Momfession Monday :: Raising Children with a Religion I Don’t Follow


When you enter the world of parenthood with your first child, there are so many decisions. Pick a name. Choose a car seat. Figure out childcare. Decide to breastfeed or bottle-feed. Find a pediatrician you can trust. The list goes on and on.

Somewhere on this list, you may find the sensitive topic of religion. I know it was on our list of things to discuss before we even got married. Luckily, my husband and I have been in complete accord, even though our approach and reasoning may not be conventional. We choose to raise our children with religion, similarly to how we were raised, even though we no longer subscribe to those beliefs as adults.


First, it’s important to understand where my mister and I come from when it comes to religion. Both of us were raised in religious families, complete with prayers before meals and at bedtime. We each attended church regularly and were involved in church activities from a young age through high school. Neither of us had any real negative takeaways from our formative years as Christians. In fact, the opposite is true. Both of us enjoyed and got something out of our respective church experiences. When we got married, we had a church wedding, and were happy about it.


During college, I continued to remain involved in church activities, but also expanded my friends and experiences. My husband slept in on most Sundays and met a lot of different people with different ideas. We hadn’t decided at this point that religion wasn’t for us and would have still identified ourselves as religious, even though it was lower on the priority list than it had once been.

After we were married, our life took us in new directions. We met amazing people, made close friendships, and saw more of the world than we had when we were young. Church was still there, and it helped us find common ground with a lot of people. More surprising was all the common ground we found with people NOT from our church — or any church. While I knew and had been taught that you don’t have to be part of an organized religion to be a good person, my experience with this was very limited. Suddenly, it wasn’t. We actually had more in common with people who weren’t part of any sort of church.


When we became parents, we knew we needed to make some decisions about how we would raise our children with respect to religion. Our circle of friends and family was diverse enough that we were acquainted with people who made choices all across the spectrum.

Some of them planned to omit religion completely from their children’s lives and answer questions scientifically with an atheist flair. Others wanted to commit their offspring to religion as soon as possible and pass on their passionate and fervent beliefs. A few planned to let it go and slowly introduce different organized religion options as their children aged. We saw the benefit of all these choices and ultimately still decided to go our own way.


In many ways, our children are being raised with religion in a similar manner as my husband and I were. We attend church every Sunday and show our support with time, talent, and treasure. When asked religious questions, we fall back on the answers we were given as children, with possibly a bit more leeway thrown in; however, we have taken a few detours.

While we talk about Jesus and God, we do not invoke them as reasons for good behavior. We say prayers as a family and offer that as a source of comfort in trying times, but we also give some practical solutions to stress or worry that don’t involve a deity. Our kids know a lot of people from church, but we also make it a point to meet new people that do not have the same religious leanings and sometimes lack any religion at all.


My mister and I both had good experiences growing up with religion. Even though our childhood path was rather narrow, we wound up in a place of respect for the beliefs we were raised with as well as those of almost everyone else. We would like our children to have multiple experiences to draw on as they make their choices later in life, and one of those options is being part of organized religion.

Maybe our kids will be stronger in their faith than I ever was. It might be the thing they choose to turn to when they are looking for answers or somewhere to belong. Possibly, our kids will turn to a different religion than the one they were raised with or eschew them all.

In the end, that’s not what matters the most to us. Above all, we have chosen a parenting path in line with our ultimate goal: that our children grow up to be good, responsible humans who genuinely care about the people and the world around them.


  1. Beautifully written. I agree so much with these thoughts. My husband and I are doing the same. Not every decision we teach our children to make, has to involve God. I am glad to have religion to help with my parenting moral compass. BUT I do not feel the need to be restrictive to one way of thinking. I just want my children to be respectful human beings and know that their friends of other faiths are just as amazing, even if we do not have the same beliefs. We visit other churches during the holidays to allow insight on how amazing our community is.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here