There is no simple answer to these questions. It is a matter that we struggled with for years with our daughter, and which we are still praying about with our older son. How I wish there was a simple formula!
The matter came to a conclusion in the fall of 2008, when she came to us every night for a week in tears, confessing something she had done wrong. Each incident was unsolicited by us (and her actions were mostly unknown to us, until she spoke up). We believed that it was the Holy Spirit's work on her heart.
Watch a short segment from this video, from 18:20 - 20:15 --
I like the idea of asking, "What has God told you?" If there is a true relationship, there will be conversation. God will speak, and we will hear.
Here are some other good resources to check out.
- 10 Principles for Shepherding My Child Through Salvation and Baptism From a parent equipping event several years ago.
- Is My Child Ready for Baptism? Theology Is Needed A regenerate person will have knowledge of the truth, trust that is fleshed out in actions, and a conscience the cries out for cleansing.
- Is My Child Ready to Take Communion? It is the role of parents to determine when the child is ready, but they should seek counsel from others.
- Q&A: How Do You Know When a Young Child Is Ready to Accept Christ? From the Grace Children's Ministry Parenting Blog. Pastor Bill White gives four suggestions for parents who are struggling with this question.
- Passing on Your Faith. What really matters is that we (as parents) are pursuing Christ.
- Is It OK to "Accept Jesus in Your Heart"? Some thoughts on this controversial phrase.
- How Do I Know If My Child Is a Christian? Helpful guidelines from Brian Croft.
- My Son Is Not Ready to Become a Christian. My son didn't respond to the "altar call." And I was happy about that.