Faith and Family Important to Children
Special Report - Nov 19, 2008
Regular church involvement and an intact family structure have a positive impact on how children behave, according to two new reports from the Mapping America Project at the Family Research Council. The findings are based on an analysis of data from the National Survey of Children’s Health conducted by research psychologist, Nicholas Zill, Ph.D., founder and former president of Child Trends. Dr. Zill compared children’s religious attendance and family structure to behavior problems such as bullying, being disobedient and acting depressed. According to the first study, “children who attend religious services at least weekly are less likely to exhibit behavior problems than those who worship less frequently.” More specifically, the analysis found that children who attended religious services at least once a week received a lower score on a behavior problems scale (49.2) than children who never attended religious services (51.8), children who attended religious services one to three times a month (50.4), and those who attended less than once a month (51.1). “As the data indicate, highly religious adolescents who worship frequently are the least likely to misbehave,” Dr. Zill concludes in the report.
A separate analysis also conducted by Dr. Zill compared children from different family structuresincluding those with both biological (or two adoptive) parents, children with one biological parent and one stepparent, children with a mother only, and children from
“other” family structuresto determine how they scored on the behavior problems scale. According to the results, children who lived with both their biological parents were “less likely to exhibit behavior problems” than those from non-intact family structures. “When it comes to raising well-adjusted, well-behaved children,” notes Dr. Zill, “the intact family tops all other family structures.”
“These reports provide even more evidence of the importance of faith and family to the wellbeing of children,” said John Rustin, director of government relations with the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “Stable, intact families consisting of a mother and father who live out their faith and seek to instill that faith in their children create a positive environment not only for their own children but for others as well.”
Copyright © 2008. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.