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Can Your Child Be Too Religious?


Bethella

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http://news.yahoo.com/child-too-religio ... 52602.html (not breaking for news site)

Religion can be a source of comfort that improves well-being. But some kinds of religiosity could be a sign of deeper mental health issues.

It’s not unusual that children in families where marital discord, harsh discipline, abuse, or addiction are present, perform rituals for protection. If they know their parents approve of religion, says Lieberman, “they try to be good little children and stay below the radar of the family chaos or parents’ rage.†Or, as Mihalas has seen, some children push their already observant parents to be even stricter, fearing that catastrophe will strike otherwise.

When does religiosity raise these red flags? The crucial test focuses on how the kids are functioning in the rest of their lives. Are they doing well at school, playing sports or music, socializing with friends? If so, then their faith is probably a source of strength and resilience. If, however, the religious practices and rituals seem to be overtaking their daily lives, and displacing their normal activities, experts suggest taking steps to understand what’s triggering the focus on faith.

I wonder if this can help explain why none of the Duggar children have fled yet. They live in a chaotic and abusive environment with harsh discipline and an addiction to religion (in my opinion). By accepting their parents' religion they are not only gaining Jim-Bob and Michelle's approval they are also forming a protective barrier between themselves and the world. With all the speculation about Jana being depressed and her frequent Journey to the Heart trips, I'm wondering if she's the one pushing for the trips to deal with her anxieties "fearing that catastrophe will strike otherwise."

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I think your observation about Jana in particular is spot on.This article clearly backs up a theory that I have had for awhile.I do think the Duggar(and maybe many other)kids do feel a need to please not only God,but JBob and Michelle, by extention.Their religeon tells them they arent pleasing God if they arent pleasing their parents.I think another reason for Jana going on these trips is so she can find a suitable husband.She'd be getting away and pleasing her parents.

This article also brings to mind what hard core catholics believe about mortification of the flesh,and what children are taught by parents.Kids are mortifying the flesh to please their parents and God, but some of them would choose pleasing their parents over God.Thats why some do it.They think of their parents reaction,not Gods reaction.

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I think Jana is unhappy with her life and thinks more religious boot camp would help her not realizing that her parents crazy religion is probably a big source for her unhappiness.

I do think that she just wants any chance to get out of the house. Journey to the heart and poverty tourism Faux misionary work is the only socially acceptable thing she can do.

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Some children suffer from scrupulosity, a form of OCD that involves a feeling of guilt and shame. Sufferers obsessively worry that they have committed blasphemy, been impure or otherwise sinned. They tend to focus on certain rules or rituals rather than the whole of their faith. They worry that God will never forgive them. And this can signal the onset of depression or anxiety, says John Duffy, a Chicago area clinical psychologist specializing in adolescents. “Kids who have made ‘mistakes’ with sex or drug use,†he says, “may have trouble forgiving themselves. “

I don't think you have to have OCD to be harmed by excessive feelings of guilt and shame. The whole purity bit in particular is very damaging.

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I agree with your observation about Jana, I think she recognises that her life sucks, and wants to make things better, and thinks that if shes more religious, things will get better. Maybe she knows that she isnt happy, and thinks its her fault and if she goes to confess her sins and become more religious she will feel better. She doesnt realise that its Gothard and her parents who are to blame. She also probably likes the excuse to get out there away from looking after her siblings, so Journey to the Heart doesnt seem so bad to her-she gets to share a room with just a few girls her own age instead of her little sisters and she can make friends.

I also think Jill is the kind of person who really wants to please others, and have her parents approval. She seems happier though, or is just really good at keeping sweet.

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This is why I have issues with religion being taught to children. (Not that I don't think people have the right to do so.) You never know how a child will take things or how it will effect them, and by the time they figure it out, they could really be suffering.

For example, I was raised Catholic. Modern Catholics are not into fire and brimstone. They don't talk about hell or the devil all that much. But the few, passing references to those things was enough to convince 5 year old me that Satan could hear my every thought and that any random negative thought would result in my going to straight to hell. I was a wreck for about a year until my mother found out about it and told me that baptism creates a brain shield so that Satan can't hear your thoughts, so I was safe.

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It’s not unusual that children in families where marital discord, harsh discipline, abuse, or addiction are present, perform rituals for protection.

I think it has to do with the old "kids need structure" adage. I grew up in a very chaotic household with almost no structure and that kind of environment can cause a sense of insecurity and anxiousness in children. I learned to self-limit (meaning I built up my own internal routines and structure) but I could easily see a child unwilling or unable to create their own limits falling back on the already-in-place structure of religion.

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Interesting article... It made me think of some of the fundie parents, particularly the Maxwells and the Duggars, who were raised in non-religious or mainstream Christian homes. To this day, Jim-Bob and Michelle seem to be using religion to deal with childhood/adolescent issues. For Jim-Bob, the issues revolve around poverty and his relationship with his father. Michelle still seems to be feeling some guilt over things she did as a teenager, before she met Jim-Bob. Later on, she miscarried J'Caleb, and this added to the guilt. That's how it looks to me, anyhow.

Teri and Steve Maxwell were older when they went fundie, but here too we're seeing people who are using an extreme form of their religion to deal with mental illness. With Teri, it's depression. With Steve, I don't know what happened to this man-- Vietnam, perhaps?-- but he is obsessed with death, doom, gloom, and controlling absolutely everything in his (mostly adult) children's environment.

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I think "A Thief in the Night" may have been the movie that scared Michelle into the church..First Baptist Church's youth group showed this movie frequently when I was in school. The buzzing razor in the bathroom sink was rather terrifying to my 15 year old self. But not terrifying enough to cause me to submit to FBC and then pastor Cliff Palmer.

I wonder if JB and Michelle indoctrinated their kids with this movie when they were littles? Maybe that is why Jana is so depressed....

A link to the movie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYFwpx1K6bs

ETA: This movie was made in 1972 and it's awful....dig the 70's clothes tho....I was just a kid then.. :D

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