Millennials — those currently aged 18 to 34 —are now becoming parents. These young adults have waited longer to have children than any other generation.
According to the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green University, the average age, in 2017, for a woman to become a mother was 26.8 years. In 1970 the average age for a woman to bear her first child was 21.4.
In general, Millennial Parents spend more time with their children, even though they are busier. They value positive parenting over discipline and being together. These parents schedule everything, including free time.
“Today, most families, regardless of their income or education level, want to keep their children as safe as possible,” according to Dr. Kathleen Gerson, sociology professor at New York University.
As a group, they have their own signature parenting style. This style has developed, in part, thanks to the Internet. Social media, texting, and the Internet in general have given Millennial Parents more resources to draw on for advice on raising their children.
This abundance of advice on raising children covers everything with one exception — Faith in a loving God.
A 2018 Harvard study involving 5,000 youth examined how being raised in a family with religious beliefs affects children’s mental health.
Researchers found “that people who attended weekly religious services or practiced daily prayer or meditation in their youth reported greater life satisfaction and positivity in their 20s—and were less likely to subsequently have depressive symptoms, smoke, use illicit drugs, or have a sexually transmitted infection—than people raised with less regular spiritual habits.”
That’s important enough to repeat: Children who attend a religious service at least once per week score higher on psychological well-being measurements and have lower risks of mental illness.
According to Erica Komisar psychoanalyst and author of “Chicken Little The Sky Isn’t Falling: Raising Resilient Adolescents in the New Age of Anxiety,” there is a simple explanation for this.
She explains that “Nihilism—the belief in nothing—is a rich fertilizer for anxiety and depression. In contrast, the belief in God—a guardian figure who loves us—is an invaluable source of support and comfort (for our children).”
In today’s society, our kids are subjected to a lot of negativity — thanks to the Internet — including school violence, death and nightmarish global-warming predictions. Children cope with this using their imagination.
Komisar says, “It is far better for kids to use their imagination constructing something positive—such as a God who cares about us—than the dark, nihilistic idea that there’s no creator and protector, and no purpose to our existence.”
The psychological benefits from a belief in God do not stop there for children.
Komisar continues, “I am also frequently asked how parents can instill gratitude and empathy in their children. Again, the best answer is involvement in an organized religion. All traditional faiths encourage gratitude and empathy as antidotes to entitlement and selfishness. These are the building blocks of strong character. They also protect against depression and anxiety.
Additionally, religion provides children a chance for community. Being with people who share their faith can act as a buffer against the emptiness and isolation of modern culture. This is more necessary than ever in a world where teens can have hundreds of virtual friends and few real ones.”
According to the American Psychological Association, research shows that religion can help adults cope with adversity. Now this Harvard study has shown that religion and a belief in God and a heaven can also help our children grow up psychologically balanced.
For a short five minute video by Komisar go to www.prageru.com/video/why-even-atheists-should-teach-their-children-about-god. It’s worth your time.
She concludes her video with the statement, “We live in a competitive, stressful society that idealizes materialism, selfishness, and virtual rather than real human connection. Having a religious community and a belief in God is the best antidote to all of that.”
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