Advice

4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Heading into a Confrontation

By Wendy Thomas Russell | December 30, 2013

Confrontation: (n.) a face-to-face meeting; the clashing of forces or ideas; a situation in which people fight, oppose,or challenge each other in an angry way. Like most people, I have sort of a love-hate relationship with confrontation. I’m drawn to it and repelled by it in almost equal measure. On the one hand, confrontation is a necessary byproduct of honesty, integrity and self-worth. To be capable and willing to confront that which we find offensive, unacceptable or harmful is the mark of a strong character, is it not? Those who shrink from confrontation may well […] Read more – ‘4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Heading into a Confrontation’.
‘Very Religious Parents’ Trying to Indoctrinate Their Grandkid

By Wendy Thomas Russell | October 21, 2013

I got a letter from a reader today. Raise your hand if you can relate. Looking for some advice on how to deal with my very Christian parents and my daughter. She’ll be 2 in January and is already saying “Amen” and “Yay God.” I am not Christian and feel disrespected by this. They know that I have COMPLETELY different beliefs. Any advice on how to “respectfully” get them to stop? Pretty typical, right? I started to write this mom a private response but, with her permission, decided to make it public. I’d be curious […] Read more – ‘‘Very Religious Parents’ Trying to Indoctrinate Their Grandkid’.
It’s Not a Competition: 8 Tips for Interfaith Parents

By Wendy Thomas Russell | June 6, 2013

In America at least, “mixed-religion” families are becoming a norm. And that’s a great thing in many ways — great for couples, great for kids, and great for society. But it comes with a fair share of complications, too. And figuring out how to talk to children about these different beliefs is one of them. It can be hard, for instance, to field questions of faith when your answers collide with those of your partner’s — “Mommy’s going to heaven, and Daddy is — well, he’s going to the ground.” But these talks (not to mention […] Read more – ‘It’s Not a Competition: 8 Tips for Interfaith Parents’.
12 Tips for Talking to Little Ones About Death

By Wendy Thomas Russell | April 16, 2013

When American children return from school today, many will undoubtedly have questions about the Boston Marathon bombings — having glimpsed photographs, viewed video clips or spoken to peers. Depending on the age of your child, you might have some questions yourself: How much do I say? How much do I share? Click here for some great advice from Dr. Gene Beresin on CommonHealth for discussing the event — and others like it  — with kids. Or read on for 12 general tips, revised from an earlier list, for talking to little ones about death. 1. Have […] Read more – ‘12 Tips for Talking to Little Ones About Death’.
12 Reasons We Indoctrinate Kids — and Why We Shouldn’t

By Wendy Thomas Russell | March 21, 2013

In nonreligious circles, “indoctrination” has become a pejorative. Something to resist and avoid. The way secularists see it, instructing children to accept any religious faith uncritically deprives them of their own unique reflections, observations and opinions. At its worst, indoctrination is a requirement to blindly follow, to believe without question, to respect and obey authority figures simply because they have been branded as such. Yet, millions of parents throughout the world indoctrinate their children. Why? 1. Comfort: The idea of heaven can be undeniably comforting, especially to children with anxieties about death or dying. By […] Read more – ‘12 Reasons We Indoctrinate Kids — and Why We Shouldn’t’.
Discussing Death with Little Ones (Whose Deaths We Fear So Much)

By Wendy Thomas Russell | December 17, 2012

Not since 9/11 has a tragedy so deeply affected our nation as the massacre of 20 first-graders and six school administrators in Connecticut on Friday. It seems to me, words were not meant to communicate this level of horror. Our capacity for emotional pain is so much deeper than our capacity to verbalize what has happened. Sometimes silence and tears are our only option. But when it comes to children, we have a duty to discuss death and dying. It is an important part of parenting, and we mustn’t shy away from it. Yes, it’s […] Read more – ‘Discussing Death with Little Ones (Whose Deaths We Fear So Much)’.
Washington Post Blog Spotlights ‘Relax, It’s Just God’

By Wendy Thomas Russell | October 15, 2012

This isn’t so much a blog as brag, so if you are my close friends, family, or just really kind readers who don’t mind if I bend your ears for a few minutes, please stick around. The rest of you: I totally understand. Enjoy our day. So this morning, I was featured in the Washington Post’s On Parenting blog. The blog is written by Janice D’Arcy, an amazing parenting blogger whose work I’ve followed for a long time. She contacted me because of the Pew Research Center’s new study finding that 20 percent of Americans […] Read more – ‘Washington Post Blog Spotlights ‘Relax, It’s Just God’’.
What Does Your Kid Really Know about Religion?

By Wendy Thomas Russell | October 8, 2012

Most parents, I’ve found, want their kids to know about religion. Maybe the reasons are strictly educational, or maybe they’re cultural, practical, even political. Regardless, most of us — whether religious or nonreligious — live in a diverse and complicated society whose collective beating heart is powered by the Internet; our children, we know, will be more successful at living if they understand the nature of faith and its role in people’s lives. And, yet, so few of us are willing or able to teach our kids about religion. Why is this? We’re busy, of course. […] Read more – ‘What Does Your Kid Really Know about Religion?’.
4 Reasons Not To Indoctrinate Kids Against Religion

By Wendy Thomas Russell | September 20, 2012

  Indoctrination, whether it be religious or nonreligious, requires that parents send a clear and convincing message that there is only one way to think about God and, in doing so, imply that other ways are wrong, silly, short-sighted or dangerous. There is a pretty major difference between revealing our beliefs to our children and insisting our children — and the world around us — believe the same things we do. Severe indoctrination leads to the opposite of critical thinking — that is, reflective thinking aimed at deciding what to believe. Part of what makes severe indoctrination […] Read more – ‘4 Reasons Not To Indoctrinate Kids Against Religion’.
‘My Friend Said If You Don’t Believe in God, You Go Into Fire’

By Wendy Thomas Russell | August 23, 2012

My daughter was sitting next to me on the couch earlier this week, playing a game on the iPad, when she stopped and looked up. She’d remembered something that a friend had told her at summer school. “She said if you don’t believe in God, you go into fire,” Maxine told me. “She did?” I asked.”Oh. Well, she’s talking about hell. Have you heard of hell?” “No.” “Some people believe you go there if you don’t believe in God,” I added with as much neutrality as I could muster. “Do you believe that?” she asked. […] Read more – ‘‘My Friend Said If You Don’t Believe in God, You Go Into Fire’’.

Relax, It’s Just God

A Blog for Secular Parents
For parents who aren’t religious, the task of talking to children about religion can be daunting. So daunting, in fact, that the entire subject often gets glossed over or ignored completely. Relax, It’s Just God is a blog (and soon a book) intended to help parents break their silence without breaking a sweat.
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