Friday, 19 December 2008

Religion can influence parenting

My best friend Janet Lees was part of the multi-disciplinary group who produced the study 'Religion, beliefs and parenting practices' for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Janet was researcher to the project in the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield. Janet is a United Reformed Church minister and a speech therapist.
Even more amazing is that Janet handed in her Phd at the end of November, just a week before her fiftieth birthday. She's also had this book called Word of Mouth published with the Iona imprint Wild Goose in recent years and she's very involved in Vision4Life which is being launched in the URC this month.

Here are two quotes from the paper:
Britain is a multi-faith society whose population has become more culturally and religiously diverse in recent years. Some existing research studies have associated religious observance among parents with their children’s positive social development. However, terrorist attacks, the rise of 'Islamaphobia' and some high-profile child abuse cases within faith communities have resulted in negative publicity concerning the influences of religion on families.

Parents in the research saw the transmission of religious values as a way of providing direction for their children and creating a strong base on which they could build the rest of their lives. Most young people said they appreciated and respected their parents' values, even though they might eventually choose to hold different beliefs. They expected to make their own career choices, but recognised that parents had a contribution to make in influencing or advising them. Some also said there were career choices of which their parents would disapprove, especially if they were thought to involve religious taboos such as gambling, alcohol or indecent behaviour. In general, the idea of pursuing a religious vocation did not appear to attract the young participants, although some thought it would please their parents.