How do I deal with my recalcitrant teen and my lapsed husband?

I am needing some advice in regards to my 14-year-old daughter. Here lately she’s been pretty adamant about not going to church (I haven’t let her stay home yet). However I find her contradicting my every word for the most part. It’s not like this is something new we just started. She’s been in catechism since the age of four and we attend Mass regularly. I’m so at odds with this, since I do have two other daughters, ages 8 and 16, and don’t have these issues with them. As a matter of fact, my 16-year-old is one of the youth leaders at our parish and also an assistant catechist. My 8-year-old gets gloomy if we even mention not making it to church.

I do have to let you know that my husband doesn’t attend church with us. After being such a devout Catholic, he will not go to church at this time. I really just want to prevent her from ending up like my husband, with lots of built-up anger and resentment towards life, religion, and who knows what else. (Always trying to blame someone other than themselves for their misfortune.) Please just any advice or suggestions would really help me out.

In addition to reading the links below, I also recommend that you sit down with your husband and insist that he at least support your efforts to make sure all of your daughters attend Mass. It would be best, of course, if he would attend Mass too, since his example will speak louder than his words. But he can at least make clear to the children that their Mass attendance is not voluntary and that he expects them to treat you respectfully.

If your husband is from a Catholic family, you might also see if there is an older male relative who can talk to him and encourage him to resume his duties as a Catholic, if for no other reason than to set a good example for his children (which is as good a place as any to start in rebuilding his Catholic life). For a man, the example of an “elder in the faith” can be a powerful one, however imperfect that elder may be in his own faith life. (A hilarious and touching picture of this dynamic at work can be found in the episode “Prodigal Son,” from the TV series Everybody Loves Raymond.)

Recommended reading:

What do I do with a 14-year-old who has lost her faith?
What do I do with a kid who won’t go to Mass?
What do I do when my daughter refuses to attend Mass?

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