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Old 09-29-2011, 10:05 AM   #1
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At what age should a child be expected to fast for a holy day?

My husband follows a religion that observes a day called The Day of Atonement. During that day, he abstains from food and water. Supposedly, there is meaning to doing this. It's next Saturday and he is expecting our 5 1/2 year old to abstain from at least food (not sure if he expects her to go without water too). Now, what gets me is that he doesn't feel she's old enough to be expected to be responsible enough to pick up her TOYS without someone doing it for her but he expects her to UNDERSTAND enough of the reasons behind fasting to fast. She's a kid. She can't go more than a few hours without whining about being hungry.

SO, do you think 5 1/2 is old enough? If not, at what age would you expect a child to be old enough to both understand and be able to participate in a fast for a holy day?

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Old 09-29-2011, 10:09 AM   #2
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Re: At what age should a child be expected to fast for a holy day?

No. 5.5 is too young. First of all, I don't think a child that age can go all day without food. Second of all, what will he tell her? "I am sorry you are really hungry but you can not eat today."? I think it should wait until an age where the child is old enough to understand and I'd personally even wait until/when/if it is something they WANT. I understand a day of fasting. I don't but I understand. But what is the point of a child doing it if they don't understand or have the desire? It is an action forced upon them and has no true meaning behind it.
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:11 AM   #3
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Re: At what age should a child be expected to fast for a holy day?

I can't give an opinion on when it should be expected, because I've never been a part of a denomination that fasts in any way. I don't understand the concept of it and I'm in my 20's, and that's ok with me. But I can say that I do not think that 5 1/2 is an age where it should be expected, ESPECIALLY water. And if he thinks that she shouldn't be expected to do little things like pick up toys, he's really expecting too much of her. I can't imagine a 5 year old understanding the reasoning for it.
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:13 AM   #4
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Re: At what age should a child be expected to fast for a holy day?

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No. 5.5 is too young. First of all, I don't think a child that age can go all day without food. Second of all, what will he tell her? "I am sorry you are really hungry but you can not eat today."? I think it should wait until an age where the child is old enough to understand and I'd personally even wait until/when/if it is something they WANT. I understand a day of fasting. I don't but I understand. But what is the point of a child doing it if they don't understand or have the desire? It is an action forced upon them and has no true meaning behind it.
Agree. He thinks though that if he reads the meaning behind it then she'll understand but again, she's FIVE. She's not a baptized member either so really, I don't think she should be expected to. If she's not allowed to attend the Passover supper at his church because she's not an official member because she's not yet baptized then she should not have to fast.
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:13 AM   #5
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Re: At what age should a child be expected to fast for a holy day?

Tell him that even Muslims don't have their children doing Ramadan fast until their tweens.
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:15 AM   #6
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Re: At what age should a child be expected to fast for a holy day?

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Agree. He thinks though that if he reads the meaning behind it then she'll understand but again, she's FIVE. She's not a baptized member either so really, I don't think she should be expected to. If she's not allowed to attend the Passover supper at his church because she's not an official member because she's not yet baptized then she should not have to fast.
I think those are very rational reasons and I don't know why he wouldn't agree.
He thinks he can read about it, then when she is hungry and thirsty he can say, "I would let you, but God says no." That can't cause resentment at all?
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:19 AM   #7
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Re: At what age should a child be expected to fast for a holy day?

Oh, hellz no! I would not let my husband make my child fast *AT ANY AGE*. That is just one of those things that my kid would have to do completely of their own accord, and until they decided that they wanted to do such a thing, NO ONE would be keeping them from eating or drinking. If my husband even hinted at making our kids fast, he'd be getting that "You must've lost your damn mind" look, and he would be seriously re-thinking that one if he wanted to regain my trust and confidence in his parenting abilities!
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:20 AM   #8
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Re: At what age should a child be expected to fast for a holy day?

I'm gonna agree with everyone else and say that 5.5yo is too young. It would be more like "making" her do it and that can cause resentment. I would wait until she can actually understand why she would be fasting. I would never ever force my child to do anything religious unless they wanted to.

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Old 09-29-2011, 10:21 AM   #9
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Re: At what age should a child be expected to fast for a holy day?

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I think those are very rational reasons and I don't know why he wouldn't agree.
He thinks he can read about it, then when she is hungry and thirsty he can say, "I would let you, but God says no." That can't cause resentment at all?
Because he's a "holier than thou" religious jackass when it comes to stuff like this. I HATE HIM during holy days. Our biggest fights happen during holy days because they positively make him neurotic.

Someone did mention on a blog that the Jews do not expect kids under 13 to fast so I'm going to see if I can find that online to present it to him.
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:27 AM   #10
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Re: At what age should a child be expected to fast for a holy day?

Not only do I think she's too young to understand, but I'm pretty sure it would be termed child abuse.
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