What is your reaction when your children/ teenagers start asking questions about spirituality or faith? Have you raised your children to believe a certain way spiritually or religiously? A person’s spirituality is part of the core of the person, which differs from religion. Even if you do not believe in anything you find peace and sanctity in something. What brings you peace, comfort? This speaks to the spiritual essence of who you are.
As your children grow, they will likely develop the same spiritual beliefs that you believe. So, if you raise your children in a Christian home and attend church and Bible studies, then Christian beliefs and values will be instilled into your children’s core – even if as adults your children choose to believe differently. The same goes for if you raise your children in no religious affiliates, but rather impart the wisdom and culture that you have learned from living your life. This can take many directions such as the appreciation and peace in nature, scientific knowledge, cultural music and foods, social networking and media, etc. These can be aspects of your children’s beliefs and values based on how you present them.
As a parent you may decide that you want your children to choose their spiritual path completely on their own. While this may be a good intention you need to be prepared for questions from your children as they explore their world and listen to their friends. In the article by parenting.com, “Teaching Spirituality to Kids” Lisa Miller, PhD says that parents do not need to have all the spiritual answers when their children ask spiritual questions, but rather show them around, explore with your children. She goes on to say that, “kids who develop a sense of a loving higher power or a guiding force–whether they call it God, creator, Allah, or simply “loving universe”–are 80 percent less likely to suffer major depression and 50 percent less likely to suffer from substance abuse as teens.”
So, whether or not you desire for your children to believe a certain religious way, or have faith in a particular entity or to be spiritual with the world and nature – or all of the above – it is a part of parenting that needs attention just as much as feeding, clothing, and spending quality time with your children. In showing your children religion or spirituality you are bonding with your children in a way that will last a lifetime.
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Embrace the journey with your child as you experience the privilege of being a parent.
Learn more about me, Rachel Andrews, at: http://www.lifestylechangescounseling.com