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“I’m worried my daughter’s being brainwashed”

I’ve never had problems with my children who have been a joy to bring up. Now, however, I’m confronted by a situation I don’t know how to deal with. My middle daughter found it hard in the beginning to settle at university, although she had really looked forward to going. When she told me she had at last made friends I was delighted. It now seems that those friends were born again Christians. I would have no objection to their religious beliefs or to my daughter taking an interest, but it seems to have gone too far. She now prefers to stay away from home to attend church sessions, talks about giving the church ten per cent of the money she really needs to pay her way, and tries to ‘save’ her brother and sister by telling them they have to be reborn to be happy. We’ve gone from longing for her to come home for a weekend to half-dreading it. I don’t want to interfere with real belief but can’t help feeling she is being brainwashed. What can I do?Cheryl

Denise says:

The worst thing to do would be to show angry opposition to her new enthusiasm. The likelihood is that this will be a short-lived thing and her intense adherence to it won’t last. Be prepared to discuss religion with her and don’t be afraid to challenge her if you disagree, but accept her right to form her own opinions. Encourage her to make other friends at uni by joining other groups. And if you’re really worried, have a word with the university authorities, who will be watchful for her welfare. I think it would also help to discuss this with Young Minds on their Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544. Above all, have faith in the bond that exists between her and her family. As long as that remains intact she won’t come to too much harm.

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