Many parents seek to influence the religious and moral values of their children, and rightly so. Some go too far, but others not far enough. I have a few thoughts to share on these issues with respect to the religious upbringing of children.
First, it seems to me that parents cannot help influencing the religious views (or lack thereof) of their kids. Parents who take their children to church, synagogue, or mosque and parents who do not are influencing the religious views of their children. Those who take their religious faith seriously are communicating by both word and deed certain views about the role of religion. Those parents who are not religious do the same, whether they want to or not.
Second, I don't think that parents should take an entirely hands-off approach to the religious upbringing of children. Many think that religion is like clothing or food. Find what fits you, and stick to it. When it no longer suits you, abandon it. And when this is applied in the family, parents may take a hands-off approach with their kids so that their kids can find the faith that "suits them". Such a view neglects an important fact: religious faith calls for a commitment that may cut against the grain of one's preferences. A choice between Judaism and Buddhism is not the same as a choice between chocolate and vanilla. Treating religion as merely a matter of personal preference is treating it too lightly. Important questions related to religion must be addressed: What evidence is there that this religion is true? What is this religion's view of the good life for human beings? What personal and social implications does this faith have? These are important issues that should be taken into consideration when examining the claims of a particular religion, and it would be good for parents to discuss these questions with their children as they become able to engage in such conversations.
Third, all parents should respect the developing autonomy of their children. If parents attempt to force their faith, agnosticism, or atheism on their children, they are failing to respect the developing personhood of those children. Children have an interest in becoming autonomous and rational, and the manner in which parents raise their kids should respect and foster this interest. Religious parents for whom faith is a crucial element of the good life can raise their children within their faith, but they should do so in way that respects their children. The same goes for secular parents. A genuine and authentic religious faith should be embraced rationally and autonomously. When parents attempt to force their faith (or their secularism) on their children, they neglect this important truth. This does not mean that parents should not seek to influence their children, but that they should do so in a morally appropriate way.
Finally, whether or not a child embraces the faith or the secularism of their parents, those parents should remain committed to that child. Parental love is ideally an unconditional love, and those parents who reject or distance themselves from their children over issues of faith are making a mistake. Such love is not easy, but it is what all parents should aspire to give to their children.
(The above is based on my book Conceptions of Parenthood, written for scholars and professionals. It is available free online here.)