What does it mean when a teen loses interest in attending church? What should a parent do? Has our teen abandoned God? Have we failed?
Many teens grew up going to church with family. It wasn't a choice and they went. Many enjoyed their church community. But during the teen years many challenge the idea of attending church.
The teen years are full of big changes, physically, emotionally, and even spiritually for children. No longer are they content to follow in their parents' footsteps. They choose instead to find their own way, sometimes rejecting the things that have been near and dear to their parents' hearts. Long hair that was lovingly braided gets cut short. The Little League bat gets traded for a skateboard, and religious traditions are challenged, questioned, or ignored.
While the hair and sport choice may be a disappointment to parents, the issue of religion can be heartbreaking. Many teens long to stake out new territory and make their own choices while we worry about the long-term consequences. As parents, how can we help nurture our teen's spirituality while still giving the emerging adult the voice and independence he or she longs for during this time?