So, your teen doesn’t want to be part of the youth group. Does that mean your teen is a bad person and should be excommunicated from the church? No, not in the slightest. But how do you get your teen to want to go to youth conferences? You never want to force your teen to go to a youth conference because doing so will likely backfire. After all, people typically don’t like being forced to do anything.
If your teen has expressed disinterest in attending a youth conference, don’t shy away from talking to them about why they’re apprehensive about attending. Making the right choice isn’t about coercion, it’s about understanding why your teen is apprehensive toward youth conferences. When you understand their objections you can provide reasons why they might be hasty or unfounded.
You also shouldn’t treat youth groups as an edict from God. How often your kids participate in church activities will not make them any more likely to go to heaven or become a good person. However, it can enrich their lives and make them feel part of a community. After all, one of the most important aspects of being a teenager is feeling like you belong to something. Joining a youth conference can create that sense of belonging and it’s your job to help them to understand how youth conferences can help facilitate that process.
Talk Your Teen
One of the most important aspects of having a teenager is being comfortable enough with them to discuss difficult topics. To understand why your teenager is avoiding youth conferences, they need to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with you on the matter. This is the primary reason why forcing your teen to go to a youth conference is ill-advisable.
Teens are more receptive to parents who talk with them rather than at them. You don’t have to have a formal sit-down to discuss the error of their ways. Conversations can be casual throughout your day-to-day interactions and they will vary from teen to teen. Ask your teenager what’s keeping them from being curious about youth conferences and the benefits they can offer.
After you ask the question, make sure you’re ready to listen. Is it rebellion, anxiety of the unknown, fear of rejection? Whatever the teen’s reason for being apprehensive, it’s likely justified. Try to put yourself in their shoes. They’re teenagers. Everything is new and unknown. They’re becoming adults and social pressures are intense. Help them understand that it’s okay to have fears.
Keep an Open Mind
You shouldn’t force the conversation with your teen but you can look for times to insert the topic. Natural segways at the dinner table to assess how they’re feeling on the matter. You can also wait for them to discuss the topic again. When you’re open with your child, they will feel comfortable sharing their thoughts on the matter.
When they do open up to you, you need to adequately explain to them why opening up is ok and the right thing to do. Explain how a maturing faith can enrich their lives for the better. Teens typically focus on the rigid aspects of youth conferences. You should explain to them how faith doesn’t depend on how many times you go to church or doing good deeds for the sake of telling everyone you’ve done them.
Show them how the sense of community youth conferences develops develops a sense of faith and togetherness, how building relationships with people in the community is what the church is all about. With youth conferences, the main goal should be to care for those who are suffering, those who have been wronged, and achieving forgiveness through confession. You need to help your teens remember that we build relationships when we come together in gratitude rather than dogma.
Open Discussions About Christianity
Your teen needs to feel comfortable about discussing their faith and feelings about attending a youth conference. It’s okay to have conversations with your teen about Christianity so long as the conversation doesn’t turn authoritative.
Religion is a choice for everyone, not only you, and that includes your teen. It is perfectly understandable to tell your child why you believe in the ways of the church. However, making them feel inadequate or inferior because they have some doubts about their faith is not Christian. People doubting their faith is completely normal. True Christians understand this and foster people rather than lecture them.
Pray Your Teen
Whether your teen takes Christ into their life is not your decision. It is their choice to either accept God into their lives or not. However, you can be there for them to display the benefits of a strong faith. You can derive a sense of grounding and stability from prayer and praying with your teen can serve as an encouragement for them to join youth conferences.
How to Convince Your Child to Go to Youth Conferences
The simple answer to this question is that you shouldn’t coerce your child into going to a youth conference. You should convince them on their own accord and volition. Of course, if they’re not one hundred percent sure, you can always play the parent card. But there needs to be some open discussions rather than arguments surrounding the subject. If your teen is against the church in some way, you should listen to them and provide another opinion on the matter. So long as the conversation stays amicable, you can devise strategies to help them see the benefits that occur from youth conferences.
Having open discussions with your teen, whether about the Bible, church, or other members of the congregation, will encourage your teen to seek out more information about youth conferences and ensure they feel comfortable with coming to you for answers. The more comfortable your teen feels with you, the more likely they will be to come to you on their own volition. Youth conferences can be excellent ways to connect with the church community and ensure your teens become part of the community you love and respect.