Parents that just became atheist but have teeangers; how to tell if they are been raised as Christian-Roman Catholics?

I'm a parent of three teenagers and I've just decide to leave the roman catholic christianity and join the atheist. How do I tell my kids? I need tips on how they will deal with peer preassure and religion influence as they go to public schools or should I just wait until they are "older" to tell them about it?

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My kids are 13, 11 & 10. We are still going to church and we are very active in the social group by volunteering, food drives and community gatherings. They are in public schools but we live in the south so people here are mostly christians and very "open" about it. We were Roman Catholics for over 30 years so they attend school church on Sunday and are active participants in the youth group.
I'm currently married and my wife of over 13 year has quite a dileman herself. She agrees that there is not a god but she does not want to "confuse" the kids and "likes" most of the stories christianity teaches. The kids do like the activities but do not like going to mass. They keep saying is boring but the want to participate in every other community gathering and specially enjoy the volunteer work. Maybe we can reduce the number of times we go to church like maybe once a month instead of every week. Thanks for your help I sometimes ask myself what were my parents thinking?
I usually go with the option of asking my child what he thinks about things when discussing difficult issues. Sometimes it even works to start there. In your case, "would you all mind if we stopped going to Mass?" may be a great start. We have been fortunate that the more candid approach has really worked well with our son. Heck your kids may surprise you by admitting their own doubts.
As parents we often feel that our children will blame us (which they may well do, but that is a whole other subject) or feel guilty because of the perceived impact our "mistake" has on them. My feeling is that children are usually more complex and sophisticated creatures then we think they are and then, sometimes, they will just cheer to skip mass and sleep in on Sundays.
I'd just avoid the word 'atheist' (even the phrase "I don't believe in God" gets a better reaction than "I'm an atheist"). Kids who describe themselves as generically Christian or even 'not religious' likely won't face all that much peer pressure at school.

As to community building, I might take kids to any other community center, maybe there are Unitarians around? It would be honest enough to say that you have problems with the institution of the Catholic Church.

I might also consider teaching them comparative religions. Like, the origins of the different stories, and the beliefs and histories of different faiths. This could be done in a fair and neutral way. It wouldn't be indoctrination, and it would definitely soften any potential shock when they realize that you don't believe in god.

But, it seems appropriate to change things sooner, rather than later. There are all sorts of messed up attitudes that religion seems to make people internalize, and churches are really good at hooking children in via fear and shame. The longer that goes on, the harder it will be to break later.
My instinct says be honest about your decision and your reason why.
Honesty is the best policy when it comes to raising children in my opinion. I would inform them that you changed your views, but leave it up to them if they would still like to participate in church activities and such. That should be their own decision. They could opt for not going to church anymore, it could well be that they enjoy hanging out with their friends and would still like to participate in some activities.

In my opinion it is fantastic to show your children that you are a human being. You set a great example by showing them that it is good to think about decisions you made in life and things you believe and sometimes feel strengthen by your conclusions and sometimes change your ways.
Is there a post holiday update? Hopefully good news.
Share with them why you converted. You're their parent and they should look up to you, so no doubt they might follow the same path. Show them the reasons why religion is just plain goofy and makes no sense, but also allow them enough space to believe what they want.




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