Deciding to talk to your kids about God and religion should be an easy decision to make. Talking about religion should come as naturally as any other informative discussion does and it should be an easy topic for you to bring up. If you are not religious, or you are not from a religious family, then this may be a little tough for you.
Children will typically start asking questions from around the age of five, particularly if they are exposed to religion through their friends or school.
If your child has been showing an interest in the topic of religion and God, it is your responsibility as their parent to provide them with the guidance they need to navigate this part of their life. Be bold in your convictions but you need to let your children make this decision for themselves, it will be better for them in the long run.
Instead of being intimidated by the prospect of this discussion, try using some of the tips below to help you.
When your children come to you with questions regarding their existence, or they have faced mortality through a pet passing away, it is so important that you answer honestly. If there are aspects to your religion, or religion in general, that you do not fully understand, it is okay to admit that.
Do your best to answer their questions, if there is something you need to research before you answer in detail, then you can always involve them so that they feel included. Your children will be curious, but they won’t judge you if you explain to them that faith is a constantly growing process, and you never stop discovering new aspects of it.
As intimidating as this subject may seem to you, do not panic. No one is expecting you to have all of the answers – least of all your children. Remember that your children probably still think you know everything (if you’re lucky) and will have the answers to all of their questions.
You don’t need to prepare for every possible question because generally, children all ask the same kinds of questions. Try to stay calm when discussing trickier subjects with your kids, like religion and peer pressure.
Be Prepared For Questions
When it comes to preparing yourself for the onslaught of questions, try to stick to a few general areas. Most children will ask questions about things they care about, so be prepared to answer questions about death, the afterlife, and souls.
Understandably, your children are going to ask about tricky subjects like your death, their death, and their pet’s death. If you prepare for these kinds of questions, then you will do just fine. There are multiple resources available online that will help you to navigate these questions with love and kindness.
The best part about being a parent to this generation of kids is that you have access to resources that your parents never did. The internet can be a wonderful thing when researching evidence of Jesus existence because there are informative articles available at the click of a button.
Remember to only deal with reputable websites, that way you know you’ll be teaching your children the correct information.
There are so many different Bibles made especially for children, they are full of lovely illustrations and stories that are easy for children to follow and enjoy. These types of Bibles can be found in bookstores around the country, as well as online.
One of the most important things to factor in when it comes to opening up a dialogue about religion with your little ones is to be patient. There are going to be aspects that are harder for them to understand, so exercise tolerance and patience when discussing religion.
Parents who are patient with their children are known for raising them well, more often than not those kids have grown into successful, well-adjusted young adults. Patience is a virtue and the best approach here is to lead by example.
Identify Your Child’s Connection
When it comes to discussing tricky topics, like religion, you need to find some common ground first. The best way to do this is to identify what your child’s form of connection is. Children have a unique way of connecting to a higher power; some of them feel closer to God when they are in nature, and some of them need to learn by example.
Some children are caregivers by nature, which that they will likely find their path to God through serving others – which can be such a beautiful form of worship.
This tip is particularly important if this is your first time introducing your children to the concept of faith and religion. Be understanding in your approach and try to think back to how you felt discovering this whole new world when you were a child.
Keep in mind that most young children will speak their minds, so be prepared to field some difficult statements, questions, or comments. You need to understand that your first conversation will likely lead to more and more questions until your children are content with their level of understanding. Once they have accepted and understood the basic concept, the rest will flow a lot more smoothly over time.
Ultimately, all that matters is that your children feel comfortable discussing religion and faith with you – if you can get that part right, then you can consider your conversation a success. Your children deserve to feel as though they are in a safe space to express their thoughts and opinions, and to have their questions answered honestly.
Take the initiative to set aside an hour a week to answer questions or read Bible stories together; families that grow together in faith are often happier than those who do not. Don’t feel pressured into being the perfect teacher; if you ask for help and guidance when you need it, it will make you a better parent.