At What Age Should Your Kids Have a Say So In Going To Church

  1. I was at the bookstore looking at the Eastern Philosphy question and a young adult was bemoaning the fact that if he didn't go to his dad's church he would be kicked out, and he was a student and wasn't in any position to leave home right now. he was 20 years old.

    Seems a bit harsh to force that on the kid, who obviously by the books he was browsing is seeking his own journey.

    When did your parents allow you a say so in going to church. When did you or do you plan on allowing your own kids a say so?

    Just curious.

    Thanks.
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  2. 61 Comments

  3. by   H ynnoD
    I stopped going at 17 for 26 years.My Dad up and left my mom and she could'nt control me.As long as my kids live at home,they will have to go.As a Southern Baptist,we believe God holds us accountable for teaching our kids about him.
    Last edit by H ynnoD on Apr 12, '04
  4. by   Boe
    I can agree with the above poster. Most people have house rules, If you want to live in my home you will do X. I am all for "seeking your own journey", but if it is really important to the student he could find a way to live elsewhere. Many people support themselves as students. The parents are not forceing the student to do anything, they have rules and he can leave if he chooses to.
  5. by   PennyLane
    I never went to church, so I can't speak from my own experience. But I had plenty of friends who didn't want to go to church. I don't think kids should be forced to go.

    Personally if I had kids I would introduce them to all different kinds of religions and philosophies and let them choose where they want to go, if at all. I'd wait until they're old enough to understand each one and do reading on each religion and visit different churches/places of worship.
  6. by   Spidey's mom
    As a family, we attend church.

    The 20 year old has no one forcing him to do anything. There are all kinds of house rules a kid won't agree with. Do you continue to "force" your child to set the table or take out the trash or keep their room fairly clean or mow the lawn - all contributions to family life? Do you keep a curfew? Do you have a rule against using illegal drugs? If he wants to experiment and not live by the rules then I think he needs to move out and become a grown up.

    Why when they are all of a sudden 20, do the rules have to change?

    Does he pay any rent? Does he help with groceries? Is he getting a free ride?

    I think that the 20 year old has a perfect right to seek . . . . just move out and seek.

    Having said that, our 18 year old asked if after graduation from high school he could stop going to church every Sunday and just go on special occasions. He still believes in our faith. He just wants to sleep in.

    We let him. Which I think now was a mistake.

    steph
  7. by   jnette
    I would say until they are in their teens and able to think for themselves in a mature manner.... in other words, not just being "lazy, don't wanna get out of bed" type of excuses.

    If and when they are capable of having healthy discussions about religion, spirituality, etc.

    No, I do not believe young ppl should be forced to go against their will... by ANY means ! This only produces resentment.

    I am VERY grateful for my Dad... that it was "understood" that my sis and I went to Church every Sunday, (although my mother never did).. no questions asked, while we were growing up.
    It gave me a foundation from which to question and explore further.

    I was raised Catholic, yet once I got out on my own, I continued my quest and dabbled in quite a bit for about ten years until I came back full circle to my Christian beliefs... no longer Catholic, however.

    I look at it this way.... it is GOOD to ponder, to question, to seek the truth.

    Truth will stand on its own. Truth has nothing to hide, nothing to fear. It is a healthy thing to deisre truth and spirituality... and it can stand up to the questioning. If the heart is sincere in its quest for truth, it will find truth.

    Seek, and ye shall find.
  8. by   Spidey's mom
    And just because we go to church as a family does not mean we don't allow discussions about questions our kids have about our faith and others. I'm a bit more liberal than my husband (I can see some of you laughing out there and so the discussions can get interesting.

    I think with our son we were trying too hard to keep him in our sphere of influence as he had already veered into some dangerous behaviors. We backed down to keep him around and I know we did the wrong thing. We needed to show him that we hold fast to our values.

    He left home in January with no direction. No job. No plans for the future.

    We are left with worrying . ..

    steph
  9. by   jnette
    Quote from stevielynn


    We are left with worrying . ..



    steph

    ... as are ALL good parents when their young first spread their wings.

    I, too, left out on my own.. no job, no direction... flew across the vast ocean to a country in which I was a stranger.. and a culture I was not accustomed to.. here in our good ol' US of A !

    But, hey... I didn't turn out too badly !

    Your values become his values by his CHOICE... he may stray from them for awhile, but what you have taught him by word and example will stick in there.

    He'll make his mistakes, as we all did. You've done all you can do... the rest is now up to him. The rollercoaster ride has just begun ! :chuckle He KNOWS your values... now he must decide for himself if he wants to make them HIS values. Give him time........ :kiss
  10. by   Tweety
    Quote from stevielynn
    As a family, we attend church.

    The 20 year old has no one forcing him to do anything. There are all kinds of house rules a kid won't agree with. Do you continue to "force" your child to set the table or take out the trash or keep their room fairly clean or mow the lawn - all contributions to family life? Do you keep a curfew? Do you have a rule against using illegal drugs? If he wants to experiment and not live by the rules then I think he needs to move out and become a grown up.

    Why when they are all of a sudden 20, do the rules have to change?

    Does he pay any rent? Does he help with groceries? Is he getting a free ride?

    I think that the 20 year old has a perfect right to seek . . . . just move out and seek.

    Having said that, our 18 year old asked if after graduation from high school he could stop going to church every Sunday and just go on special occasions. He still believes in our faith. He just wants to sleep in.

    We let him. Which I think now was a mistake.

    steph
    I guess I don't equate going to church with taking out the trash. I think some decisions should be left to the adult child, even if that adult child is living under your roof and eating your food. The "because I say so, and because you are living under my roof you need to follow my rules" kind of thinking is misplaced when saying to a 20 year old adult "go to church or get out". Just my humble opinion. I don't have kids and really shouldn't say.

    Perhaps your son not going to church with you on Sunday is a mistake. But it's not your mistake. It's his mistake and you should let go enough to allow him to make his own mistakes and decisions, even if you are the one footing the bills. IMHO.
  11. by   Energizer Bunny
    WEll, I think I was about 12 when I finally was able to get it through their heads that I didn't want to go, though they only made me go sporadically before that.

    My children are 4 and 2 and they will decide now actually if they want to go, though they are at the stage where they love to be around other kids and learn about God. I will never force my religion on them and will allow them to make their own choices.
  12. by   Tweety
    Quote from jnette
    ... as are ALL good parents when their young first spread their wings.

    I, too, left out on my own.. no job, no direction... flew across the vast ocean to a country in which I was a stranger.. and a culture I was not accustomed to.. here in our good ol' US of A !

    But, hey... I didn't turn out too badly !

    Your values become his values by his CHOICE... he may stray from them for awhile, but what you have taught him by word and example will stick in there.

    He'll make his mistakes, as we all did. You've done all you can do... the rest is now up to him. The rollercoaster ride has just begun ! :chuckle He KNOWS your values... now he must decide for himself if he wants to make them HIS values. Give him time........ :kiss
    You posted this as I was posting. And I couldn't agree more. Part of being a parent is knowing when to let go. Forcing values on a person and holding them too tight is stifling.
  13. by   Shotzie
    Stevielynn, I am walking the walk with you...only difference is my son hasn't left yet...but it's going to happen soon.
    He is basically a very good kid. 19 years old, working full time at fast food shop, no drugs or dangerous behaviors but just not doing much.
    He is sort of drifting. Trying to break into the music business with a heavy (very heavy) metal rock band...but not trying too hard you understand. We have been supportive,even though we are very worried about this kind of music and the very scary type of kids that are his audience at the local rock coffee houses where he plays.
    He has now scheduled himself to work every Sunday even though it is a family rule that we go to church on Sunday. He has multiple piercings including tongue and lip and both nipples. He stays up late, we never know who else will be spending at our house until we wake up in the morning. He is unwilling to understand or accept that we own the house and we set the rules and he's just disruptive enough for me to be wanting him out of the house.
    I love him but his self-centeredness and arrogance upsets and confuses me. We didn't raise him to be like this..why does he think it's OK?
    I know other people who talk about their sons and I know I should be grateful but then I look at the sons of some of our closest friends and I am even more disappointed in my child. I pray he grows into the wonderful person I saw when he was a child but I'm just so worried right now!
    I guess. Stevielynn, we just have to keep praying that the lessons we taught them when they were small children will carry them through their adulthoods.
  14. by   Tweety
    Quote from stevielynn
    We needed to show him that we hold fast to our values.
    steph

    Thanks all you can do is show him. You can't give them to him, can't force them on him, really can't do anything but worry. (I'm sure you're parents worried a lot about you once upon a time, now didn't they?)

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