Why You Should Never Force Your Child To Go To Church

Why You Should Never Force Your Child To Go To Church

Why You Should Never Force Your Child To Go To Church

Church. A place where we go to be enlightened, to hear the word of God, and to sing hymns. Or, if you’re a kid, a place where you’re forced to dress up, sit still, and listen to a bunch of adults drone on and on about things you don’t understand!

If you’ve ever been that kid, you know the feeling well. You wanted to be anywhere else, doing anything else. So why, now, do you find yourself dragging your own kids to church every Sunday? Maybe it’s because you feel it’s necessary for their spiritual growth. Or maybe it’s because you don’t want to be judged by your church friends for not being a “good Christian parent”.

Whatever your reasons, let me tell you this: forcing your child to go to church is a big no-no. Need some convincing? Read on.

10 reasons why you shouldn’t force your child to go to church

1. They probably won’t enjoy it

Let’s be real here. If your child doesn’t want to go to church, they’re not going to enjoy it. And if they don’t enjoy it, they’re not going to get anything out of it.

Sure, they might learn a thing or two about the Bible (and that’s a big “might”), but if they’re not engaged and interested, it’s not going to stick.

2. It will create negative associations with church

Forcing anything on a child can create negative associations, and church is no exception. It’ll become a chore, a punishment, something they have to do instead of something they want to do.

And guess what will happen when they’re older: they’ll likely avoid it altogether because of those negative associations.

3. It goes against free will

If you’re a devout Christian, you’ll know that God gave us free will. That means we have the right to choose our own path and make our own decisions.

Okay, so children have less free will than adults, but that doesn’t mean you should strip them of what little free will they have.

By forcing your child to go to church, you’re essentially telling them that they don’t have a say in what they believe. That’s not a great message to send.

4. It won’t make them believe in God

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. The same goes for children and church. Just because you force them to go doesn’t mean they’ll suddenly believe in God.

Belief is a personal thing, and it can’t be forced. It has to come from within.

Instead of forcing them to go to church, try to nurture their spiritual growth in other ways. Talk to them about your beliefs, answer their questions, and expose them to different religions and traditions.

5. It’s hypocritical

If you’re forcing your child to go to church, but you don’t actually enjoy going yourself, you’re being hypocritical.

Your child will pick up on this, and they’ll likely resent you for it. They’ll see that you’re not practicing what you preach, and that’ll make them less likely to take your religious beliefs seriously.

6. It can damage your relationship with your child

If you’re constantly forcing your child to do something they don’t want to do, it’s going to damage your relationship with them. They’ll start to see you as an authoritarian figure who doesn’t care about their feelings or opinions.

And when they’re older, they may hold a grudge against you for forcing them to go to church. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

7. Another religion might be a better fit for them

This might be a tough pill to swallow, but just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean your child has to be. Maybe another religion would be a better fit for them. Or maybe they’re just not religious at all, at this point in their life.

This is something that they should be allowed to explore when they’re old enough to weigh their options and make their own decisions.

8. They won’t understand it

Let’s face it, church can be pretty confusing, especially for young children. The language used in most religious texts is so archaic and perplexing that your child probably won’t understand a lot of what’s being said in the sermons.

9. Expecting them to sit still in church is unrealistic and cruel

Even adults have a hard time sitting still for an hour or more, so expecting a child to do so is unrealistic and downright cruel!

Children are naturally curious and energetic, and forcing them to sit still and be quiet for an extended period of time in… let’s just say not the most exciting place, is akin to torture.

10. It’s not necessary for their spiritual growth

Contrary to popular belief, going to church isn’t the only way to grow spiritually. There are plenty of other ways to nurture your child’s spiritual growth, such as reading religious texts together, going on nature walks, volunteering, and practicing mindfulness.

Who knows, maybe your child will find their own unique way to connect with their spirituality that doesn’t involve going to church.

Wrapping up

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to nurture your child’s growth, whether that be physically, mentally, or spiritually. However, forcing them to go to church is probably not the most effective way to do that.

Everyone’s spiritual journey is different, and what works for you may not work for your child. By forcing them to go to church, you’re essentially taking away their free will and potentially creating negative associations with religion.

Instead, try to foster open communication about faith and spirituality with your child, encourage them to explore their religious beliefs, and support them in finding their own spiritual path.