|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Interfaith Holiday

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: We will be celebrating our first holiday season with our six-month-old son (our first child). Although it doesn't make any difference this year, we are concerned if celebrating two holidays, Hanukkah and Christmas, as he grows up is a healthy practice. We have married friends of different religions and ethnic groups who do this but we also know others who say it's confusing and harmful to celebrate both families' religious and cultural traditions. What's best for kids?

A: Families where the two parents are from different cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds must discover ways of celebrating the holiday season which are both comfortable and rewarding for them.

How you celebrate your holiday rituals and traditions should flow naturally from how you are raising your children. The everyday importance of and practice of your respective faiths and cultural traditions should determine the extent and nature of your religious and/or secular holiday celebrations.

Your holiday celebrations will be unique to your family as you both include your favorite childhood holiday traditions in your celebrations. You have an opportunity to teach your children sensitivity and respect for your and others' religions and cultures as you explain the meaning of your own traditions.

I understand why some people argue that only one parent's religion and culture should be celebrated during these holiday seasons - a child must have a clear understanding of who she is. I believe, however, that parents who choose to share their respective religious and cultural holiday traditions with their children do indeed give them a solid identity, one based in the cherished family values and traditions of their parents.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Need some fun ideas for decorating Easter eggs with the kids? Look no further for colorful and cool designs!

7 Ways to Curb Kids' Exposure to Violence
American children are exposed to violence more often than you might think. Learn how to limit your child's exposure to violence and manage the mental health and behavioral effects it can cause.