Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Parenting Plan - Religion

I left the details of a parenting plan rather open ended, as well it should be, but maybe I could explain it more in depth?  I figure I would dice it up a little more over time.

As a reminder, I said everyone should take time to define a parenting plan, hopefully before children arrive.  Don't worry, though, if you are getting a late start it's better than never.  Quite honestly, most people have a parenting plan bouncing around in their head, but never really put a label on it.

A parenting plan is the core of your parenting attitudes.  To define it outloud, especially with your partner, helps bring the both of you to the same page.  It's also helpful to have this defined before you're faced with discipline issues and major life decisions.  This way you're not parenting off the cuff and are equipped with some intentionally set guidelines.  It is very important to remember that your parenting plan is going to morph over the years.  You'll find what works, doesn't work and what needs to be amended.

So what about religion?

This is really a huge issue that requires some discussion with your partner.  Obviously if you two are from different religious backgrounds this will feel like the 500 pound gorilla standing in the room.  How do you meld your differences?  Which belief standard will dominate in child rearing?  Whose church, or whatever, will you attend?  Or at all?

Most people tend to match up with someone of similar religious and moral standards, but this still ought to be discussed.  Even if you met at church and are both very active in its activities you may be surprised that you still have some differing opinions concerning religion and how it should intertwine with your lives.

On top of the logistical issues of how to spend holy days and attending chapel, what about the religious standards of raising your child?  How are you going to dispense information concerning your beliefs?  How are you going to deal with other people's beliefs?

Even for people with agnostic views, religion is going to be an issue.  Other people's religious views are going to be shared with your little tyke.  Other people's religious views are going to surround and even question how you raise your child.  Knowing how you are going to face controversial and inflammatory statements and invasive questions will make it slightly easier when the time arises.

Remember to consider the physical aspects of your belief system (food, clothing, swearing, worship) as well as the spiritual contexts. 

Then you need to consider your families.  What are their beliefs?  How strong are they about their belief systems?  How with the various views impact your daily life?  How will you handle differences of opinions?  And if you dare oppose their views, how is that going to impact your relationships?

All of this is going to address some issues in your relationship with your partner, but it most definitely will impact your children.  Address it and define it early on and you could avert some really ugly confrontations.

All of us have religious beliefs in some form.  Defining those beliefs may even strengthen something that has been lying dormant for a long time.

No comments:

Post a Comment