When your child’s friend is too religious
Being friends with children of different religions will teach your kids about tolerance.
Bringing friends home is part of your child growing up. Our children’s friends give us a glimpse into their characters. But a challenge may present itself when your child befriends someone with different religious beliefs from your family’s.

When a religious child visits, as the parent you might not know how to deal with various aspects which might be sensitive to your child’s friends and his parents. By allowing their child to visit your house, the religious parents may have implied that they trust you to respect their child’s religion.

Your child’s friend may be raised under a different parenting style from your own. For example, some religious parents will not let their children play violent video games or watch violent movies or movies with supernatural themes, such as the Harry Potter series – the same things that some parents may view as harmless fun.

One parent, when faced with such a challenge, may accommodate the young religious visitor, by making sure that the two young friends don’t do anything that may upset the absent parents.

Another parent may think: “Well, this is my house and no one is going to tell me what to do,” thus ignoring the beliefs of the visitor. However this kind of reasoning is sure to short circuit your child’s friendship when the religious parents forbid their child from visiting your home.

Of course there is a need for balance when dealing with such a situation. Such situations are a chance to teach your child to be open minded and accept that different people have different religions and although we don’t agree with them, we respect them.

On the other end of the spectrum are non-religious parents who are reluctant to let their child visit friends from religious homes. Such parents may worry that their child may get indoctrinated. Such fears are unfounded because it takes a long time to convert anyone. Relax. Let the children play.

How would you deal with this situation?

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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