Interfaith Families

December 12, 2002

Source: The Boston Globe

On December 12, 2002 The Boston Globe reported that "with Hanukkah over by almost a week and Christmas still nearly two weeks away, interfaith families have the rare luxury of putting away the menorah before putting up the tree. That's a big deal. Three weeks' breathing room between the holidays can do a lot to minimize confusion in the minds of young children... For parents, the bonus is not only that you can disentangle the two holidays and deal with each one individually, but also that you have time to reflect on what you are trying to communicate to your children about religion, and how well you are doing it. Regardless of what religious tenets you are passing on, you are creating memories: Are they warm and fuzzy or filled with conflict and tension?... 'When parents are uncomfortable about their differences, they avoid the questions or give vague, curt answers that aren't satisfying,' says San Francisco child psychologist Joel Crohn, who specializes in interfaith issues and wrote Mixed Matches (Ballentine). What's more, he says, when parents are both present when the questions are asked, there's tension that passes between them. Children pick it right up."