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Bekah McNeel joins Jared and co-host Jennifer Garcia Bashaw in this episode of Faith for Normal People to talk candidly about the challenges of parenting in the midst of a shifting faith—the good, the bad, and the cussing—and how parents can navigate tough conversations with their kids. Join them as they explore the following questions:

  • What are the questions Bekah found parents asking most as she wrote her book?
  • What are some of the successes and misses in Bekah’s own experience with her kids around this topic?
  • How can parents leaving evangelicalism consciously reframe their ideas of discipline?
  • What are some of the impacts of shame-based discipline tactics?
  • How can we talk with our kids or work with our kids around faith? Is there a way to minimize the harm and keep the beneficial aspects? 
  • How does Bekah navigate tough topics like sex and purity culture with her kids?
  • What can parents do if they feel like they are uncertain about their own faith journey and aren’t sure how to communicate about faith with their kids?


Pithy, shareable, sometimes-less-than-280-character statements from the episode you can share.

  • I was really hoping I would get the same results that my parents got, as far as good behavior, without using the tactics that hurt us. — @BekahMcNeel
  • If I get rid of the parts that hurt me, am I also robbing my kids of the parts that benefitted me? And can you have one without the other? — @BekahMcNeel
  • Parenting is a process. And whatever answer you give, when you nuance it later and when you have the second and third conversation about it, or when you mess up and then you go apologize? All of that is formative, but it’s over the long haul. — @BekahMcNeel
  • Take comfort and know that your child is wired to ask [questions about faith] and you don’t have to sit down and give them the Westminster Confession of Faith and memorize that together. — @BekahMcNeel
  • You don’t even have to memorize Bible verses. It’s about letting [your kids] explore their big questions in a safe place that says, “There’s no answer you could come to that’s going to take you outside of my love.” — @BekahMcNeel
  • Our kids need us to sometimes be a little less scared than we are. We’re their stepping stone to reality and bigger truth, and they’re interpreting a lot of that through us. — @BekahMcNeel
  • What forms you is relationships. And keeping those healthy requires you to be more flexible on your values, your dogma, your systems, all of that. — @BekahMcNeel
  • If we would stop letting other agendas tell us how to relate to our kids, and let loving our kids dictate how we relate to our kids, more would change than one would think. — @BekahMcNeel

Mentioned in This Episode

Read the transcript



Pete Enns, Ph.D.

Peter Enns (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens professor of biblical studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has written numerous books, including The Bible Tells Me So, The Sin of Certainty, and How the Bible Actually Works. Tweets at @peteenns.