A mother-writer on raising kids without "Religion" and talking about death
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My thoughts on raising our children without "religion" over at Kveller.com. 

What do you get when an ex-Catholic and a Jewish atheist answer their children's questions about death? More questions.
There is an interesting discussion developing in the comments. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thank you, as always,
Julia Fierro
Cutting Teeth, a novel (St. Martin's Press, spring 2014)
  • Hi Sylvia-

    Thank you so much for reading, and for your comments, which were very comforting.

    I really like this notion of religion as an "other world" and the voyeuristic fear that it can create. I grew up with that fear, and while there were comforting aspects connected to it, it did frighten me.

    So glad to have connected with you!



  • Hi Stephanie-

    Thank you so much for reading.

    Since I posted this, my son's awareness has grown and he's started worrying about death. So we've adapted to meet his needs, but it is still so challenging. 

    Your advice to keep responses as straight-forward as possible is great.

    I think the fact that death - with superheroes, Lego figurines, etc. - is part of his play, in a benign way, makes it more complicated. And now our three-year-old has joined in, and often says, while playing with Legos - "I'll make you dead!" - copying the superhero shows her brother watches. Oy.

  • Thank you so much for reading, Liz. I really appreciate it. Apologies for responding so late. The summer was rough, but the kids are back in school. Finally. ;)

  • I really enjoyed this article. Though it is more difficult to raise children without religion (no church or priest to preach morality, no traditions, etc) in a sense it is easier. When the subject came up with my kids, my husband and I explained that we don't believe in God and we gave our reasons. We left it at that.  We don't have to help our children maintain this "other world." More, they don't have to struggle with the notion that God is in their head knowing their thoughts and watching their every move. That would scare them for sure! Btw, our children love Christmas and Easter - holidays we celebrate without the mysticism.

  • Great post! This is something we are facing earlier than I thought we would. My husband and I are no religion, although he aligns closely with Buddhism and I believe in the possibility of there being something after death, but neither of us believe in god, heaven, or hell, which causes some problems with the grandparents. Our nearly three-year-old daughter's class pet recently died and she's been looking at old family photos that include a cat who died before she was born. She's asking questions about where they are. We're being careful not to elaborate, to be as straight-forward as possible and try to let her draw her own conclusions.

  • This is great, Julia. As an atheist mother of a toddler, I really appreciate your thoughtful musings. Keep up the good writing.