Grounding a Child from Church

Updated on October 16, 2012
J.A. asks from Burleson, TX
31 answers

If a child misbehaves, would you consider grounding them from church? I don't have children yet, but I remember being grounded from church once when I was a teenager. As a Christian woman, I am against grounding children from church. I feel that it sends the message that God isn't where to turn to in times of trouble. When I was a kid, I didn't like going to church. I went because my mom made me go. I realized how important church was when I was in my late teens and as I became an adult. When I have children, they will go to church whether grounded or not. I feel that church is sacred rather than a fun activity, and I would treat it like an obligation, such as school or work. For instance, my job is not only a privilege, but also a responsibility and commitment. I feel church is the same thing and I understand how hard it is to take care of a boat that has been neglected all week. I not only love my church, but I also go because God commands us to worship Him. Christians are supposed to have relationships with God and other believers as well. What are your opinions?

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your opinions. I think it's good to start thinking about my future children. I'll be 24 this year and I've been thinking about marriage and children for a few years now. I feel I get good tips about how to raise my children when I have any by reading the posts on this website and watching Supernanny when it was on. Now I understand we do not have to go to church to worship; it can be at home too. I could see a child missing the social activities at church when they're in trouble, but not Sunday School and service.

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A.L.

answers from Dallas on

My children will attend regular services with the family but will not attend the fun youth services or the weekend outings if they are grounded. They are 14 and 15 both girls.

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S.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hehehe...I would've been a really naughty kid if it had meant I didn't have to go to church...

I am an atheist now.

7 moms found this helpful
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R.J.

answers from Seattle on

Beware of ANY statement that begins with;

'When I _______.'

- have kids
- have a grade schooler
- have a teen
- etc.

UNTIL you get to xyz stage... It's pure speculation, and almost always dead wrong.

_______

I haven't done so, yet... But I might! I know many families who do or have, and many who don't, or haven't yet.

Not until said kid is grown, and on their own, can we really say what we would 'never' do, raising them. And we can only say that, because we didn't do it. That also doesn't mean that we wouldn't do that 'never' with their brother or sister!

I DO know that I've grounded my son from school, back when I had the authority to do so. ((Homeschooled for 5 years, which -again- before kids is something I never would have thought I'd do. Neither homeschooling, nor grounding my son from school!!! Although upon reflection I realized teachers ground students from school in classroom settings on a regular basis, so I just had to laugh at myself when I realized that. There are levels of grounding that take place in schools... From the most serious to the short term: expulsion, suspension, removed or not allowed to attend xyz program, sent to the principals office, sent to the hallway, set to doing a menial task that precludes taking part in a lesson, but still in classroom. Not a complete list, of course. But kids get grounded IN school all the time. ))

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J.W.

answers from St. Louis on

This is very odd. You didn't like church but your parents grounded you from church. That is like grounding a kid from spinach they don't realize it is good for them until they are adults.

Odd.

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L.M.

answers from Dover on

I wouldn't ground them from church but possibly a fun activity at church...for instance, maybe they would not be allowed to go to the party, picnic, youth rally, etc.

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D..

answers from Charlotte on

Do you know someone who is doing this now? Or are you just thinking back to your experience as a teen?

If you are just worrying about your experience as a teen, let it go. If you have extreme feelings about your parents way of handling you, perhaps you should go to counseling to talk it through.

Parents make good and poor choices. Usually, they try their best. Until YOU are a parent, you can't understand what it's like to be one.

God doesn't COMMAND us to go to church. God asks us to. And it doesn't have to be church. He says where 2 or 3 are gathered in his name. God also tells us to discipline our kids - He doesn't tell us to use any method "except" church.

If you can't get through the week without church and feel that missing church for any reason makes it too hard for you to handle life (your boat analogy), then I think that this is more about leaning on the idea of church than worshipping God, and that would be another reason why counseling might help you.

You most likely won't like what I've pointed out here, but you asked for opinions. And this is my opinion.

Dawn

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J.W.

answers from Detroit on

I wouldn't ground my child from church but I did ONCE take him home from church for misbehaving. He was about 3 and I took him home with my reasoning to him being, "You are being disrespectful to God. We don't behave that way at church." He was devastated. Woke up from his nap later asking if we could go back and I never had a major problem again.

**This is not to say he was a complete angel from that point on, but it did have an impact on him. He's not perfect, just perfect for me :)

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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

I don't believe god resides in a house built by man, if I want to feel close to creation I go to the woods, away from man made structures. So I may not really be any help, I don't take my kids to church as it is, I don't like organized religion, I think it twists it too much.

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A.S.

answers from Iowa City on

I don't think anyone, child or adult, should be prevented from going to church. Nor do I think they should be compelled to attend.

Most kids I know would be thrilled if they got grounded from church.

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M.L.

answers from Colorado Springs on

I wonder why you were grounded from church. (You don't have to answer that.) Were your friends there and you were making mischief with them instead of worshiping? I would have said, "Yes, you're going to church, and you'll get to sit with Mama now!"

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E.A.

answers from Erie on

Like Jen C. I'd have to ground my kids from hiking in the woods to ground them from church. No god I believe in would want me to treat anyone like that. Any "alienation" done in the name of a deity is wrong, and done to serve immoral dogmatic purposes. I am also amused that you say you would do such and such, and you don't even have kids yet. In fact, it kind of makes your reasons invalid, since you really have no idea what you will do until you actually have a child.

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L.R.

answers from Washington DC on

Makes me wonder what the situation was with your own grounding or if you are asking because you know someone else who is doing this now....?

If church was a ton of fun for the kid, I guess a parent could ground the child in order to take away a fun time. But for us, since church is something we do each week like school and dance (my daughter's main activity outside school), I would not consider grounding her from it any more than I would ground her from school or dance. I would find other disciplines.

If the misbehavior happened AT church, that is a somewhat different issue. It might be a case of "If you cannot behave at church, you cannot GO to church this week." If the child loved to go, that would cause some pain and possibly teach the lesson needed, but if the child was lukewarm about church or didn't like it (and misbehaved because she didn't like it) -- then the grounding would be almost like a reward!

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J.C.

answers from New Orleans on

Most kids I know would love to be grounded from church. No, I would not ground a child from anything I deem to be uplifting or positive.

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D.B.

answers from Boston on

Many religions teach that God is everywhere and accessible to all who reach out, whenever and wherever. So in that sense, keeping a child from church is not keeping the child from God, but from the community aspect of worship. There are many who would say that God does not command you to be in church to worship, or that those who attend regularly are no more holy than those who attend on some Sundays and not all. (And we've seen plenty of shameful examples in the news of people who profess one thing publicly by highlighting their church-going and who have done pretty awful things behind the scenes.) Keeping a child from church but allowing her to watch TV doesn't send a good message, but keeping a child from a pleasant activity may be appropriate. For example, if Sunday School with one's friends is a huge social activity, then keeping a child home for private reflection and prayer might be appropriate. You may not have this problem in Texas, but up north when we get a blizzard or an ice storm, it makes sense to stay home - so it's not always wise to say "missing church is wrong."

By saying "You are going to church no matter what", it may seem like more punishment, and that's not the message to give kids to get them to want to attend (look at your own history - you were forced to go). Others would say that keeping a "grounded" child from church is like sending them to their room but without their greatest comfort (say, a special blanket or doll). I would consult my own clergy member in the house of worship of my choice, and get some advice specific to my own religion AND religious community if I were you.

I also think it's very difficult to make these decisions now, when you don't have children. Your opinions and beliefs will grow and evolve over time, and you will need some parenting experience in order to make appropriate decisions when the time comes. You'll have to figure out your own approach to discipline when you meet your future children and learn their personalities and behavioral issues.

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M.T.

answers from New York on

Well, I am not Christian. I was raised in a Jewish home. While not observant, if we did go to synagogue, I would not ground my kids (I have two teens) from services, but I would ground them from all other shul-based activities like youth group, etc. However, if you lead a life based in faith, then you are not a Saturday or Sunday morning only God person, and have not been neglecting your faith all week. People do have relationships with God or other higher powers without attending synagogue, church, etc.

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G.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I don't care how bad the offense was I would never keep the kids from any church activity. The people they are in contact with are supposed to be the support system they turn to when they need a friend or someone to talk to about a serious decision. These are supposed to be the friends they are building a relationship with that will last the rest of their lives. These are their church leaders that will hopefully help them through the trials and tribulations they will face.

I would do everything to strengthen that bond unless the other kids were the ones they got into trouble with. Them I would meet with those other parents and get to the bottom of the issue and we could all decide together how to move forward so the Youth group could start functioning as it should be doing.

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M.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

My kids would do a happy dance if I grounded them from church so it wouldn't be a punishment.

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S.B.

answers from Kansas City on

It really depends. You have to do what you know will make an impact on your child. If grounding them from church one week will make it really stick, I would consider it. I've put my daughter in time out from working on her math workbooks, which she loves and really hates being told she can't do.

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S.H.

answers from Detroit on

When I was a child, I never thought to consider insidiously convincing my parents to ground me from church as a way of not having to go. What an elegant answer. Anyway, by that time, I had expressed myriad ways how I didn't enjoy going, so I suspect they would have questioned my sudden interest in regularly attending. I suppose my contribution would be that the answer sounds like it will be child-specific; restricting access to something the child enjoys seems essential if the punishment is to work. My only comment on whether preventing a child from attending church is appropriate is that I have no comment. That's a personal call for the parent based on their beliefs.

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M.K.

answers from Dallas on

Well we are not religious and don't go to church but if we did the thought would never cross my mind to ground from church.

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J.K.

answers from Kalamazoo on

Not from church service. But when I was a teen I belonged to youth group where we went bowling, had parties, ect. I would ground from that if the situation warranted it.

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E.T.

answers from Dallas on

grounding from church? no
grounding from all the fun, extra curricular, social activities most churches plan, especially for teens? yes

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D.F.

answers from Boston on

Wow..for our punishment as kids my dad dragged us to church.

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J.V.

answers from Las Vegas on

I wouldn't ground my child from going to church. He loves going to his classroom and learning about God. Now if he did misbehave in the classroom then I'll have him sit with me in the main building during the time so that way he can understand that he can't behave in that way. When I was younger I loved going to Sunday school. I did stop going at one point but now that I have a son and going through some stuff right now I believe church is the best place to go to.

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C.B.

answers from San Francisco on

I don't believe you have to go to church to have a relationship with God. I don't believe I would ever not let my kids go to church as a punishment, but I would keep them from attending a social function at the church if they are being punished.

I think you should also teach your children that they can pray, or talk to God anywhere they are at any time of the day or night and it isn't necessary to do it in a church

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A.S.

answers from Dallas on

I personally would never ground my children from church. It send the wrong message. They are in trouble and need to ask advice from God and we are preventing that. Now my kids alternate churches and go with us every other week and with their great grandmother the other weeks. If I would ground them it would be from going with the great grandmother - not to church.

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E.W.

answers from Columbus on

Ignore everyone on here who is making fun of you for speculating and says you can't know what you would do until you have a child. You definitely SHOULD be thinking about these things now. Yes, circumstances will change and you will adjust according to the needs of your specific child, but not enough people think these through before they are parents. It's good to think about and decide general rules/consequences/ways of handling situations that may come up. You should decide what kind of parent you want to be and how you want to raise your kids. You should read different parenting books and talk to seasoned parents and get opinions so you can start forming philosophies and ideas on child rearing. It's not good to be handed the baby on day one and then just "wing it". ;) My husband and I did our research before becoming parents and talked through various hypothetical situations and it has made parenting much smoother and easier for us. We still do it as the kids get older. It's good sense and kudos to you for thinking these things through now! :) As for the church question, no I would not ground a child from church. It where we go to be spiritually fed and uplifted and feel closer to God. A child who is having problems with disobedience needs it more than the child who isn't.

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C.N.

answers from Baton Rouge on

I wouldn't ground from regular services, but I would consider grounding from other activities, like youth group trips, lock-ins, etc.

I also wouldn't force a child to go to church if s/he didn't enjoy it. If the kid is spending an hour pouting and fuming, s/he isn't getting anything positive out of the experience.

N.G.

answers from Dallas on

I've never heard of this in all my life. And no, that would never be an option in our house.

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L.F.

answers from San Francisco on

I think it is wrong to punish a child from church. Its one thing if they are acting up in sunday school to not allow them to go until they behave, but I would still take them to church---I would just keep them with me throughout the service.

S.G.

answers from Grand Forks on

I could see grounding a child from church if I felt they were devoting too much time or energy, to the detriment of other aspects of their life (schoolwork, chores, soial life). After spending two years on the Interim Ministry Transition Team, in addition to my usual church committees and responsibilities, I grounded myself from church for the entire summer. My relationship with God is not dependent on my attendance at church, but my relationship with my family needed to be a priority for a while. If a child is being grounded for bad behaviour I could see grounding from a fun church sponsored activity, but not from a church service or Sunday school. I mean, when a child misbehaves you don't ground them from school, right?

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