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The Link Between Unhappy Children And Declining Church Attendance

Holland McKinnie
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An article published in The Federalist on Wednesday by Mary Rose Kulczak takes direct aim at the core reason many American children are having such a difficult time adjusting to life in the 2020s. She notes that while most mainstream health experts rightly point to the harm caused by COVID-19 lockdowns, masking and school closures, the rapid decline of church attendance is undoubtedly having a significant adverse effect on kids.

Kulczak points out that the fastest-growing religious group in the U.S. in recent years has been the “nones,” or those who have no religious affiliation at all. This is because the new American generation of parents grew up not attending worship services, and they are raising their own children in the same way.

She argues that the “nones” have been conditioned to believe they are “fine without church and worship and religious instruction and institutions, thank you very much,” although they are demonstrably not alright.

Parents are told to embrace childhood preferences on quirky things like pronouns and reinforce every behavior with positive affirmation and “acceptance through self-esteem workshops.” To the extent that children are not overwhelmed with sports, dance, school clubs and the like, they are allowed to “self-medicate with hours spent on social media.”

Studies demonstrate that even in the third decade of the twenty-first century, kids who attend weekly worship services make better grades, score higher on standardized tests, graduate on time more often and are more likely to earn a college degree.

Nevertheless, surveys also show that parents who do not take their children to church often say they do not do so because their kids don’t want to go. Kulczak observes that many times, a parent’s willingness to grant their children such an absolute veto goes along with their desire to sleep in on the weekend.

Kulczak cites a 2018 study published by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health that reported the tangible benefits children enjoy when they attend church weekly. Such children have much higher rates of happiness and life satisfaction when they reach adulthood. They also have lower rates of depression and illegal drug use while having higher rates of community involvement and feelings of a sense of life purpose.

Young adults who have grown up without church as a life option more often end up going to therapists and pharmacists as the only alternative they identify.

While Kulczak laments the disadvantage kids face in developing mental and spiritual health when they do not have an active faith-based life, she offers hope for all parents by putting “a new priority on the family calendar every Sunday.”