Non-religious parents also have their own struggles with raising children. Whether you are a freethinker, atheist, deist, agnostic, humanist, or nothing at all, there is a common goal when it comes to raising children the right way they should emulate. That common goal is to raise kind-hearted, intelligent, sweet loving, happy, fulfilled and tolerant kids capable of making up their own minds about what to believe or what to make of the world around them.
Where our parents or grandparents were guided by teachings of their faith viz christianity, buddhism, judaism, islam, hinduism, traditional religions; we are left to chart a new course for our families.
This article is specifically written to help you mould great and wonderful children who will be beneficial to themselves and the society in the long run.
1) Teach your children to follow the logical path of science.
Science may not have all the answers yet, but science sure have the best ways to arriving at the best logical explanation of anything.
“The scientific method can best be described as a systematic
process that involves using measurable observations to formulate, test or modify a hypothesis.”
What are this systematic process that you should teach your children to imbibe at all times?
The Six Steps of scientific system of investigation/inquiry include:
•Ask a question. If something piques your interest, ask a question about it.
•Research: After having a clear question that requires an answer, do some background research.
•Hypothesis: From the background research, propose a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation or research.
•Experiment: Perform an experiment to test your hypothesis. The experiment here may be direct observation or reading through written records.
•Record or note down your observations and analyze the meaning of what you saw.
•Make your conclusion.
It may seem like a time consuming process but it’s not. It’s what everyone does all the time in different ways. When you want to buy something you need, you go to the market. There in the market, you are faced with numerous options begging for your attention. You look at what is before you, you observe which one best suits your needs judging from your budget, quality and your likes(constraints/variables). After the due considerations, you decide whether or not to make a purchase.
That’s how science is. Without even knowing it, you have performed a scientific process. Science is not magic, just simple application of logic in day to day activities.
When you have a question about something you are not sure of, you go and meet someone whom you think is in the best position to know. When you get there and make enquiry, you receive an answer based exactly on the reason you went there. You have done a scientific process of investigation.
Still on the same question, you can also use a search engine (like Google, Bing, etc) and input the question that you are seeking for the answer. Links are shown to you, and you peruse through it all to find the ones relevant to your question, and click them.
By doing this, you have performed a very simple scientific process of investigation. This is also the culture you should endeavour to teach your children to imbibe.
The scientific method of inquiry will never leave you without an answer, instead it will open doors on better questions to answer your enquiry.
Cultivating this core drive in your children will teach them to always verify something before asserting it as the truth. You will be inculcating the habit of truthfulness in them at all times using this simple educational process. Your children will grow up intellectualy driven, and no one will influence them with things they can’t prove or what is not logically sound.
2) Teach and educate your children about religion itself:
Why have one when you can have it all? Non-religious parents shouldn’t let their lack of belief in religious god’s or any of the world religions, shield their children away from it. That to me is deliberately shielding them from having a basic knowledge of the world around them seeing as religion makes up some of the everyday activities and discussions all over the world. So, whether or not you shield them from it, they will come in direct contact with it one way or another. One way or the day, it is still going to affect their relationship with other people.
However, what you can do is educate them about it all. Teaching your child about one religion alone is bad religious education. Teach your children about as many religions as you can think of learn of. A good religious education for a child is one that covers the basics of many religions from their cultural and historical perspective to the present day social interactions. What is religion? What gave rise to it? Why do people commit atrocities because of it? Why does it motivate people to do good? Religion and morality? Why do some people subscribe to it and others don’t? What are some religious core beliefs? How do you identify an adherent? How do religious people see each other? Clash of religion? History of religions? etc. There are many things to teach your children about religion, helping them have an all round view of it rather than a subjective view from one out of many.
If you choose to speak of religion mostly in negative terms, also be sure to explain to them what you oppose specifically, and why.
3) Celebrate as often as you can as a family:
Every happy family celebrate the small and big things alike. It could be a good grade, a job promotion, holidays, family accomplishments, etc.
The celebrations can be as simple as popping wine and eating cake or as elaborate as throwing a big party or simply going out to celebrate.
Happy families lead to happy children, so make it a point to celebrate often as a family. Celebrate your children’s accomplishments, no matter how little. Even if you just sent the child to get you something in the other room, thank them for it. Make the child always realise that you appreciate their efforts, no matter how little. It encourages children in many wonderful ways you couldn’t even begin to imagine.
4) When your children talk to you, give them your undivided attention.
Communicating well with your children is very important if you truly want them to be happy, emotionally strong and successful. One of the most powerful ways to do this is by giving them your full undivided attention whenever they speak to you.
As a parent, you should put aside your newspapers or electronic devices when your child is talking to you and really listen to what they have to say at all times. Children are very observant, and they see thing’s which you don’t. This things are the things that end up forming their core drives.
Respond thoughtfully to all of their questions or thoughts. Remember that if they are talking about it with you, it is probably bothering them or they’re seeking clarifications about something. When you don’t pay attention to it, they will seek their answers elsewhere; and you know what that means.
Paying attention to what your children seek to understand will encourage your children to be more open with you, and they will trust you more.
- Have regular meals together as a family.
According to research, children who have regular meals with their families are prone to become more successful in almost every area of life. This children build big vocabularies, develop greater self-confidence and communicate better. A family that eats together, grow together.
6) Teach your children to manage their emotions.
This is a no brainer. Research has shown that children who regulate their emotions always focus better. This ability to focus is vital for long-term success and must be developed early in life as soon as possible. As a parent, this heavy duty falls in your hands.
To guide and help your child get a hold on their emotions, you should:
•Demonstrate emotional management and self-control yourself.
• Always empathize with your children.
• Find the best way to help your children understand that while all feelings are acceptable, not all behaviors are.
7) Make your children get enough sleep.
Research has shown that children who get insufficient sleep experience the following:
• Poorer brain function.
• Inability to focus properly.
• Likely to become obese.
• Less creative.
• Hot tempered (inability to manage their emotions).
It may seem autocratic, as a parent, you should establish a consistent bedtime routine for your children and limit outdoor activities once dinner is done.
In addition, don’t allow any form of screen time 1hr before it’s time for bed. Science has shown that the blue light displayed from electronic devices alters sleep patterns.