Raising a 'Freethinker'

Parents, whether they are religious or nonreligious, believe it’s important to teach their children right from wrong. As the number of nonreligious Americans grows, it is essential for families to have resources outside of the church to teach their children morals and values.

Here are a few tips and online resources for parents who choose to raise their children without religious doctrine:

Best practices

In the book Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief, Dale McGowan recommends that nonreligious parents use the below list as a "Best Practices" model. Here are a few of his suggestions:

  • Encourage ever-wider circles of empathy by encouraging children to look beyond things like race and nationalism
  • Encourage active moral development by understanding the reasons to be and do good.
  • Promote ravenous curiosity.
  • Teach children engaged coexistence religion.
  • Encourage religious literacy.
  • Leave kids unlabeled by not referring to them as "Christian or "atheist," for instance.
  • Make death natural and familiar.
  • Invite the questioning of authority.
  • Normalize disbelief.

Online

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