Families are stronger when they share the same religious beliefs, and strong families strengthen their communities and nations. It is a natural thing for religious parents to desire their children to follow in their religious footsteps. These same parents walk a straight line when sharing religious truths with their children because they want to convince them to follow but do not want to use coercion in doing so.
A group of researchers in BYU’s School of Family Life conducted a study and recently published their paper in the journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. This study built on the American Families of Faith Project that has been ongoing for 20 years. The project interviewed about 200 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim families who were identified by their leaders as good examples of their beliefs.
According to Lois M. Collins, the paper shares how religious parents of all Abrahamic faiths face the same struggle. The study shows that the parental approach and good relationships are important. Parents who are warm and loving rather than controlling are more successful, particularly if they set good examples, outline expectations, and respect the views of their children. Parents should focus on the relationship and remember the importance of agency.
The paper also documents that religious influence in families travels in both directions. Parents can transmit religious beliefs to their children, but children can also influence their parents. There is more unity in families that share the same religious beliefs, and unity brings greater strength to families, communities, and nations.