Interfaith Families: The Dilemma With Two Religions
Many children are growing up in families with a diverse religious background. This seemed to be unheard of not that long ago or at least not openly discussed. Parenting and step parenting is difficult enough but add the holidays from different religions, and what the parents and step parents want the children to learn from each religion and it gets a little tricky. Some of these interfaith families are not religious and do not teach their children the meaning of their religious background so the child is left to decide for themselves what religion they want to call themselves. Some interfaith families are religious and celebrate the traditional aspects of their faith with their children (i.e. holidays).
A parenting tip is to let the child explore the two different religions and decide what faith they like best when they are old enough to make that decision. Parents need to decide whether they want to celebrate both religions or whether they want to stick with one religion. This decision needs to be well thought of and is about parents deciding what they feel will be best for their children. When it is time to celebrate a holiday figure out as a parenting team what approach will work best. That means a discussion about how the holiday should be celebrated and what the children should get out of this situation.
Children will ultimately be curious about why their parents have different religious backgrounds and why they celebrate different holidays than their peers at school. One important tip about parenting is to take the time to listen to the child and answer their questions. If you are uncertain of how to explain the two different faiths to a child do not be afraid to ask a religious figure to explain the religion to a child or even an interfaith group that can explain the blending of two religions in the name of love.
Some parents find the traditional aspects of a religion to be valuable and something they want their children to learn about. Traditions can teach a child a lot about themselves and where they came from in terms of their religious background. Parenting interfaith children requires taking time to explain both religions in a non-biased manner. It will not help a child if both parents are bad mouthing each other’s religion. It is important to take time and listen to what the youth has to say about the religions and their feelings towards them. Allow a child that is old enough to decide what faith would best suit them. If a child is not ready to make a decision about their faith do not rush the child to make that decision. They may need time to evaluate the differences between the religions, decide what they like and do not like about each religion, and what religion would best suit them as an individual. Always keep in mind as a parent it is your job to teach the child the different faiths but ultimately it is the youth’s decision what religion they choose in the end.