What to do when you child wants to follow another faith? Find out!

You could be Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or even Parsi. But it’s very likely that your child goes to a Christian school. In all Christian schools, a certain amount of Bible studies is the norm. So what happens when your child comes home and tells you that he wants to follow Jesus, instead of your god?

What happens when your child comes and tells you that he wants to worship Guru Nanak or Allah because his best friend does? Or what if you worship Shiva at home, but he decides he wants to worship Bajrangbali?

First, understand why this is happening

Your child spends a long time in school, where the environment is very different from your home. He learns about new religions, that of his friends, as well as the Christianity that the school is teaching, and he probably even prays to Christ at school assembly. He is very young, and he absorbs everything around him, including religion. He does not know he cannot suddenly change his religion, but he wants to worship a god that is different from the god you worship.

Don’t stop him

If he wants to follow a few rituals, don’t stop him. You could be a practising Muslim who does not believe in idol-worship but if your son wants to keep a statue of Bajrangbali or Jesus Christ in the house, let him. If he wants to buy a little Christmas tree, let him. If you try to stop him, it is very likely that he will become more adamant about not wanting to listen to you at all/

It will pass

The reason your child wants to follow a different religion now is probably because it is new to him. There is a good chance that it will lose its novelty and then he will stop being so gung-ho about it. He will probably lose interest in the Christmas tree also.

Carry on with your worship

If you are a practising member of any religion and do a regular namaaz or puja at home, continue doing it. There is two benefits to this. One, your child will appreciate that two religions can coexist. Second, your child will start to see that this is the norm in your house. If he doesn’t want to be part of your worship, don’t force him. Tell him it’s polite to be part of each other’s worship. See if he wants to be a part of your puja then. Also, try to be a part of his Christmas celebration any way you can.

Talk to him subtly about your religion

If it matters so much to you, talk to your child subtly about your religion. Tell him stories around your god. No matter what religion you follow, there are bound to be stories of mythical proportions, or even miracles. Children tend to get very fascinated with all this. Tell them little snippets and stories to get him interested.

Never demean the other religion

While you tell him the legends of your religion, never, for once, say anything bad about the religion he wants to follow. What you teach him today will stay with him tomorrow. You don’t want to be the parent of a child who grows up with hatred for another religion. Plus, if you say anything nasty, your child will get defensive and not want to listen to your stories at all.

Don’t make fun of him

Never make fun of your child or his new interest in front of others. This will make him decide to stick with that religion and not have anything to do with yours. Don’t make fun of his school or friends either because he trusts both these areas of his life, and your poking fun will be terrible for that. You don’t want to turn him into a rebel by ridicule.

Let him be

In spite of how much time he may spend in school or with friends, he does spend more time with you at home. He's also a child whose interests are whimsical. He will get over this phase very soon and once he starts seeing you worship your god, he will subconsciously start doing that too. That is how all of us are conditioned. so let him be, don't pressurise him, don't scold him or hit him, and don't force anything. In good time, he will come right back to the fold.

Know when to say no

If your child wants to drag you to a place of worship there, and you don’t want to go, say no. You need to decide if you will play along with him or know when it becomes too much. If you think you are okay with him going to church or a temple on Sunday, do go. But if it's a no, explain to him that religion is a private thing and you will not go to church for worship because you do not believe in Christ or a Hindu/Muslim/Sikh god and that he can go when he is older.


Feature image: slate.com