Psychology expert: "Parents, be a representation of a loving God”


Christian Life


Young children at a christening ceremony. Photo AFP, Janek Skarzynski

How can parents keep their children interested in their faith? Not by preaching to them, Swedish psychology professor Pehr Granqvist discovered.

Teaching children about the Bible does not necessarily keep them in the religious footsteps of their parents, Granqvist concluded. Recently, he published a book on the connection between psychology and religion, Dagen writes.

According to the psychology expert, religion is closely connected to attachment theory. This theory assumes that children bond with their closest caregivers right after birth. This attachment shapes their relationships for the rest of their lives.

Responsive parenting

Parents play an essential role in keeping their children close to their religion, the psychology professor points out. However, the most important thing he points out is not to teach children about your faith as a parent. "Studies have shown that responsive parenting, combined with children repeatedly seeing you practice your religion, are far more important factors in children's willingness to adopt parental norms."

Parents should, therefore, reflect something of God's love if they want their children to follow them in their beliefs. "By having a present and reassuring parent, the children also get a representation of a loving and forgiving God. That increases the chances that the children will want to have anything to do with that God, even in adulthood."

Safe harbour

Granqvist argues that religion and connection to others are closely related. "In our studies, for example, we have found out that God fulfils almost all criteria of a Person you can feel connected to. It is Someone you can feel close to, Someone who is a safe base and a safe harbour. In addition, God is Someone who feels bigger and wiser than yourself."

Therefore, he sees that several people who have attachment problems turn to God. "Some see God as a way out of a life crisis. In religious conversations, people sometimes experience hope for a new morning and a healing potential. They experience that God receives their cry for help in a way that people cannot do so."



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