social and emotional development

The Rise Of Secular Families Appears To Be Producing Very Well-Adjusted Kids

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The number of nonreligious families in the U.S. has climbed past 11 percent, and the inevitable result of all these Godless kids running around is … a lot more Mayberry than Gomorrah.

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Phil Zuckerman, a professor of secular studies at Pitzer College, summarizes of glut of recent research and concludes that these parents are raising kids with all sorts of enviable personality characteristics: They’re less racist, less vengeful, more tolerant and more independent. Their parents benefit, too, because the families exhibit high levels of solidarity, emotional closeness and strong moral values.

Researchers have determined that secular families teach their kids “empathetic reciprocity,” which is researcher-ese for “the Golden Rule.” Apparently, you don’t need God to know that, if you don’t want little Billy to whip snowballs at you, you shouldn’t whip snowballs at little Billy.

Thirty percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 — a sizeable chunk of the current child-bearing population — say they have no religion, which suggests the trend toward secular families won’t flag anytime soon. So it’s good to know they can still be expected to raise solid citizens, even without the help of mealtime prayer, bar mitzvahs or Sister Ann’s ruler.

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