Choosing Kids' Religion
From my experience counseling interfaith couples, 90 to 95 percent of the tensions and disagreements that occur between them emerge with the arrival of children. Therefore, be prepared to discuss this issue before baby or as quickly as possible once children are part of the family. Remember that your relationship and family are as unique as your fingerprint. No two are alike!
Be cautious in accepting advice from others who have been in similar situations, because what may have worked for others may not be right for you.
When having the talk, be sure to:
- Tell your partner what is important to you and how you feel about your religion. Communication is the key to a successful relationship.
- Be willing to admit there are aspects of your own religion that are confusing. Be prepared to explain things that you assume others already understand.
- Be respectful of the one you love and his/her beliefs.
- Avoid stereotyping, and be open to learning. Regardless of the decision you make, it will be helpful to know more about your partner's faith, as interactions with extended family may raise question for your kids.
- Be prepared to compromise, especially when each partner feels committed to his/her faith.
Here are some books I recommend to couples to help with this issue:
- Mixed Blessings by Paul Cowan
- If I'm Jewish and You're Christian, What Are the Kids? by Andrea King
- But How Will You Raise the Children? by Steven Carr Reuben
The ultimate decision is yours, not that of your young child or your parents. And remember: The ultimate goal is faith—faith in a spiritual sense, faith in your family and faith that you'll make the best decision for you.