WT 96: How Can I Help My Child Find a Faith of their Own?
Today’s topic is tricky, whether you have a 4 yr old or a 14 yr old. On today’s episode we’re answering questions about your child and faith, from a question as practical as, “how do I get my kids to be quiet while we’re praying?” to the deeper issue of teenagers finding their own faith once they are old enough to decide what they believe for themselves.
Moms we have a great show for you today so listen in and I hope you come away encouraged!
Question 1: We have been struggling for a few weeks now as our 4 year old doesn’t want to go to church. He’s gone since he was a baby, so I’m not sure what’s happened to make him not want to go. I’ve asked him, but he doesn’t give me an answer! Help!
Karen’s Answer: I would keep going even if he doesn’t want to go because it is what you and your husband decided you want to do and because you cannot allow a four year old to make adult decisions. I do think you should try and put his mind to rest by saying things like, “ we will be back to get you, they love you at church, you have friends at church, it is a safe place.” You can tell him if he can give you a reason why he doesn’t want to go you will listen and see if there is something you can change (like his classroom ) but he is going to go.
A lot of times children get into this rut, but don’t give into him otherwise he will develop the mindset that if he doesn’t want to do something he doesn’t have to. That mindset will not be good for his life. Last thing, pray for him and for his teachers that they will connect with him. Think about it this way, we don’t allow our 4 year old to dictate what we do with our family in any other area, so why church? When a 4 year old says he wants dessert before the meal we say no and stick to it. Same thing here. Be confident in yourself and your decisions.
Question 2: How did you get your young children to be quiet during prayer time? We’re trying to teach our kids to respect prayer or others while they’re praying but our 2 and 5 year-olds keep jumping around and talking during bedtime prayer. Should we discipline them for that behavior while we’re trying to pray?
Karen’s Answer: It is a slow process!!! You teach by repetition, so remember that. Reward good behavior and don’t give in to the bad behavior. If they are jumping around, then they have to go to bed and have to skip prayer time/ bedtime stories, etc. Also, think about putting the two year old to bed and just do prayer time with the older ones. At this young age, keep the prayers SHORT!
Question 3: Our 14 yr old has just told us she doesn’t believe in God anymore. She has always gone to youth group and seemed to enjoy church. This feels like it’s come out of nowhere. Do we make her go to church with us? Give her space? I feel paralyzed and afraid to do anything in case it’s the wrong thing.
Karen’s Answer: Don’t be afraid. That is exactly what the enemy wants you to do is be afraid and do nothing. I would look at the situation from a few different perspectives: 1. Has she recently gone through something hard in her life? A lot of times when teens start doubting God it is because they are experiencing something really hard, and they feel as if God has let them down. Kelsey doubted in middle school, but her Dad was recalled for the Navy and had to go to war. Kelsey blamed God because she prayed He would spare Greg. When Greg went, then she felt betrayed. 2. Is your child easily influenced? If so, she might be listening to her friends, and what they are saying is not lining up with what she has learned in church. Speak into these areas. For me, we didn’t stop going to church, but didn’t always make our teen go to their class. But, they had to go to church with us, or serve in some area. Last thing, I would talk to your daughter. Just ask questions, and listen. There is a reason why she’s changed her mind, and it’s normal at this age to question. God is not afraid of her questions and you don’t need to be either. You have a lot of influence in her life, so listen to what she is saying and try to speak truth into her life. Pray that God will show you how to walk with your daughter and draw her back to her Heavenly Father. Pray that God will reveal himself to your daughter in a real way. Pray that she will “see” God in her normal everyday life.
Question 4: Do you have any recommendations for helping my 10 year old son mature in his faith? We pray at meal times and he attends church regularly, it just seems like he’s ready for something more than simple Bible stories and I’m not sure where to go from here. (He is our oldest if that helps.)
Karen’s Answer: Get him a good devotional. Jesus Calling is a great devotional for children. Talk to him and ask him if he has any questions, and what he would like to learn more about. Maybe the father and the son could do a book study together? I did get my children Jesus Calling. They enjoyed it. I gave them a journal and taught them what I did for my quiet time. How I spend that time in the morning and what all I did. We would talk a lot. I always tried to tie things back to God. Be more aware of things with your son. If he is into nature, tie nature into how God created nature and point out the details that only God could have done. If he is relational, teach him how relational God is first with Adam/Eve, how he took care of them in the Garden of Eden, to Abraham to eventually Jesus.
Moms, we know your time is precious. Thank you for spending it with us. We hope you feel encouraged, equipped and most importantly—the peace of God. If you want to have weekly encouragement emailed to you, sign up for Karen’s free weekly newsletter over in the sidebar.
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