Christian Smith 4

All this week we’re looking at helpful insights for Christian parents from Dr. Christian Smith’s research on how parents pass their faith on to the next generation. In addition to reminding Christian parents of the role that walking their talk plays in the faith formation of their kids, Smith has found a number of traits that are present in families where the Christian faith is passed on to kids. Parenting style plays a huge role. It is broadly true that the parents who successfully pass on their faith to their children exhibit what is called an authoritative parenting style. There are two crucial traits present in authoritative parenting. First, parents consistently hold their children to clear and demanding expectations, standards, and boundaries in all areas of life. Second, these parents work hard to relate to their children in a manner marked by an abundance of warmth, support, and care. This combination of clear expectations and affective warmth is powerful in a child’s spiritual formation.