Can We Force Our Kids To Be Religious?

So yesterday,  Alyssa attended her first official Sunday School Class in Church.

We are a Christian Family, but to be honest, we’ not been going to Church very regularly – especially since we’ve become parents. When we did go, I’d always miss most of the service and spend the time in the cry room or running after the kids.

As a child, I attended Sunday school each and every Sunday up until I was a young adult. I wouldn’t say my parents were religious extremists or anything like that, but I was told to go and not miss a lesson, but truth is – I loved it. In our church, nothing felt forced and I felt welcome in God’s presence and to this day we’d still attend this very church because of this. It’s a bit of a distance for us to travel, though, which is one of the reasons for our laziness in getting up and going to church.

I must admit a number of things have been drawing me to God lately and more specifically, for me to properly introduce Alyssa to our family’s religion. Not only is she fascinated by the bible stories we’ve been reading, but she’s been asking a lot of questions about God and Jesus, and why we pray. She and her friends at school also talk about it apparently, so I thought this is definitely the time to give her a proper foundation.

But what is that proper foundation? 

There’s a lot of controversy around teaching vs forcing a child into a religion. I think that regardless of the religion, no matter what we teach them – it’s our own beliefs that we are somehow leading them with.

So my take on it is that we can only guide our children. As a family, we can only introduce her to what we know and believe in. I just want to give her the basis and understanding of what our religion is about. There are many lessons I learned in Sunday School that has stuck with me throughout my life and I want her to also have at least a taste of that.

So I enquired about a Sunday School at a church in our area and yesterday she (we) attended her first class.

Alyssa was so excited about the class, so much so that she was up before 6 am! She absolutely loved the class and was so proud about attending. Later that day, she excitedly told her Grandparents all about it! She told them about the bible verse they learned, the crown they made and the new songs she learned.

The classes only start from 4 years of age and up, so Aidan still has a few more years to sleep in on a Sunday morning. He was, however, a bit disappointed that he couldn’t join us.

I’m no expert on religion and what is wrong or right, but like with most of my parenting duties – I trust my instinct and do what feels right. Who knows, she may love it, hate it or question certain things when she’s older, but for now, I think we’ve made the right decision.



  1. Melissa Javan March 27, 2017

    Yes do what you feel is right – don’t force anything. Glad your daughter was excited to go to class. Great way to socialise with others.

  2. Jonelle March 27, 2017

    I love your approach! I was raised in the kind of family where you didn’t have a say. I hated my church. It was awful and felt like torture but I had to go every week because that’s what my grandparents believed was the right thing to do. As soon as I could, I stopped going and i’ve always said, I will give my own children the choice. We are not a religious family but if my son was curious and wanted to learn more, I’d be more than happy to let him do that. I think having choice makes such a difference.

    • Hayley March 27, 2017

      Definitely, there should always be an option for choice! Makes the world of difference.

  3. Liezel Malherbe March 27, 2017

    i’ve always wondered how I would approach this with my own kids. I kind of want them to make up their won minds about what they believe in. But then I also want them to have the knowledge of Christian beliefs without feeling obliged to follow it. I guess all you can really do is follow your gut. Thanks for the post! Glad to have your input.

    • Hayley March 27, 2017

      Thanks Liezel. I agree, if we don’t guide them a little, someone or something else will!

  4. Heather Step March 27, 2017

    They will make up their own minds. all you can do is give them the foundation. Looks like you are off to a good start.

  5. KIM HIEBNER March 28, 2017

    I loved your post! I found myself in a similar situation. My daughter had gone to Sunday school on and off for the past 2 years or so, but this year she started school and she started asking about it more and more. so we made the effort for the past 2 weeks and she loved going back again. I agree… if we don’t guide them, someone else will

    • Hayley March 28, 2017

      Thanks, Kim.
      I’m amazed at the conversations Alyssa and her friends are having about religion. It’s quite scary and just shows how easily they can be led in another direction if we don’t guide them.
      I’m glad your daughter is enjoying Sunday School again.

  6. […] little talks about this holy week. Alyssa got to learn about the true meaning of Easter in her first sunday school class last month. It was really nice for her to learn all about it, before the Easter Bunny was all in […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *