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Marriage is legal relationship between spouses: a legally recognized relationship, established by a civil or religious ceremony, between two people who intend to live together as sexual and domestic partners. Family - people living together: a group of people living together and functioning as a single household, usually consisting of parents and their children
Religion is defined as a recognition of or belief in a superhuman power or god(s) commanding obedience and worship. According to Paden (2006) Religion is sacred engagement with that which is believed to be a spiritual reality. Religion is a worldwide phenomenon that has played a part in all human culture and so is a much broader, more complex category than the set of beliefs or practices found in any single religious tradition.
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The relation of religion with family life is paramount to families and to society. The role of religion in family setting is being recognized and used to shape the society values and morals.
Family and religion face many challenges in the modern age. Although many scholars think these institutions would be greatly weakened or eliminated in the course of modernization, I tend to differ with that notion; according to me both family and religion--no matter what civilization they might be undergoing--are deep rooted in societies throughout the world. The persistence and vitality of these two institutions contradict the modernization theory or the family decline theory. Though the significance of religion and family is projected in different ways and in different contexts, these institutions are paramount everywhere on this planet. Married people do not always have same perspective to everything. In times of conflict, attitudes and the way partners resolve their issues can affect marital satisfaction, stability and the development of their children. Mark, Brandt & Mark (1998) studied the effects of prayer during couples' conflicts with a small sample. Couple interviewed argued that using prayer minimized hostility for partners. When the religious view of the issue was sought, a change in focus from getting one's own way to considering the partners opinion and seeking mutual satisfaction led to more understandings and better resolving of the problem. Out Of the wives who remained with their husbands for a year after attempting to reconcile (approximately 40%), religion was a major factor to the reconciliation. More research needs to be done to find how religion makes a difference.
Hinduism, for instance, is against domestic violence Bartkowski and Ellison (1995) pointed out that perpetration of domestic violence to be inversely related to regular attendance at religious services in the United States.
The Hypothesis of this research is: Intact married and religious parents have a more positive effect to their children compared to parents who are not religious, cohabiting, single parents, divorced or never married. The assumptions prior to this research are, Religiosity of parents appears to have a positive impact on the quality of parent-child relationships (Varon & Riley, 1999). Caning is often the discipline method used to promote submission to a God who is just, merciful, and forgiving but whom also punishes sins (Bartkowski & Ellison 1995). Young, single mothers are more prone to caning which is likely to escalate into abuse among single parents and step-parents and adults with severe stress, unemployment or social-psychological problems. It is natural for children to acquire behaviors from their parents through imitation, therefore parents’ marital stability, closeness, trust and satisfaction will always be projected to their kids.
Case study America The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, Sample of 90,000 American youths (age 12-17 yrs) was taken. Sample used 14,027.
Data was collected mainly by use of questionnaires. This questionnaires were distributed to school going kids between age 12 and 17. The outcome was analyzed and presented as shown below.
Intact married parent families: n = 9,668 (68.9 percent of the sample)
Stepparent families: n = 517 (3.69 percent)
One biological parent cohabiting with a partner families: n = 247 (1.76 percent)
Both biological parents cohabiting families: n = 327 (2.3 percent)
Never-married parent families: n = 725 (5.17 percent)
Divorced single-parent families: n = 2,543 (18.13 percent)
The numbers for the different levels of religious attendance examined are:
Worship weekly or more, n = 5,204 (37.1 percent),
Less than weekly but more than monthly, n = 2,749 (19.6 percent),
Less than monthly, n = 2,580 (18.4 percent), and
Never, n = 3,494 (24.9 percent).
Have you ever been expelled or suspended?
Outcome based on the type of family structure
The percentage of those who had been expelled or suspended was lowest (20.3%) among youths from intact families, while it was highest (50.2%) among those from the never-married single-parent families.
Outcomes by Frequency of Religious Attendance
Youths with the highest rate of religious attendance had the lowest percentage (20.9%) of expulsion or suspension from school. Youths who never attended religious activities had the highest percentage (38.9%). (Fagan, FitzGerald, Johnson & Butcher, 2000)
Divorce, separation, fights and breakups has a high chance of affecting children's perception of God, religion and their development in general. Children of divorced parents often have to deal with the psychological problems, little income, less time with the custodial parent who is working, and time alone.
Impact and implementation of the research
The findings proved that family stability and affiliation to religion had a positive impact to the children development and moral behaviors. From my findings I think the society should avoid having children out of wedlock. Fighting and abusiveness should at all cost be minimized or kept away from children. This leads to unstable families, single parent hood and step parent ship which as proved by my research are not healthy to development of children.
When it comes to religion, it is extremely difficult to force people to be committed to it, but I feel religion should be taught as a compulsory subject in schools, beginning with kids at a very tender age to up to around 17 years.
Limitations of my findings
The sample size used in this research was considerably large, data collection and analysis was considerably difficult, and some of the samples were discarded because of inconsistency. The outcome has a high level of accuracy as far as USA is concerned; this is a major strength to the research.
This research can be improved in future by taking samples from different countries with different economic, social and political atmospheres, from which the data analysis will paint a better picture of the relationship between family, religion, marriage and influence to the children.
From my research I proved my hypothesis to be true. It is evident that family, religion has a big influence toward the shaping development and behaviors of children. Families that were intact and religious brought up children that were more responsible and well mannered. In my opinion family is best suited to change make the world a better place. Martin Luther King Jr. (1956) once said, it is quite easy for me to think of a God of love mainly because I grew up in a family where love was central and where lovely relationships were ever present.
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