My son came home for the summer after his first year at college, and announced that he was no longer going to attend Mass, including when he is home. How do I talk to him about this without resorting to, “You have to go because I still pay your bills,” which would probably do nothing but lead to resentment?
Our son is constantly disobeying us. The last straw was this week when he gave some friends a ride even though we’ve expressly forbidden it. Grounding hasn't worked, lectures haven’t worked — I’m thinking of having him stand on a corner with a sign the way I’ve seen on Facebook. Is this effective? Is it accountability or shaming?
My adult daughter, who's always been a practicing Catholic, is dating a Muslim man. I just don't see how this can work - how do I react?
During a tour of Ketchikan, Alaska, a Tlingit elder explained how marriage in his culture was changing. Young adults attending university often fell in love with non-Tlingit partners. Given the fluid nature of our global village, many parents are asking themselves: How do we react?
My 4-year-old has been getting in trouble at preschool for biting some of the other kids. He’s normally really sweet-tempered, but this is worrying us. How do we make sure he doesn’t become a bully?
An Irish lullaby that I loved singing to my children includes lyrics that reflect the underlying aspects of your concern. Cáislean Droma Mhor includes the phrase, “Take heed young eaglet, till thy wings are feathered fit to soar.” As parents, we know that eventually our children will be leaving the nest and soaring into their own futures. An adult child returning to the nest can be challenging for both generations.
One of my best friends decided to work full- time in an audio library for the music industry after our first year of college. I reasoned with her, earnestly explaining that she needed to stay in college to be successful. Fortunately, she ignored my advice, and ended up crafting a career that was highly rewarding on a personal basis as well as being one that provided her with financial security. Although loved ones can provide feedback in the discernment process, we can’t choose the paths for others.
Our children had diverse interests in high school, but the entire family supported each pursuit. For example, we all celebrated when Erin became our high school’s first delegate to have a resolution passed through the General Assembly at Model U.N.! Shannon, a member of the golf team, was cheered on each hole by family members riding in a golf cart. Healthy high school pursuits, whether quiet or bold, should be encouraged.
One challenging aspect of parenting is realizing that children grow up and forge their own paths. It’s easy to forget how sometimes our own parents couldn’t fathom particular life choices that we made! When we look for wisdom in the lives of the saints, often we forget that they were ordinary individuals struggling to determine their own spiritual journeys. St. Jane de Chantal shared her desires for her children with her spiritual director, Francis de Sales. He responded by saying, “As much as possible, we must touch the hearts of others as do the angels, delicately and without coercion.
When I was young, one of my teachers spoke of attending the 1931 White House Conference on Child Health and Protection as a contributor to the Children’s Charter. Her favorite phrase was: “For the child, his play is his work and his work is his play.” President Hoover noted that, “These plans must constantly be translated into action.” The suggestions that children need opportunities to grow spiritually, to have secure homes, to attend wholesome schools and to spend time in play still need to be translated into action.