Recently, my 12-year-old daughter said she no longer believed in Heaven. Instantaneously:
I felt sick to my stomach.
Immediately I wondered:
“Is my daughter deconverting”
“I need to fix this. Now!”
Thankfully, I resisted that urge. Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. It took everything in me to restrain myself from offering an over-the-top apologetic for Heaven! But had I it would have been a mistake and caused more damage to her faith than good. If I had expressed my fears and frustrations at that moment, I would have shut down my daughter from ever opening up and sharing her doubts with me in the future.
Keeping lines of communication between us and our children is crucial. The best way to sever those lines is to overreact when they share their doubt and unbelief. They need to know that they can reveal what they’re really thinking and feeling without being afraid that mom or dad will fly off the handle. When we do, it inadvertently sends the message that we aren’t safe to talk to when it comes to what they really think. But that’s the exact opposite of how we want them to view us. Because these conversations often occur without warning, we can be caught off guard. When that happens, we tend to react instinctively. Unfortunately, our instincts in this case are not what we should follow. Instead, I encourage you to think through in advance how you might respond to your child informing you that they have serious doubts about Christianity. Have a plan for how you will respond to them.