How should I response when my kid refuse to pray together?

(Babang ) #1

Me and my wife would like to make a habit to pray together with our 2 years old daughter before sleep. Sometimes she cooperates and that gives us joy. But sometimes she throws tantrum and refuses to seat in respect as how we should pray.

How should we react as parents? On one hand, we want to encourage her to pray genuinely without being forced. We want her to feel the joy of praying to God. But at the same time, we would like to teach her to treat God in reverence when praying though at her small age.

How we should balance this? Is it right to assert authority to enforce her to seat and pray when she refuse to? But I don’t think God finds pleasure in hearing this kind of prayer. Is it possible to teach 2 years old a sense of reverence and respect to God? Or should we just let it go and exclude her from the prayer?

(Sara Isaac) #2

I thank God for your heart and your passion towards your daughter and how you want her to grow into loving God. As you have said, you can’t force her to do so because it might turn into resentment to the whole process. But I don’t want you to take it too hard because she is very young. Children learn to say ‘NO’ very early, and that’s not a bad sign or a sign of disobedience but rather a feature of them growing and trying to develop their own personality. So I wouldn’t take it as them “refusing God” or whatsover. Just keep praying with your wife and let her observe you continuing to do so with passion and respect. You can tell her that she could join if she wants and maybe she would at some point on her own. When I look on what I do now in my life and what my childhood was like, I realize that the things I picked up and continued doing it, are the things that I observed my parents do with passion and interest rather than the things they said I should do. What is said and done simultaneously has a great effect. God bless your family and give you wisdom along the way.

(David Whitaker) #3

I love your response. I have the same kinds of issues with my 3 year old. Some nights she is willing to pray, and she’ll sit still for a Bible story at bedtime, but other nights there’s no way she’d be able to. Can’t hold it against her, she’s 3.

(Kyle Spencer) #4

To echo the sentiments of @saraisaac – your daughter seeing you and your wife have pleasure in prayer and that continual witness of seeing the two of you do it will have a much deeper impact than you realize. We share similar struggles with our almost 2 year old daughter. We do prayer before meals and we simplify the prayer so she can start to learn it and take part, we hold hands, bow our heads, and try to show as much reverence as possible. Some days she bows her head, grabs tightly to our hands, and even says who and what she wants to pray for; other days she says no and just looks around or giggles while we pray. Eventually it’ll stick, but to be honest, even if it doesn’t that isn’t going to change the prayer lives of my wife and I. Our kids may even be somewhat antagonist towards our faith at some point, but we are going to remain faithful and show that continued posture of praise towards God no matter how our kids react.

Also I want to start implementing prayer before bedtime so thank you for bringing that up!

(C Rhodes) #5

@saraisaac. You might try a standard my sister and her husband employ. Because the consumption of vegetables, for example, is not an optional selection they have an ‘I would not like to eat this’ serving size. Their children are allowed to control proportions according to their desires. It is required but the child’s sentiment is acknowledged and respected. It is their quiet way of teaching respect for things in which we do not agree while being good stewards of the gift of our bodies My nieces have an automatic acknowledgment and cooperation with what is uncontestable in their home. I really like this option and I am amazed because my sister’s husband is not a believer.

(Sara Isaac) #6

Yes. That’s also a great way of allowing and teaching them to be ‘wise’ decision makers.

(Matt Western) #7

I love this new conversation area - Christian growth, there’s so many things to talk about, and showing love to our kids is a huge one.

I have a 15 year old daughter, and just as I thought I had her figured out she turned into a teenager. :hushed: I have a 2 year old niece, and a 2 year old nephew, and they are so much fun. Such tiny little humans and already you can see the sin nature so clearly, which all of us have. We are no different that 2 or 3 year olds, I’d like to go and throw a tantrum in a corner some days when everything goes wrong, in fact a lot of us do this still just in much more sophisticated ways. :slight_smile:

I have always wanted my daughter to have a genuine heart response to the love of God, shown through Jesus. Only yesterday, she has decided herself that she’d like to be baptised, after asking Jesus to be her own personal Saviour at a young age of 5. My wife and I are so joyful, and even more so to know that it was her decision to respond, and we did our best to not coerce this in any way. We all want our children to follow in our faith.

Praying is talking to Jesus, and maybe use some imaginative stories before praying about who God is. Check out the interactive Bible app for kids: Enjoy the time with kids while it lasts - my daughter doesn’t need a bedtime tuck in anymore, she’s too old for that! I miss it a lot, but understand that teens are growing into adults and this is a good thing. Enjoy every single day while it lasts, because they grow up so fast and you only get one shot at being parents.

Some of the resources that have helped me is:

5 Love Languages for Kids - Gary Chapman
5 Love Languages for Teens - Gary Chapman

Kids / teens test the boundaries to make sure they are there because it makes them feel safe. Looking back, there seems to be periods of quiet when things are going well, then followed by periods of growth where testing of parental boundaries is happening.

and I’ve discovered a new site just this morning, when my wife shared this video from facebook

(Sara Isaac) #8

Those are some really helpful resources. Thank you Matthew!

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(Claire N Streb) #9

@MrB Tantrums arise for different reasons such as feelings of not being heard, disobedience, testing boundaries, or simply just being tired. Usually, “Do you need a hug?” works wonders. @cer7’s technique is a great suggestion!

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(Babang ) #10

Thank you all for the valuable insights, I am really glad to find this RZIM connect, such a bless!