Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Ritual and the Family
Study: Religion is Good for Kids
Maybe Richard Dawkins feels religious upbringing for children is tantamount to child abuse, but here's a study by sociologist John Bartkowski that points to a rather different conclusion:
...Kids with religious parents are better behaved and adjusted than other children, according to a new study that is the first to look at the effects of religion on young child development.The kids whose parents regularly attended religious services—especially when both parents did so frequently—and talked with their kids about religion were rated by both parents and teachers as having better self-control, social skills and approaches to learning than kids with non-religious parents...
That's amazing enough, but here's the clincher:
...But when parents argued frequently about religion, the children were more likely to have problems. “Religion can hurt if faith is a source of conflict or tension in the family,” Bartkowski noted...
So maybe some bestselling atheists got it backwards: religion is not the cause so much societal strife, but families and cultures undergoing angst, strife, or transition can use religion as just one more club to beat each other up with.