Discipline and Church Activities

Discipline and Church Activities
By Sid Fallen

In last month’s edition of HomeWord’s Good Advice Parent Newsletter, we asked our readers to answer our poll question on whether or not they should prohibit their kids from attending church or youth group activities as a method of discipline. Following, you’ll see the results of the poll and selected comments from those who responded.

Poll Question: Should parents prohibit their kids from participating in church and youth group activities as a method of discipline?

Yes: 26%
No: 74%

Selected Comments:

I have to say that I struggle with this sometimes. Sometimes my daughter doesn’t spend enough time prepping for tests/quizzes & I feel guilty for letting her go off to church related youth activities for 1 1/2 hrs – when I know that she is not prepared for the test or quiz the next day.

Spiritual training is very important. Not all youth group activities involve spiritual training, but the ones that do should not be prohibited. In fact, I believe we should encourage kids to hang around Christians.

Sometimes it is necessary. Social youth group activities are fun and no different than saying you cannot do things with other friends. If they have not done homework or other things expected of them then they do not get to do fun things. I would still allow them to attend church and Sunday School with the family. Youth group activities are a privilege.

Oh not a chance. I had an issue come up right before summer camp with my son at school. He was suspended for making some bad choices in words he used towards a girl. My ex suggested not letting him go to summer camp. The camp was through my church…it changed my son’s life. Continuing to keep them involved and hearing God’s word is the only way. Punishing them and not letting them participate would be a shame. My son said it was the greatest experience of his life. And he has been so much better ever since!

There have been times the loss of youth group has been the consequence because that is what my daughter lives for. Those are the choices that tend to not be repeated for a very long time if at all. God keeps us from fun church activities if we make poor choices financially, physically or maybe even mentally. After much prayer my husband and I decided it was okay. Sometimes you have to get them where it hurts the most.

We have faced this issue ourselves as with other parents. Our conviction is NO. Jesus tells us not to hinder his children from coming to him. We are confident Gods word does not come back void in our kids lives. There are far more creative discipline that can take place it’s a matter of whether we as parents are willing to put in the time it takes to grow our kids and disciple their hearts not just the action!

It would depend on the specific activity like probably not prohibit discipleship group but possibly prohibit game/movie night. And if the discipline is for an issue that occurred at church or youth group then it might be especially appropriate.

No! Absolutely not! There are many other types of discipline (restriction from cell phones, computer time, iPods, etc). Church activities/small groups are our teens’ lifelines. With Jesus as the center, teen fellowship offers safe and healthy outlets, and opportunities to pray together with like-minded comrades. Never deprive teens from time to grow closer to Christ!

Even though this is a tough one to answer or do, I feel that since our H.S. boys are so involved in church activities and that IS their social life, we have no other choice. Nothing else seems to hit home more than taking away social activities even though they may be “good” ones.

As a parent of teenagers AND a youth leader, I know how tempting it can be to take away youth group for punishment. It’s really frustrating as a youth leader when kids don’t show because they’re being punished for something else completely. A lot of times the very things that parents are struggling with are the things being taught on at youth group. I’d much rather have parents call me and ask for some alternative punishments (cell phones, computer use, TV time, video games). Don’t take away the one thing that may make a difference in a kid’s life to the point of affecting the rest of the family for the positive.

This article “Discipline And Church Activities” by Sid Fallen is excerpted from HomeWord Newsletter. June 2006

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