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God Parents and Guardians

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 7 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
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Though it will only be the lucky parents involved in the nitty gritty of raising children – changing dirty nappies early morning feedings, jabs at the GP’s – there are others who will assist parents in their duties.

Among other family members and friends, god parents and guardians are the people who you can designate to help raise your child, even in the event of your own death.

God Parents

In Christian culture, god parents are the people that biological parents choose specifically to help their children grow and develop in their faith. God parents are present at a child’s baptism/christening and usually they answer on behalf of the child that they will reject Satan and/or strive to lead a life in accordance with their faith. God parents do not have any legal requirements to help raise their god children, but by tradition there is a special bond between a god parent and child and generally god parents will especially celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and milestones in a child’s life.

While many families feel that god parents should only be selected from relatives, family friends may also be god parents. Rather than worrying about biology, parents should select god parents based on their relationships, their faith and whether or not these people will take an interest and/or active role in their child’s life. At present most religions only accept a God Father and God Mother, but check with your church on the guidelines for god parents in your religion.


Guardians are the people who, by law, will be given the responsibility of raising your children if both parents pass away. While god parents may also be legal guardians, they do not have to be. Guardians can be family or friends, though many parents select their own parents or siblings for this position. The guardians (or guardian) who you select should be named in your will, and you should make sure that your family and friends are aware of your decision so that there are no surprises in the event that the worst does happen.

Be aware that even if guardians are named, this decision can still be contested in court if other parties so choose. If the named guardians refuse to care for your children, other alternatives will need to be found by the courts and if no appropriate alternatives are available then your children could go into care.

Discussing guardians with your children is a good idea when they are old enough to understand your decision. Reassure your children that you are not expecting to need guardians, but that you made this decision just to make sure that they will be in good hands if the need arises. Explain to your children that you selected their guardians based on what would be best for them, and that their guardians share the same morals and values as you and that you know that they will be able to care for your children in the way you would want them to.

Pivotal Role

God parents and guardians will hopefully each play a large role in helping you raise your children, but they should each be selected for different purposes. God parents should be selected from family and friends due to their ability to help your child develop in his or her faith. Guardians, on the other hand, should be selected for their ability to raise your children in the event of your (and your partner’s) death. God parents and guardians may be the same people, but they do not have to be. Select god parents and guardians with care and hopefully your child will enjoy a special relationship with them for the rest of his/her life.

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