My daughter of 19 years of age & 2nd year of colledge has decided to move out, i am not sure of the lifestyle she is going towards, Late night parties, and she is missing more and more mass, she expresses a great love and compassion for our Lord, although i believe the pressures of young life are ripping her apart from him, I see it and know it can oly get worst, Why do i feel as i have let my Guard down and have failed as a Parent? I think this is is the beggining of a trying time in my life. My wife tells me to not let it bother me but i am shredding inside… She will not speak to me as she used to, and all i want to do is hug her and tell her she is loved, “help”
it is not your fault.. I am in university too and I know several people who were raised in strong Catholic homes and yet decided to leave the Church. Others did the opposite and made their faith their own. It sounds like your daughter is just going through some difficulties and maybe is hanging out with the wrong group of friends? do you know if she has any strong Catholic friends? One thing that really helped me was getting involved in the Catholic club on campus.. (the one I'm involved with is called Catholic Christian Outreach). The fellowship there can really encourage someone to keep growing in faith, to attend Mass, Adoration, etc.. but it can be difficult to be Catholic in college because most people are not and live very different lifestyles. Sometimes all it takes is just surrounding yourself with similar friends. Maybe your daughter's college has a Catholic group too, or a chaplaincy..
But in any case it is not your fault :)
Your daughter is probably very conflicted and confused and not really sure of the right path at this time in her life. She is searching for herself and the path that God has laid out for her.
Honestly, as a young woman myself, I think the best thing you can do is to let her take this step towards independence. However, Stay in contact with her. Call or text her several times a week. Invite her to join you at mass, at sunday dinner, or really anytime she feels like it. Make sure she knows that her home will ALWAYS be her home and that she is welcome at anytime NO QUESTIONS ASKED!! She will come around and confide in you willingly as long as she does not feel that you are A) prying into her life and B) judging her. I know as her parent this will be one of the hardest things you have ever had to do, but she needs to do this and she will learn many invaluable lessons from it.
At 19, I moved out of my house to live with a boyfriend. It ended badly, but the experience and the maturity and the knowledge I gained from the experience is part of what makes me the woman I am now. It also is what brought me back to God and to mass. I now attend mass daily as well as adoration - atleast 1x a month, and I have come back to confession as well.
I meet with my Priest monthly to talk things out and he has worked wonders in me. Really, I have worked wonders, but without his support and understanding I don't know that I would have had the strength to make the changes in my life that I needed to make.
It is a hard time in our lives when our children get to this point of their lives.
So many of us go through what you're going through in one form or other. It's a time of trust in God, and growing. May I include a prayer I wrote when my boys began taking their paths.
Prayer for Our Youth
Holy Spirit please bring Your great power and influence into their lives and lead students into the fullness of God's love and God's purposes for their lives and for the mental, physical and spiritual needs of themselves and of others
Jesus, they stand at the crossroads, our youth. They no longer trustfully accept the values or directions of their seniors, unless it proves convenient or appears to have integrity enough to override convenience. They no longer trustfully accept the values or directions of their seniors unless these have integrity enough to override worldly values.
Grant us grace to live and love in cheerful and sincere witness of Your gospel, striving for goodness, justice, and unselfish caring in the way that we deal with them. Thus, they may perceive the value and validity of Christian (Catholic) commitment. Let them recognise, however, that they can no more expect us to be perfect and faultless than we should expect perfection of them.
By not demanding more than they can reasonably offer, let them see that while none of us is perfect, each ought to try for one’s best according to nature and ability. Grant us wisdom and love to permit them their freedom to follow their own directions, which are as valid to them as ours are to ourselves.
Give us grace to understand and to forgive their mistakes, knowing that we ourselves frequently err. Grant them to discover You through our understanding and forgiveness, and lead them to find healing and growth in Scripture and in Your Sacraments. Let us witness to them, without trying to break them to our mature wisdom, lest we, by our inflexibility or judgement, cause anyone to lose himself/herself and You for a time or forever.
The pain in our hearts they may not understand until in their own young they confront these moments of anxiety, conflict and uncertainty.
Heal our hearts and minds with hope. Give us trust in Your hidden leading and protection of them, so that we respond to them gently, steadily, wisely, and with peace. Help us to preserve their balance and identity, to foster their reverence for and nurture of Your unique image within themselves and in others for the way that we love and respect them.
Grant Your light to illuminate their paths, so that they may see to clear away errors and barriers that dim the wonderful unique celebration of Your living image within them.
Dear Jesus, we confess our frailty, our sinfulness, our meagre witness, and appeal humbly to You. We cannot contend alone with such sensitive and crucial responsibility regarding our young ones, and our anxieties may sometimes threaten to swamp our faith or judgement. Please help us to be wise, trusting and mature.
Our failures and mistakes regarding them appear to remain as crosses in their lives and in our hearts. Please do not allow our sadness to become self-recrimination, nor impatience towards them. Let it simply be confident prayer that You will take them to your heart, and fill them with Your Spirit to heal them and lead them patiently into the way of Your living gospel. If this path is long and arduous, please grant us the powerful faith of a Monica.
Whatever paths they wander by, our children — through us, their elders put Your hand gently on their shoulders, steady and warm. Look into their eyes with deep caring and friendship. Let them see their preciousness, their rich possibilities, and their kinship in You.
Let them know that they can share their laughter as well as their sorrows. Eat bread with them, listen and respond. Teach by example that is cheerful, faithful, gentle, and strong. Walk with us beside them supportively without intrusion—letting go, as their need requires but always prayerfully near in the quiet presence of Your Spirit.
Thank You, dear Jesus who loves our young ones more than we fathom. You are our hope for them.
I never had a daughter, but I think that I can relates somewhat - It has to be tough for a loving father to have to deal with this.
That said, I think I agree with your wife. Try not to let it bother you too much. Trust that you raised her well and even if she strays a bit, God will not desert her. She has to stretch her wings and learn to fly…and that will likely include some mistakes…but one thing I have learned is that God can and does make grea things grow from our mistakes.
I might suggest that, if you really want to communicate your love and concern to her, sit down and write her a letter. Take your time and really make sure you tell her how much you love her, and trust her. Let her know that, now that she is moving out she going to be exposed to a lot of influences and freedoms and responsibilities that will be quite different from when she lived at home. These will be wonderful and exhilerating times but also can be scary ones. Tell her that she will always be in your thoughts and prayers and reaffirm that she can come to you and her mom with anything and at anytime. …Things like that.
The great thing about a truly heartfelt letter like this is it gets it all out there, and in a way that she can keep.
Hope this helps.
You have not failed!
Have patience, everything happens in God's time and according to His will.
Love, from someone who probably gave her parents reason to despair!