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Following Faith
Peggy Fletcher Stack
Peggy Fletcher Stack has been producing stories for The Salt Lake Tribune's award-winning Faith section for nearly two decades. Writing about contemporary faith, rituals, and spirituality as well as religion's conflicts and cohesion has always been Stack's passion. Follow her at facebook.com/peggy.fletcherstack, Twitter @religiongal

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Faith can help parents feel better — or worse — about themselves

Religion can help moms and dads feel happier about their roles — as long as the faith posits a supportive, rather than a punitive, God.

Daily prayer, weekly worship and the notion of "sanctification" — that parenting is a divine role — contributed to a mother’s or father’s sense of well-being and satisfaction, explains David Briggs, a writer with the Association of Religion Data Archives, who was reporting the findings of a study conducted by Baylor sociologist Jeremy Uecker, with Samuel Stroope of Louisiana State University and W. Matthew Henderson of Baylor.

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"The belief that ‘you are doing God’s will’ may equip parents with a positive outlook that can help them through the ups and downs of parenthood," Briggs quotes Uecker saying.

But those who "believe in a punishing, judgmental God may find themselves under greater stress," Briggs writes, "if they interpret the trials of parenthood as a reflection of their own failure to live up to a divine norm of parenthood."

In other words, parents who see colicky babies, tantrum-inclined toddlers and rebellious teens as divine punishment are, well, a lot less happy.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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