Teen daughter wants to join a differnt church

Gail - posted on 03/11/2010 ( 8 moms have responded )

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When our now 18-year old daughter was 15, we allowed her to start attending youth group meetings at another local church because a lot of her friends were there. Then when she turned 16 and got her own car, she started skipping our family's regular church service and going to service at this other church instead. Now that she's 18 she's told us that she wants to be re-baptized into this other church and I am really divided. On one hand, yes I know that she could be involved in things much worse like drugs, sex, etc. But it seems that since she's started going to this other church, that it's become her whole life. She puts her church family before her biological family. We never see her on Sundays anymore because her entire day is taken up with church activities. She refuses to attend family get-togethers if they conflict with church events. At times I feel as though she's joined a cult! I have attended her church service with her on occasion to try to keep an open mind and see what attracts her to it. While their basic values I think are close to what we've experienced at our family church, the members seem to be on the verge of fanatical about it. Since she is 18 now, I don't feel as though I can do anything to stop her from being re-baptized there. But I can't say that I would be comfortable attending the service either. I feel a bit of resentment towards the congregation for what I view as stealing my daughter away from me. Any suggestions?

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Lora - posted on 02/03/2014

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I'm so curious how this has worked out 3+ years later. Our family is experiencing a similar issue with our 17.5 year old.
I've read the above comments. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in 2010. :-)
Perhaps no one will read this post. But Gail, if you do and have time to respond. I'd appreciate it.
thanks.

[deleted account]

Gail, Don't forget to read this one too♥peace be with you.

I agree with the vast majority of your responses. I have actually been the "girl" in this situation a few times in my life as I was seeking my own adult religious beliefs.

I will keep this fairly short by saying that, as I was "seeking", I was called an "Ala Cart Christian" by a very close family member. This person was very unhappy that my views had evolved beyond those which I was raised with. It's not that your daughter is leaving you or turning away from "the church". She is forming her own opinions and thinking for herself now. It's what grown ups are supposed to do. When a child is young, you can force her to eat green beans because you know it is for her benefit. As long as you taught her WHY they are good for her, she will always know that. If she does not like the taste still, you can't force her to eat them anymore, but you can trust that as long as you taught her well, she will choose something similar that will still be good for her. She will make the right choices, because you taught her the basics. Get it?

As far as the comment made to me..... After all these years, it still hurts a lot. I still don't understand how someone who is supposed to love God so much could say something so hurtful to one of His children and never say "sorry". I forgave her. Gail, don't let your daughter even think for a moment that you don't support her. It hurts! Let her love God in her own way. No one knows your daughter like her Father - not even you! He will protect her. Support her & let her go. You have to know she was never yours to keep forever. It will be ok and I will pray for you. God bless you.

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Kathy & Amy nailed it.
My now 15 year old & I used to attend church together. We were both very active, going to services twice a week with her dad. The Pastor was an incredible speaker, and we all looked forward to the praise & worship, services & fellowship. Pastor John preached "cover their faults," when it came to marriage. Then one day, he included a provision on God not wishing us to be hurt by those we love, and that if the relationship was abusive, that it was not what God had intended & that one needed to escape from that bond. It was the sign I had been waiting for. My husband was very abusive, and my Pastor gave me the courage to end my 10 year marriage. My daughter & I continued to go to Church without him. Then suddenly, Pastor passed away. The congregation was stunned. His funeral services were standing room only, as folks from all 3 locations packed the smallest of the Churches.
When the new Pastor took over, It wasn't long before she started negating virtually everything that Pastor John had laid out for us in his style of "Bible Surfing." And the services were no longer something that I could look forward to. We quit going, and began searching for a new place to worship. I have never found it, but my daughter began attending 3 different Churches on a regular basis. More power to her. I hope she continues her quest to find her faith. Though I no longer attend a Church, I still have very strong beliefs, surf my Bible regularly, talk to "Daddy" daily, and share fellowship with those who are open for such discussions.
Our children are not ours to keep. They are given to us for a time to help them learn & grow, and then they diverge onto their own paths & learn how to fly solo. It is how we support & encourage their growth & pruning, that will determine whether they flee us forever, or hover nearby when their flight becomes stable. Love knows no bounds of Faith. Be patient & supportive of your young one's flight into independent adulthood, and she may begin to choose family gatherings over Church functions once again. Give her time. She's just spreading her wings, momma.

Kathy - posted on 03/11/2010

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I may be off but it seems like you said it all in the last sentence-you feel like they have stolen your daughter away. I don't think it is about the church but more about the fact that your daughter is now an adult and she has taken a big step in seperating from you and I can see why you feel resentment. It is natural to feel a loss when our children grow up and become independant. Try not to talk down on her new church and please support her in her new baptism. If you don't, she will be very hurt and resent you. That will only put a big divide between you both. Instead, support her and be the wonderful mother that you always have been. She will still look to you for support and guidance even as an adult. You have the perfect opportunity to define your new relationship as a mother to an adult with this. Good luck

Patricia - posted on 03/11/2010

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Like you yourself stated, your daughter could be doing a lot of other really bad things...However, if it is changing her as a person all the way around, 18 or not, you need to talk to her..It's one thing to go to a place that you feel more comfortable at because of friends etc...it's another to have it change you completely as a person. Than, in a sense it is like a drug...drugs make you think all sorts of things and ways. Since you were open and have attended with your daughter, she should respect you and be open with you as well. It's funny, a situation like this just happened to a friend of mine. He befriended a very nice and friendly girl that worked at a local coffee shop...she decided to fully go all the way with her religion...however, what happened in the process has turned many against her... when it came time for her to leave to fulfill this dream, all hugs were banned...she claimed it had something to do with cleansing herself? I am all for people being in touch with their religions as well as their beliefs, but again, how does one explain to those that were at one time so close to her that they now have to stand back and not even touch her?

Cynthia - posted on 03/11/2010

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if it is still a christian based religion (assuming that is what we are talking about) catholic,christina,mormin,anglican,pedacostal etc etc, what odds, it all boils down to the same beleifs,worship,morals and values. in the end the result with each of these christian based religions is the same. and yes, you could have far worse things to worry about for sure!

Tracy - posted on 03/11/2010

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I can tell you what's drawing her there...she feels a strong social connection there in addition to her desire to be a faithful Christian and her to desire to worship God. She may be rejecting the family activities because she feels that you all believe differently than she does, and she wants to be with others who believe what she believes. You need to talk with her, in my opinion. Show her how similar your churches are, that you're not that different. Tell her what you are uncomfortable with about her church, and let her do the same. Once you know this, you will have a better idea of why she's rejecting your family. Chances are, if you have rejected her beliefs to her face, she feels that you are rejecting her personally. And this may be why she is rejecting the family. Do let her know that she is hurting you by choosing church events over family events. It's possible she may not even realize that she's hurting you. But if she knows she's hurting you by her actions, then she may already feel ostricized from your family for her beliefs. It might be a good idea to attend a few more services with her so that you can determine that this church is not a cult or using cult-like practices. But once you are satisfied that it isn't a cult, you may have to let it go. When you allowed her to switch churches 3 years ago, you gave her your permission to develop different beliefs. Still, I hope that you are able to keep open communication going with your daughter so that she feels comfortable enough to return to your church one day if she so chooses.

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