I believe so that is enough


Prayer is in my home, I take my children to CCD and ask them how it was/learned. We attend Sunday Mass (I am the Sacristan). I Practice the faith as best I can and try to show my children the greatness of God in everything. Still, my 13 year old son tells me that he “Believes in God” so that is enough for him. Anything else we do as practicing Catholics is just “boring” and a waste of time.:eek:

I can see, like everyone else the way the world is going. As a parent, I am in fear of my son’s soul. But should I just stay the course and Make him go to Mass and religious education even though he hates it and just let it go at that?


He’s 13.

Of COURSE everything is boring. That’s his age!! (I bet school is boring, his parents are boring, doing homework is boring, etc.) --I have 13 and 15 year old boys, too, so I know how this works!

Of COURSE you should make him continue to go. (Who is in charge at your house?) Hopefully, you have an excellent youth program, if not at your parish, perhaps at a neighboring parish, that he can tie into. Send him on retreats. Get him involved.

My 15 year old went through this, and now is very involved in retreats, participates as a mass greeter, attends youth group twice a week when homework and extracurricular schedules allow, etc.


Just suggest to your son that if he believes in God, then he would want to visit God in His house where He is present in a very special way unlike anywhere else - that would be church. And he would do so because it pleased God, just like you do things for your son just because you love him!

And if he believes in God he would study God’s word and God’s law so that he could figure out how best to do what was pleasing to God. That takes care of religious ed.


It is funny actually cause we talked about this in mass or bible study. What it comes down to is you are the Mother he is the child. Whether he likes it or not take him to church. When he lives in your house he has to do what you say. Sunday’s are for mass. When he gets older he is in charge of his fate of his soul. Hopefully by then a awakening will happen.


Do you really have any doubt that this is what you need to do?

Keep in mind that one of the biggest “jobs” of adolescence is to begin the process of separating from one’s parents and becoming independent. The most direct way to do this is to reject or rebel against the values and/or practices the parent embraces as appropriate, important or sacred.

Many of us experienced some level of disobedience and doubt of our own faith and will likely witness it in our children as they mature. To some extent this is a necessary and important step to one’s ability to integrate and embrace faith in a unique and personal way. Eventually, most of us who grew up with routine, values and a certain religious tradition will return to it as adults. Your role is to provide a consistent example not only of the obedient practice of your faith, but to also live out the virtues it promotes. This–not peers, the media, culture or alternative practices–will be the most powerful influence your son has in his faith formation.


Does he see his father practicing the Faith? That is so vital…


Hmm, the community in Corinth thought the same thing (1 Corinthians), it caused them to seperate the rich and the poor during the celebration of the Eucharist.

Belief is not the same thing as faith, and if there is true faith, good works will follow suit.


Is he really doing anything as a Catholic? He says “everything else we do as Catholics” is boring and doesn’t matter… well, what does he do? Does his Catholicism only impact his own life, or is he using it to reach out and serve others as we are supposed to do? If he thinks feeding the hungry or getting clothes to the poor is a waste of time, then he is NOT a Catholic! Get him out of only practicing the faith in a way that only impacts him or the family. Tell him if he wants to learn about really being Catholic, doing the things that Jesus commands us to do for others, if he wants to be authentic about it (that’s so important to teenagers…they hate fakes and hypocrisy) then tell him to choose a social issue that is important to him, and help him find a way to work on it through the Church. That will show him just how relevant being a Catholic is and can be. When he does real good in the world to serve Christ, that will wake him up. It will also keep your bored teenager busy with something worthwhile, and teach him to look beyond himself.

I personally feel I am so lacking in this capacity. My parents didn’t encourage my faith or any real practice of it. I never did service as a child or teen. I wish I had. My 9 year old daughter is already eager to become an altar server…she wants to get involved in her faith and in helping others experience it well. I SO want to foster that. It all begins at the parish, but I plan to help them branch out into serving the larger community, with their faith and Jesus’ command as their drive to do so. I personally love Habitat for Humanity, and when I am not held at home by little tinys who need all our attention, I will work with them again. I did a Spring Break trip with the campus Catholic group and we helped build a family’s house in Texas. It was one of the best experiences of my life. There are so many opportunities for us to help others…call him on his bad attitude and make him step up to the plate.

And yes, make him keep going to Mass and learning about his faith. You are the parent. My kids will know that if they live under my roof, they will be going to Mass on Sunday and studying their faith, because it is part of who this family is.


I mak sure that he attends Mass every Sunday, usually “kicking and screaming”, but he knows the ground rules.

As for his dad. He was a fallen away Catholic, but sadly died 5 years ago this June. I am now engaged to an incredibly faithfilled Catholic man who is a wonderful and positive influece on him, but we will not be married till May of 2008, so there time together is limited.

I live in the Baptist bible belt south, so other parishes with youth programs is not an option. Our parish has over a 100 children, but is very weak in their youth program.

I guess when I had my conversion to the faith 4 years ago, I just assumed my children would follow suit. How wrong I was. I know I should be more patient, but its so hard when he purposely speaks ill of the church. As for retreats,there is one coming up next year for his age group and I just pray I can get him to go.


Oh gosh…so this is all still very new. Well, you are probably right then that you will have to be patient, and you may have to accept that he will never have the same kind of conversion you did. That is such a personal process. Not piling on you, as we all go through our faith journeys in such individual ways, but I think this is the major price of not being serious about faith with our children from the very beginning. I try to make that point to people when we end up talking about faith, children, and families.

My own parents are fallen away Catholics too. My mother got me started well enough that I have never been able to feel comfortable anywhere else. I am grateful to her for that, because at least I had that start. It has been a real blessing, because the man I fell in love with and can’t live without is a VERY serious Catholic, and at least I had a head start on sharing a faith life with him. He brought me back to the Church…he is my own personal incarnation of the Good Shepherd. My dad was sort of Catholic when he was young, but was an atheist when I was young, and after a major life-changing crisis, joined the Assemblies of God through pastor who literally saved him. I am grateful he has found a faith life…I just wish it was one we could share.

I still think showing your son how being Catholic is relevant to the world, and helping him to find meaningful charity work through the Church is a good suggestion. It may get him on the right path, thinking-wise. But, if until four years ago, you were not raising him in the faith, this is a major upheaval and he is just at the right age to rebel. And of course, he has found your soft spot…the thing that really bugs you. Patience and encouragement are called for here, but I don’t know how wise force would be in this kind of situation. Perhaps your pastor can help you with ideas to engage your son and show him how relevant it all really is and can be.

Good luck and blessings on your family. And, I know you are in love and that the man is a strong Catholic, but you need to take time to make sure that this marriage is RIGHT and good for your children, and that they not only accept it, but WANT this man in their lives. Stepfamilies are so hard…even with faith. As the child of a man who remarried…well, let me just tell you that a person they really don’t want in their lives will be a disaster for your children and for you, no matter how good he is. You may think that’s unfair to you, but it’s reality and it’s the truth, and the children’s rights come before a parent’s desires. Just food for thought. This could be some of the reason your son is rebelling…


I taught seventh grade for seven years, and based strictly on that experience, everytime the word “boring” was used, it could safely be substituted for “this is hard to understand/do”. It was too threatening for a child to admit that something was difficult, so pretending disinterest in the subject became an escape mechanism.

Perhaps this is where your son is coming from. Catholicism can be overwhelming for emotionally mature adults, I’m sure it’s like a giant tidal wave for adolescents. Any effort you can make to help him understand why we do what we do might help him gain confidence in his ability to participate enthusiastically in the Church.


cari, I never thought of that. Maybe its more that he does not understand the faith, and the teen rebellious part of him refuses to let me help him.

I spent the better part of 40 years being an Atheist, so when I had my conversion, it was a BIGGIE:thumbsup: My children have seen how happy this has made me and how it has changed my life, but never thought that this very change is what could also be very scary to my 13 year old, (the 9 year old is having no issues-infact is receiving First Holy Communion this Saturday:thumbsup: ).

As for my fiancée, We met in an internet prayer group over two years ago and will be married a year from now. Three years is a proper amount of time inwhich to get to know a person and allow for the “Inlove” feeling to wear off. He loves the boys and they love him. He comes from a very faithfilled family background and practices his own faith will amazing zeal and love. He knows being a stepparent will be hard, I have prepared him as much as I can for this. My late husband came into our marriage with three children, two of which I raised, so I have loads of experience at be a stepparent.

I guess I just have never had to deal with this before. When I raised my first set of kids, I did it as an Atheist, with my last two, I am raising them in a Catholic home and the rules are different for them then it was for their older siblings. I am still learning how to live as a Catholic, so I know its hard on the 13 year old.


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