Ask Cynthia

Ask Cynthia

My husband and I grew up in our faith and continue to teach our children how we learned to worship God. Our 14-year-old daughter recently informed me she doesn’t’t agree with our faith and wants to convert to another faith to worship God. I am not happy about it. I want her to share our

My husband and I grew up in our faith and continue to teach our children how we learned to worship God. Our 14-year-old daughter recently informed me she doesn’tt agree with our faith and wants to convert to another faith to worship God. I am not happy about it. I want her to share our faith. What should I do?

Faith and worship are personal and intimate commitments. When someone we love rejects our faith, we can take it personally. While your daughter is at the age of rebellion, remember she is not rejecting you, she is exploring different ways for herself, maybe worshiping the same as her peers. We live in a country that supports freedom of religion and we have many ways of worshiping God.

If you want to continue a trusting relationship with your daughter, maybe you can continue expressing the importance of worshiping and believing in God. While you are being respectful of her decisions, she must also respect you and your beliefs. When living in your home, she respects your faith and way of life. Teach by example, living in the way you want her to live. Try not to force her into your ways, but express the importance of worship. She could return to your way in later months or years.

If you deny her the choice or she feels you rejected her because of her decision, you could lose a close relationship with your daughter or lose her all together. Keep open communication and express the importance God has in your lives and continue to pray for her.

The exception would be if she is considering a cult, radical religion or something harmful to herself or others. In this case, I encourage intervention from a professional that specializes in cult activities.

My 10-year-old son is not interested in school. He does not care about his grades, he doesn’tt do his homework and his grades are bad. How can I get him to care about his grades?

For some children, school is rewarding and effortless and they enjoy waking up every morning to go to school, meeting with their friends and taking in the whole school experience.  For others, they would prefer to get their teeth pulled than go to school.

Go to the school and talk to his teachers. Maybe they see something you are not aware of that can help you in deciding a course of action. He might be being bullied, he could be bored with the schoolwork, his assignments might be too challenging, or maybe he thinks staying home and playing video games is more important. After speaking to the professionals at school, you might have enough information to help your son. Teachers and school counselors can offer suggestions to improve his school life.

At 10, this may be the beginning of a tough age for your son. He is becoming a ‘big kid’, still wanting the childish toys and at the same time thinking he is too old for them.  Find ways to motivate him. Lectures do not usually work.

One of the hardest parts of being a parent is allowing your son to experience natural consequences. The natural consequence of not doing his school work and making bad grades is flunking a grade. If he flunks a grade, he will be with younger children, doing the same work all over again next year. Just let him know you will still love him if he is in the same grade next year.

The children my 11-year-old daughter goes to school with tease her and call her names. She stays in her room while home, does not want to go to school or anywhere else. My heart is breaking for her and I dont know what to do.

While bullying is nothing new, it can cause physical and emotional harm to the children who are the targets and their parents. Everyone feels helpless and no one else seems to care. What you have described sounds as if she could be depressed. I encourage you to have her evaluated by a psychiatrist.

I also suggest you talk to her teachers at school to find out what they see. Talk to the school counselor about the ‘bully free’ policies in the school so you can learn about your rights. Talk to the principal and inform him or her of your daughter’s situation and your concerns and find out what solutions the principal has.

You can find programs online to provide information on how make your daughter ‘bully proof’ and provide the support she needs. Find an activity she enjoys and get her involved.  Spend as much time with her as you can, without ignoring your needs or other family members’ needs.

Do not pressure her for information, let her know you are available when she is ready to talk. Sometimes children do not tell their parents about bullying because they are afraid of disappointing their parents. And they want to show their mom and dad they can manage the situation themselves.

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