We have had a problem develop in the last couple of days concerning a friend’s child. I have known this friend for 13 years, and my husband has known her for over 20. While not catholic, they are a good family that have good values. We are on the same page regarding most parenting ideals. Enter the stepchild. This child was raised by a sorry mother who was unfortunately given custody by virtue of being a woman. She is 12. She has been the victim of neglect, and was orety much allowed to watch anything on tv, etc. For instance, she was allowed to watch The Human Centipede when she was 5. 5!!! No one of any age should be watching that filth imo. God only knows what else she has been subjected to. My friend and her husband fought for and won custody less than a year ago. Before now we haven’t had extensive contact with the child simply because we have all been busy and don’t get together as much as we would like. This week I volunteered to watch the 12 year old and 7 year old twins so that my friend doesn’t have to miss work. The twins are no problem at all. Sweet, obedient, etc. The 12 year old, on the other hand, is kind of a bully. That is by far not the worst part. She involved my children in a YouTube video where two people were using an ouija board, and told them a story about her and a friend trying to summon a demon once. I am furious. My son (also 12) came and told me because he knew it wasn’t right. I guess we haven’t talked with them enough about these sorts of things, because my 10 year old daughter watched the video and didn’t realize that ouija boards are real things and are terribly dangerous. I feel as though I have failed them in this regard, it’s just that we have really never hung out with people that would do these things. I have had a serious discussion with my kids about it and have instructed them on what to do if this situation comes up again. My kids were devastated to know that they could have done something against God and I have assured them that they didn’t know any better, but they do now. Her parents are horrified and are taking measures as well. I know this has been long winded, but my question is how do I proceed from here? I have committed to keep these kids through Friday and I don’t want to put my friend in a bind. I am not willing to cut ties with this friend. She is like family to us and I feel that they need our support in dealing with the child. They are doing everything in their power to undo the damage done. We will certainly never let our kids be alone with her ever again. I would also like to ask for prayers for the child and the family. They certainly need them. Thank you all in advance…
You have to watch them very closely until Friday. I would be in the same room with them at all times.
This girl is going to need a whole lot of understanding, patience, and time. I hope she is in counseling as well. This transition is going to be very difficult.
God bless you for being there for your friend.
Thank you. Yes, they have a bumpy road ahead of them. She is in therapy. I will definitely never allow them to be alone with her again.
Sounds like you did fine. You had a talk with your kids about what is right and wrong, you told the step child’s parents (and thankfully they were receptive to it). I think everything was done properly
One note: If your son is 12, he is at that age where it is going to become VERY hard to control who he is alone with. IMO I would just continue to have talks about what is right and wrong with him. I would not try to isolate him too much
Cutting ties shouldn’t be on the table unless it becomes extreme or unbearable. This child has enough to deal with without added abandonment. She needs examples of love. It will definitely not be easy! Be firm, and talk to her like an adult, explaining the issues and answering her questions or objections as calmly and rationally as possible. That will get you further than you could imagine.
Thank you all. The only church I knew growing up was my father’s Pentecostal one, and they have a zero tolerance policy in my experience. That’s why I prefaced it by stating that I won’t cut ties. I think I was expecting people to tell me I needed to. The attitudes of some in that church are still affecting me all these years later I guess. Yes, she definitely needs love. But I need to get over my anger before I can find the words to speak with her. I’m not even sure that I should, tbh. Is it my place? I prayed the Our Father and St. Michael’s prayer with an upset and scared 10 year old earlier, who is sleeping in my bed right now for comfort, and it angers me. She is not easily scared normally, but is so devout in her faith that the thought of doing anything against God has really shaken her. My son is a let it roll kind of guy, and knows that he didn’t knowingly do anything wrong. He has no problem standing up for his faith and coming to an adult for help, which makes me feel better. I know I can’t be with them 24/7, and they need to know how to handle these things, but it’s tough for this mother’s heart. I appreciate any and all advice, and will update with any more developments.
Our Father said.
i dont see this as a bad or complicated situation, rather a chance for a catholic (or any christian/lover of god) to ‘walk the walk’
- your children sound very grounded in their faith and look to you for guidance
- you gave an example that one of your kids was afraid and sad because she had sinned.
you assured her that she didn’t sin, because she didnt know what she was doing.
- the 12 y/o girl is a child. sounds like there was no guidance growing up. she has not been shown right from wrong, and therefore has not had the ability to develop a catholic conscience or morality to help guide her decision making.
she has not had the benefit of a mother like you to lead her.
how lucky for this girl for your friends to have been given custody
how lucky for this girl to live near your family
Matthew 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you made me welcome,
36 lacking clothes and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me."
37 Then the upright will say to him in reply, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome, lacking clothes and clothe you?
39 When did we find you sick or in prison and go to see you?"
40 And the King will answer, “In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”
Yes, definitely, all of that. I am not angry at the child so much as I am the situation. A parent us never ready the first time their children are exposed to these types of things. I’m thankful it wasn’t porn or worse. I do feel badly for the girl and I know it’s not her fault. She may be strong willed, but she is no competition for my friend in that area. And in all things, she is being shown love (even if it’s tough love sometimes) and compassion. I looked around for a saint to ask prayers of and I found St. Maria Goretti. Any other suggestions? Thanks
Edited to add: St. Monica also seems like an obvious choice
I have had the opportunity to speak with her in a calm and loving manner, and I believe it was well received. I let her know that she can talk to me, and told her from personal experience (stupid teenager stuff) why these things are real and dangerous. I’m hoping to show her that she does have people outside her family that care about her and that she can trust. Continuing to watch my children like a hawk, and keeping up the prayers.
Mary is always my go-to for prayers. She may also be a great choice.
We were taught by the wonderful priests of American Czestochowa to pray the pray of St. Michael before getting on the Internet.
I think it is wonderful you are so willing to give to this girl and her family. It is obvious that all of you have this girl’s best interest in mind.
God bless you.