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Skids and Religion

Cara1128's picture

DH has 2 skids(SS6 and SS12). DH is nonreligious. The BMs are nonreligious. I am nonreligious.(some of us grew up with certain religions and observe certain holidays)

5 ys ago MIL decided to convert to a religion. I was not with DH then but he told me that ome day MIL showed up and announced she just converted pretty much out of the blue.

After that she decided that every Sunday and religious holiday she observes the grandkids should also.

She enrolled ss12(then 7 )in religious school). His BM was too drunk/high to care. DH and BM2 were staying with MIL so felt obligated to do what she wants.

Present day
MILs aattiude about religion is questionable. " oh Church is not that serious! It's more like a fun social club!"
Ss12 is about to finish with Sunday school and hates it not understanding anything about faith due to MIL attitude. (BM1 is also pushing him to
go bc she wants him to get the religion boyscout badge!!!!)
DH and I discussed ss6 involvement in his MILs church(he was 4 at the time) and decided together that ss6 should spend Sunday mornings with Dh and I.(we have the kids most weekends) based on MILs attitude that religion is only a social thing.(we welcome her to spend holidays and Sundays after church with the skids if chooses).
.BM2 doesn't care either way about what DH does with his parenting time.

DH felt that ss12 was so close to finishing that pulling him out now would be detrimental.

I feel strongly that religion should be the decision of the parents.
I do not think it is the place of Grandparents to decide what religion their grandkids have.
I grew up religious and I do not think of church as merely a social club.

Is it appropriate that DH and I made the decision together to keep SS6 home on Sundays?

twoviewpoints's picture

Does it matter what anyone else here thinks? Obviously you and your DH made a decision and you and your DH are good with the decision you made. So what does mine or the next member's opinion matter?

But since you asked, I read your youngest SS is nonverbal autism spectrum disorder, so the child's abilities and needs to be able to participate would be a part of my decision if it were to have been me making the decision. It would not have been made based on whether MIL thought of her church membership as a social club.

Cara1128's picture

Thank you for taking the time to read about and give your oppinion.

I asked bc sometimes I get too much inside my head and it is useful to get other perspectives.

momjeans's picture

“MILs aattiude about religion is questionable. " oh Church is not that serious! It's more like a fun social club!"”

“I feel strongly that religion should be the decision of the parents.
I do not think it is the place of Grandparents to decide what religion their grandkids have.”


My MIL is uber religious (conservative southern baptist). She gets this creepy, God’s smiling mannequin smile - I call it, when discussing jesus with young people, or worse, MY super young children. She plays the “Oh, we have SO MUCH fun with bouncy houses and balloons!” card too. Then our toddlers faces light up and look back at me as if to say “Wait, what? Why can’t we go to the circus!?” It’s a punk move if you ask me. And it never fails to piss me off - because it’s a ploy. The old bait and hook to make church appealing to fill the pews and Sunday School classes. It is proselytization.

I have strong feelings about indoctrination, too. My children, my choice. My MIL has been trying to get my DD4 in her church since she was 18 months old. I got tired of skirting around it, eyeing DH to let his mom down gently. But, I eventually had enough, and told her flat out to stop when she brought up jesus to our toddlers while we were carving pumpkins, of all things, last year. It was my tipping point after almost a handful of years of MIL being too busy to see her grandkids dressed up on Halloween, because she rather be at church.

DH allowed skid11 to go to church with his ex-inlaws, starting at a very young age. Same with his parents. So I think it sent her into a tail spin when I wouldn’t allow her that same access to my children. Anyone who is familiar with indoctrination knows you’ve got to get them while they’re young.

Now when skid is here for visitation, MIL uses her to ask my young children if they want to go to church. I just shake my head “No” at skid.

6 years old is too young, too impressionable, in my opinion. And thank goodness BM2 isn’t pushing it. It’s entirely in your DH’s rights to make this call for his own children. He needs to remind his mom that he’s the parent, not her, and the final say will always be his.

lieutenant_dad's picture

DH runs into this issue with BM and GBM. They are what I like to call "traditional American Christians" because the appearance of being holy is more important than actually being holy. I have asked DH why she goes, and he thinks it's more for the social aspect though does think she either believes in God or thinks she believes in God so feels obligated to go.

DH is a bit of a militant agnostic. He is very anti-established religion and thinks it does far more harm than good in society (I can't say I disagree, but definitely don't feel as strongly on that as he does). He has always been that way, and he made it very clear to BM that the boys would not participate in church activities on his time until he felt they were old enough to decide if they wanted to. Even then, if they showed any undesirable attitudes or behavior due to teachings of their church (think hate speech toward minority populations and LGBTQ community), he'd never take them back on his time or help support their activities.

As it stands, the boys seem to enjoy youth group and haven't shared any negative viewpoints despite their church being far more conservative and idiotic than either DH or I like. The boys have told him before when they don't want to do something, and he doesn't take them. DH does encourage them to follow through on their commitments, so if they need to do something for a big church project, DH won't let them back out halfway through just because they don't want to do the work. DH is going to have to have another talk with BM because she is now yelling at the boys if they tell DH they don't want to participate in something - and his response will be that he won't help them participate in ANY church activities or give up any of his time for them to participate if he finds out she punishes them for telling him no on his time.

So, in conclusion, you both are well within your rights to dictate what SS does on your time. He is getting to an age where he can make his own decisions, and if he doesn't want to participate any further, then don't make him. Your DH is the one who gets to make parenting decisions on his time. If his time doesn't include church, then it doesn't include church. MIL can continue to go for the social gathering part, but she doesn't need to take SS.

momjeans's picture

“because the appearance of being holy is more important than actually being holy.”


Yes, this.

I caught on to this early on, in regards to my DH’s parents, even though religion is deep-rooted in their family, generationally speaking. My MIL is an evil, selfish woman. She doesn’t follow the teachings of Christ - at all. It’s all very showy, too. She loves to pray in public, while out to dinner with our family. Even though I grew-up in a liberal Christian family, I’m no longer religious and refuse to participate in her act. This isn’t theater. My children and I just sit there in silence, listening to my morally adrift FIL spew his nonsense. When he’s not, my MIL just sits with her eyes closed and the biggest smile on her face. I always wonder what her horrible mind is saying.

lieutenant_dad's picture

BM has had at least two boyfriends while married to her STBXH. How do I know about them? Well, I met one and have seen pictures of the other that BM was sharing with DH (she just shoved the phone in DH's face and he was just like, "uh, okay"). The new BF is also married, and I'm guessing that his wife isn't cool with BM being the other woman, but that's purely speculation. BM gives canned food to the food drive while having her hand out to DH for socks, underwear, hats, coats, etc for the boys. She commits Medicaid fraud and doesn't care. She has told lies about DH to other people and the kids. The list goes on.

Point is, it's all a show. She became a den mom not because the boys liked boy scouts, but because she wanted to look like MOTT. I think she does the same thing with church. She definitely pours on the "poor pitiful single mom" act (I have been to functions for the kids at church and watched this happen), which definitely doesn't jive when the boys' dad is sitting RIGHT THERE. Mindboggling.

I will say, BM knows how far she can push the issue with DH, and she tends to not push it. Then again, she flirts with DH right in front of me, in church, in front of her STBXH, so it may be less to do with what's good for the boys and what keeps her engaged with DH publically.

momjeans's picture

Oh goodness. It’s all too much, isn’t it?

BM was the same. She even had the audacity to tell DH she “made good with god” and that he should forgive her too. All the eye rolls.

She was a habitual cheater during their marriage, even getting pregnant. She, too, played the “poor pitiful me, my husband is leaving me and our child,” once he filed for divorce. All while wearing her 2” solid rose gold cross on her solid rose gold chain. It’s all an act.

Cara1128's picture

Momjeans and lieeautenant dad
(Sorry for the lengthy text- 2yrs and 2 skids worth)

MIL has pushed religion since day one of converting(from what DH told me about it. She has pushed it for years before we married).

He asked my oppinion as she was constantly showing up unanounced at our door and saying"I am taking the kids to such and such religious event!".(Note: MIL wasn't ASKING. Ske would show up and expect him to just hand over his kids. Hubs told me her reasoning was that church events are extremely important.MIL lack of boundaries is bitched about in my other posts).

My opinion was and still is that the parents(as in DH and BM) should decide whether a child will go to church.

At this point in time ss12 mom(BM1 nonreligious) was jobless, constantly drunk and could care less abobutanything except getting her CS.(BM1 is also bitched about in other posts unrelated to religion). She told DH that as long as she doesn't have to pay MIL/DH can take him any time.(more time to get drunk no doubt...but I digress).
DH decided after much thought and my input that SS12(10 yo then) would continue his religious Sunday School and attend church some major holidays with his grandma.(ss12 is close to grgraduating Sunday School this year.)

A few months ago BM1 started really pushing SS12 to go to church events with MIL(BM expressed several times recently that in her oppinion these events should supersede parenting time) DH finally asked BM was was going on bc SS12s grades were suffering and he no longer wanted to go to Sunday achool. BM answered that the most important thing right now is SS12 getting hos scout religion badge.
To recap:
The scout badge should trump parenting time, school and regular religious instruction.( Note: this is not conjecture or my oppinion these are summarized written quotes from BM =facts)

Ok so BM cares now.
Ss12 is still finishing Sunday School per DH decision

Now for Ss6(was 3 then)
Ss6 is nonverbal ASD and pretty rambunctious. He can be a hard to handle as he likes to run away and explore/destroy things.

On several occasions MIL took him to church with her and let him run loose without supervision. He can be quite destructive when abxious from the big church crowd.(ASD or not a 3yo without supervision....). DH told me all of these stories from before my time.

Several event staff and clergy had pulled her aside on more than one occasion about ss6(4then) running amok and destroying church property.
She decided to attend a dif church on our side of town after we got married. bc " my previous church did not like that SS6 had ASD and did not accept him for who he is!"(we fell for it but are wiser now)
DH asked my oppinion shortly after we got married(around the time she switched churches) whether after all the stories he should allow ss6 to attend the new church (BM2 didnt care as she is nonreligious and DH has/had Ss6 almost every wekend)
I told him that we could do a dry run of the new church(i did not want to keep Ss6 from enhoying the holidays with his gma and his brothers ss12 and BM2 bioson11).
We did the dry run(a month long). Participated in a service. At end of service we excused ourselves and left SS6 with MIL(the whol point of the dry run). 10 min later ss12 comes running to us- unsupervised ss6 had set a paper on fire with a candle!
Participated in some childrens activities where he did well(chaperones were present)
Participated in a second service where MIL did not try to prevent SS6 from misbehaving(at one point he was even pilling on one of clergys robes while she looked on smiling). Nothing was set on fire this time due to a concerned citizen taking an entire candelabra of burning candles away from Ss. Ss then threw gimself on the ground in front of said person and started kicking. We stepped in and took ss outside then home.
It is after this incident that DH Sstarted realizing that his mother had been kicked out of her previous church(she had not switched but simply found a brand new church)
MIL came over later and demanded(again not ASKED) an explanation about why DH took Ss away.(!)" Everybody there knows he has ASD and they accept him!"

Dh asked her why it was imoortant to her to take Ss6 to church if she wasnt going to show him to respect the clergy and the holy items
Her response was that church is more of a social activity and she thinks Ss6 should go out more(we were expecting her to tell us that her religion was imoortant to her etc. All the lines above....but nope it did not happen!Instead this...)
To recap:
church is so important that DH has to hand over the kids whenever MIL demands but when it comes time to teach SS6 to respect the church all of the sudden becomes merely a social activity for him to get out more.

DH and I talked for a couple of days about it(I grew up Christian but am nonreligious now so he wanted my input about how I felt when I stopped going to church etc. He wanted to make sure that his son will not be emitionally affected.)
DH decided that the dry run was over and told MIL that from now on she needs to ASK him to take ss6 to any social activity including religion.
He will no longer be going to regular religious worship in order to not distract MIL from her worship. He did however tell MIL that she can visit SS6 instead and if she wants to talk to him about anything religious she is welcome.
Every once in awhile MIL will start trying to take ss6 to curch events and demand that my DH or I should hand SS over. I have been successful at not caving in so far (I was raised by my grandma who was Christian ) and following my DH wishes.

queensway's picture

Cara this is my take. Your MIL has way to much power in your marriage. Yes the decision about religion should be made by the parents. Although I think that MIL going to church is a good thing I don't feel she is being a good christian. Christians don't push religion on other people. They live by example. No one is perfect but they try to make good decisions and help others along the way. They don't preach and cause problems for other people. Your MIL is the last person who should be pushing religion on SS. You and your DH should take a stand against this. Sometimes religion can be over rated and just doing your best everyday and treat others as you would like to be treated is all that really matters for some.

Cara1128's picture

Dh and Bm1 have already decided ss12 will finish and graduate.
For myself I will support DH and SS12 with this. (I do care about my Skids and they care about/respect me)
If I had biokids I would not let my MIL or mother decide the specifics of whorship.

SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

So, StepRightOff, what's a nice poster like you doing in a place like this? What's your sign, baby? Is heaven missing one of its angels? Is your daddy an astronaut??

Seriously crushing on you right now.

queensway's picture

Unless MIL has some legal rights with how SS is being raised she has no rights to make SS receive religious instruction. That falls on the childs parents. There is nothing vindictive for parents wanting to raise their children different than the way MIL wants to.

lieutenant_dad's picture

There are two kids involved. My understanding is the one who is currently attending will continue to attend until finished (though if he's going to convert to Catholicism and doesn't really want to, he won't make it past confirmation, or so is my understanding). The little one has never attended and will never attend.

It's entirely plausible that OP's DH didn't care before but does now, but felt his OS was too far along to pull him out. Could be that he is spineless and is influenced by the loudest female in his life. Could be that MIL was taking a very active interest in the education of OS at the start and now doesn't care much either, so he has decided not to do another 4-6 years of it with his youngest. And OP being involved with that decision isn't wrong so long as DH has asked for her opinion on it.

Ultimately, it IS appropriate for Dad to make the decision and the consider any opinions he so chooses. If he has made that decision in tandem with his wife, the OP, so be it. If it's important to BM, she can make the argument for it and go back to court to ensure religious instruction is built into the CO if Dad isn't interested in voluntarily giving up time. OP's reasons why she thinks MIL shouldn't take them is only irrelevant if Dad thinks it's irrelevant. He apparently agrees enough that it's a bad idea to stop his YS from participating.

SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

It's my understandinnnthat this was a discussion between bio parents and MIL. Everyone was in agreement.

Goodluck's picture


What else does mil stick her nose in?

Religious decisions are made between bio parents. NOT mil and parents.

I am a Granny. Your dh can pull the plug on anything he wants to at any time with his mom.

I am Catholic too.

Granny cant move forward with much of anything without parents being Catholic also.

Cara1128's picture

Thank you for input!
She sticks her nose in lots. Lol
Sometimes its helpful.
For my skids sake she will always be allowed to visit them when we have them and freely talk about her life with them.(including religion).
On my own I limit my interaction with her to only positive events.

Cara1128's picture

Appologies as I cannot edit. I was trying to keep these posts concise. For clarification:
1. I purposely did not say what the grandmothers religion is(i do not believe the exact religion is important to the larger issues.) I do know what it is and am informed about it. It is not dangerous and I do not keep MIL away from the the kids bc of it.
2. DH came to me early in our marriage and asked what I thought on the issie of his children going to MIL church during his parenting time as he wanted more time with his children and he is nonreligious.(It was easier for him to give up 4-6 hours of time when he knew he had the kids all week as him and the BMs were together when the original agreement about going was made)
3. As far as what happens on BMs time I do not want or need to have a say. and I certainly do not care what decisions BM makes.(I dislike BM1 and that is obvious from my other posts)
4. In my oppinion religion is much more important than just a social activity. Religious beliefs can shape a person in many ways.(bad and good). This is what the problem is with MILs light take. Ss is not learning to take things seriously from her example.( admittedly it is MY issue but DH did ask ME)
5.Ss12 is going and will continue to go as long as BM and DH want. See my other thread.
Ss6 is not going anymore but is not prevented from spending time with grandma in other ways.(ss6 is ASD nonverbal and in my stated oppinion to DH could more benefit from spending time with dad than at church. DH was a stay at home dad to Ss6 for 2 ys due to a back injury and they spent 24/7 together. So. Yes my oppinion won out that time)
6.I am not a saint. I do NOT like my MIL(obvious from my other posts!) and her lack of boundaries. I do care about my skids and their well being and am not disengaged.
7. If DH makes a decision with one of the BMs about the skids and I am not asked to participate I do not participate. (Sometimes I wish he would not ask me to participate lol)
A lot more could be said but I would be writimg a book.

SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

I think maybe you and your DH need to be clear with yourselves what you want. None of this seems to have anything to do with religion and is everything about control. Your DH wants more time with his kids and instead of speaking up to the BMs or telling his mom his wants, he goes running to you to make up an excuse to keep the kids away from the church. I understand you wanting to support your DH and make sure he has what his heart desire. That's very loving of you. But it seems that you two are just sturring up all kinds of subterfuge and drama to handle what is, essentially, an easy fix if approached with adult perspective. He wants more time with his kids, ok. That can be accomplished without shaming your mother in law or "winning" over her. That just seems to be the icing on the cake for you.

Cara1128's picture

After years(almost a decade) of MIL pushing religion on DH and then the Skids you better believe I am happy that it is now a thing she no longer pushes.

It feels good that DH Trusts me enough to listen to my oppinions(about religion and otherwise). And yes I do believe I am lucky about this.

You are correct in deducing that for MIL it is about control.(this is her issue that has permeated into everything she does including religiion). I have tried somewhat poorly to explain this here(in other posts).

I believe that any child's religion should be decided bi the parents(if they are religious). If not decided by the parents when the child is older they should decide. (See above for DH decision)

Nobody should DEMAND of a parent to give over their children or make plans for the children to do things then demand they participate.In fact not even Bioparents are allowed to make plans during oneanpthers parenting time. Yes I am happy DH put a stop to this with both MIL and BM because he wanted his parenting time to be his.(also discussed in other posts)

I am not the only SM to express anger and resentment toward a controlling BM loving MIL. Yes there are times when
I feel beyond frustrated and I vent here.
I believe religion is an important matter and I made tgis post about it so that can see how others handle steprelationships and religion.
Yes I am the same person with the same problems but maybe I could handle them differently due to this thread.

icanteven's picture

I think it is up to the parents. If your husband wants to keep his son home on Sundays, then he should. Also, if the parents are different religions, I think it is ok for the kids to participate in both when they are with that parent. For example, I am atheist and my husband is agnostic, but my stepson's mother recently became an evangelical christian. We do not agree with many of the things her church says, but she is allowed to take stepson there when he is with her, so we say nothing about this. This is her right as a parent. It is also my husband's right to tell stepson, "That church's opinion is only their opinion, and there are many other opinions in the world. It is ok to go there, but you must think for yourself what you believe." My point is, if it is your husband's time to have his son on those Sundays, then he should not feel obligated to send him to his mother's church. It is not her choice.