Parents always want their children to grow up be independent thinkers. One of our joys and responsibilities as parents is to offer our children as much knowledge, nurturing and guidance as we can and then let them develop their own ideas, opinions and passionate feelings about themselves and the world around them. What if this independent thinking, however, is a contradiction to a family tradition that you have always held dear?. If your family is a Church going one, and your teenager suddenly decides he or she no longer wants to attend, how should you react? This article will offer some suggestions on how to deal with this situation, respecting your teenager’s decision, but also keeping your family values intact.
Try To Find Out The True Reason For The Sudden Disinterest In Attending Church. Is your son or daughter exercising their right to change their spiritual beliefs and follow their own path or is the reason a more simple one?. Perhaps your teenager wishes to be more independent and attend Church without the family. Is the day and time that your family attends religious services conflicting with his or her schedule? Teenagers don’t always express themselves succinctly and completely and rely on short and bold statements to express themselves. A little investigation and direct questioning can eliminate any confusion and get the heart of the matter. A little flexibility in the Church schedule may be all that is needed to encourage your teenager to continue attending Church.
Have An Open Discussion About Religion And Spirituality. Religion and spirituality mean different things to different people. A hundred different people may have a hundred different thoughts and feelings about what spirituality means to them. Though you may have tried to share your feelings about a higher power and why it is important to attend worship services every week, your teenager may have a very different viewpoint. Take heart in the fact that many people have a close relationship with their higher power and yet don’t attend Church services on a weekly basis. Just because your son or daughter decides that attending Mass is not going to be a part of their weekly schedule does not mean that all their religious training and teaching has been for nothing and they are going to suddenly go off the moral and spiritual track.
Decide If You Are Prepared To Enforce This Rule Despite The Possible Ramifications. While teenagers are still obligated to follow their parents’ rules, give this one family rule a significant amount of thought before deciding that there is absolutely no room for change. Forcing a young adult into following and practicing the family religion despite their obvious questions and doubts can lead to resentment and a total rejection of any type of religion. Though you may hope that your child shares your religious beliefs, eventually you will need to accept that he or she has the right to make their own decisions. You will need to decide if this time has arrived.
Encourage Your Teenager To Research Other Religions. There are many different religions and spiritual practices in this world and many devoted followers who all feel that their’s is the “right” one. Your teenager may feel that another religion speaks to them and is a much better fit. Reading about other religions and possibly even attending services at another Church may answer the questions your son or daughter has and clear the way for the spiritual path is right for them.