This is not an all-inclusive guide to everything you will ever need to know about raising children, nor does it claim to be. And it is not a guide to teaching children to hate religion. What it is, however, is a guide to helping children learn to think for themselves about a variety of topics, including religion, in a world that often pushes religion or religiosity on those who do not want it. Early on, the author makes it clear that her purpose is to present a guide to secular parenting that helps parents foster a stable self-image and self-esteem in children. And that neither a healthy self-image nor self-esteem is predicated on religion. Emphasized are unconditional love, stability, allowing children choice, and teaching empathy without the use of religion. From that premise, the book goes on to describe ways to create these things in your child, and how to handle specific situations that may arise throughout their lifetimes, with them in mind.
Included are exercises and stories that foster problem solving skills in young children, concrete advice for parents dealing with school systems that do not have an atmosphere of tolerance, suggestions for dealing with a secularly raised child when loved ones/family members are religious and may want to push their religion on your child, how to talk to your child about religious issues that he/she may encounter in the public sphere, creating a sense of community without having to belong to a church or other religious organization, and dealing with religious holidays like Christmas.
Though there is a philosophical underpinning to all of the advice given, much of what is covered is very practical and concrete, providing invaluable guidance, suggestions and support for parents struggling to maintain a non-religious atmosphere and teach their children to think for themselves. This is a highly recommended, innovative parenting guide on an important subject that is too often overlooked.
Be-Asia McKerracher’s website, TheSecularParent.com is a comprehensive blog, journal, and resource for parents interested in secular parenting. Included are resources for teaching children values without religion, links to books for kids, links to books on parenting and variety of topics for parents, and resources for teaching various religious texts as literature. It also provides a community where secular parents can connect with one another.
About the Author
Be-Asia McKerracher has a Master’s degree in English from Truman State University and teaches English at both the high school and the college level. Her website, The Secular Parent (thesecularparent.com), focuses on a wide range of issues affecting secular parents and their children. Be-Asia lives in Kansas City, MO, with her husband and two children.
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