The Parenting Style That Best Predicts Whether Your Children Will Practice Their Faith As Adults


According to researchers, there is a style of parenting that is the best guarantee that you will pass your religious faith on to your children.

Over the past 30 years, there has been a steady increase in the number of young adults who identify as “non-religious”. While the faith was once passed in the family from generation to generation, it is common today for many children to grow up choosing not to practice their parents’ faith.

There are several reasons for this, but a predictor of whether a child will practice the same faith as their parents is. parenting style.

Until recently, there had not been much research on how parents raise faithful children, but Amy Adamczyk, professor of sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, and Christian Smith, sociologist at the University of Notre Dame, decided to take a closer look at this issue.

After reviewing several national surveys and conducting over 200 interviews, their findings were published in the spring of 2021 by Oxford University Press in a book titled Passing on the Faith: How Parents Pass On Their Religion to the Next Generation.

Looking at the four main parenting styles commonly used in psychology today – bossy, bossy, permissive, and less engaged – Adamczyk and Smith found that authoritative parenting style seems to best determine whether children grow up to practice the same faith as their parents.

Here are some of the main characteristics of bossy parenting style that can help your children grow up identifying and practicing the faith from their childhood …

Authoritarian parents set clear boundaries and expectations.

Parents who set clear expectations for their children regarding attendance at Mass, religious observance, prayer, service to others, etc. give their children a sense of security, predictability, belonging and meaning.

“Authoritarian parents set clear expectations when it comes to religion. They would go to church if they were Christians, they would study the Bible, they would do various things and they would encourage their children to attend, ”Adamaczyk told Religion News.

Authoritarian parents impart love, warmth and respect.

At the same time as they set clear boundaries and expectations, parents who have strong emotional bonds with their children, who show respect and love for them, are much more likely to have children who grow up to live up to them. practice their religion.

“Part of the reason the bossy style is so successful is that kids want to emulate their parents. They actually As Their parents, ”said Adamaczyk.

Authoritarian parents listen and learn.

When parents have genuine respect and love for their children, they listen to them and learn from their questions and behaviors. Children may want to know more about certain aspects of faith, the meaning of life, what happens after death, or the meaning of certain prayers or Bible stories. These questions cause parents to dig deeper and learn more for themselves.

Additionally, children’s burgeoning relationship with God and the comments and behaviors that flow from it can inspire parents in their own spiritual lives.

Authoritarian parents take the lead.

Parents who are successful in raising faith-practicing children don’t just take the steps – they are committed to their own faith and religious practice. Their actions align with their beliefs – they seek to be genuine witnesses and grow in their faith.

Parents who are not afraid to show their children that living the faith can sometimes be difficult provide an example that their children can follow as they become adults.

Authoritarian parents assume their responsibilities.

One of Adamaczyk’s surprises during her research was the discovery that religious congregations do not play as important a role as she thought when it comes to imparting faith to children.

“Almost none of our parents said that congregations were primarily responsible for transmitting religious beliefs to their children. I mean they… want congregations that can give children a community of young people so that their child doesn’t feel alone, ”Adamaczyk said. “But successful religious parents don’t just drop their child off at church and then expect someone to take care of everything.”

Parents who want their children to grow up with their religious faith intact take responsibility for their central role in training their children for this faith. This implies finding a dynamic parish, a good catechesis and groups of young people, but it also means that as a parent, you realize that you are the first educator of your children and that what you do as a family to living the faith has the greatest long-term effect.


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