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Should I Raise My Child Christian?

Updated on March 8, 2008

Your a Christian...

Being a Christian parent you may be debating on whether you want to raise your child to be Christians.

The more logical answer is yes. Go ahead. Take your child to church and practice Christianity in your home.

But, I wouldn't force your children into Christianity.

There are a few different reasons as to why you may be asking yourself how you should raise your child in terms of religion.

  1. You're a new parent who came onto religion and Christianity later in life.
  2. You're already a parent and have come to religion and Christianity with older children.
  3. You were raised Christian and hated it as a child, but still remained Christian throughout your life.
  4. Your spouse is Christian and you're not.

I've seen parents force religion onto their children, and I've seen children react two different ways.

  1. The child will readily accept the teachings and practice them.
  2. The child will boycott, so to speak, and refuse what's being taught.

If you force your child to do something that he would rather not do, then you may be working in the opposite direction. Your child may chose another religion to practice, become agnostic, or become atheist.

With anyone, you want to be very careful how you approach religion and Christianity, especially with children.

With younger children, you can bring them up in a religious house, but when you, as an adult make a personal change while the child is older, you want to be careful how you go about the change.

Remember that if you force your older child to go to church and participate with discussion and family prayer, you risk causing your child to grow to hate God and religion. It all depends on your child and his personality.

So, to the question "should you raise your child Christian," that's a decision that only you can decide.


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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I was born a Catholic but as I grew older, at about age 12, I became atheist. I decided religion was not for me. I couldn't come to believe any of it. I thought it was just something people made up thousands of years ago to explain how things happened and it just got out of hand. My parents still forced religion onto me until the point came where one Sunday we were going to church and I had a huge fit over how it was unfair they forced their beliefs on me.Then they gave up. They knew that I had lost all faith in religion.

      For high school, I was sent to a catholic school where compulsory religion class was forced on me 4 days a week out of 5. I loved my friends but I hated it when the topic of religion came up as they were all avid believers. They attended church every Sunday. They had family prayer every night. Some even wore rosary beads, for god's sake. You may think I was joking but NONE of this is an exaggeration. And I just had to sit there with my mouth shut, yelling at these people in my head.

      For my first religion lesson of year 9, when I was 14, our teacher went around the class asking for our beliefs. You see, the school did let in other girls that weren't catholic - it was just very hard to get it if you weren't. When I got to me, I said atheist. The teacher was surprised as she had taught my older sister who was quite religion. I said, "By law, I'm catholic. But by heart, I couldn't be any more the opposite". All my religion teachers throughout high school hated me.

      One religion lesson, when I was about 15, our teacher was forcing on us how we "wouldn't be real humans if we had no connection to God and Jesus" and "how important it was to attend church every Sunday or we'd be sent in hell" and how "we needed to continue the catholic tradition with our children". That was it. I stood up, and left the room. The teacher asked me what I was doing. I then asked her if she really wanted to know. She nodded. By now, I was furious. Everyone in the room looked so scared. I then had a huge fit on how ridiculous I thought everything was.

      Well, in the end, I got kicked out of the school based on my religious beliefs. Well, it was probably more for how I rubbed in everyone's faces how much I was against religion - but still. I have to say it was worth it. And I think a few of the girls in that class started thinking a bit differently from then on.

      The next school I moved to was still a private school but not religious. And god, I could NOT have been happier. My grades flew. Mum said she noticed I was a lot happier than usual. In year 12, I was school captain and scored in the top 2% of the grade in our final testing.

      Now, I am 36 and have two children. I've raised them atheist - but taken them to church a few times and given them some basic information, to make their own decisions when they're older, though they really don't show an sort of belief in God or Jesus.

      In summary...I don't think people should force religion on people. It's not fair that when you're a little baby, and can't think for yourself, that your parents can just point at you and give you a religion when you haven't had the ability yet to choose if you actually want to go down that path yet. I've caught up with some of my friends from the catholic school recently, the ones that said they went to church every Sunday. One still does - she's brought up her children as catholic and married a catholic man. The other went on to do some job in the field of science - and she says every day she feels more and more further from God, as she feels her job just feeds her with evidence against him - and she's happy this happened. She says she wishes her parents didn't brainwash her as she feels it wasn't right.

      I hope you enjoyed reading my story, whether you're religious or not. I guess, in the end, we're all entitled to our own opinions. Thanks for your time.

    • profile image

      Jean from Australia 

      10 years ago

      For me growing up, I had a Mother whom was Catholic then became Morman and Catholic again and married a Presbyterian Father. whom did not mind me being Catholic since his Mother is, plus he did not really care much for religion. Anyway, back to my Mother she was a very fanatical religious women whom drove not only me up the wall, but my Father as well. I found her dominating, bullying, insulting to the extent of being violent. I couldn't stand going to Church or listening to her, it was so boring because I was with all the adults instead of the children and it meant very little to me. However, I was also going to a Catholic School all my life and recieving a religious education their, I felt could of been better, especially for those whom were not totally of a Catholic background. As time went on my values started to change and realization began to develop of other values around me, as I was introduced to other religions and their beliefs: Islam, Judism, Hinduism cults & satan worship etc, in a free open learning environment removed from all that political correctness and this new attitude "we might offend them". Everyone was given free range to voice out their likes, dislikes, horrors, disgusts and even discriminative and racist views. We discussed explored and was incouraged to find our own truths and discover the nice and the ugly of relgions which involved what our teacher thought too and our parents. Thus, I read about many religions and formed a tight fisted attitude towards certain religions non christian and cautiousness at my discoveries over time. I found at School this set my come back to Christianity knowing what was out their and it became easier to form my own Christian values since my Mother dropped the militant christian behaviour and became silent in my teenage years. All that time and that Christian bringing up prepared me for the many lies, contradictions and "peaceful religion" statements that many people state of 1 particular relgion non christian as seriously "questionable" and not to be believed at times. Finally, I would have to say give your child a christian bringing up and sit with them down and show them the Good, Bad and Ugly of other religions and not to be too militant with your own. Open up to conversations what makes you unhappy with other religions and why? Be nice be nasty this allows to form not just your religious identity but gives your child a chance to form theirs.

    • luvgodforever700 profile image


      10 years ago

      The way I see it is, if you are a Christian parent, then it is only right that you take your children into your church and teach them what your faith is. It is funny to me that some parents say they don't want to force their child to follow a set of rules like faith. Well, they force them to learn to read and go to school and do all the other things they, as parents, believe are important. If you are agnostic or atheist,you are teaching your children your beliefs, but if you are a person who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ, and you believe in a Heaven and a Hell, then you should be praying every single day that your child chooses Jesus. No, you can not force them, that is an individual choice, but if they are not trained and taught about Jesus, then how can they possibly know? Let the world teach them? That won't happen. They will learn either falsehoods or turn towards other things. Yes, some of you will disagree with me, and even judge me (funny how nonchristians love to judge Christians eh? ), but I am just writing what I feel led to. If you area Christian then YES you should raise your child to be Christian. If you came to Jesus later on in your child's life, do what you can. If they are still at home, then yes, let them be part of finding a church and fellowship, teach them at home, pray for them. That is all you can do.

    • Ladybythelake55 profile image


      10 years ago from I was Born in Bethesda, Maryland and I live in Chicago,IL

      I would let the child decide to become a Christian and pick out the right Christian Denomination when he/she comes of age which is roughly around 13 years old. No one should force their religion down their children's throat. Utimately it will come back up. My entire family were born Protestant but Born Again Christian Catholic.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I agree with Kate. While some parents may have all the right intentions in allowing their children to make their own decisions when it comes to religion...they sometimes just don't make the conscious effort to instill gratitude, faith, hope, honor, and kindness into their children the way religion can. Today's world is so fast passed and centered around such superficial things that it is easy to forget about the underlying principles of religion.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      It depends on the child. I was raised with absoultely no religion in my household & that was very hard for me. Later in life when I found God I became aware of everything that I had missed out on as a child. God gives you hope and faith...two very important things, especially for children who are so vulnerable when they're young. It think it is good to atleast expose and education your children about some type of religion so that they know how to believe. Knowing that someone is watching over you and loves you unconditionally is a great comfort to kids if they are ever to feel as if they are alone. It is also the truth, from my point of view. If you don't support organized religion, perhaps some type of universalist beliefs could be incorporated.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      If I have children, I plan to raise them in no religion at all. Then let them choose. That is how my family raised me, and I found it wonderful, as it doesn't take very long to be brainwashed by a religion if forced upon you. The syndrome of being brainwashed (sorry I forget the proper term) is something like only 30 days to be brainwashed by somebody or something.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I believe children should be expose to the truth, not religious gobblygook. My children have been reared free from any religious restrictions or repression and as a result they have growing to be fine, well-balanced individuals. This is how it should be. In short, I think you are gravely misguided.

    • profile image

      ashley 1000 

      11 years ago

      i have no religion but im am not a good person. i am 23 and have nearly a 2 year old child i want to get him christian because i wont him to have a better life then i did. how do i go about it and what do i do?

    • childcen profile image


      12 years ago from New Zealand

      We as christian parents have the responsibilities to point our kids to God. I believe the answer is pretty clear that we need to expose them to learning about Christ at a young age. However, there is no guarantee that they will definitely become christians in future. Its a personal decision that they have to make. But we as parents can only do our part and be accountable to God ourselves.

    • Junjie profile image


      12 years ago from Singapore

      If my kids don't grow up to believe in Christ, I will have failed as a father. I personally believe that I am responsible to show my kids Jesus in my life. He's is wonderful to me, if I can show that to my kids they will want him too.

      So far my elder son has turned out fine. I am looking forward to his teenage years, when he will really have to choose how he will live in this world, as a Christian or not. I am looking forward to arguing and debating with him when I lift up the shields and let him discover the ideas of those who disagree with Christianity. He'll come out stronger for it, I'm certain! :)

    • profile image

      JJ Andregg 

      12 years ago

      Simple and clear. Faith based issues are matters of love not force. You can teach and pray for your child, but it is up the them. Well done article.

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      12 years ago from New Zealand

      much to my surprise I find myself agreeing with you SirDent - that's what happened to me- I was raised Christian but never forced to make a commitment which I didn't believe in . I think one of the reasons that people fall for cults and radical pentocostal sects is because they have no idea what a rational religion is and it certainly isnt a 1 size fits all answer to all your problems in life!

    • prasadjain profile image


      12 years ago from Tumkur

       I believe there is no wrong in trying to inculcate good beliefs in children .But, we should not develop bias or intolerence towords any other religion or race. on the other hand, we must go on saying that, every religion has something good in that.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      According to the Word, you cannot force anyone to believe in something. To force a child to live as a Christian, does not make that child a Christian. It takes a personal belief in God to become a Christian.

      I would suggest that the child be raised to know what it actually means to be a Christian. I thought it good that you showed more than one side of the situation. Very well written hub.

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      12 years ago from New Zealand

      Oh yeah right krizar - that will be the Christian values of hate and war as represented by the Crusades, the Civial War in Englahd, North Ireland and numerous others!

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Your child and children,respectively, must be raised as Catholics/Christians, if they want to embed the Western Civilisation values. If not, you can move to Islamic countries and (accordingly) have a great time with your child and Allah there.


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