Raising children is never easy. There will come times when they rebel against everything you represent. As painful as that can be, it’s part of growing up and finding their own voices. In fact, if your kids didn’t rebel against you, it would be a more worrying sign. At least when they start to test the waters, you can rest easy they’re developing independent natures.
Often, the things they fight against will be fairly basic. They may decide they no longer want to eat meat. Or, they may resist spending time with the family. These things are part of teen life, and you’ve likely already prepared for them. But, some changes can be harder to deal with. And, never is that more the case than when your child starts to question their faith.
It’s human nature to want the best for your kids. If you’ve raised them in a faith-filled household, there’s a chance you expected them to stay on the religious path. In truth, though, that road is rarely smooth. The majority of teenagers go through a period of questioning their beliefs. That’s not to say they won’t go on to lead a fulfilling and faithful life. They may simply stray for a time while they question things they never have before.
In some sense, asking questions is a healthy step towards realization. In the past, they believed in the church because of how you raised them. If they ask questions and still return to faith, it’s likely their conviction will strengthen as it’s made through choice.
But, as with any dilemma, you’ll want to do your best to help them through. The crucial thing to remember here is not o force your hand. If you push them into a religion they’re starting to question; they’re less likely to find their way back. Instead, take a step back and accept that your way doesn’t need to be their way. Instead, ask why they’re questioning in this way. It may be that they don’t feel their prayers are being answered. Or, they may merely be questioning problematic statements in the Bible. Perhaps they’re suffering, and are failing to see how that fits with religion. Getting to the root is essential for helping them through.
Once you know the cause, you’ll be in a better position to help. Often, there will be nothing more to do than let them work things out. In some cases, it might help to look into church retreat locations where you can explore your faith together. It may even be worth asking a member of your church to have a sit-down chat and discuss your teen’s worries.
Eventually, you need to take a step back. It’s understandable you want the best for your child, but the best isn’t the same for everyone. By forcing this, you could damage family relationships. What’s more, enforced faith won’t help anyone. Instead, believe that God has a plan and that your child will find their place in it over time.