A Guide to Interfaith Parenting: How to Teach Both Religions to Kids
It is that time of year to “begin” teaching your children about your faith. Did you and your spouse discuss how you want to teach your children about each of your faith? Regardless of how you approach the topic, it is important to remember that you both made a commitment to each other to love and honor regardless of each of your faith. I strongly suggest setting up a game plan in being on the same page so when you do have the conversation, the children do not feel torn between either of the parents. Maybe religion is more important to you than your spouse? Are you a co-parent?
Tips for an easy transition to the subject:
- Have a discussion together prior to speaking with the kids to plan what you would like to share
- Plan a fun activity for first family meeting to introduce religion
- Be open and welcome questions with no judgement from either party
- Approach from a place of mutual understanding, respect, and love ALWAYS
- No matter what, celebrate together as a family
- What are you willing to surrender and/or compromise when it comes to traditions you want to instill?
Some will argue that children will grow up confused and not feel they have a place in the world. As parents we have to recognize that children are still individuals and should be taught that it is their decision first and foremost. You want to create a safe space to allow them to make their own choice if they decide to choose one religion over the other. You want them to understand that you will accept them no matter what!
Raising Interfaith Kids: Co-Parenting
If you are a family who co-parents, it is important to respect both parents and allow the other to teach your children about their faith with an open mind and to allow the kids to decide for themselves. It is important to keep in mind that children may already feel one way about their parents not being together, so when you approach the topic do not make it about you. Introduce it from a place of love and get creative. Maybe plan an outing or an art activity to introduce the idea? The same exact suggestions are welcomed for families co-parenting as well as married.
Keep in mind that it is a very good possibility that no matter what you teach your children, or whether you choose to get your child baptized in a particular faith, that they could change their faith easily when they get older. I was baptized as a child and grew up with Catholic faith. My brother and I did not grow up super religious. My mother was Protestant and did not consider herself religious so we “followed” my father’s faith. My brother and I attended CCD classes. I made the decision in my late 30’s to get baptized in an non-denominational church. I identify as a Christian and practice spirituality daily.
You can teach your children your faith as much as you would like and wish for them to follow in your footsteps but, unfortunately, you cannot predict their faith when they are grown adults. This is why it is so important to approach your family’s interfaith with love, openness, and to do your best when teaching your kids about it.
Religion can be a sensitive topic. Maybe what attracted you most about your partner was their different faith. Do not lose sight of that when you decide to introduce it to your children. No matter what age your kids are, be open to celebrating together as a family and share your faith together. Remember that your kids will make their own choices when the time is right based on what is best for them. You want to allow this individuality no matter how much your faith means to you and how badly you want to instill in your offspring. Choosing one religion for your family is not a win-lose proposition.
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