Need advice for dealing with "resistant" children

Kristina - posted on 12/31/2009 ( 25 moms have responded )

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Hi everyone.

I have 3 girls ages 6, 9, and 11. My 11 and 9 year olds are highly resistant to going to church and learning the word of God. They make smart comments about church and have expressed no desire to have a relationahip with God. At one point I had to give them consequences when they tried to get the little one involved in ganging up on me and refusing to get up on Sunday morning. Even though they don't do THAT anymore, the distain for church is still there. I did get my 11 year old involved in a preteen girls group which she loves, but is this lack of interest in church normal?

Kristina

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Linda - posted on 01/27/2010

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It's called rebellion. All kids go thru it. Put them in activities like the Upwards Program. It is Christian based sports teaching the sport and about working together with their peers. It will work, also pray alot.

Dawn - posted on 01/22/2010

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I can't really relate because I have never had that problem but I believe the best thing you can do is pray. Don't stop praying and never give up. Do they like the church? Maybe it has to do with the move and the new church. If that is the case maybe you could work together to find a different church that you all like. I enjoy the church I attend but I would go to a different church if it weren't for my child. I mean, sometimes we just have to make small sacrafices when it comes to that. I mean, don't get me wrong. I would never go to a church that I felt was ALL wrong for me because my kid likes it but I won't go to a church unless we can both agree on it (of course, it is just me and her so it is a little easier for us). I pray that it all works out. God will work in their lives....He promises us that He will and He always keeps his word. Be Blessed, ~Dawn~

Lara - posted on 01/18/2010

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Sheri, my now 18 year old son went to Acquire the Fire...what an awesome event. He loved it so much he then got involved in Global Expeditions and did some missionary work over the summer. I dont know how old your daughter is, but maybe you should google that site and take a look at it. He made lifelong friends and had a one-of-a-kind experience at 17 years old.

Sheri - posted on 01/16/2010

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I would first find out why your girls are acting out. I would ask them for their input on what church they want to go to and what they are looking for in a church. My pastor told me last week that he was a confirmed athiest at age 18. So don't give up on your kids, they will come around. My daughter wasn't to interested in church and wasn't sure where her beliefs were then she went to Acquire the Fire and it solidified her faith in Christ.

Lara - posted on 01/15/2010

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Kristina,
My parenting style worked for me when I too was outnumbered, 5children to one parent...my husband worked a lot of hours so I could stay home when they were younger and now they are much older, two are married with children, I work.
The area where we lived when the kids were younger was pretty terrible, literally next door to a known crack house which was next door to a known crack house and yet two doors down in the oppsite direction was their elementary school. I was easy going wtih my kids and we went on a lot of bike rides together and picnics, walked to the park every single night to play basketball after homework and dinner. I held the crime at bay while rearing my children with simple to follow guidelines that were nonnegotiable, there is no reason to negotiate rules, they are rules not suggestions.
Today we live an entirely different lifestyle, we have been blessed with the abilities and grace from God that led us to owning our own business and now live in a peaceful, beautiful area across the street from dotors and lawyers, instead of crack heads. Looking back, I can tell you as a fact that every single...EVERY SINGLE child that my kids played with on that street does drugs! One is homeless with a pregnant girlfriend (20 yrs old now), his sister (18 yrs old now) sells her body for room and board to an older man, another (19 yrs old now) lives with his grandma now and has been arested already for sale of drugs, tow other were took by the state and I dont know what happened to them...my kids got out. They played with these kids every single day. My rule was they could play IN MY HOUSE under my supervision, not because those kids were doing drugs back then (two were actually) but because it gave me the opportunity to supervise and maintain my rules. They watched movies and had popcorn and made caramel apples, put together gingerbread houses at my kitchen table...I was not a heavy fisted mother just because I had rules that I expected to be followed. As a matter of fact life was calmer and easier because we all understood our expectations and our roles in our home. We all had jobs and responsibilities and respect for each other. there was no hitting in my home, we talked just fine about our feelings...regardless if it was a good feeling or bad. We talked so much that I rarely had to disipline. They learned coping skills and haow to live with others. their feelings did not come first, they were more aware of those around them and how their behavior affected them.
do whatever you feel is right, that most important. You ahve a lot fo different sugestions from a lot of different people. I can just honestly say my parent style worked for me with a household full of kids and kept them on the right path.
Kellie, I was offended by the suggestion that I "provoke, irritate or harass" my kids by expecting them to grasp simple rules and behave well. that is what I think is crap...and still do. We are losing this generation quickly. I dont know if you are aware, but there are drugs everywhere!!! Cops get high, doctors get high, kids get high...crime is up, laws are changing and I believe our situation is clearly depicted in Revelations..I believe we are close...our church reads the Bible verse by verse and now on Sunday we are studying Genesis and on Wednesday its Revelations. I am not taking a chance with my kids not having the opportunity to hear the word of God because we are busy finding out how they feeeeel. its just negotiable. I would have dragged them if necessary...but then they knew they would have been punished for making me drag them anywhere. my methodology is so simple...clearly explain the rules, always always follow through with punishment, and remind them as they go-by my actions- that they are the child and I am the parent. You can disagree with that, but it worked for me.

Kellie - posted on 01/14/2010

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Kristina posted a question and I merely offered my advice. You don't have to agree with it nor like what I have to say but that doesn't mean it's "crap." We both mean well and wrote in an effort to help and support the questioner. In both of your responses you have taken my words out of context and believed I "said" certain things that I didn't. Kristina was looking for a solution. She was obviously unhappy with the arguing and rebellion. Communication is a solution to any problem. It is a life skill. That is not to say we forego the rules, abandon a standard of acceptable behavior or that we let our children do whatever they want. You can have clear cut rules and standards of behavior and also help them communicate "through" their feelings. There are times when I want to know why God wants me to do something like forgive the person who has betrayed me, hold my tongue when I want to complain, or to be peaceful and kind when really what I want to do is be rude and beligerant. Thank God His word explains why. His Word communicates to us so we can make good choices that will bless our lives. And, thank God He withholds His wrath when I so clearly deserve it. And He doesn't do it for me, He does it for His name sake. I agree with you on many levels but I completely and respectfully disagree with your methodology.
Kristina, it seems your innocent question has caused some controversy and I sincerely apologize for that. It is my prayer that you will find answers and that you and your children can come together to make church a positive and uplifiting experience. God bless.

Lara - posted on 01/14/2010

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I guess in rearing my children, as children, church was not their 'free-will' as I did not think that my kids under 11 years old were qualified to make those kinds of decision. Our pastor jokes about how he was drugged as a child..."drug to church, drug to youth group, drug to pot-luck dinners".
Having a meeting of the minds of your expectations, like no toleration for use of the Lord's name in vain, cussing, back talk, and other common expectations is totally the opposite of 'provoking' a child. They understand what you expect from them and the clear repricussions if they break your rules...thats all about growing up. I dont want my boys to grow up thinking or believing that they can do as they please as long as they can explain their actions clearly. Who cares why you broke the law...if you knew better, if you understood the rules or laws and chose to do your own thing, who cares why you broke the laws or rules. Any explanation after breaking a law or ule that you are aware of is called an "excuse". Example: "I knew the speed limit was 25 but I was late for a soccer game." or "I knew I told my mom I was a t a friends house studying, but everyone else went to the skating rink and I think I'm old enough to be able to make those decisions so I decided to go with them."
In my home, I dont deal in the "why" I only deal in the fact that they knew better and decided that they could pick and chose what rules to follow, that they disrepected me, my home and my rules because htey felt they knew better. Thats crap. Strict rules that aren't hidden, openly discussed and known, along with follow through is exactly like following the Bible. God isn't here to debate or discuss his laws and guidelines for us to live by. His laws are clear and well written for us to understand, when we face him to explain our actions, I dont think there are any passages in the Bible that talk about excuses...I dont feel like God provokes me, irritates me or harasses me by expecting me to follow His clear laws and rules. Why in the world would I treat my children as if their expectations are lower...so I don't "irritate them" Thank God, literally that He did not consider making His laws as irritating or harassing. Thank God he has an expectation of our actions and behavior that are understandable and well written for us to follow, so we aren't confused or we dont think we can make it up as we go as long as we have a really goo reason...like 'feelings'. Thank God it isnt up to me or my feelings...because just as my children aren't qualified to decide about church or anyting else, I'm not qualified to decide which of Gods laws apply to me because they may hurt my feelings and I may need to discuss them with God and perhaps nto follow them exactly right thanks to my "free will".

Susan - posted on 01/13/2010

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Sometimes if preteen kids know that something is important to Mom, they'll say they don't like it just to express some independence. That's perfectly normal. What they need to know is that going to church isn't optional. When my preteen/teenage daughter used to resist something that wasn't really up to her, I would finally end up telling her that she could do it nice or she could do it naughty, her attitude was up to her, but she was going to do it. And always keep your eyes and ears open just in case there's a kid picking on them at church/Sunday school or a teacher who may not be as kind or encouraging as he/she could be. That probably isn't the case, but be aware of the possibility anyway.

Kellie - posted on 01/13/2010

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Is that how God treats you? School in mandated by the state and parents can go to jail for not sending their children, but church is an expression of free will. It is important that we train our children in the way they should go and there is a level of respect we must achieve with them, but not all parents want to be so hard nosed about things. Respect is commanded by our actions and not demanded by our words. When mom and dad are not presenting faith as a united front it does confuse the kids and it is important to talk about these things. Kids are people too with their own feelings and emotions and to trample on them is to send a message that what they want doesn't matter. Ephesians and Colossians both say we should not provoke, irriate, harass or frustrate our children and that requires deeper thinking to understand when to apply the scripture and when to "demand" respect.

Lara - posted on 01/13/2010

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I still have to say...I dont believe its that deep. Your young, young, young girls are not putting God in the backseat or not wanting a relationship with Him. They are just young. I have had 5 (two p/t as step children, 3 I gave birth to), they are all over 18 now except one who is 13, almost 14. I know what I'm talking about. I think you should 100% STOP making it about God. Once you start accusing them of not wanting a relatiopnship with God or you are "appointed" by God (JEEZE) and you just get to the basics of parenting, which is respect what i say and expect from you regardless of where we are going or what we are doing; then you are setting a firm foundation for that respect to come later in other situations. People, they are children..they dont need to be reasoned with abotu everything, you dont have to discuss everything with them..they cant form complete thoughts based on true fact, they are kids. Sponge Bob is their world, give them a break! You tell them that this is the way its gonna be, you will respect me and not make every single Sunday morning stressful and difficult because we are going nomatter what, you dont want to hear any complaints afterwards and you refuse to discuss it again. If they start up again...ground them, time out something disciplinarian. I dont understand the level of dificulty and the depth everyone is addressing this with. What would you do if they refused school everyday, would you accuse them of wanting to be on welfare for the rest of their lives, panhandling int he streets and homelss? I dont think so..I think youd just say they are being disrespectful of you by making every morning crappy over the same subject. you told them what you want and they are arguing with you...it isnt that deep ladies.

Allison - posted on 01/12/2010

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I have a 12 and 13 yr. old who don't enjoy church as much as they used to and that is because there are not enough pre-teen activities for them in the church. They loved the Sunday school when they were younger. Now learning the Bible or going to church just seems like a boring lesson having to be learned instead of enjoying and understanding God's word. Pre teens have a hard time just going thru puberty. We need to get them involved in fun educational programs.

Kellie - posted on 01/12/2010

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I remember resisting church when I was younger too. We went to catholic school and church every sunday. But dad did not go with us. He slept in and watched the preacher's on TV. There is nothing wrong with television evangalists, I enjoy them myself, but i think he was sending the wrong message. I didn't understand why if it was so important dad was not going too. Instead of putting God in the middle, put Him first. Tell your daughter that you have been appointed by God to train her up in the way she should go. You are under His authority and answer to Him. Give her some room to express how she is feeling about church. Is she unsure about God? Did something happen? Has someone said something to her? Keeping the lines of communication open with her is very important and you don't want to frustrate her relationship with God inadvertantly. As always, keep praying and asking God for wisdom and insight, be patient, and stand on the ground of His Word.

Lara - posted on 01/11/2010

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Look at this as the girls being 'disrespectful' instead of "no desire to have a relationship with God". That's a heavy accusation when dealing with littel kids. Its simpler than how you are seeing it, your girls are being disrespectful about getting up on Sunday and going to church, period. Don't tolerate disrespect ever, in anything. Sit them donw and tell them this is the plan, this is what we are doing every Sunday morning and I don't really care if you like it or not, I care if you are disrespectful about it...so at the end of the day is the girls need to fake it til they get it on their own. Taking them every single Sunday will keep the door open for them as they grow, getting them involved in other church activities aside from Sunday helps loads. My middle son, 18, is now the middle school youth group leader and his younger brother is in his youth group class. They went kicking and screaming as youngsters...I wont have it, I will not be disrespected by children. Try it, then follow through. If thye are disrespectful by arguing or any disruption on a Sunday morning, take away a fun activity they had coming up...the thing is to stick to it. You are the adult, they are children....who is in charge of your home?

Sally - posted on 01/09/2010

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I have my 9yr old grandson to raise. I've had him since he was a month old. So I didn't get it when he displayed rebellion about going to church and learning about God. Then one day I sat him down, told him I love him but that I love God more. I love God so much that I want to learn as much as I can about him because one day I plan to live with him forever. I asked my grandson where he wants to be for eternity, because there are only two choices. He still has that lack of interest sometimes but most of the time, he's very excited to go to his youth classes and sunday school class. He's been talking to me lately about being baptised! Just hang in there but give the 9 &11yr old the plain facts. Then let them chose. Ask them to explain their choice.

Mary - posted on 01/08/2010

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Is there any way to explain to your husband how important it is for the girls to see him go and for this to be a family thing?

I was very lucky... I moved when my kids were 7, 4 and 2.... and I made going to Church a very happy occasion. I told them from the time they were toddlers that Church was a party to celebrate Christ and WE were invited! They were always happy to go and hated missing if I was sick! When they got old enough to walk, if I was sick, they went without me! When they were your kids ages or so, I would take them out after church. I would treat them to popcorn and soda at a local store with a snack bar... they loved going to Church and never gave me problems. Sorry, don't know what else to suggest.... if hubby could go great! But if he won't... try an activity or treat after Church that only happens if they get up, get ready on time and behave during Church.... it worked for me.

Elizabeth - posted on 01/08/2010

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After they make friends and form new bonds I'm sure they will start looking forward to the new social network. If their friend are interested in God they will look into Him too.

Marcella - posted on 01/08/2010

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I have found out that the girls like to stick together and like to get involved if there is no involvement in there social life with other members of there church they will not like going I have 15 grandkids and I get them involved with church summer camps and also outings like skating and bowling than they create abetter relationship with others and God.

Carla - posted on 01/06/2010

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Most kids hit an age when going to church isn't cool, so don't think your kids are abby-normal. However, having said that, your job is to take them to church and get as much 'God-stuff' in their little heads as you can. You may think they are not listening, but a lot of it is sinking in. Being a parent is not a popularity contest, it's an awesome responsibility given to us by the Father, and we are expected to raise them as Godly as we possibly know how. Will they rebel? Probably. Remember the Prodigal Son. He left home, drank, gambled away all his money, slept with prostitutes, then slept with pigs. I know that doesn't resassure you of what might happen to your children, but it is a message of hope. I'm sure the father raised him to be a Godly person, but the lure of the world is intoxicating! We find out, usually fairly quickly, that it isn't the wonderful place we thought it was going to be and come running back to the Father.



You are going to run the gambit of emotions, and usually horrid guilt is the top one. You will feel you are the worst parent in the world, and your kids will probably tell you the same thing. That's where remembering your responsibility to God comes in. He gave your kids to you with the promise (I assume you dedicated them) that you would do your level best to give them back to Him. The timeline isn't definite, but if you show them God's love, they will come back. We have that promise in Deuteronomy: 'Raise your children in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart'. Good luck, sweetie, hang in there!

Kristina - posted on 01/04/2010

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I think part of the problem is that my husband does not attend church. Only goes on major holidays and absolutely refuses to go any other time. He will enforce the kids going, so even though they see him staying home, they know they still have to go. I have told them that once they are out of the house the can make their own decisions but in the mean time it is my job to provide them with a good Christian foundation. As far as friends go, they do know a lot of kids at this church and so far none of them have made bad choices in that area. They even see their principal and other familiar adults from the community volunteering their time in ministries here and there. My girls see a good deal of modelling, even if their father does not attend. I expect it to get easier week after week, once they realize there is no room for negotiation.

Margaret - posted on 01/03/2010

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It certainly is normal and we do resist God.Yet while they are under your roof,say this is something we do as a family,even us grown ups need too learn about God.Consequences are a definate in any rebellion.Every kid as their price-video games etc.Also pray and check out the friends they have!

Kristina - posted on 01/02/2010

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The oldest has not wanted to move from the get go. But this is my home state, and my husband found a much better job down here. Before moving, we lived in the poorest county in upstate NY and even though I have a Masters degree I was having a difficult time finding a good job. It was hard making ends meet and we even foreclosed on our house up there after a year and a half on the market with no interest. The weather up there was extreme getting to 40 below and snowing several feet at a time. We talked about the move and the girls know why we did what we did. I understand the oldest not wanting to move, but at this point, its a year and a half later and she needs to know that my husband and I made the decision together for the good of the family. She may not be able to see it now, but I can't help that. As far as churches go, she just does not want to go, period. I was the same way, I guess when I was that age. At least she likes youth group. That's a start.

Shirley A. - posted on 01/02/2010

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You are using the word "I" decided to check it out, "I" LOVED it right from the get go. There could be a connection with the move from NY to Maryland, have the girls express their true feelings about the move.

Kristina - posted on 01/01/2010

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Thanks for the advice Debra. The girls have always gone to church but this is a new church for them. We spent 9 years in upstate NY and loved our church there. They gave me no trouble on Sundays. But since we moved to Maryland over a year ago we have been to many churches, trying to find the right one. As a matter of fact we have been involved with a Lutheran church for almost a year but I was finding it less and less spiritually fullfilling. 2 months ago, we discovered that many of our friends in the community were attending the Baptist church down the road and I decided to check it out. I LOVED it right from the get go. It has so many things to do from Wednesday AWANA to preteen group on Sunday nights after the main service. I think the problem is that the girls don't like having attended so many churches. Probably wondering if this is really the one. I guess all I can do is keep taking them and soon they will see it really IS the one. So anyway, we will keep going, and I will keep praying. Thanks again!

Debra - posted on 01/01/2010

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Have they attended church all of their life or is this new? Keep trying momma - I went to church on my own as a teen because I believed in God but wouldn't say I was a Christian, in fact, I made FUN of Christians and had a very open ended religion. But by the time I was 21 God got my attention and I repented and became a follower of Christ. Be patient, show them God's love through your actions and reactions - pray pray pray! I do think this can be normal - they are entering the pre-teen years and I was so rotten to my mom back then! And now we have a great relationship. Keep your chip up momma!

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