Kids Leaving Parents’ Religion Certainly Gets People Talking

By Wendy Thomas Russell | March 7, 2013 | 8 comments

I’m hella busy today, but wanted to link to a few recent news posts about children leaving the faiths into which they were born. The first is informative, the second is instructive, and the third — well, the third is just trash. But watch it for the comedic value.

Study: Religious Parents’ Divorce May Cause Children to Leave the Church

The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion released a study Tuesday finding that children who have two religious parents are twice as likely to lose that religion if the parents divorce. The journal does not offer an explanation — those studies will be next, apparently — but does hypothesize that one reason may be that religious guidance gets put on the back burner in divorce situations. Baylor University also wrote about the study, and you can find that story here.

When Your Child Rejects Your Religion: Dos and Don’ts

Aimed at religious parents, this column from KSL.com in Utah has some great advice for religious parents whose children drift away from the family’s chosen faith. It’s advice that I wish more religious parents would heed. And, certainly, nonreligious parents who “fear” their children will someday adopt a religious practice would be wise to give the list a quick read, too.

Talking to Kids and Religion/Spirituality

I almost feel guilty pointing this one out, because IT’S SO BAD. But for us “nones” in more liberal parts of the country, perhaps it’s good to get a dose of the other side now and again. Here’s the setup: A morning news anchor for  a segment called “Take 5″ at WZZM13 in Michigan and a “doctor” called Clark (from a place called the Clark Institute) discuss how children are moving away from religion and how sad it is because they’re so alone and because kids so clearly yearn for God. I’m calling shenanigans on the whole 5-minute interview, but here are some high points (and, by that, I clearly mean low points):

1:33 Clark says: “The kids who went through the Newtown shooting — the ones that had a belief in God or some kind of church attendance or religion in the family, they did better after the shooting incident.” [Um…WTF???]

2:00 “Wow, you were a unique preschool teacher, let me tell ya!” anchor lady says when Clark reveals that, as a preschool teacher, he told his kids about Judaism, Islam and Kwanza. [And this is somehow shocking? Also, Kwanza: not religious.]

3:50 Clark suggests when a child discloses to his parents that he’s lost faith, a “great response” would be to laugh at the kid. [Another great response would be to add a bunch of money to a therapy jar, because that kid’s probably going to need a lot of it.]

4:15 Anchor lady asks if parents are supposed to “leave it” to children to discover their own beliefs — an option she says “scares me because what might they find?” [Hmm. Waldo wearing a devil costume? Isn’t the real question, what might they not find?]


8 comments

  1. Justin Keller says:

    Quick correction on your article. It is KSL.com, not KLS.com.

    That is all.

  2. Rich Wilson says:

    “higher resiliency to teenage pregnancy”

    oh really?

    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/32884806/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/

    I’ve love to see Clark cite some of this ‘research’.

  3. Tammy says:

    Yup. I live in West Michigan. It is overtly conservative Christian. It’s one reason why I’m not “out” to a lot of people here. I don’t lie, but I have a business to run, and there are just too many “Clarks” in this neck of the woods.

    • Sarakenobi says:

      Tammy! most of my family and facebook friends still live there and have NO idea my beliefs, but most of my friends here know and either feel similar or don’t care! it’s so refreshing :) <3

  4. Morgan says:

    “If you messed him up, you messed him up in the exact way he was meant to be messed up.”

    While the advice on how to act seemed really good, the explanations were condescending and that quote just pissed me off :(

  5. Sarakenobi says:

    I grew up in Grand Rapids and… YEP. it’s a scary scary place. So religiously conservative, so judgmental, and so backwards.

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Due out in March 2015, Relax, It's Just God: How and Why to Talk to Your Kids About Religion When You're Not Religious offers a well-researched look at a timely subject: secular parenting. With chapters on avoiding indoctrination, talking about death, vaccinating kids against intolerance, dealing with religious baggage, and getting along with religious relatives, the book offers a refreshingly compassionate approach to raising religiously literate, highly tolerant and critically thinking children capable of making up their own minds about what to believe. The book may be pre-ordered by visiting Brown Paper Press.
 

      Natural Wonderers is a new blog hosted by Wendy Thomas Russell and published by the Patheos faith network. An extension of Russell's previous blog — Relax, It's Just God — Natural Wonderers offers stories and advice on raising curious, compassionate children in secular families.
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