Do you think that forcing a child to go to church will make them hate it later?

@fallie (74)
United States
March 19, 2007 10:00pm CST
My mother forced me to go to church 3 times a week until I was 18. If I didn't go, then I could not visit with my friends on the weekends. As a result, I hate to go to church and only go when I go home to visit her. At what age should a parent allow a child to chose for themself if they want to go to church? Did your parents force you to go? Do you make your children go to church?
1 person likes this
7 responses
@cynddvs (2950)
• United States
26 Mar 07
I have always said I will never force religion on my daughter. I do not plan on baptizing her until she is old enough to understand what being baptized means and tells me that's what she wants. Me and my fiance are not regular church goers. If we do become regular church goers and my daughter is old enough to stay home then I will let her. I think children need to be able to choose their own way as far as religion goes. Our jobs as parents is to guide them and set good moral standards for them.
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@Galena (9124)
20 Mar 07
unless they are too young to stay at home and no one else can look after them, then they shouldn't be forced to go at all. no one is too young to make choices about their own spirituality.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Mar 07
Personally, I was forced to go to church when I was younger and I hated it then and I hate it now. For one, I'm not religious per se, especially in the christain sense of religious. I'm definitely not found of a lot of the church teachings, so I just avoid it altogether. I'd start giving my kid a choice about 9 or 10. If they don't want to go, why force them? They're just going to rebel and make the entire situation worse, especially if they put up a weekly fight whenever Sunday comes around.
@fallie (74)
• United States
21 Mar 07
Thank you for sharing that. I knew I couldn't be the only one. My sister hates chruch too but goes because she feels guilty when she doesn't. I don't feel guilty at all when I'm sleeping until noon on Sunday.
@horsesrule (1962)
• United States
20 Mar 07
My parents didn't make me go to church because they were not church people. I guess I did make my daughter go to church once a week for many years [when she was young]. But I also tried to plan activities so that we could have some fun. We would go on nature hikes, we would watch religious videos like movies or animated movies. I tried for upbeat, fun stuff that wasn't all stuffy and Biblical though of course I wanted them to have Biblical principles. I tried to keep religious fiction and religious kids books on hand at all times so she had something good to read. I kept nature TV shows on hand at all times too since I didn't let her indiscriminately watch TV. I bought cute kids religious music tapes that we listened to and sang along with. We did projects like making homemade cards for everyone at this one particular rest home for Christmas one year. That took us several months to do. I invited people over nearly every week for lunch so that we had company to visit with. Once she got older though, I backed off and she didn't go with me anymore. I guess that was around the age of 13 or 14. She did at some point choose a church of her own but that didn't work out so she hasn't been to church for awhile. She did say recently though that she was thinking of going to the church up the street so I believe that I will go with her and maybe we will go there regularly. Ya just never know!
@fallie (74)
• United States
20 Mar 07
I like that you taught your daughter the value of helping others and that religious activities can be fun. The fact that she did go to church on her own probably means that she likes church but just has had a hard time finding the right one for her. I sometimes think about going to a church near my house.
• United States
20 Mar 07
I think they shouldn't be forced to go when they are old enough to stay at home while the rest of the family is at church. I would say about 12 or 13. By that time, a child's mind and soul has developed enough that they can decide how they want to choose or follow God.
@fallie (74)
• United States
20 Mar 07
I agree. My church taught that when I child reached their teens, they were mature enough to be baptized and be responsible for their actions. I felt like I never had any say.
@laurabeth (146)
• United States
20 Mar 07
I believe in giving children choices, As far as church goes, I think it really depends on the family, we are not religious people, but I think in a situation like you described, had I been the mom, I probably would have let my daughter have some say around 12-13 ish. Not to say I would let her not go at all, but maybe compromise on once a week instead of three.
@fallie (74)
• United States
20 Mar 07
I agree with you. I think my mom just thought if I went more then I might learn more and be more spiritual. I probably would have enjoyed church more if I could have chosen to go. I might have even gone all three times a week. I always wonder what would have happened.
• United States
21 Mar 07
I don't think children should be forced to go to church. Everyone has to choose their own religious path, it is not something you can force on someone. They have to some to believe it on their own.