How To Mindfully Deal With Religious Parents
When parents and children hold opposing religious ideas, it can lead to difficult, painful, and exhausting family disagreements and dissension. Your age, whether there is abuse in the family system, whether you still live with your parents, and whether you use any of their resources can all have an impact on how you deal with highly religious parents.
What to Do When Your Parents Are Extremely Religious
It’s critical to recognize that in a good and loving parent-child connection, the parent’s love for the child should be unconditional. This means that, regardless of your religious beliefs, the love your parents have for you should not be conditional.
Your parents welcome you for who you are and encourage you to develop into the person you were born to be.
Your parents can accept that you hold opinions and values that differ from theirs.
Your parent does not reject you because of your religious beliefs.
If your parent is highly religious, but you believe he or she loves you unconditionally and supports your distinct belief system, you and your parent are likely to enjoy a healthy relationship despite your differing beliefs. If you believe you have an unhealthy relationship with your parent and that your religious orientations are contributing to the tension, keep in mind that your religious beliefs are not the core cause of the relational dysfunction you are experiencing.
What Do You Do When You Have Extremely Religious Parents?
Every case is different, but in general, you can think about:
Surround yourself with healthy and safe friends and/or family members that embrace you and your beliefs.
Make a mantra for yourself that you may repeat when you’re frustrated about your family situation. “It’s okay to have diverse beliefs,” for example, or “I must be loyal to myself.”
Keep a private notebook in which you can express your feelings and thoughts. If your parent(s) has a history of snooping into your room or possessions and is volatile, do not keep a tactile or easily accessible notebook.
If you reside with your parents as a minor and they are threatening or have been abusive, find a safe place to go right away, tell a trustworthy adult, and call the police or a crisis line. Remember that abuse tends to worsen, so don’t wait and follow your instincts if you believe you are in danger.
If you will be living with your parents for several years, you can start to establish personal boundaries. This entails letting go of the idea that you will always agree with your parents on religion and privately embracing your unique belief system. Remember that you do not have to tell your parents everything. You have the right to form your belief system, which you can keep to yourself if you believe it will keep you safe.
How Do You Inform Your Religious Parents That You Aren’t Religious?
If you wish to inform your parents you are not religious, you should think about how they will react and whether you will feel emotionally and/or physically safe thereafter. While some parents may be open to different points of view, others may entirely reject or disown their children.
If your parent(s) are not abusive and you believe it is safe to discuss your opinions with them, you can neutrally share your belief system without disparaging their beliefs.
If your parent(s) have a history of being physically and/or emotionally abusive, it’s best to keep your belief system private because it’s probable they’ll be dangerous to open up to.
If you live with your parents or they provide you with resources, consider how notifying them will affect your capacity to use these resources, especially if you require them for survival (food, shelter, etc.).
If you don’t live with your parents, aren’t stealing from them, and they don’t have a history of being abusive, you can consider neutrally telling them.
Managing Obnoxious Religious Family Members
Whether you live with your family members or not, there are strategies to deal with disagreements:
Remember that being a mature and healthy adult includes accepting that not everyone will share your belief system, thus it’s crucial to respect your family’s belief system, even if it differs from yours.
If your family members bring up religion and you feel uncomfortable, find strategies to reduce interaction and/or respectfully withdraw yourself from the situation.
Don’t engage with family members who are excessively confrontational about religion. You can say something like, “I appreciate your opinion,” “Let me think about that,” or “I hear you” without engaging in the debate further. Remove yourself from the situation if things become too heated.
Remind yourself that it’s perfectly fine to think for yourself and hold ideas that differ from those of your family members. While this can be unpleasant and difficult, keep in mind that you can offer yourself support and loving acceptance.
Surround yourself with accepting friends who will allow you to be yourself.
Find appropriate outlets for venting and processing your feelings with your family members.
How Do You Handle Religious Parents?
Depending on your scenario with your parents, you will need to thoroughly assess the issue before making any judgments about creating appropriate limits, discussing your ideas, and seeking outside support.