National hospital poll surveys parents beliefs on religious participation from teenagers


In a recent Mott Poll, parents discussed their beliefs on how children aged 13 to 18 years benefit from religious services, how often these children should participate, and the level of freedom they would give their children to choose whether to participate.

A recent Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health asked parents of teenagers aged 13 to 18 years about general and holiday participation in religious services.

Eighty-six percent of parents believed that their children had improved health and well-being overall when they had a connection with a higher power, and 82% believed this connection brought their children a sense of safety. About three-fourths of parents believed participation in religious services helped teenagers connect with family history and traditions.

Nine in 10 parents believed teenagers could connect with a higher being even if they do not participate in organized religion. About three-quarters of parents reported their teenager attended religious services regularly, while 27% reported their child attended services on occasion or during holidays.

Of parents whose children regularly attend religious services, 65% stated that children who do not attend regular services are not being given a good moral foundation, with 42% expressing negative feelingstoward families that only attend services during the holidays.

The concern of religion being a burden in teenagers was expressed in 15% of parents whose teenagers regularly attend religious services, compared to 64% of parents whose teenagers do not regularly attend. Religious participation was at a level parents approved of in 61% of teenagers, while 37% of parents wanted more participation and 2% wanted less.

About 45% of parents believed that children should be aged at least 18 years before making their own decision on whether to attend religious services. Plans for attending religious services during the holidays were expressed by 41% of parents, while 26% planned to mention religious aspects during celebrations at home.

Among parents planning to attend religious services, 48% would insist their teenager join them even if they didn’t want to attend, while 38% would discuss the importance of attending but let their teenager choose, 8% would support their teenager’s decision not to attend, and 6% would bargain with their teenager to get them to attend.


Parent views on teens, religion and the holidays. Mott Poll Report. December 19, 2022. Accessed December 19, 2022.

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