Saturday, March 07, 2009

Parents Lean on Self-Reliance

The latest study by LifeWay Research has found that, although most parents say they are trying to improve their parenting skills, few look to the Bible or church for guidance. Furthermore, few say they are familiar with biblical teaching on parenting.

A majority of parents (60%) heavily rely on their own experiences growing up for parenting guidance, but only one-fifth say they receive a lot of guidance from a sacred text, such as the Bible or Koran, the study said. Even fewer parents (15%) look to church as a source of guidance for parenting.

"Parents claim they are trying hard to be better parents, but they are not welcoming outside guidance or advice," said Scott McConnell, associate director of LifeWay Research, the research arm of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. "The only source of advice that a majority of parents use a lot is their own experience. It's as if parents are collectively reverting to a popular toddler saying 'I will do it myself!'" said McConnell.

Results of the study also found that few (14%) say they are familiar with biblical teaching on parenting. Among Christian parents, those with evangelical beliefs are more familiar than non-evangelical Protestant parents on the Bible's parenting advice, 52 to 27 percent. Only 7 percent of Catholic parents are very familiar with what the Holy Book says about parenting.

Prayer is a more common family activity than religious study, with 53 percent of parents indicating they pray together at least once monthly compared to 31 percent saying they hold religious devotionals or studies together at least monthly.

Overall, 92 percent of parents say they need encouragement, but not many receive it from the Bible or church. Approximately 38 percent of parents who attend religious worship services weekly say they do not receive any encouragement from reading the Bible and 24 percent report not being encouraged from church. Among Christian parents, Catholics (85%) are more likely than Protestants (43%) to not find encouragement in the Bible and are also more likely than Protestants to say that church is not a source of encouragement. []

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