How To Raise A Freethinker

Whether religious or non-religious, parents who want to know how to raise a freethinker believe it is critical to teach their children the difference between right and wrong. As the number of nonreligious Americans grows, families must have resources outside the church to teach morals and values to their children.

Here are some pointers and online resources for parents who want to raise their children without religious instruction:

The best practices.

In his book Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief, Dale McGowan recommends that nonreligious parents use the list below as a “Best Practices” model. Here are a few of his ideas:

  • Encourage children to look beyond race and nationalism to expand their circles of empathy.
  • Encourage active moral development by understanding why people are good.
  • Encourage insatiable curiosity.
  • Teach children about religion that promotes coexistence.
  • Promote religious literacy.
  • Allow children to be unlabeled by not referring to them as “Christian” or “atheist,” for example.
  • Make death seem natural and comfortable.
  • Encourage people to question authority.
  • Make disbelief acceptable.


  • The Unitarian Universalist Association is made up of 1,000 congregations, 25 of which are in Michigan.
  • Since its inception in 1963, the Society for Humanistic Judaism movement has expanded to include 135 communities in North America.
  • The Institute for Humanist Studies’ parenting website investigates the challenges and responses of secular families.
  • The Secular Parent discusses works on issues, famous freethinkers, and other topics.

Meaningful articles you might like: Skipping A Grade, How To Raise a Child Who Has a Strong Emotional Intelligence, How to Raise Critical Thinkers