What do I do if my teen wants to change religions?
Real Mom Problem
“How would you feel if your teen rejected your religion? Would you be ok with your child choosing something else? What if your child chose to believe in no religion?”
- 1. Some moms believe it's best to let teens choose their preferred religion
- 2. Others think teens are too young to make their own choices about religion and should stick with the family faith
- 3. You can help your child make an informed decision by guiding him in researching different faiths and making sure he has a complete picture of the religion he is interested in
Real Mom Solutions
Has your teen expressed an interest in a religion other than the faith he or she grew up with? Figure out how to handle your teen changing faiths with help from these moms.
These Moms Say Let Teens Choose
I just want my kids to be happy. If that means choosing another religion, then good for them.
It's always good to find where you personally fit in this world. The parents' religion is not always what the child believes. At least they are still looking to have faith in something.
Selecting a religion is a personal choice. You cannot force someone to believe or not believe anything. If you demand your child be a specific religion, then they will just not talk to you about it when they have doubts. Better to explain why you believe what you believe and when they have questions or interest in another religion explain it to them respectfully. If you don't know anything about that religion then say so or research it. You should always be respectful when discussing other religions even if you don't agree with them.
As hard as it may be, you have to let teens explore their options. Let them know that you are supportive of their decision and maybe go as far as to help them research what it is they are looking for. I have been through this with my oldest child. It was a very difficult thing for me, but I knew I had to be supportive of what he felt was best for him. When he felt like I wasn't being supportive, he would close himself off from me. The difference in theology is not worth risking my relationship with my child, so I had to let what I wanted go and embrace his decisions. That isn't always easy for a parent but it is what is best for the child.
Think of it this way: Are you in your faith simply because your parents raised you that way, or because you truly believe in your religion? If it's the latter, don't you want your children to be able to say they truly believe and are passionate about their religion (or lack of) too? As parents, I think it is our responsibility to educate our children on what we believe, but also give them the nonjudgmental freedom to figure out what is right for them.
You gave them the foundation of your beliefs and if they choose something else there is nothing you can do. Your foundation will always be there.
Others Say They're Too Young to Decide
I wouldn't let him/her change until they are an adult. There is no harm in learning about other religions but they need to be making an informed decision.
I'd be angry. I have already spent countless hours teaching my children about our faith and they already understand more about it than I did at their age. They would really have to be outside their minds to suddenly reject something so integral to their lives.
I would be devastated. I promised God when I was pregnant with my son that I would do my best to raise him in my faith. I fully believe it's one of my main purposes on this earth to have children and raise them to have a strong belief.
Educate Your Teen Before They Choose
Let teens experience the religion they are interested in. Just because they attend a church or two, doesn't mean they have to commit. Maybe research the religion with them. My son was very interested in Satanism. He purchased the Satanic Bible, read it and researched lots of philosophies: Buddhism, Islam, etc. He has educated himself and is well informed on several religions but is not committed to any. One has to follow one's own beliefs.
I don't mind letting my children experience new religions but if they want to change religions, they need to learn about the religion, all of it, before they switch. It needs to be an educated decision, not a whim. If it is an educated decision and they can back it up, then have fun!