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Christians and non both have similar parenting style

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A study by a conservative Christian think tank the Barna Group shows that there really isn’t much difference in the way devote Christians and secular families raise their children.

In a random sample of 1004 adults the traits people said were most successful for parenting was patience, 36 percent, showing love, 32 percent, both discipline and understanding were ranked high by 22 percent of the respondents.

Only one out of every five parents said having a substantial faith life was important and only 22 percent said having a close relationship with Jesus was the most desired outcome.

Out of the parents who said faith was important there responses on several questions were almost identical to more secular parents.

“You might expect that parents who are born again Christians would take a different approach to raising their children than did parents who have not committed their life to Christ – but that was rarely the case,” George Barna explained. “For instance, we found that the qualities born again parents say an effective parent must possess, the outcomes they hope to facilitate in the lives of their children, and the media monitoring process in the household was indistinguishable from the approach taken by parents who are not born again.”

Barna’s group describes anyone who “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today” and believes their salvation is assured as a born again Christian.

Born again parents were more likely to teach that there are firm, unmovable moral truths, but only six out of 10 did so.

The question this report raises is are the born again parents more like the world or is the world more like the born again parents. If both parents take similar approaches to child rearing does faith truly make a difference in peoples lives? Or does it mean that most parents are doing things right?

I don’t know, I don’t have kids, I just work with them for a living. Post your thoughts.

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About Eric James

  • George, I have observed that our parenting skills extends into the workplace because employees many times will act like children.

    With the prominent question, “Why do they act that way?” often presented to him, I have decided to take his parenting and management seminars online because I have also observed that one of the tragedies of life is that we become parents instantaneously when biology says our bodies are ready, but there is no training, certification, or business license that says we are fully qualified to go about the job of parenting. No one teaches us or trains us how to become effective in our role as a parent. Usually we say to ourselves, “I’m not going to do to my child what my parents did to me.” Then we go right out and do it – because we don’t know any other approach.

    I ask for your prayers as I continue to offer my parenting webinars. Thanks!

    Should you have questions, please don’t be afraid to ask. I’m at Maximizing Your Potential.

  • Matt, it’s an interesting observation.

    As a non-beliving parent who was raised by devout believers, I would venture to guess that the reason there was no discernable difference in parenting styles was that others in the study also learned their parenting skills from devout parents.

    The qualities listed are not peculiar to any belief system, either – you don’t have to be a born-again Christian to know that patience is important in raising a child!

  • Serena.U.

    everyone knows that we need plenty of patience, love and discipline to raise a child, and as they grow older, we need plenty more. this is obviously a well known fact, and some parents wan’t to use these things but they fail to. but the children who are brought up in christian homes with born again parents usually have boundaries for their children so they don’t slip away into the worldly traps. also christians (who are physically the same as anybody else), are different spiritually, whilst non-cchristians look to the world to search for answers, we look towards Christ and His example towards us, search the bible, and pray.

  • I think your study is biased and unclear.
    The world’s (non-christian)pattern is performance based–acceptance is based upon performance–“you are a good child if you do _____”. Giving is based upon merit. Affection is given when parents feel it is deserved. Their motivation for action is based upon how they feel. Children often can not meet unreal expectations set by their parents.
    Christians commit to God totally, by faith, to receive their children based upon the integrity and sovereignty of God. They trust God with their children’s characters–strengths and weaknesses and love their children unconditionally with Christ’s love (apart from performance). Christians have Christ to teach their children to model after. Non-christians do not. “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”
    Maybe non-Christians use examples like Mother Theresa (who was a Christian) or Princess Diane (who was a Christian). Whether they realize it or not, they are using Christian values to teach their children. What was your control group like for the born-again Christians? How long have they been Christians? 1 month? 1 year? It takes awhile to deveolpe into a mature Christian. Again. Your study is biased and unclear. It taints the name of Christianity.

  • Tom French

    Jeez, don;t taint the name of Christianity! Its the last bastion of morals and right behavior in the free world!

  • Only Christians can taint the name of Christianity. Like it or not, fair-minded people judge a religious community by how its believers act, and not only by what its critics say.

    By the same token, only Muslims can taint the name of Islam, only Hindus can taint the name of the Hindu faith, and so on. If you wish to help the world have a good opinion of your religion, strive to prove by your actions that your religion makes you a positive force in the world.

    Don’t waste your time on mere words, claiming your religion is better than all the others. Anybody with half a brain knows that proves nothing.

  • Phaedra

    You can have a close relationship with Jesus and not call yourself a “born again” Christian. How does that factor into the study, I wonder? And truth be told, I see many parents who label themselves Christian who I couldn’t be paid to take a parenting course, and I’ve seen many parents who wouldn’t call themselves “born again” Christians who are amazing parents. So I think the study is probably pretty accurate from my own experience.

  • Time has passed, but in response to Victor in comment 6, I would say that the problem is that Christianity is a voluntary association. So while your statement “Only Xs can taint the name of Xity” would make sense for involuntary or largely-involuntary associations, it doesn’t really apply to Christianity.

    Only (white people) can taint the name of (white people). Only (Arab people) can taint the name of (Arab people). Only (man from Dallas) can taint the name of (men from Dallas). All of those work. And implicit in each is the clear understanding that no one white person speaks for all white people, and even a large group of white people don’t speak for all white people. In fact, little or nothing that can be said or done by white people is inherent to white people.

    But anybody can call themselves a Christian, even those who don’t subscribe to some of the basic of Christianity (the Apostle’s Creed, for example). And too many people assume that the actions or statements of a few can be applied to the whole group.

    Christianity is a big “open tent,” and that means that the actions and statements of people who’ve never done anything even remotely tied to their claimed religious affiliation are often counted as the result of their religious affiliation. It’s unfortunate, but a fact of life.

  • S Theobald

    Ironic isn’t it? We who cry out against society’s ills continue to instill the values similar to that society. We “christians” are no different unless we reflect on the attitudes and mindsets that we bring into parenting. Do we stop and examine our own thoughts and wonder if they are godly and will produce godliness, or do we continue to sow the seed we were given without asking ourselves “Is this really good for my child?” I am sorry to say the answer to those thoughts is obvious. We can look around and see that selfishness, lack of self-control, and abuses are allowed to abound in the lives of children today. Why? Well, parents of all walks of life continue to model those attitudes. Those parents have different pursuits, lifestyles, dreams and goals, but the internal struggles are very much the same.
    What born again believers have is a chance to model for their children a different way. One that is not based on performance or strict adherence to a set of morals, but one that is based on the frailty of human strength, the loving goodness and awesomeness of God, and our dependance upon Him to change us into the image of Jesus Christ upon this earth. That and that alone will set “christians” apart from the rest of the world, and we would be wise not to trust in our own strength to do it.

  • monica

    It’s not that the world is getting closer to the christians, it’s the “christians” who claim to be born agian are to afraid to tell their children NO. That’s why our naions teens are getting worse and worse as the years go by. Children of this day and age believe they can do anything because mom and dad will get them out of it. Parents are trying to buy their childrens love because they feel sorry for not spending the proper time with them that they need and by the time they figure out their child isn’t right the child is too far gone to be saved. It sickens to me sit in a resteraunt and see a child sitting there screeming(for ATTENTION) and the mother or father just ignore it like no one else is there. Your child needs your ATTENTION to be disciplined sometimes thats all they want anyway no matter how they get it. Just thought I’d share my two cents even though most people do not care.

  • uao

    It has been my observation that the “world” is not approaching “Christian standards” so much as it is a lof ot born-again Christians, despite their moral sloganeering, really lead lives not a whole lot different from anyone else, almost equal in amounts of child rearing ability (or lack of), and equal in the likelihood to ‘sin’.

    I’ll bet that conservative Christian group who did this study were peeved when they discovered that they weren’t any holier-than-thou after all.

    Kids need to be taught what is right and what is wrong, and more importantly why it’s right and wrong. They also need love, attention, and time from their parents. You can frame this in a religious way (and it doesn’t have to be Christian; Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, and Muslims can raise good children too), or in a secular way.

    The only thing I don’t like is when people think memorizing some passages from the Bible give them some advantage and insight over anyone else. Reading will do that, but you need to read much more than one book. And kids will learn that from their parents, too.