teenagers

Ellen - posted on 07/07/2009 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My husband is not saved and I have raised my children in church. Now the 16 year old refuses to go because she has been hurt and then her youth pastor left. My 13 year old refuses to go because her 3 friends spread lies that hurt her rep. They were reprimanded by the youth pastor and made to apologize but she is hurt and refuses to go back. My 7 year old wants to go but I am not sure anymore. They are all girls.

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Shelly - posted on 08/04/2009

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Ellen,

Oh what an oppuertunity you have to teach your girls about the suffering Jesus went through for us...Just ask them " What do you think would of happened if Jesus would of desided to give up because he was made fun of or because someone else spead rumors about him??? And then ask them to think about all the people that will miss out on knowing the Lord because they are choosing to walk away because someone hurt thier feeling...Stay strong in the Lord and just turn to the Bible and read to them some of the trials that the Lord had to go through...I will keep you in my prayers

Tam - posted on 07/11/2009

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Ellen, you and your girls are in my heart and prayers.





This must be really topical now because in the past two days I've had personal conversations with friends about it and have answered two or three threads in various loops about it.





One thing to remember, Sunday School (and by extension, youth groups) was not originally part of the church. it was created mainly as a way to reach those youth who did not have parents in the church, like the bus ministries.





The problem with such things is that they put kids of similar ages together without interaction and learning from more than one or two adults. No matter how spiritually gifted those adults are at teaching and reaching, they will not reach an entire group. No matter what the age.





But kids are particularly difficult (especially teens) because of the way they are wired. I don't know if you were in youth groups as a teen, but if you sit and think about it, you'll probably remember some of the drama that occurred.





I walked away from the church (thankfully not from God) for several long years because of some of the hurt my peers caused. A lot of teens do, because they are more focused on themselves than God and so what they carry with them is the drama, not the message. A lot never return.





It some time coming, but my husband and I decided jointly that we will not force our children to attend Sunday School or Youth Group. That said, we do require church attendance and welcome them to sit with us. We prayed and prayed about it, but in all honesty we took them out of the public school system because we wanted them to learn to love and serve God (to build that foundation) without the drama, so why would we subject them to it in the youth group. And I know a lot of youth groups do a lot of good and reach a lot of kids, but at the same time, my children know the basics. They know that Jesus loves them, died to save them, rose again and is coming back. Now they need the meat--and even that should come from our home, not the church. The church is a great tool, but it's our responsibility to train up our children. There are spiritual battles coming that we want them prepared for.





Our oldest son has taken this path and he is growing spiritually by leaps and bounds. And just to put your mind at ease, he does know how to interact with his peers on those occasions he does do something with the group. But he also knows how to interact with people of all ages. His world has opened up since we embraced this and he's a lot more confident without the added drama.





That may or may not be for you and your daughters, but it's something to prayerfully consider. Only God knows what's best, so continue seeking His will. I'll keep you all in my prayers!

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Christine - posted on 08/08/2009

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Ellen - I am joining what seems to be the general consensus and say begin the search for another church. Even looking outside of your "branch" of Christianity. We are Presbyterian but found that our daughter seemed to react more positively to her peers at the Baptist church.



Kim - try not to worry about your girls saying that they are good role models for the other children. That was me. My mom worried about the amount of time I spent with friends who were not brough up in the faith, much less saved. I know that she spent many hours in prayer struggling with this. I always told her that she did not need to worry about me - I was strong, and maybe I could help someone else. I don't know if I ultimately brought anyone else to Jesus, but I know that I planted seeds. Now, at 36 and raising 2 children of my own I am thankful that my mom let me make that decision. I still feel as though I did the right thing. (though now I know what my mom was worried about!) I will pray for you and your girls!

Cheryl - posted on 08/07/2009

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ok mom, be tough and don't let the girls or the enemy win. find a new church or not? it may work but probably not. it sounds like the girls are making decision for themselves, it is you that decides who does what around your home. do not let teens call the shots



NO WAY. no church, no anything. period....... i worked with adolesence for 10 years. they never called the shots and if they did it was in there peer group managed by adult supervision...



they will go to church if you make them, and yes you can make them. you take every privilege they have, and they will go. dad does not have to support or go but he is an adult make there own decisions they do not. so do not let them throw that in you face.



you stick to your guns because you fear the LORD.. the consequences that your girls make as adults are because they made there own decisions. they do not make those kind of decisons when not adult. the minute they are 18 and leave home and that is only if they leave home they do not have to go to church, and GOD will deal with them. but for know you deal with them.



they can sit in the service with you if they choose not to go to youth group which sounds like there is some negativity goig around, maybe it is a good thing the pastor left. there is ugly and diappiontment every where, even at church. that is no excuse for them not to go.



pray for them, love them and discipline them. but hold them accountable to GOD, because one day they will have to face him alone as adults...



if they are aloud time for: TV, phone, games, internet, clothes, shoes, sleep over's, extra curricular activities ranging from all types. they will earn it, it is a privilege to know and worship GOD. everything is a BLESSING from GOD, so all of above is exactly that. believe me they will be loving the LORD and church if you take away those blessing they are taking for granted... sorry to be so harsh..



anytime you deal with teens there has to be non-negotiables, this is one of them..... i will pray that the girls hearts submit to the LORD and you.... stay strong, and never give up on them....

Jennifer - posted on 08/04/2009

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Wow. I am sorry that happened. Maybe you should try another church? Something new and new friends. Maybe that will help? :-)

Denise - posted on 08/04/2009

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Ellen - I have walked in your shoes in that my daughter was also hurt in church - my husband was deployed - it was so bad that we left the church. Is your child saved? What is the youth department like? What are the kids like? How many youth does your church have? When we moved to another church our previous youth pastor gave us some great advice - he said to look for a church whose # of youth is around 10 % of the total of the congregation. With this rule of thumb you will find that the leadership in that area is dynamic. I ask my girls to tell me what they learned and asked them how interesting it is. I get a good feel about the department this way without hovering. I also advised my girls NOT to look for friends! They are to be missionaries to the kids in the class - to seek out the lost and hurting. Before they started doing this they were not making any friends. Being the new kids and I home school so they don’t see these guys in school – no one was reaching out to them. So now my kids are the ones reaching out. It is tough – lots of people get hurt in church and it hurts so much because you don’t expect church people to act…human. We are supposed to be higher than that. So often we fail. It was hard for us to leave – but it was the healthiest thing we did. We also prayed about it for several months before we did it and only after seeing that the leadership did nothing to fix the problem.

Christine - posted on 07/25/2009

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Why do we all need to go to church to get gods word??? Don't get me wrong I believe that church is gods house but I believe gods house is where there is worship. If you are still comfortable going to your regular church then I believe you should go and do what you are to be doing in gods name. If your kids are refusing to go see if maybe she/they can or would like to get a few of her/their friends together from church, school, youth groups..... And see if she/ they would like to get together once a week and put on there own. They can read out of the bible, worship to music, and discuss problems they are having and how Jesus would have dealt with these problems, have them look things up in their bibles that will help with there every day living as teens/children..
My daughter is now 15 and has gone to church most of her life, even when I did not attend myself she was still going and still does. She has started her own worships over the last 3 years in parks, fields, coffee shops, and homes.. She has found other kids that would love to go to church but there parents tease or put them down for wanting gods love or believing.
Who says that only ministers and priests can do a service??? The kids know what is really going on and they are our future, we just need to plant the seed and let Jesus do the rest!!!!
One of my favorite saying's is
LET GO AND LET GOD!!!!
This is all things to think about and maybe bring it up to your children

Kim - posted on 07/12/2009

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My daughters (13 and 15) have struggled with this at our church as well. My kids are straight A students and involved in several different sports. No one else in the youth group shares those interests. That's not so bad, but the goals of the other kids leave a lot to be desired. One girl last year, at age 14, told the youth leader that she wanted to have a baby. He joked it off. We heard last week that she's now pregnant! I don't know if that's true or a rumon, but my kids believe it to be true. I feel like we as a church have failed this girl, even though she's always been more interested in gangs and her boyfriend than in doing what God wants with her life. I've talked to my girls about finding another church with a youth group where they could have more things in common and grow more spiritually, but my oldest daughter tells me that the kids in our church need good role models, which she feels she and her sister are. I agree they make better choices and are more interested in following God's will, but when do they get to be fed and experience more healthy spiritual growth instead of always being the leaders of sorts, being dragged through all the drama? I am on the church Board, so I can't really just leave the church. Instead, we pray and pray. I believe that God has us where we are for a reason, so I go back to that thought on days when things seem rough. God can develop His children-our children-through good times and bad, through good people and bad. It hurts as parents to see our kids have rough times, but God is developing their character through those times. Who knows the plans He has for them? If I pull them out of our church to find something more comfortable or compatible, I may be pulling them out of God's plan for their development. So we press on and trust in the Lord, and pray. I know each case is different, but there is something to be learned from each situation if we look for where God is in the midst of it. Keep praying, and keep trusting God as you consider your next steps, and know that others are praying for you and your kids and husband. God is in control!

Laurie - posted on 07/11/2009

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Ellen, on the one hand, I think that leaving the church is teaching your girls it is ok to run away from problems. On the other hand, the most important thing is their relationship with our Lord. So, if finding another church with a good youth group will positively impact your childrens' spiritual walk, then by all means, start looking around. Not going to church at all would not be an option for me with mine.

Margaret - posted on 07/08/2009

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That is a tough one. I know how your girls feel from first hand experience. I absolutely refused to go back the same church when I was 13 because I was on the receiving end of meanness from girls I barely knew. I started going to another (smaller) church with some friends from school. It made a world of difference to be in a youth group with people I already got along with at school. Church is supposed to be a support network. If that is not the case for you and your girls, it may be time to look for another church. Keep the communication open with your daughters and really listen to things as though you were in their shoes. Now is when self esteem is growing fastest and is most fragile. Sit down with your girls and pray (aloud if they will so you can really hear what is in their hearts). God will lead you in the right direction.

Anne - posted on 07/07/2009

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Hi Ellen, My heart goes out to you for you and your daughters. It must be hard to get your daughters to go to church after they have been hurt. Only you can answer these question, but let me put them out there. 1. Does dad agree with your going to church?

2. Are these concerns you have for your daughters something you would feel comfortable or that it is necessary to change churches?



Our daughters are now 21 and 25 and we have gone to the same church for almost 30 years. When our oldest daughter was in youth there was a 4 or 5 girl click. Often our daughter was on the mean end of the click. Some of it was just girls being catty and some of it was our daughter was very sensitive. Having said that I know how hard it is for a mom to have her daughters go through this. Some of the parents realized there were problems, but some thought NOT ME CHILD. What helped us get through this was Prayer and lots of it. Both of our girls went through their youth pastors leaving. The oldest daughter had one youth pastor leave. the youngest had two youth pastors leave. All three times God was in the center of their decisions , but it was still hard for all of the kids in the youth group. We were Blessed to have people in our church that were able to help stand in the gap until the new Youth Pastor was haired.

I do not know if any of this has helped, but the one thing I know will help is Prayer and I will keep your family in my Prayers.

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