Advice on handling my 14 year old daughter


#1

My 14 year old daughter is in confirmation class, and a couple of weeks ago she told me she wasn’t ready to make her confirmation this year. I told her that was okay-- she will continue on with her confirmation class this year, and go through it again next year. All seemed fine.

Last night she came and told me she doesn’t want to get ashes tonight or to receive communion anymore… I asked her what was wrong… and she said she just isn’t sure she believes God exists, and would rather not receive communion in that state. She said she’d still go to church and to RE though, so she could learn. I was shocked. I have raised all of my girls in the church, and God is a really big part of our lives. I didn’t know how to respond. I asked her why she felt that way, and she said she didn’t know. I told her that I would answer any question for her. But I also told her she has to get the ashes tonight and I told her she has to receive communion-- that maybe God would give her the grace she needs to believe through the communion.

Am I doing the right thing? I feel bad forcing communion on her. It feels sinful to me. If she doesn’t believe what she is doing is real, is it a sin to take communion? I don’t want to lead her down the wrong path. Any advice and prayers for her would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Michelle


#2

As her mother only you can tell what is best for your child. It may be that she is only trying to push your buttons and/or be independent. If so, I think you’re right to tell her to receive ashes and communion. She may be seeing how important you really think those things are to you and so for her.

When she says she doesn’t know why she’s having doubts, what she may mean is she doesn’t think she can tell you about it even though you offered to answer her questions. She may need someone more objective, in her eyes. Someone who she thinks isn’t going to tell her what she’s always heard just because it’s expected.

There are good books for young people on the faith. Your parish may have something she can read. You might want to talk to her RE teacher, too about the situation.

I’m sure others will have more, better advice, I just wanted to put out a couple of things so you can have something to start with.


#3

sit down and read the section on the Catechism on Confirmation. Both of you learn what it is and what it is NOT.

It begins at 1285

scborromeo.org/ccc/p2s2c1a2.htm#1285

Next, find out who is influencing her, her protestant friends? Her athiest boyfriend?

Then, answer her questions. Get her to someone who can give her solid answers. It may be online. Both LifeTeen and PhatMass have forums just for teens to discuss their questions.

This board can be a bit large and overwhelming. Steve Ray’s website has some fantastic resources.

Amy Welborn’s Prove It books are a must read.


#4

I actually think she shouldn’t present herself for the Eucharist (at least she has respect enough to know that she shouldn’t present herself). She also should be able to talk this over with someone of solid faith (but maybe not you because she may not feel free). Remember, the Eucharist is required to be received once per year. Personally, I don’t care what those around me in the pew think when I don’t receive, it is my soul, not theirs (and I will not receive if I’ve committed certain sins that are mortal for me but may be venial to others). So, if you telling her to receive b/c you’re worried about what others around you may think, DON’T worry about them. Seriously, too many present themselves that shouldn’t. Se is at an age where the Church believes she is an adult and has full free will capabilities (hence why the candidate for confirmation must freely agree). Think about it this way, if she had serious doubts about marriage to someone in particular, would you still tell her she had to marry him (even if it were while you were walking her down the aisle)?

Help her find someone she trusts to answer her questions, someone who maybe struggled with belief just like her.


#5

IMO… just the fact that she thinks she shouldn’t receive communion if she is doubting God means she doesn’t doubt him. why would she be worried about disrespecting jesus if she doesn’t actually think he is present in the eucharist?

the best case scenario is she is just trying to be independent.
worst case is maybe something bad happened to her and is making her wonder why God would do this, and maybe doesn’t want to beleive anymore.

but it’s probably the first one.


#6

I’m not sure whether aboslutly requiring your child receive communion is such a good idea. One must be prepared to receive the eucharist, what if for some reason or another (and I’m not saying this is the case), she had some sort of grave sin on her contience and she should not be receiving?

One should always bear in mind Pauls warning:
drbo.org/cgi-bin/d?b=drb&bk=53&ch=11&l=27&f=s#x

27 Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.

So I guess my approch with this, would be to highly to encourage her to participate in the eucharist, but do not force. Now, I do think you should find some comfort in the fact that she’s thinking about whether or not she is in an appropriate state to receive the Eucharist. It shows an acknowlegement of the importance of the Eucharist, and this is exactly what you want to foster and build.

With regard to the core issues, well that’s going to be tougher. All I can say is brush up on your knowlege of the faith, read some of the fathers maybe, listen to alot of EWTN if you can, and be ready to answer her questions regarding the faith. God bless, I’ll keep you in my Lenten Prayers.


#7

Infants can receive Confirmation.

Please, read the Catechism link posted above. Confirmation is not some Catholic equilivelent of a Protestant “Believer’s Baptism”.


#8

with respect, no you have no right to do this. If you expect as part of her Confirmation preparation that she grows in spiritual maturity, you are working against that goal in taking away the use of her own conscience on this matter. it is to both your credit that she was able to tell you so far how she is feeling, but that dialog and openness will end and escalate to something ugly if you don’t stop ordering her spirituality. Yes you can insist she attend RE, and Sunday Mass but you cannot dictate when she receives the sacraments.


#9

[quote="kage_ar, post:7, topic:187286"]
Infants can receive Confirmation.

Please, read the Catechism link posted above. Confirmation is not some Catholic equilivelent of a Protestant "Believer's Baptism".

[/quote]

:thumbsup:again with the confusion over confirmation......I pray daily for the order to be restored to the sacraments.

OP I'd not insist she take communion or ashes, though you might point out to her that ashes are a sacramental not a sacrament. This is a good catalyst for in depth discussion. Be willing to talk and answer what questions you can and admit to not knowing the ones you don't. Make it a start to learning more together. The Prove IT books kage suggested are excellent. Catholicism for Dummies is a great resource too, and isn't just for dummies:p Some very good info in there and a lot that isn't always covered in school religion class or CCD.

prayers for you and your daughter.


#10

I think there is something going on with your daughter where she needs to talk to someone like a counselor from your church. Not a priest but a Catholic child therapist. They know how to find out what is going on with your daughter. Plus, they are very kind counselors. I saw one once and he was very kind and understanding.

I think she doesn’t feel worthy of receiving holy communion. She must be doing some distorted thinking that stops her from progressing in her studies. Something is wrong… that is going on in her personal life. I think she does believe in God. But she could have committed a mortal sin or thought she did… due to her age… she may still think like a kid.
Maybe a boy kissed her and she liked the feelings that she may think is wrong. I don’t think she wants to confess any personal things to the priest. That could be another problem.

When I was 14yrs.old I thought that just by sleeping near my boy cousin I thought I had gotten pregnant. My period didn’t come and my mom took me to the doctor and I told him I thought I was pregnant. LOL. The doctor was very kind to me and didn’t laugh or check my va-jay-jay.
He just gave me a shot and my period started.
I didn’t tell my Mom that I thought I was pregnant… I only told the doctor. I just told my mom that my period was due and that something was wrong.

SEE HOW KIDS THINK? I was an innocent child and didn’t know nothing about sex.

Your daughter just told you she may not believe in God to throw you off from her telling you the TRUTH.
Play detective and be totally kind to your daughter with whatever her problem.
Look around and see who her friends are and who else does she spend time with.


#11

You have a right to require she attend Mass, but it seems like it would be against Catholic teaching to force her to receive communion. Even faithful Catholics aren't supposed to receive if they're not in the right state.


#12

\Am I doing the right thing? I feel bad forcing communion on her. It feels sinful to me. If she doesn't believe what she is doing is real, is it a sin to take communion? I don't want to lead her down the wrong path. Any advice and prayers for her would be appreciated.\

**Yes, it is a sin to force someone without the right spiritual dispositions to receive Communion, Confirmation, or a sacramental such as ashes.

She has expressed her willingness to continue to attend religious education and church with you. Consider yourself lucky that she's being pretty broadminded and fair herself.**


#13

I went through a similar issue when I was around that age. I had doubts about God, my faith, etc. I (an Episcopalian at that time) was sent to talk to our priest. What I really wanted was apologetics and reassurance but instead he informed me that the Bible was a collection of man's interpretation of what God really wants and we all have to make our own decisions about theses things, etc. I mentally (although not physically) left the church that day and ended up becoming a Fundamentalist some years later (at least they had confidence in what they believe). What a difference could have been made by a talk with a priest who had an actual faith and a means of defending that faith.

Currently, I teach a young teens Sunday school class. I make it a point to research every objection to the faith that they have. It is good for a teenager to be taken seriously-especially about such weighty matters. Recent studies have shown that of the young people who leave the church, only 20% ever return. As far as your daughter is concerned, I would ask her explicitly what her questions about the faith are and I would look them up myself and enlist the aid of a priest with a good ability at apologetics. I see hope in that she is concerned about receiving communion unworthily- as a mother of 6 (3 older than 14), I would respect her wishes on not receiving communion but I would absolutely insist on church attendance. Best wishes and my prayers are with you (the teen years can be rough-especially with girls).


#14

Ummm…when I had this conversation with my own parents, it WAS the truth :shrug: same with my fiance, whose parents actually said “We agree that you are not ready confirm.” Niehter of us were depressed or sexually assaulted or had any problem other than being questioning teens.

For Mom: insist on Mass attendance, but do not insist that she rever receive a Sacrament when she doesn’t want it. Let her grow.


#15

[quote="mamabear3, post:5, topic:187286"]
IMO.... just the fact that she thinks she shouldn't receive communion if she is doubting God means she doesn't doubt him. why would she be worried about disrespecting jesus if she doesn't actually think he is present in the eucharist?

[/quote]

It may be that she doesn't wish to disrespect her parents and their beliefs or to disrespect the Church and what She teaches - which is a very mature attitude (to respect something you don't believe it).


#16

[quote="SpaceNeedle, post:14, topic:187286"]
Ummm....when I had this conversation with my own parents, it WAS the truth :shrug: same with my fiance, whose parents actually said "We agree that you are not ready confirm." Niehter of us were depressed or sexually assaulted or had any problem other than being questioning teens.

For Mom: insist on Mass attendance, but do not insist that she rever receive a Sacrament when she doesn't want it. Let her grow.

[/quote]

The person coming for the Sacrament does not "confirm", the Church confirms.


#17

[quote="puzzleannie, post:8, topic:187286"]
with respect, no you have no right to do this. If you expect as part of her Confirmation preparation that she grows in spiritual maturity, you are working against that goal in taking away the use of her own conscience on this matter. it is to both your credit that she was able to tell you so far how she is feeling, but that dialog and openness will end and escalate to something ugly if you don't stop ordering her spirituality. Yes you can insist she attend RE, and Sunday Mass but you cannot dictate when she receives the sacraments.

[/quote]

I agree.


#18

Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. I didn’t feel comfortable in forcing her to take communion for all the reasons you stated… and I won’t force her to. However I will insist she continues attending mass and RE. I will also check out those books that were suggested.

I am pretty sure it’s the friends my daughter hangs out with-- most of them don’t practice any faith. As much as I’d like to shelter her from that, I know it’s impossible.

I was just a little bit older than she is when I fell away from the Church… and as parents we just don’t want our children to make the same mistakes. I will just have to have faith that God will lead her down whichever path leads to Him in His time and not mine, as He did with me. But I will certainly do all that I can do to clear the way for her.

Thanks again for the advice,
Michelle


#19

I would insist on Mass attendance, the reception of the Sacraments I would leave up to her.

I think we live in a very hendonistic, oversexualized, agnostic world right now and our teens are facing challenges to their faith that I don't think we had to face. It's very hard on us parents as well.

Is there a priest that she likes or a peer who is a member or leader of a Catholic Youth Group she can talk to about her questions? A lot of this may be due to peer pressure, I think. Even back when I was a teen it was the "cool" thing to do to question God and the Church.

Hang in there, and pray...I'll pray too for you all.


#20

You are the parent. you very much can approve or disapprove who your 14 year old hangs out with, talks to.


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