Great news for parents: Benefits abound from raising your children on religious foundation

By Kim Roberts, NOLA Catholic Parenting

In an article originally published last October, a Harvard study found that children who were exposed to religion as they were growing up were more likely to be healthier and have a higher degree of well-being as young adults, when compared to those that do not.

I found it interesting, though I already believed this, that the study showed a direct link between religious upbringing and better physical and mental health in young adults.

I know I am preaching to the choir about the importance of exposing children to religion on a regular basis, but it was great knowing that a formal study was conducted and discovered that people who attended religious services weekly or who practiced prayer daily in their youth reported having a higher life satisfaction and positivity in their 20s.

Most Catholic parents know how important it is to make sure their children attend Mass and pray. This reaffirmation is a bonus.

It is interesting that this study followed 5,000 young people for as many as eight to 14 years, allowing for variables such as maternal health, socioeconomic status and histories of substance abuse or symptoms of depression.

Results show that those who went to religious services at least once a week as children were about 18% more likely to report higher levels of happiness as young adults between the ages of 23 and 30 than those who didn’t.

They were also shown to be 29% more likely to volunteer in their local communities and 33% less likely to engage in the use of illicit drugs.

This is further proof that being a practicing Catholic as a child gives young adults spiritual strengths that lead to healthy habits, builds their social networks and also renders the ability to overcome obstacles in their lives, all while building a solid relationship with God.

Kim Roberts resides in River Ridge with her husband and teenage daughter. They also have two older children in their 20s. As a parishioner of St. Matthew the Apostle Parish, she has been active with the Home and School Association as well as the parish. Additionally, Roberts has been president of the Council of Catholic School Cooperative Clubs, is a member of the St. Mary’s Dominican High School Parents’ Club board and works with the Notre Dame Seminary Gala Committee and the Keep Christ in Christmas Committee. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Louisiana Tech University and a master of arts degree. Roberts is a freelance writer for The Times-Picayune and Biz New Orleans Magazine. She also works part-time for Crimestoppers.

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