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Growing Up Godless: A Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Without Religion

Growing Up Godless: A Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Without Religion


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In a nation where religion plays such a big role, how can you raise a child without God? How do you instill morality, answer questions about mortality, and handle believers who expect to get a one-way ticket to heaven by converting you? Deborah Ann Mitchell, who has blogged and written columns on the subject, provides guidance to agnostics and atheists struggling with how to assert their beliefs in a reasoned, nonconfrontational, and honest manner.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781454910985
Publisher: Sterling Ethos
Publication date: 04/01/2014
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 1,132,408
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Deborah Mitchell has worked as a writing instructor, a researcher, and a freelance writer. A graduate of North Carolina State University and the University of Texas at Dallas, Mitchell has a Master of Arts degree in Humanities, Major in History of Ideas. She grew up Catholic, but lost her religion over 20 years ago. She doesn't expect to find it again. Deborah blogs about raising children free of religion at Her article, “Why I Raise My Children Without God,” went viral, and was published on various sites including

This is her first book. Deborah lives in north TX with her husband and two teenaged sons.

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

A Disclaimer xiv

Introduction xvi

Things to Learn

Raising Kids without Religion 2

How to Find Me in Heaven: My Big Lie 5

Big Questions and Little Kids 7

In the Beginning 10

What I Tell My Kids about Heaven 12

Creating a Moral Structure 14

Discipline without God 38

Developing Critical Thinking Skills 23

I Have a Plan for Me: How We Help Our Children Find Meaning 29

New Commandments 31

What Is Good, and How Do We Teach Kids Right from Wrong? 35

What Happens When We Die: Talking to Kids about Their Mortality 39

Crazy Kids and Fearful Parents 43

Who Needs Church?: Keeping Kids Out of Trouble 46

Guardian Angels: What I've Taken from My Children 50

Why Moms Pray 52

Prayer, Clarity, and Self-Comfort 54

Old Moms 58

Sex, Sluts, and Madonnas 60

Girls: Subjects and Objects 63

Terrorists 69

Can Two Boys Marry? 71

Violence and Crime and Emotional Health 75

Sometimes Cheaters Win 81

New Drivers: Creating a Healthy Conscience 83

Letting Go: When Children Leave 85

Teachers and Peers

Lei's Teach Religion in the Classroom 90

God in School: Teachers Who Recruit 98

On the Playground 96

What to Tell Classmates 100

Bad Babies 104

Taking God's Thunder versus Taking Life 106

Are We Smarter than a Sixth-Grader?: Fear of the Unknown 108

Intelligent Design: A Misnomer? 110

Sleepover 113

Please Don't Ask God for a Win 116

How to Handle Prayer Groups 118

Boy Scouts and Other Options 120

Family and Friends

Coming Out to Family and Friends 124

When to Spill the Beans 129

Leaving 134

Dealing with Death in the Family 137

Ways to Help the Dying 142

Eulogy from a Physicist 146

Instead of 'I'll Pray for You 149

Disapproving Grandparents 151

Request for Advice: When Kids Are a Little Older 154

The Best Thing We Can Give to Our Kids 160

Parents and Marriages of Different Faiths 163

Love 169

Social Networking Etiquette for Nonbelievers 172

Misconceptions and Learning to Live without Knowing 174

Rituals and Holidays

Mystery and Creating Rituals 180

Church Manners and Old Rules 183

Happy Meal Baptism A 187

They Had Good Food 190

He "Decides" 192

Giving Thanks 194

Agnostic Prayers 197

That Silly Santa-I Mean, Satan 200

Celebrating Christmas 202

The Reason for the Season 205

Hearsay 209

Milk and Cookies for Santa 211

Easter Candy 212

Faster without Religion 214

An Easter Story: Forgiveness and Little Things 217

Perspective from an Ex-Jehovah's Witness 221

In the Community

God in the Doctor's Office 226

Homeschooling: Keeping Your Opinion to Yourself 228

No, Thanks: The Church Lady at the Gym 230

Other Awkward Situations in Our Communities 232

A Hero at the Car Wash 235

Nonbelievers in Government 241

Tithing 245

Lessons Learned

Why I Don't Believe 250

Let's Think about This Story a Little 253

Seeds 256

Turning the Other Cheek: Our Kids Teach Us Lessons, Too 258

Nag: A Better Way to Teach a Lesson 260

Desensitizing the Next Generation 262

Dumb Parents 264

Smile 265

The Catholic Argument 267

Failure 269

Separation Anxiety 272

Win-Win 274

Why I Don't Take Rejection Personally 276

God Bless You and Other Things We're Not Supposed to Say 278

Dress Rehearsal 280

Rivers: Why We Should Embrace Our Neighbors 282

Understanding 284

Last Words from the Cross 287

Conclusion 290

Resources for Nonbelievers 292

Acknowledgments 293

Index 294

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