Parents: Support Your Children


This seems to be something that a lot of parents fail at. I spend a lot of time with people who identify as LGBT to one degree or another, and they all receive different levels of support from their parents. I personally don’t receive much support from my parents. The atheists that I know also receive different levels of support from their parents. Many of the people I know were raised in secular families, so they have no issues, but this is not the case with all the people I know. Even some of the people who prefer not to label themselves aren’t always supported. As such, I know a lot of people whose love for their children is very much conditional. I find this very sad.

As a parent, you want what’s best for your children. When your children turn away from the beliefs that you hold, or when they do something that goes against your beliefs, it is understandable to be afraid for them. But abandoning your children, or neglecting them, or making them feel as though they can’t rely on you, is not a solution to this problem. Be afraid for your children if you must, but love them unconditionally regardless. Hurt your children as little as possible, even if you feel hurt by them. You are their roll model. You are the person that your child should be able to turn to in times of need. I don’t remember the last time I was able to rely on my parents for anything. And I know a lot of people who don’t have the support of their own parents.

As a result of my experiences and the experiences of those around me, I refuse to allow myself the possibility to love them conditionally. I want to be there for any children I have. I want to be the first person they turn to when they need support. If they choose to become theists, or they get into a lot of trouble (these are the only two things I can think of that would genuinely bother me), I’m not going to let that get in the way of my relationship with my children.

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9 responses to “Parents: Support Your Children

  • The Brain in the Jar

    Love is at its worse when it’s unconditional. Not everyone deserves love. Love is something you earn.

    Being gay, or believing in God, aren’t good reasons not to love your child though. If your child is a murderer/rapist I’d understand kicking them out. If your child hurts you constantly there’s no reason to keep him/her around. Being gay though – yeah. people are still offended by homosexuality. It’s a bad case of natalism.

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  • caelesti

    The LGBT communities could teach the rest of society a lot of about *real* “family values” considering we often have to create our own families. Fortunately I come from an accepting family, but I know many others aren’t lucky. This is also a big problem among people with disabilities (sometimes also GLBT+), which is frustrating because parent-led organizations tend to depict themselves as all loving their children, when I know plenty of people who were abused/abandoned/neglected by their parents, as children or as adults who needed help. Churches that teach “Obey/honor your parents” without questioning what that could mean make it worse! So once again, we end up taking care of each other while our experiences are ignored.

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  • paidiske

    Honestly – as a parent – I think the biggest barrier to me doing this well is the damage I still carry as a result of my parents failing dismally at it. I am terrified at the thought of the cycle repeating despite my best intentions to break it.

    I think that we are very poorly resourced in this regard. Parents are kind of left to work it out for themselves and sink or swim. At least I’m conscious of it as a potential problem; what of the many parents who are blind to their own potential to cause damage?

    Liked by 2 people

  • sirgb

    Awesome thoughts.

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  • butchcountry67

    I too didn’t get much support from my parents, though my mother and I are working on a relationship now, it’s still rocky at times.

    as a parent myself, the only 2 things that could possibly make me turn away from my son would be #1 if he killed someone in anyway other than self defence and #2 if he ever committed a sex crime , other than that he will be what he shall be, he will be who he will be and I will always love him, support him, and watch over him, and be there to pick him up every time he falls and encourage him to try again, I love my boy unconditionally really, it would take a very drastic set of events to ever make me turn my back to him.

    he is only 13, but even now I have asked him that when he is older and ready to tackle the world, if he would stay with me, even for a little while, the thought of him leaving this house and being on his own just tears me up inside.

    Liked by 2 people

    • humanistmum

      Even in these cases to “turn away” is a difficult term for me to accept. If my son were to commit such crimes of course I would not condone it, of course I would support the law in punishing him and preventing him from committing further crimes and yes it would tear our family apart in many ways and I would feel he needed to take responsibility for his actions.

      I just don’t believe in the overwhelming majority of cases of people on death row or serving life sentences in prison that they come from stable backgrounds and that their upbringing/family reltionships/school experience/experience of society has not played a part in them ending up where they are.

      I think I get what you are saying because you probably know that your son is not on a path to ever commit such acts so you don’t feel you would ever have to face such a choice. But I do think there are families who have similar problems generation after generation with criminality and relationship issues and in a way as a parent it is your duty to never give up trying to understand what went wrong and try and change it.

      Most parents even in these families will feel like they have tried their best with the resources available to them and if they simply turn away when a heinous crime is committed they might be able to feel better about themselves in the short term but in order to break the pattern in the future they need to accept what went wrong. For example, often when children are taken into care or a parent is in prison, their children are sent to live with the grandparents who convince themselves they played no part in the parent’s choice to commit crime and the cycle continues.

      Liked by 1 person

      • butchcountry67

        that is true, I would most certainly be looking to find out where I went wrong as a parent and what I did that set him on that path.

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