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Requiring faith from children?

I just saw this in a group -- For example, I am a Roman Catholic. I take my children to mass on Sundays. We hope to have them attend Catholic school. My children will have a relationship with God and Christ .

Now I know that according to statistics (or Murphy's Law) most of the people I'm asking will answer not this just simply because that is how these things go. But I often see cafemom people say that their kid(s) will believe, will have faith, until a certain age. I understand saying will go to church, or will pray, but do (you/these) people honestly think you can force a child to truly believe in a god if he/she really has no belief? Can they simply not fathom the concept of having a child who does not believe? (Oh NO, not in MY family! - type mindset.)

So does anyone really think can you require belief of your child, or can you only require parroting and church attendance until the child escapes it?

Answer Question

Asked by roachiesmom at 7:12 PM on Sep. 8, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 7 (203 Credits)
Answers (17)
  • I think it's foolish to expect a child to have faith. They don't know what that means. They have faith in Santa and the Tooth Fairy because you go out of the way to convince them. They don't read a book about Santa and decide to believe in him without ever receiving a present on Dec. 25th. To expect them to understand something that esoteric and truly believe, as opposed to rattling back what they've been taught by rote or saying what they think you want to hear because they're afraid of what might happen if they don't, is sorely overestimating the brain of a child.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 7:15 PM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • I was forced to go to church my entire childhood. I had to attend communion classes and catechism classes. I had to go to sunday school and VBS.
    My entire life, I KNEW in my heart it was NOT what I believed. I did not believe anything people were telling me. OTHER things spoke to me, or were trying to speak to me and I learned to listen as I got older.
    You can try to force your belief on others, but there is never a guarantee it will be accepted.

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 7:16 PM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • My mom and dad definately have that mentality. They made us go to church and tried ot make us have faith. I would say that I do have faith in God and Jesus; however, I dont think you can force children into believing something. I believe that religion should be their choice and I will love them regardless. You can take them to church and instill morals in them, but when they get old enough to make their own decisions about which religion they wish to follow, you should let them go as long as they aren't getting involved in a cult or something like that.

    Answer by lowencope at 7:22 PM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • i think its dumb. i take my kids to church just because i don't have a baby sitter. but all they do is eat cherros and color.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:23 PM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • You can encourage children to believe and raise them in a certain faith, but in the end they will discover their own beliefs. I was raised Methodist with church on Sundays- nothing too intense. I don't go to church now and don't consider myself of a certain faith. I am not going to raise my children in any organized religion, but I hope they believe in loving and helping people and changing the world for the better. If they find a faith that they believe in on life's journey, I will support them in whatever makes them happy.

    Answer by bxp10070 at 7:25 PM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • I've learned if you force a kid into a religion the resent it. So if you force your kids and they really don't want to go they will resent it.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:25 PM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • sahm, I'm much the same way. I can remember being forced to church as early as 3-4 years was always like this silly game the grown-ups were playing that simply made no sense. Plus the whole "this book is REAL, but these other books with familiar themes and stories are made up and false." I have just never been able to believe in any sort of god construct, no matter how many times I was told I did, or was going to.

    I just marvel at these parents to insist their children WILL believe...not will learn, will pray, will attend church while under my roof (okay, usually those things, too.) Would they insist their brown-eyed kid has green eyes?

    Answer by roachiesmom at 7:27 PM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • I, personally, expect that my children will decide for themselves whether or not to believe everything I do at some point or another. We go to Mass every Sunday, we pray before meals and at bedtimes and sometimes randomly throughout the day together, my oldest just started kindergarten at a Catholic school today...and I don't feel like I'm forcing my beliefs on them. I do feel like I am providing a foundation of Faith so if they do believe they don't have to feel as lost as I did at certain points in my life because I didn't have any of that at all as a child. I understand and believe that you can't force somebody to believe but when it's so much a part of your life, you can't not share it at least. If they choose a different path when they are older I might be a little sad, but I know it is their path to choose and I can't force them to agree with me, and I'm ok with that.

    Answer by whittear at 7:32 PM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • There's a difference between showing your kids what you believe and indoctrinating them into what you believe. I guarantee you that the WBC people indoctrinate their children. From the moment they're born they probably shove picket signs in their little grubby hands and take them to protests. Those poor kids don't get a chance to form their own beliefs. They're probably told to be quiet if they ever question anything.

    But being flexible with your kid is perfectly fine, I think. But the second that a kid says they don't want to do it anymore, I'm done. I'm going to explain to my daughter what I believe, and if she one day wants to follow another path, I won't be disappointed nor will I try to force her back onto my path. My choices aren't right for everyone.

    Answer by caitxrawks at 7:43 PM on Sep. 8, 2009

  • You can't force anyone to believe in anything. That includes your own kids. I hope that I raise my children to be analytical and to question everything. I don't want sheep for children.

    Answer by Marwill at 7:56 PM on Sep. 8, 2009

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