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Families and FaithHow Religion is Passed Down across Generations$
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Vern L. Bengtson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199948659

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199948659.001.0001

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The Importance of Warmth

The Importance of Warmth

Parental Piety and the Distant Dad1

(p.71) Chapter 4 The Importance of Warmth
Families and Faith

Vern L. Bengtson

Norella M. Putney

Susan C. Harris

Oxford University Press

For religious mothers and fathers, transmitting their faith to their children is very important. For these parents, the child’s acceptance of their religious faith is a source of joy, and their child’s rejection is a source of sadness. But what promotes—or hinders—religious transmission? This study identified found four types of parenting that were related to intergenerational continuity or discontinuity of faith: (a) warm, affirming parenting perceived as a consistently close relationship; (b) cold, distant, or authoritarian parenting; (c) ambivalent or mixed-message parenting, as when a parent is sometimes warm and sometimes cold; (d) strained or preoccupied parenting, as when parents are distracted by marital, financial, health, or substance abuse problems. The warm, affirming relationship pattern was the most likely to result in successful transmission of religion. Parental piety does not, it appears, make up for a distant even through devout dad.

Keywords:   continuity, intergenerational continuity, parents, religion, religious transmission

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