8 Ways to Successfully Raise Your Child in a Household with Two Religions
By Jane Hurst
When two people fall in love they generally do not take their religious backgrounds into consideration. However, if you are married to someone with a different religious background, it can be difficult trying to decide how to give your kids a religious environment. While religion itself might be an emotional topic, here are 8 ways to successfully incorporate your religions into your child’s upbringing...
- Show similarities – Most religions are based on one common thing and that is love. Religions teach us to love one another. Emphasize the similarities within your religions instead of the differences. You can research both religions together as a family and talk about the similarities together.
- Peace and Values – Religions offer us peace and values. Emphasize the peace you feel while praying or meditating. Explain to your child that there is an inner peace found while practicing any religion. Your religion is the basis of your value system. All religions emphasize the same core values that you want your child exposed to. Talk to your spouse about what values you cherish and want to pass on to your child.
- Individuality – Remember that your child is an individual. At some point of time, they may not agree with all of your or your spouse’s religious beliefs. Guiding your child through your religions enables them to make well rounded decisions and become more open minded. If you and your spouse introduce them to both religions, your children will be guided by you to figure out what they believe. They might offer new ways of thinking into their religion and encourage others to think differently too. Religions can change with the times and your child can help them change for the better.
- Celebrate holidays – Celebrate your religious holidays with your children. Teach them why you celebrate certain holidays and learn why your spouse celebrates others. You might celebrate the High Holidays and your spouse celebrates Christmas. Your child will appreciate the richness of the holidays and will learn the fundamentals of both religions.
- Celebrate other holidays – Don’t just celebrate your own religious holidays. Step out of the box and celebrate other religious holidays. Research different religions and find out how they celebrate and why. If that why speaks to your values, your whole family can step out of their comfort zone and experience someone else’s religion. Your child will become more well-rounded and get a better education while exploring the world and its different religions. As an added bonus, most religious holidays emphasize gatherings. These gatherings will bring your family together for important quality time.
- Encourage Unity – Getting together to talk about religion will encourage family unity. You can each take time to share aspects of your religion with your child while you eat dinner. Talking to your spouse and child about religion can lead to interesting discussions and conversations. It will also show your child that neither you nor your spouse is pushing them to conform to one religion. Your child will see that they have choices, showing them that you are confident in their decision-making skills.
- Empathy – Discussing different religious with your child will help teach them about differences. Your child will become more empathetic and respectful of other people and religions. Your child will see how different opinions and beliefs make this world a better place.
- Education – The more your child experiences, the broader their education will be. Take them to the synagogue and to the church. Let them see what is out there for them. Research with your child your own and other religions to help broaden their horizons. If your friends were raised in another religion entirely, offer to swap children for the day so they can experience other religious with people they know. They can go to a temple or a mosque and see what is similar and what is different about other religions. Showing and exploring other faiths will help your child decide where they feel more connected.
If you and your spouse show your child the best parts of your religion, your child will grow up in a happy household where religion is celebrated, with good values and a firm belief system. Children who have been exposed to different ideas will be more likely to accept other people and create a world that is based on love and acceptance. You can show them how to accept others by accepting your spouse and loving them despite your religious differences.