Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Q4U ~ When You Disagree with Family over Halloween


{You all have such great answers to these Q4Us! I love Q4U days when I know we’ll be encouraged and inspired by like-minded sisters trying to figure out the best way to handle a situation. Of course, a simple blog post isn’t long enough to include all the necessary information, and there are so many variables. But my prayer is that these discussions will give you a jumping-off point to make Biblical decisions in your life and help to focus your prayer time.

This Q4U is based upon a comment left on my post last week about what Christians could do with Halloween. I have taken some liberty in an effort to immerse you in a story and thus create heart-felt responses, but the basic situation remains the same.}


The doorbell rings, and you place a couple more mugs on the table. It’s your in-laws coming to visit, and you know they’ll like a steaming cup of coffee on a chilly fall evening. After greetings all around and settling in on the couch, your mother-in-law pulls out a small canvas bag. She calls for your children, and they come running to see what treats Grandma has for them. Moments later, she’s reading a Halloween picture book to your two-year-old. It’s full of witches and goblins, and your son is wide-eyed as he absorbs all the images. Your four-year-old daughter has opened a craft with ghost foam stickers.

You sigh into your coffee, wondering what to do now. You glance at your husband, and you can see your concerns reflected in his eyes. Halloween has never been a happy day for you, and you and your husband agreed that you would not celebrate it since the Bible says that you are to stay away from witchcraft. And now your son is starting to wimper.

What do you do?
  1. Say nothing and allow Grandma and Grandpa to have their fun. Then, when the in-laws leave, explain to the children what the Bible says about witchcraft and why you aren’t participating in Halloween.
  2. Stop the reading and the crafting and take the in-laws aside. Explain to them that you appreciate their thoughtfulness but you and your husband have decided that you won’t be participating in Halloween and their gifts are inappropriate.
  3. Talk to your husband after the in-laws leave, and suggest that he speak with his parents about your decisions regarding Halloween, asking them to refrain from further such gift-giving.
  4. Decide that perhaps it really isn’t that big of a concern. It’s just a picture book, and the ghosts are smiling. Your children need to grow up someday, right?






Now what? Or is there another choice? Perhaps a different celebration all together -- Reformation Day






~~~~~
Receive new posts from this blog by e-mail.
Let’s connect on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
Or follow this blog with Google Friend Connect on the sidebar.
~~~~~

This post may be linked up, with much gratitude, to these blog hops.


Pin It!

25 comments:

  1. LOL sorry this post is something that hits home in this household. My in laws love to have pictures of their grandkids done with the easter bunny, santa clause, act.. Quite honestly I have explained my issue with it, and my husband has too. Our compromise was when the kid is young enough to not remember these things we will take the pic. (so basically a baby).

    As for the halloween thing God blessed our daughter with a sensitive soul when it comes to witch craft, goblems, act... They scare her to bits and none of that stuff is allowed in the house even from grandparents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds like you've worked it out, Candice, and come to a reasonable compromise. Thanks for sharing your situation.

      Delete
  2. Hi Meghan,
    This is an easy one since hubby and I are always the "oddballs" of our families when it comes to Halloween, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny. We are the only ones on both sides that don't go for our society's view about the holidays. We have from day one taught our children the truth about all the holidays. So we would stop the MIL and tell her - in front of the children - that we don't celebrate Halloween. Why do I call it "easy"? Because we have done this very thing....stopped her when she goes into stuff like this. She has always told us that our children are "missing out" buy not being able to participate. I have no idea how they're "missing out" by knowing the truth.
    Blessings to you..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I admire your courage, Lisa, and I see no problem with saying it in front of the children. A situation like that can demonstrate to a child how to state the truth in a loving and respectful manner. Thanks for sharing your story!

      Delete
    2. I think the amount of "easy" depends directly upon the people involved and the personalities and relationships. With my family, it's easy to gently remind them of our views. With my husband's family, the dynamic is completely different and it's anything but easy.

      Delete
  3. It has taken time, but over the years our families on both sides have started to respect our right and authority as parents in this regard. We have not said anything in front of the boys to family, but talk to them in private afterwards. There were hurt feelings for awhile, but we have tried to be as loving as possible. What made this work however was another event where a family member bad mouthed me to our oldest son (in a way that totally tried to take away my authority in his life) and he told me about it. We pretty much had to set a boundary then and made it clear that our authority in their lives was to be respected or that family member could no longer have a relationship with our sons. This larger event kinda solved this smaller one for us. We have AWANA on October 31st, but for homeschooling that day we will have a reformation day party and we will give them a little candy. We believe this has redeemed the day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's amazing to me how disrespectful others can be of parents' decisions for their own children. Sometimes drawing boundaries can be difficult, but it has to be done. Parents have a God-given responsibility to raise their children, and sometimes that involves hard choices we'd rather not make. I appreciate your sharing today!

      Delete
  4. Unfortunately, this is a common scenario in our house, but between my husband and me. Our biggest, longest argument ever was over our firstborn's first halloween. I grew up not celebrating it at all and refuse to have anything to do with such a satanic holiday and my husband doesn't see the harm in it as long as the kids don't dress up as witches or goblins. We've since drawn an uncomfortable truce. If he wants the kids to celebrate in any way, he will have to do it himself. Of course, now that our 4 year old is in public preschool, it's taken on a whole other dimension since they talk about halloween all october and have a party on the 31st. It;s hard to tell a 4 year old that we don't celebrate halloween and why and then let her participate in the activities at school. Talk about sending mixed messages!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I attended public school, and, now that you mention it, I do remember that pretty much the entire month of October was consumed with talk of costumes and trick-or-treating and planning the class party. I think we even wore costumes to school. Praying for you in this situation, Hannah.

      Delete
  5. I'm waiting for all the answers here, because this is a situation that we face, and I truly don't know what to do about it.

    Although, when I was typing that sentence, God spoke this into my spirit: Jesus always put people before rules (like when he "broke" the sabath by healing). So in the scheme of things, maybe honoring the relationship outweighs the small "bad" influence in that situation?

    It's definitely something that I have (and will continue to) struggle with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it incredible how God speaks to each of us in our individual situations? I love that little whisper! Thanks for joining the discussion, Crystal.

      Delete
  6. I think we have had enough issues and weirdness around that everyone we know will usually ask if something is ok. The other day I had a friend come over and she brought gifts for the kids. So she hands me the bag with them and says: "I brought some gifts for the children. But you might want to look at them first and see if they are ok for them before you give them out."

    As for Halloween, I will have to announce to the neighbor kid that we don't celebrate it so please don't come by dressed up in anything. The kids already told her that we don't celebrate Halloween but she said she was going to make them goodie bags since they don't get to do Halloween. So I got to talk to her to make sure she doesn't come over dressed up to help my kids celebrate Halloween. :)

    As for your question, I would probably do #2. And depending on the relative, they might get offended, but they usually get over it afterwards. After all it's our choice how we bring up our own kids and they understand that they need to respect that, even if they don't agree with it. And like Lisa, we tell the kids the truth so sometimes they are the ones telling it to the relatives or friends instead of us. :) so funny!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the lack of inhibition in children -- usually! They just say it without worry. Thanks, Tereza, for sharing your story.

      Delete
  7. Here is a different question...what do you do when you and your spouse are on different pages concerning this issue? (Besides praying for God to clarify, change your heart or your spouse's heart, and bring unity)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be the most difficult situation of all, in my opinion. I definitely agree with praying! Hannah, above, said that she just doesn't have anything to do with it and leaves it all to her husband. If the husband is okay with that, then fine. But I think we need to consider submission to our husbands and providing a united front to our children. Obviously, we don't submit to anything evil. So it's going to be between you and God as far as how much harm could come of it. And perhaps a compromise could be reached, depending on the differing positions. That's a tough question -- just thinking it through in writing here. Thanks for returning to the conversation, Crystal.

      Delete
  8. I think I would address the issue BEFORE it comes up. If you know your in-laws celebrate holidays that your family doesn't then I would suggest talking to them in private before that holiday arrives and discussing a compromise. perhaps going to a pumpkin patch together and taking fall photos, or attending a fall festival at a church.

    I'm blessed with wonderful in-laws that don't do anything like that without asking my permission first, but I know it can be a struggle for some. I do try to be lenient with as much as I can, I have my son eat healthier at home, but when he's at his grandma's house 1 a week she knows I don't mind what she feeds him, she can spoil him, that's her job. But if it came down to a big issue like this, that would definitely need to be addressed beforehand. but if you are more lenient with other things, they might be more willing to find a good compromise on this issue.

    hope that helps, and you are able to find something that works for every one, especially the kids! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent suggestion. Sometimes it can be hard to know what someone else might do. But if you have a pretty good idea, head 'em off at the pass. Thanks!

      Delete
  9. Well I suppose how a person should handle this would depend on their specific situation. How do you think the parents would respond? That would be something I would take into consideration. With our parents, I would probably go with #1 in this scenerio. Thank you for your post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right that the decision depends heavily on how the parents would respond. My question is, if you say nothing this year, will they do the same thing next year? If this is something that will happen every year, perhaps it ought to be addressed. The answer will vary depending on the people involved, I think. Thanks for your input!

      Delete
  10. I'd go for #1 and #3 maybe...let the in-laws have their fun and then explain to your children afterward that our family chooses not to celebrate this day and why. But I'd take great pains to do so in a way that does not cause my children to disrespect their grandparents in their hearts. I say maybe #3...depending on if we felt the in-laws would understand why we feel as we do about Halloween. In my family, I'd scrap #3 because we are already religiously at odds with my in-laws and we wouldn't want to cause further offense. I try to leave as many doors open to them as possible...pick my battles, so-to-speak. Thus far I enjoy a very lovely relationship with my in-laws - despite the fact that we strongly disagree about our faith. To me, trying to have a conversation with them about why we don't celebrate Halloween...well, I think it would more damage than anything else. But, if we were of the same faith, I definitely would broach the subject.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great insight, Rosilind. Thanks for continuing the conversation.

      Delete
  11. #5 - Knowing the grandparents enjoy celebrating non-Christain holidays, I'd call them ahead of time and ask them not to bring Halloween treats. But I'd immediately offer a compromise - that Autumn treats are OK.

    If I didn't have a chance to pre-empt the gifts, I'd let the Grandparents have their fun. (I trust they had only honorable intentions - that they weren't purposely trying to overrule your authority).

    Then I'd speak to my kids, too. This is such a great teachable moment to prepare kids for life as adults. Really - not everyone agrees with our point of view or our lifestyle. We musn't shelter them from this fact. It's our job as parents to teach our children how to do things like: respectfully disagree, speak up for their beliefs, refuse to accept things (gifts, drugs) that conflict with their beliefs, and so on - - even if it's with family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wonderful points, Jill. It would be a good opportunity for the children to see a disagreement but with respect and speaking up with a loving attitude while still standing firm. So glad you shared today.

      Delete
  12. This is a hard issue--we deal with it mostly with Christmas, since I refuse to celebrate Santa Claus on Jesus's birthday. My relatives have literally looked at me as if I were crazy. We've explained the whole things to the kids, though, and we try not to condemn anyone who wants to "play the Santa Claus" game because, though we want to be discerning, we are careful to caution our children on being judgmental.
    Today on my blog I wrote about praying my friend's son Kervens home from Haiti. I made a button to encourage others to pray. Will you join us by putting the button on your blog?
    Thanks!
    http://www.suchakingdom.com/2012/10/pray-this-boy-home.html#

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wondered if anyone was going to mention Christmas. I'm sure it can be an issue then as well with Santa Claus. Thanks, Olivia, for sharing your perspective.

      Delete

I so much appreciate your time and effort in leaving a comment, and I try to respond to as many as time permits. :-)