My 13 year old has become very resistant to family scripture study and even at times going to church. It is beginning to "rub-off" on our ten year old son. We have not been consistent over the years but this year has been different. I have not let sports, late nights, or any other thing get in the way of doing our scripture study. From taking your spring class I know you said the kids will push back at first until they realize you are not budging. It has been 5 months of reading with 2 kids who are willing one who is sometimes and the 13 year old who acts like he's not going to read every time his turn comes around. I have told him we would patiently wait until he is ready. He will then read, but he "Speed-reads" and slurs his words to get it over with. His older sister gets irritated with him and any feeling of the spirit we might have had, quickly leaves.
He purposely drags his feet when getting ready for church, saying how boring it is and how he hates going. Last week I was called out of Relief Society because the 10 year old refused to go to singing time and would not come back into the building. He said it was "Boring" and he "hated church".
I feel that my 13 year old's attitude has a huge effect on the spirit in our home and is effecting his younger brother.
I recently read from Elder Scott that "forced obedience does not yield enduring fruit."
They seem too young to me to allow them to decide whether they will go to church or not. I have had conversations with each of them explaining the importance of each thing and promises that I want for our family. I have been regular with family scripture study so they know it isn't going away because they complain.
How do I help to change their attitude and behavior toward our scripture study and church attendance? Is it right to force them to read or go to church and give punishments if they don't? When I do, am I creating "fruit that won't endure"?
We have to create an environment where the gospel is a fun and exciting thing, not something that has to be endured during scripture time or at church. The gospel is a way of life, not an event. We have to reflect a happy spirit when it comes to the experiences our children will have with the gospel. I promise you that they will not always be happy about going to Mutual or to church on Sunday but we can do all we can to make our home gospel experiences positive.
The key is to get our children, of all ages, to be interactive with the learning process. That is true whither we are having family scriptures, family home evening, or planning a family activity. I am so impressed with the helps that are available on lds.org. The new teaching program for the youth has many ideas that will help. Remember the key is to get them involved. If they think it is boring, have them help with the planning.
For example; if they think family scripture time is really boring then take a look at how you are doing your scriptures. If you are just going around the circle and reading, I can see why they might not be too excited, especially if it is early in the morning. Look at the time you are having your scriptures, is it the best time to keep their interest? You may want to change it to evening or in the summer, to the middle of the day. Then look at what your are doing. Are you discussing the meaning of the verses with energy? I have sat in the home of my daughter and listened to her husband explain the scriptures with energy and drama.
Have your child lead the scriptures time. Have them pick their favorite story and read it and discuss how it applies to us. Write in the scriptures meaning that you have found. With younger children, act out the stories. Look on lds.org in the youth section and you will find a lot of ideas about how to make teaching interactive. I am so impressed with the new program and I think it has been given for this very purpose, that we were losing some of our young people. Take from it ideas that you can use in your homes. Also the New Era and the Friend offer a lot of ideas about teaching the gospel in our homes.
It takes time and planning and energy to make the gospel fun in our homes, but the pay off is eternal. In our personal prayers we need to ask the Lord, "How can I change and improve our family scripture time, or family home evening or family prayer time?" Then be still and listen for the answer, He will tell you what to do. He loves you and He loves your children. He wants you to bring them home to Him. He will help you.