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BRIEF: Report shows religious convictions not among most desired parental traits

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Parenting survey results
Parenting survey results

A survey released last week showed most Americans believe good parents should be loving, supportive and protecting, but few see the necessity of parents having a commitment to Christianity or religion.

LifeWay Research conducted the survey in March and found “Loving” is the No. 1 characteristic deemed mandatory for mothers (85 percent) and fathers (79 percent). After “loving,” four of the next five characteristics are shared, including “supporting,” “protecting,” “encouraging,” and “involved.”

According to a press release, mothers (35 percent) and fathers (31 percent) being “Religious” garnered a slightly higher return than being a “Committed Christian” (26 percent for both mothers and fathers) on the survey of mandatory traits.

“Clearly Americans who are not Christians themselves would not be expected to value a Christian commitment among parents today,” Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research, said in a press release. “However, 3 out of 4 Americans indicate their religious preference is Christian, Catholic or Protestant. This means only a third of these people appear to value parents modeling a commitment to Jesus Christ to their children.

According to the survey, Americans who self-identify as born-again, evangelical, fundamental Christians are less likely to select “Involved” (60 percent vs. 68 percent) and “Generous” (44 percent vs. 51 percent) and more likely to select “Religious” (56 percent vs. 26 percent) as mandatory traits to be a good mother.

“Being a good father or mother is subjective. Yet in America today the expectations are both high and consistent,” McConnell said.

The full report is available here.

Readers, do you consider see a commitment to Christianity or religion as a top parental quality?

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Scholarly Assistant Professor at Washington State University.

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One comment

  1. Anna Marie Martin

    When I think about the desired quals for a Daddy, the two things that come up for me are “kindness” and “silliness.” Daddies should be kind and silly.

    I know people go with “stern,” “good disciplinarian,” etc., but I think if there’s a relationship based on kindness, the other stuff will follow.

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