything. I would be led by the kind of questions that she asks, and keep the level of detail age-appropriate.
You could also have discussions around things like the origins of Christmas and Easter, without necessarily talking about whether you believe in those stories yourselves.
You say that your husband never had a discussion with his ex-wife around how they would bring up their child in relation to religious identity - I'm wondering if they've ever discussed it since they separated? Does organised religion play a big part in their life now?
You sound like such a committed stepmum, and I really admire the thought you're putting into this with your stepdaughter's wellbeing at the centre of it.
You may have already seen them, but ReachOut have quite a lot of resources on blended families here, in case any of that is also helpful.