Forcing kids to go to the church


Hi everyone, so, my brother is 15 and he is dating a non christian girl and he started to argue with me and our parents about going to the church every Sunday morning. And I’m so sad because I want him to understand how important it is but at the same time I don’t want to force him. What would you do? Do you force your kids to go to the church?
God bless! ++



It’s not your job to force you brother to do anything. Your parents can and will force him to if they want. It’s very interesting how people who grew up in the exact same home can end up so different.

Just pray for him and your parents.



While I think it is commendable that you care about your brother, this is your parent’s battle to fight.
It is up to them to set guidelines or rules for their household.



As the others have said, it’s not your place to get him to go to church. Leave that to your parents and let them talk to him.

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Well, I know It is not my job or my battle to fight, but is doesn’t mean I cannot think about it. That is why I created this topic. :slight_smile: Just thinking about the future, this would be me one day, arguing with my own kid about the same thing. So, if you are a parent and you have gone through the same issue and discussion with your kids, what did you do? Did you force them to go or you let them decide hoping they will come back to the church one day?



At a certain age, it is beyond a parent’s capability to physically force a child to go to mass.
The only thing left to do is have them suffer consequences of not going, whatever the parent decides that will be. You cannot pick up a 15 year old, put them in the car and make them go.

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By age 15, one would hope that your parents, the godparents, family friends, youth group, pastors, etc have helped your brother become a Disciple. That he has a personal relationship with Christ, that he finds joy in following Christ’s Church.

If this has not happened, if your brother has decided of his own free will to reject Christ, the best you can do is to love him, pray for him and be an example. Be so full of joy and peace that your brother wants what YOU have.

I’d suggest you do some reading over at

When there is an interesting article, share it with your brother.



Forcing someone to go to Mass can create resentment and harden their heart. Best to pray for them, love them, and live an example of Christ that he may see the love of God in you.



To all that have such issues with children, younger siblings, anyone you would feel responsible for…

Have you set an example? It should be a question of going to church together, not sending them. Yes, you can make it difficult for a young person who refuses to go to church;

But, isn’t it easier, dare I say joyful, to have show your kids and siblings that it’s a joyful thing, going to church, together when possible? It really should be. I’m not going to argue with anyone about how they raise their own children (unless there are clear examples of abuse or neglect)…but having been, and continuing to be a good example, is more effective than any threats, bribes, or coercion than you can think of! In short ‘this is how we do this’, because God tells us to. And ‘God will reward us for being faithful’ mixed with love and care from those in authority, mixed with joy and faithfulness, is most effective.

Just do the right thing yourself, and your child won’t be away from the church for long!



To imply that people aren’t setting a good example or doing the right thing is not fair. Plenty of devout, churchgoing people have children that reject the faith. You should not blame the parents. Doing the right thing for yourself does not always mean your children will join you.



I know. I was mainly speaking to people who have influence, and some authority, over their children NOW! In the present, not a vague memory. Sorry if I was insensitive, but a good example is always the best motivation. Even if it doesn’t look that way, at the moment.



I meant in the present. They may listen to your influence or authority for some things, but not all. And you cannot force it.

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My experience of this was that I brought my children up to question everything about religion. I thought that was a fair approach, consequently…they’re all atheists!

On reflection, had I been Catholic when they were young I think I would have preferred to have had them baptised and confirmed Catholics and then found they’d changed their minds at least it would have been an informed decision they would have taken.

I became a Catholic 2.5 years ago or just over and it was the best thing I’ve ever done, however I actually do have problems with opposition from them and even some ridicule. I regret how things are and in many ways I feel I failed them.



My parents are great, they would never just “send” us to the church, we go to the church together and we pray together. The thing is, my brother is madly in love and he is 15, he doesn’t like the catholic idea of chastity and no sex before marriage, because the girl (she is nice and sweet don’t get me wrong) want him to do things he was told not to do and he is afraid of losing her. But at least it’s great to see how he cares about her and their relationship, it means he will be a good husband and father one day :slight_smile: if you could pray for him I would really appreciate it +



Thank you so much for sharing! I will pray for you and your family q

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No, his willingness commit sins against chastity is not a sign he will be a good husband/father. We will hope and pray that he repents and amends his life and THEN will be a good husband.

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Thank you, that’s very kind of you.

I think that since our relationship with God is so very important it would be more than a good idea if your brother continues to attend church. His future life walking with God could lead him to heaven, eternal life! That’s far more important than a transient relationship with a mortal so to speak. Though he may not fully appreciate that right now.

In time he will, Ive no doubt, form a proper relationship which will lead to marriage and a family, perhaps he might ask himself what he would do if he had a fifteen year old son arguing about the need to attend church.

Our Lord died on the cross for all of us, including your dear brother, perhaps he would continue to give God just an hour a week in return? I know there are pressures on him but he should consider that the rewards of a materialistic world pale to insignificance against the gifts God has for him.

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Yes, there’s that thing called “free will” that even our children have. As much as we’d like to control some actions, we can’t.



This was something I posted a little while ago which you may find relevant.

I enjoyed a homily given by a gentle Irish priest in a local cathedral two weeks ago.
He told us of a church which was being slightly vandalised by two youths, a priest came out and they expected him to begin shouting but instead he quietly and respectfully bowed to them and went into th confessional. One of the youths was Catholic and dejectedly went in to confess his sin. For a penance the priest told him to go stand in front of a very large crucifix attached to the wall and say to Our Lord on it “you did this for me and I couldn’t care less.” Three times he was to say it, by the third time he was in tears. The priest came by and again bowed with respect and left the church.

Years later that boy grew and rose to became a Cardinal in Paris. He told people that what made him feel so awful was that after all his bad behaviour and disrespect of a sacred place the priest had bowed to him.

(I think this story comes from a book about the Blessed Frederic Ozanam, SVP)



That’s beautiful… thank you so much!

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