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This Exchange simulates the original Couples Coping Support Group. It is designed to help persons with concerns in their relationships, family, marriage, seperation, divorce, etc.Offering a wide range of real world, personal experiences, information, knowledge, suggestions, & views from real people.
Religious PPL: At what age would you (did you) allow kids...
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queston posted:
...to decide for themselves whether they will attend religious services with you?
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alaska_mommy responded:
Hmm...that's a good question. Mine is still in diapers but I think it would somewhat of a complex answer. I would say I might make him go up until around 15. Then he could choose to go or not go. But I think that would really depend on the child, his or her maturity level, how resistant they were to going, etc. If my son flat out refused to go and it was going to make it worse if I forced him, I'd probably let him stay home younger. So long as he was old enough to stay home alone and I could trust him to not trash the house while I was gone.
 
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3point14 responded:
I'm the only person in my family who attends church. I don't have any wee ones, but did help raise my little cousins. When they were around first grade and started wondering more about God, I explained to them what church was and invited them. D has taken me up on going occasionally and J hasn't seemed too interested.

Personally, I think as early as they can develop an opinion they should be able to make a choice.
 
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cjh1203 responded:
My parents never went to church, but they sent us to one a couple of blocks down the street. The allowed us to decide when we were about 13-14 if we wanted to keep going.
 
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tlkittycat1968 replied to alaska_mommy's response:
I agree. I went to a Catholic school so religious services were required at least monthly. I would occasionally go with my mom but she always left it up to me if I wanted to go. As an incentive, if I did go with her, we'd usually go out for breakfast afterward.

When I moved out, I didn't attend services. I ran into a priest I knew from high school and he asked if I'd been going to mass. I can't lie to a priest so I said I hadn't. Not long afterward, I made a New Year's resolution to start attending mass and not make excuses. I've been pretty good since then only missing when the weather was too bad, kids were sick or we were out of town.
 
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queston replied to tlkittycat1968's response:
Our oldest (who is in college) never stopped--he is studying for the ministry, in fact.

Our middle, the rebel, refused to go to church any more at about 10th grade, and became a militant atheist.

Our youngest is 14, going into 9th grade, and doesn't want to go anymore. I'm OK with that, except that I really don't think this has anything to do with his religious beliefs. I think he's just in a lazy stage of life where he doesn't want to do anything.

I think deciding when to let kids quit things and when to make them stick with it is one of the hardest parenting decisions. Most kids would quit everything eventually if their parents allowed them to.
 
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3point14 replied to queston's response:
I think regardless of why they're doing what they're doing, it's important not to make something as potentially rewarding as church or relgion into an obligation. Maybe just occasionally bringing up the satisfaction you get from it can make it more appealing through the lazy phase, and therefore into a positive memory in later life.
 
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Spankyrae responded:
I am heavily agnostic, so I would not force my kids to choose a religion or attend services, because I don't believe there is only one "correct" religion. I believe religion/spirituality is a very personal choice, and as long as love it at its foundation, all else shouldn't matter.

I was raised in this manner & am very thankful for it. I attended church at times with my grandma or friends but never had to. I think that freedom has allowed me to gain a larger perspective of religion and I'd raise any children in the same way. I would have liked spiritual matters to have been discussed more growing up, so that is one area I'd change. I wouldn't make my kids go to church or follow in my spiritual practices, but I would expose them to various religions and promote discussions.
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butterfly19790424 replied to Spankyrae's response:
I went with my great grandma until I was 13 years old. She wasn't able to drive anymore so we stopped going. Then around 15 years old I decided to go back on my own via the church van. I attended church until I was 22 because I was old enough to notice the politics in that particular church. I decided to find another church but eventually stopped going until I had my daughter.

Like others, when she is old enough or mature enough to make her decision on if she wants to go or not, I won't make her go. I'm not going to force her into going.
A true friend is someone who knows you're a good egg even if you're a little cracked
 
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stephs_3_kidz replied to butterfly19790424's response:
I agree with b-fly. I think it has to be a personal decision and not forced, but I do expect my kids to attend with us, as a family, until they are old enough to make that decision for themselves, and old enough to stay home alone while everyone else is gone.
 
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topflight88 responded:
My parents never took us to church. My Grandmother and Aunt on the other hand did. We went every Sunday (morning and evening service), Friday night youth night, Wed. night service, and every church thing you can imagine. I enjoyed going to church, and felt very strongly about my religion. Well, The church was "called" to move to Shreveport, LA and I was still in Denver. My aunt moved to be with the church, and of course I stayed with my parents in Colorado. This was when I was about 11. I went to visit my Aunt in louisianna one week during the summer, and she took me back to the church, which was very exciting for me. I sat in the back row of the youth section, and just listened in awww. Since I was so wrapped up in the "fun" part of church before I never noticed what was really going on. Well I caught on pretty well that this was not a church I wanted to be a part of. They seemed to act like some sort of secret society, and the pastor straight up stood in front of his congregation and stated "Today we are going to take an offering, and the money you give is going to buy my family new mattresses. We haven't had a new beds in 8 years"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thats when I got up and went outside. I explained to my Aunt I never wanted to go back there, and she agreed to let me make my own choice. After thinkin about I discovered that this church behaved more like a greedy cult that a God-Serving church. The pastor was there to serve himself. Not too long after I said that and came home, my Aunt and Grandmother both left the church. I could go into depth the reasons why, but people always look at me like i am crazy. Either way it turns out its true, They were a cult. So from that bad experience, I have never went back to church. However, this doesn't mean that I am not religious to some extent. I still read the bible., I still pray, and I still talk to God Everyday. I just dont feel like you have to dress a ceratin way, act a certain way or go to a church to be close to God. So in my opinion, I would say after about 10, let them decide. But let them make a mature decision and not one out of laziness. But at the same time, do not force them to go. It would be beneficial to not make them do it.
 
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alaska_mommy replied to topflight88's response:
My sister just got out of a church like that. She had slowly been coming to the realization that it was in fact a cult but was still trying to convince her husband of that fact. She is out now and is so relieved. Found a new church too, one that is so much better and is putting the majority of their revenue back into the community. She is very happy there.
 
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BalconyBelle replied to alaska_mommy's response:
Depending on the child (and if I have more than one) I'd stop taking them to church when they were 10-13. Old enough that I'd trust them to look after themselves while I went to services, though I'd like it if they came with me.

At the moment, I'm between churches. I've had extensive experience with the congregations that give Christians a bad name...several years of which was due to my mom dragging me there, even after the congregation made it clear they didn't like any of the kids in my family, and they only called themselves "Christian" so they could self righteously judge others while behaving however vilely they wanted under the auspices of god's grace.

I finally got her to wise up, but not in time. One of my sisters and my brother is militantly atheist because of that time in our lives, one is agnostic, and one believes in something--provided that something doesn't mesh with Christianity.

Forcing children to go to a place of worship where the congregation is out of whack/ complete hypocrites is the kind of thing that destroys developing faith. I still believe, pray, sing hymns of praise when I feel like it, and read the bible....but it's been over a year since I've done so in a church. I've nearly given up on organized religion. I'll give it another shot if I have kids, but I definitely won't make them go to a place where the congregation is behaving in a way I find abhorrent, regardless of their age.


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