Q. As a parent I have a duty to make my child subscribe to family values, beliefs, and behaviors. My son has a different opinion, especially related to church attendance. How do I make him conform?

A. First, recognize that each brain is a different as the person’s thumbprint. No two brains are ever identical in structure or function. This means that another brain will never precisely understand yours, or perceive any concept, belief, or value exactly the same way. And vice versa.

Having said that, I do believe parents have a duty to stand for something, and to role model their values and beliefs, especially related to spirituality. You didn’t indicate the age of your child. Role-modeling morals, values, ethical practices, beliefs, and spirituality (and expecting some level of behavioral cooperation in a minor child) is very different from demanding that a child conform in every particular and at every age.

Whether or not your child (especially a son) decides to imitate your values and beliefs relates to how you actually live (e.g., your behaviors are congruent with your beliefs).

I believe that the relationships between people is very important and should be preserved, if possible, whether or not the individuals construct identical values and beliefs, or exhibit conforming behaviors in every specific. Remember that people tend to return to environments in which they are comfortable and feel accepted....

 

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