As many as one in five families in the United States is raising their kids in a non-religious, or secular, environment. What does this mean? Will the next generation grow up to be murderers, rapists, thieves? Will these kids grow up to be decent, model citizens who never cheat on their taxes? Or will these kids grow up to be no better and no worse than other people? What is secular parenting, anyway?

Kids raised in non-religious homes... Oh, the humanity!

Kids raised in non-religious homes... Oh, the humanity!

Secular parenting is a lot of things.  It's dealing with toddlers who flush all the toothbrushes down the toilet to see what happens.  It's trying to set boundaries for teenagers who are just starting to push the envelope. It's long conversations with your spouse, partner, or co-parent about how your kids are doing in school, if maybe your son is getting a little old to be playing with those Hot Wheels cars, whether your daughter who just started menstruating should go for her first Papp smear yet, and can either of you remember whose turn it is to drive everybody to soccer practice?

All parents want their children to grow up to be happy, healthy, independent, respectful, socially responsible, compassionate, and able to think for themselves. To be kind, caring people who make good ethical choices, even when it's tempting to do the wrong thing.

The big difference between secular (non-religious) parents and religious parents is whether god fits into the equation.  Can a child raised in a secular environment grow up to be that kind, caring person who makes good ethical choices, even when it's tempting to do the wrong thing? Or is belief in a god the only way a child can mature into a good person?

Secular parents believe that kids can be good without god. And that they should finish their homework before playing their video games.