Religion is a delicate subject for many people, especially for couples who have opposing views. But what do you do when you have kids? Do you force them to go to church and learn about your religion or do you wait until they are old enough to make their own choices? Keep reading to learn some tips for talking to your kids about religion. When Should You Have the Talk?
Many parents worry that religion is a topic that is too complex for young children to understand. Some also worry that exposing a child to religion too early could cause him or her to form a biased opinion about it. But if you wait too long to bring up the subject of religion, your child could fall prey to stereotypes or may lose interest altogether. If you are a religious person and you want to give your child the chance to explore religion for himself, it is best to start around kindergarten. By the time your child hits 4 to 6 years old, he will have already started to form an understanding of good and evil and he will start asking a lot of “why” questions.
Around 7 to 8 years old your child will probably have already been exposed to some talk of religion in school or amongst other children. Between the ages of 9 and 11, the subject of religion may become a normal topic of discussion at home. At this age your child will have a better chance of understanding concepts like free will and heaven and hell. Around 12 to 13, if you haven’t already talked to your child about religion, the window is closing fast – this is the age when children start to turn more toward their friends for guidance than their parents. If you want to talk about religion, now is the time. Dos and Don’ts for Teaching Kids About Religion
Before you talk to your kids about religion, you and your partner need to have a discussion about your beliefs and what you plan to tell your kids. If you don’t have any particular religious beliefs and you want to give your children the freedom to choose, start exposing them to different religions from a young age. Allow your kids the freedom to ask questions and don’t be afraid to give them honest answers. If your child starts to develop religious beliefs that are different from your own, don’t squelch them! Respect your child and his choices, the same way you and your partner respect each other. And remember, just because your child believes something different than you, that doesn’t mean you have to hide your own beliefs.
Talking about religion, especially with your kids, can be challenging but honesty is generally the best policy. If you want your children to grow up to the confident, self-assured adults you need to let them make their own choices and that includes making their own decisions in matters of religion.
~ VS Glen Community Support