3 Things To Do When Your Teen Tells You They Don’t Believe in Jesus

A Christian mother with her daughter who doesn't believe in Jesus anymore

By Heather Hart

“Mom, what would you and Dad do if one of us didn’t believe in Jesus?” my teenage daughter asked me.

The question sparked dread deep within my soul, and I knew I needed to weigh my next words carefully.

“Nothing. Faith is something you must choose for yourselves. It would break our hearts, but we would love you just the same.”

Less than a week later, my daughter confessed she no longer believed in Jesus. 

She said she had stopped believing a few months prior—after some comments her high school teachers made. She was too afraid to tell us until now.

In our small town, kids are grounded or kicked out of their homes for trivial infractions. Her fear wasn’t based on her relationship with us, but on her peers’ experiences.

She was scared because she didn’t want us to think we failed as parents. 

My daughter struggles to believe Jesus was born of a virgin. She thinks Jesus may have been a real person, but no longer believes most of what the Bible says about Him.

I tried not to take it personally. But the weight of her news hit me hard.

My whole life is wrapped up in Jesus. 

Sadly, our kids can’t grasp what our relationships with Jesus mean if they don’t know who He is.

As I’ve walked through this season with my daughter, here are three things I’ve learned.

A Christian mother hugging her teen  child doesn't believe in Jesus

3 Responses When Your Child Tells You They Don’t Believe in Jesus

1 – Love them anyway.

“By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:35 HCSB

The most important thing we can do for our children is to keep loving them the way Jesus loves us.

Our kids need to experience grace and mercy if they are ever going to believe Jesus is real.

Our children can see the love of Christ modeled by us and our church family as we walk through this season.

Romans 10:14-15 HCSB says, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’”

Our kids can grasp the love of Christ when we live it out day in and day out.

If our kids don’t believe in Jesus, they can’t understand the depth of our love for them. 

Our love isn’t conditional. We love because He first loved us (1 Jn 4:19).

No matter where our kids go or what they face, we want to be a refuge for them. We want to model how nothing they do or don’t do changes our love for them.

A Christian mother encouraging her teen daughter to believe in Jesus

2 – Keep living out your faith when your child doesn’t believe in Jesus.

“Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6 HCSB

Recalling this verse was like rubbing salt in a wound. I had trained up my child to love Jesus, and she was departing from it anyway.

But we told her that while she might not believe in Jesus, we are still a family living for Him. 

Our family life hasn’t changed because she no longer believes. 

We continue going to church as a family. We still pray before meals, but we don’t ask her to do the honors.

The other day, I heard her humming “The Wonderful Cross.” When I asked her if I identified the song correctly, she admitted it had been stuck in her head since we sang it at church on Sunday.

Later, she told me that Christian music has a great vibe to it.

We are training her up in the way she should go, and it’s making a difference! It did my heart a world of good to hear it.

Keep living out your faith, even when a child no longer follows Jesus. 

Normal life rhythms can make a difference—a child takes in more than we may know.

A Christian mother praying with her daughter | child who doesn't believe in Jesus

3 – Surrender your kid to God in prayer.

“This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life…But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” – Matthew 6:25, 33 HCSB

God loves our children more than we do, whether they believe in Him or not (2 Pt 3:9).

We can trust God’s love for them. We can rest in the knowledge that He wants what’s best for them.

God hears us when we lift our kids up in prayer (Jas 5:16). 

God has numbered each of the hairs on our child’s head (Mt 10:30). He sees the end from the beginning (Is 46:10). 

We, as parents, learn to trust Him with the details.

A Christian mother praying and doing a Bible study with her teen daughter

Believe in Jesus and Move Forward

Lean into your faith when your child doesn’t believe in Jesus. Don’t be discouraged, but cultivate hope in God. 

While all children mimic parents, true faith is not genetic—it’s tried, tested, and true.

Our children must make their faith their own, and questioning it can be a part of the journey.

Oswald Chambers writes, “Always make a practice to stir your own mind thoroughly to think through what you have easily believed. Your position is not really yours until you make it yours through suffering and study.”

Let’s keep pouring Jesus into our kids. And may we grant them space to wrestle their faith out with God.

Heather Hart

Heather Hart is a best-selling and award-winning author. God has given her a heart for ministering to women of all ages; helping them grow in their walk with Christ. Her goal isn’t to tell others how to do more, be better, or achieve perfection; it’s to point them to Jesus. You can connect with her online at AuthorHeatherHart.com.

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