by David Briggs, The Association of Religious Data Archives, 3/12/19.
“…Religious firmness integrated with religious flexibility is more likely to result in a balanced, healthy style of religious parenting,” concluded scholars analyzing more than 8,000 pages of in-depth interviews with 198 Christian, Jewish and Muslim couples from 17 states.
A great deal of research has shown parents’ faith can have a positive impact on their children in areas from mental health to developing healthy relationships to being less likely to smoke, take illegal drugs or abuse alcohol.
Some examples from the new research include:
Secrets and lies: Researchers analyzing data from the second wave of the National Study of Youth and Religion found that adolescents who attend religious services more often are less likely to keep secrets from parents. Further, youth who believe that religion is important are both less likely to lie to parents and keep secrets from parents. Key reasons: More religious adolescents were less likely to use alcohol, to have peers who use drugs or drink heavily and to have lower standards of morality – all factors in the likelihood of lying and keeping secrets.
Sex, faith and college students: A study of undergrads at a large public university in the mid-Atlantic suggested that students from families that were likely to pray and talk about their faith together were less likely to have had sex. Greater parental oversight was associated with a decreased likelihood of ever having unprotected sex. And students who were more religious had a lower likelihood of engaging in any sexual activity, and a higher likelihood of condom use when they did.
Daddy’s home: A study analyzing data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study found evidence suggesting that taking paternity leave, and longer periods of leave, is linked to more frequent father involvement and lower parental conflict among fathers who attend religious services frequently. Fathers who take leave and attend religious services weekly engage with their child about one-half day per week more frequently than fathers who do not take leave.
But not all the outcomes are positive.