Tips for Teaching Your Child about Religion

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Whether you subscribe to a specific faith, or have more of a spiritual bent where you believe in some higher power or order, you may be wondering how to broach the subject of religion with your children. It is such a deeply personal and vast topic, and it is easy to see how you may feel a bit baffled about how to introduce such a subject. You may worry about them asking questions you do not know the answer to, or how to explain things the right way. Here are some tips for discussing this all-important subject with your children.

Define Your Own Beliefs

Before you begin teaching your child about your religious or spiritual views, it is important to give some thought as to what your own beliefs are. What do you believe about the nature of reality? How do you think people are supposed to live their lives? What is our purpose on earth? The clearer you are on your own personal truth, the easier it will be to impart the knowledge you wish to impart on your child. Clearly establishing your own beliefs will also make it easier to answer questions your child will inevitably have.

When You Have Your Own Religion

If you have a clearly defined religious or spiritual belief, there are a number of ways your child can learn about it. First and foremost would be attending services or sending him to classes after school. I was raised Catholic and attended ‘’CCD’’ at a local Catholic school once a week up through the 8th grade. If you have specific  beliefs, but do not necessarily attend formal services or want to send your child to classes, there are many things you can do on your own. If you are Christian, for example, you can print out free sunday school lessons for kids or have your child watch movies and television shows that illustrate religious principles through stories, such as donkey ollie. Keeping religious paraphernalia around the home is also a good idea as it can help the religion become a regular part of your child’s life.

Agnostics and Atheists

If you are agnostic or atheist, you clearly hold a very different view of the world. With the former, you hold an uncertainty about whether there is a higher power, and with the latter, you firmly believe there is none. The first thing you want to do when discussing these paths with your child is to get a sense of what their current beliefs may be; for example, you may ask your child to draw a picture of where she things pets go after they die. your ultimate goal will encourage free thought and forming their own views based on critical thinking and experience. You may be interested in sharing scientific evidence with them. It is important to stress  that when it comes to religion and spirituality, there are only opinions and no true facts—that is why it is called faith.

Tolerance

When teaching about religion and spirituality, it is important to teach your child about tolerance; there are so many different beliefs out there, and your child will inevitably be exposed to view different than your own. This can be confusing to the child. It is important to explain that religion is essentially an opinion, and that there are many different opinions about what God is like, what happens when we die, what is the right and wrong way to live, and how we are supposed to behave. Tolerance in these matters is not just about the children, it is also about the parents. If your child develops different views, it is important that you respect them, and be open to discussing their thoughts. You have every right to make your case as to why your way is the best way for your child, but ultimately you cannot force anything on them.

About the Author:Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about religion and spirituality.

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