What would I do if my daughter became religious?

What would I do if my daughter became religious? This is such a tough question. 

We all know that when you are growing up, your friends are a huge influence. I may not be pushing religion at home, but my daughter is going to see it everywhere else. However, I don’t want to shelter her. She needs to know about the world and make her own informed decisions. Keyword there is “own”. I’d like to think my husband and I will have instilled a healthy amount of curiosity and skepticism in our daughter so she won’t fall for any sort of fantasy or makeshift explanations for the universe, but that is still up to her.

If my daughter does develop some sort of religious belief, I don’t want to be an asshole. It would be incredibly upsetting for me, but I can’t judge her or shut her out. She’s my daughter and that wouldn’t be fair.

I know I’m totally jumping the gun here — my daughter turns four next month — but it’s still a thought that leaves me feeling uneasy. It’s mostly exciting to think about what my daughter’s future might look like but sometimes the amount of unknowns is also scary.

Have any other parents experienced this? Any advice or insight? Even worse — has anyone actually asked you this question? I don’t think I would even consider it if someone hadn’t asked me before.

My anxiety has always gotten the best of me and that was amplified when I became a mom. I worry about things like this.


  1. Bruce says

    What should one do, if one’s daughter said 2+2=5? What if she said it was her new religious belief?
    I think love for a child includes helping them to succeed in third grade at the appropriate time, and giving useful guidance. At least until they’re 18. I would tell her 2+2=4 every day until she was 18.

  2. publicola says

    I understand your anxiety. There is so much out there to corrupt a child’s mind! There’s only so much you can do to protect them, but I would start by teaching your girl to think critically and be skeptical of statements that can’t be backed by evidence. When you’re together and you see or hear something that you think is wrong, express that to her, maybe with a brief ‘why” that is age-appropriate. Even when watching tv, there are many teachable moments. You don’t necessarily have to say something is wrong, just say you don’t like it or you disagree, (e.g. “I don’t understand why people get tattoos–they’re so ugly”), but don’t belabor it. When my son was born, I was in your position– what to do? My wife is a believer, I’m not. And I’ll be honest–I hedged my bet. We decided to raise him as a Christian in the New England Congregational tradition ( they’re not really dogmatic) of my wife. My reasons for doing this were: I didn’t want him to be easy prey for cults (this was during the Waco/David Koresh period), and, second, living in the bible belt, I feared he would become an outcast ( maybe these were irrational fears, but there it is). Cowardly on my part, perhaps even hypocritical. I figured that I could keep steering him in a good direction–giving gentle advice, but not dictating. My son is an adult now, and he’s turned out alright. He seems to have an attraction to New-Age philosophies like chrystals, etc., but he seems to know that there’s no truth to it, but maybe it can’t hurt. I think it’s his way of connecting to the universe, and I’m ok with that. But I can say truly that he is one of the most caring and decent human beings I have ever known, and as long as he’s tolerant of the beliefs of others (he is), and is happy, what more could any parent want. Ultimately, your daughter will make up her own mind, go her own way. Lay the best foundation you can, always be firm but gentle, and love the hell out of her. And don’t forget to have fun, that’s so important! Fun and humor can get you over the rough spots and build bonds that won’t be broken. I don’t know if any of my babbling has helped, but enjoy her while you have her, because she’ll be married with her own kids before you know it. Good Luck

  3. says

    While I don’t have kids, I would guess that you would want to make sure they have a good epistemological toolbox for determining what is true or likely true. Rather than saying “that’s wrong”, explore the subject together. How can we determine if this claim is true or likely true? What’s a reliable source of information? etc…

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