How can I keep my 12 year old


…from turning her back on the Church already?
She’s always been very happy to attend Mass with me, she’s an altar server (we can start another thread on why girls should or should not be serving later…), used to go to Church events. Now, kind of suddenly, she’s asking questions why we even do the sign of the cross (that’s just weird, my friend doesn’t understand it), how come music in church is boring (my friend says in her church it’s more fun), making excuses for not coming to Mass with me (I don’t feel good…). Her little sister apologizes for her when she’s not in church to our priest, and I think that’s kind of getting out of hand.
Her friend’s family is Southern baptist (need I say more?), and I think she spends too much time discussing religion with this girl. They’re kids, they need to stop arguing about who’s got the better faith! I started limiting the time she spends with this kid, but they see each other in school all day. Any ideas? I was thinking about getting the “Prove it!” books for her, maybe they can help her defend herself better and come with to church again instead of whining how much more fun this other church allegedly is.
And yes, I know I’m her parent, and I should just make her come, but I really don#t believe in forcing her to attend Mass, it’s hypocritical in my eyes.Thanks
God bless


Does your parish offer any youth programs? Joining with other catholic youth might be a good option for your daughter. What religious education acticites do they offer CYO [catholic youth oorganized sport programs].

What social justice outreach programs are available for your daughter to participate in? Faith in action like working in a soup kitchen one afternoon each week can have a profound affect on young people. My daughter worked in a soup kitchen every wednesday for 3 years during high school, in addition to youth group, and youth group leadership team.

Have you spoken with other parish parents, perhaps if your parish does not offer a formal youth program you [and the other parents] might start one [enlist your daughters help] or offer some additional activities of interest to young people.

We are catholic 24 hours a day, not just at mass once a week for an hour. An adulescent wants to ‘fit in’ if they feel alone and not a real integral part of their faith …

If all else fails…Is there are catholic school alternative?


Ummm No offense but this is the child that God entrusted you with to raise. You are doing a great disservice to God and your daughter if you don’t act like the parent and insist that she follow the Commandments. As far as her questions about her faith… you should be finding the answers to her questions like we make the sign of the cross to remind ourselves of the importance of the Trinity. This will probably open up a very nice discussion about the Trinity, so be prepared. I would also remind her that mass is for worship not entertainment. I think the problem had to have started long before this moment. As a parent are you happy to go to mass? To CELEBRATE the mass with your whole heart? My kids are 19,17, 15 and 11. They used to get very upset if I couldn’t attend mass due to illness, but now they go on their own if I am not going. I was the same way growing up because my dad taught me that mass was a feast and I was invited. How much simpler can it be? If your child is not happy to go to mass, then correct her attitude by setting a good example for her. Be happy to answer her questions and share your enthusiasm for mass. Your children learn by your example.


ok, the Mass is the highlight of my week, I wish I could get there more often. My kids both know this! I go whenever I can. I don’t have a lot of support from my parents, my estranged husband or anybody else around me, though. I think the “brainwashing” of this missionary family (the dad is a Southern Baptist missionary here in Germany)is taking effect, that’s what I’m afraid of. I told Father about it a bit, he’s trying to find groups for her now. Our Youth groups don#t start until the kids are 14, so I still have to wait. Besides, in Germany, the Church- I hate to report- has turned lukewarm. Not just my parish, in general, but that’s a different matter. I’m not trying to find excuses, I’m just saying I’m a lone warrior here and need some advice. Sorry for rambling…


A good reason to join with other parents in the parish. I am sure that other parents are feeling the pressures of adulescence as well. Perhaps an informal program for younger youth, headed by parents will help your daughter make some cathoic friends.

What religious education activites are available to you? Do you have family to assit you? I was a single mother for a time. This is a time when we may want to appear more independent than we are [saving face keeping up appearances and all that] In reality, this is a time we should reach out. trust me, others will be glad you made the first overtures. All parets feel stressed even two parent households…

Think about being ‘catholic’ all day every day…How do you image and portey your catholic self as an example for your children…?


I’m not a parent, but we all remember what it was like to be 12. I would say it’s normal for your child to start questioning things at this age. In a strange way, this incident might be a great opportunity to strengthen her faith.

Sit down and talk to her like an adult. Ask her why she doesn’t feel like going to Mass anymore, and ask her what’s bothering her about the Faith. I grew up going to a Southern Baptist church, as did a lot of the members on here, I’m sure. So if you need help refuting anything her Baptist friends are telling her, just make a thread about it, and we’ll reply.


Her friend’s family is Southern baptist (need I say more?)

Actually, yes, I think you should or at least think more. Try looking at it from their perspective. The other family is obviously not one who has raised their child to think Catholics are evil, as they have not raised barriers to their daughter continuing in a friendship with yours. Give them a little benefit of the doubt. It is very possible that the other girl is feeling pressure from her friends at church about her friendship with your daughter–hanging out with the “weird” Catholic or “the girl who’s going to Hell,” possibly—of which the parents are not aware. It is possible they would be as concerned about their child’s religious discussions as you are. I am sure they wouldn’t be happy at what they might see as your daughter’s attempts to convert their child. They, and their daughter, may be very confused about the reason for your sudden limiting of their time together.

Have you tried to talk with them about your concerns, before you start arming your child with counterarguments? I can’t imagine that they would be any happier to have their daughter questioning her faith than you are to have yours do so. Perhaps both families can give a united message about respecting differences even when one doesn’t agree with them, a lesson that will stand both children in good stead throughout their lives.

Also realize that this other church may indeed be more “fun” than the one she is attending, at least in what she has been told. She is in need of support and learning that one does not always make the “fun” choice in life. Talk with her (I agree with sea oat) and find out why she thinks this…do they have a lot of youth activities, sing different music, etc? Ask her to pinpoint what she feels they have that your church does not. Then, along with her, look for ways in which she can find what she is looking for—it might be more time with her friends, it may simply be different experiences.

You might even offer to go with her to a service at this other church and then discuss it, so that you both have a feel for the reality of the situation rather than her current idealized vision. This might be the time for a more indepth examination of comparative religion through the lens of your own faith–your parish priest may be able to suggest some materials.

Are there other parents with kids about your daughter’s age or even a bit older who might be in a similar situation? Maybe the priest or someone else in the church would be willing to run a class in this sort of thing for them, especially the ones too young for youth group. Help her explore and answer her questions with your guidance or she will be exploring them on her own.


Educate, educate, educate. Maybe she’s a bored mystic? Introduce her to the writings of the saints. Explore with her the mysteries of our faith. Talk about some of the miracles the Lord has produced through His saints. Give her Church history to ponder. Don’t blast her all at once though. On the way to Church (45minutes), I try to have a trivia question ready for the kids and how it relates to what we are doing at Mass or did you know that…Hope this gives you some ideas, Tim


Yes, I’ve talked to the parents already, they claim they haven’t heard of anything out of the ordinary from their child. Didn’t deny the accusations from my daughter’s friend about Catholic schools allegedly teaching witchcraft, either, though…After all, she read it on a Protestant website…that struck me as odd. The other thing is the laughing about us making the sign of the cross. I said we pay respect to their religious rituals in their house, i expect the same courtesy in mine.
Either way, they kind of limited contact a bit themselves, since they’ve been busy moving lately themselves. My daughter went to her server training happily yesterday, after refusing last week. Father was there (he wasn’t last week, and she doesn’t like the other guy), so that made her happy. She even want to go to confession this weekend to make up for missing Mass last Sunday. I’ll see how she keeps going. I’m going to start reading Bible verses with them again at night, we stopped after Advent- don’t ask me why…
Thanks for everybody’s suggestions and input!
God bless


Working with teens here, even the teens who went to Catholic School - they are HUNGRY for apologetics.

The “Friendly Defender’s” cards are a bit young, but, might be a fun game with her younger sib. The Begining Apologetics series of workbooks might be something you and she can do together.

You mentioned youth group beginning at 14 - maybe you can get with some other parents of "tweens and start a group for them?

Lastly, does the Parish there have CCD?

Okay, one last bit. If it were me, I’d still allow the girls to get together socially, but, I’d not allow my daughter to go to the Baptist church services any more - not to make a big deal about it, but, just have other plans when the invite is extended “sorry, Sunday we will spend together as a family” or “Sorry, Wed is a school night”.


no, we don’t have CCD in Germany…:frowning:

she never went, she just knows from hearsay…we’ve never actually been invited


And the Pope is German! You’d think he would pay special attention to his nation of birth! It is unfortunate that this is the situation, though.

Have you met the other girl’s parents? Just curious…

Prayers and petitions,


we still have RE classes in school- until 6th grade at least, after that they discourage it strongly (after school activity, usually around 5 p.m., we just signed a huge petition and sent it to Papa Bene)
yes, I’ve met the parents, we’re actually on friendly terms. They deny anything I ask them that their daughter allegedly said, but I’d like to know where a child gets this kind of info (such as the witchcraft teaching in Catholic schools, going to hell for sure blah blah…)


It’s crazy talk not to force your daughter to go to Mass. Don’t you compel her to do her homework, to eat well, to go to sleep on time, to do her chores. I think you need to think this one through.

But…I have a great idea for you. My dd goes to a Catholic Girls club called Challenge. She loves it. It is geared for girls age 11-15, with different levels. It’s fun. They teach catechism and do service work. There are retreats. It’s led by older teen girls who are trained.


Talk with some teachers. You will find out that it is natural for Junior High kids to debate, why they believe what they believe, to debate politics, and so on. She is starting to become her own person. What you need to do is supply good books and cds that give good answers for her faith. You need to encourage her to gain more friends who are catholic, even some older ones who know why they believe what they believe. Use her natural learning style of questioning things to her advantage, supply good apologetic works that she can either listen to or read. Speak with her teachers to find out if she is one who learns more by listening to a Cd or if her learning style is reading, or if she requires movies. Learn her information gathering styles, and supply materials that enploy those methods. If she has catholic friends who can answer or help her employ them and encourage them with a pizza party if need be.


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