Is it still possible to help young adult children?


#1

As a new revert, I am realizing how I failed my children in so many ways by not bringing them up in the faith. (they are now ages 21 and 23). Is there anything that can be still done or is it too late? How do I make amends for what I did and didn't do? They were both baptized and had first communion but neither were confirmed. Of course I pray for them.

I'm especially interested in hearing from other parents with older children or anyone who made mistakes with their kids -and how they handled it later when they realized what they had done. Thanks so much for any help.


#2

If they are in school, suggest that they get involved with that school’s Newman Center or whatever the Catholic presence is on their campus. The priest that works with the campus will offer RCIA programs and it is a good way to get you kids involved on campus.


#3

Really the only amends you can make are for yourself because your children are adults and are grown.

However, it's not too late to teach them and influence in subtle manners.

It is hard to really give out "rules" because they are adults and rules would probably just make them distance them selves further from the Church if they already haven't.

Do they live at home, or are on their own? If they are independent, mention to them about how nice you thought the homily was on Sunday and how the readings were incorporated and ask them what they thought about the readings. During Lent, if your children go out to eat and you're with them, say a line like "oh! I have to remember to only eat vegetarian or fish, cause it's Friday today."

I think dropping subtle hints will eventually cause your children to ask questions...and that's the start of introducing them.


#4

Yes I think it is.
I have kids aged 20 and 17 and have been more of a devout Catholic the last 4 years. I wish I would have raised them differently. At first it was a struggle to get them to go to church every Sunday with me but then it became routine. My 20 yr old is involved with the Newman Center in college and enjoys it very much. It's actually my 17 yr old that I have a harder time with.
Being that your children are older it will take awhile. The best thing I think to do is tell them how you feel and how you would have done things differently and why. You are still their roll model, by being a good one alone can win them over. It may take a short time or years but it's definitely possible.


#5

Try to be a positive example. Show how coming to a greater understanding of your faith caused a greater joy in your own life. Maybe give suggestions if they're open and curious. Always pray for them.

I can't say enough about being a good example. I didn't realize how much of an impact my going to church had on some people. A former roommate of mine said I made her realize how important going to church every Sunday really was and she started going again. I say this not to boast, but to show that actions do speak louder than words.

Prayers!


#6

It definately is possible to affect them for the good, even now that they're grown and on their own. I do not have adult children, but I grew up in a family which was very much "culturally Catholic" and not very faithfully practicing. I am very impressed with the way my mother is working introduce her re-discovered faith to my siblings who are not practicing at all. It is very subtle, for example, my brother was living with his girlfriend, and my mother was aways very welcoming to them, always invited the girlfriend to join us in celebrating brithdays and holidays, gave gifts, included them in dinner's out, and really just loved them both sincerely. That made it much easier for her to say - kindly - that the girlfriend would be staying with the girls on family vacations, or to just set up a room for her, apart from my brother's, when they stayed over at my parents. Because was so genereous and loving to them, her requirements were easily accomedated by them. It also made it easier for her to include in her gifts to them, a blessed crucifix for their apartment, and little books on Catholic living, along with things they actually wanted. When they did decide to get married, albeit not in a Catholic ceremony, my mother remembered her role and celebrated with them, though, because of the relationship they developed, she was able to talk to them about her disappointment that they wouldn't be married in the Church, but only once, she didn't push it.

This is just one example, but overall, it comes down to lots and lots of love, invitations without insistence, and massive amounts of prayer. My brother is not a practicing Catholic yet, but he is reading a lot of what my mom's given him, and he chooses to attend mass with her on Christmas, Easter, her birthday, and any special mass she might be having for a relative or friend, his wife is equally accomedating. And these a huge steps for them.

So don't give up hope, you really do still have a good deal of influence on your children, just of a different sort. Your main job now is to make sure that when your kid's think "Catholic" they think of their generous, loving, hopeful, and supportive mom.

Blessings and prayers,
Masha


#7

Thank you for all the ideas. The 23 year old lives on her own; the 21 year old still is at home but we rarely see him--he has some drug problems.

I have started saying things to them a little bit at a time and they both know we attend church weekly-we didn't always do that during their growing up years. If they are around, like at Christmas, I invite them to church but this year neither of them came.

Masha, thanks for telling me about your mom and how she handled it. My 23 year old basically lives with her boyfriend, I think. I do feel partly responsible for that because it was not something I taught was important when I was raising them.

One thing that bothered me was recently my daughter and boyfriend came for a weekend. I set up beds (one is a blow-up) in separate rooms. They came in late at night and the next day I found they'd moved the blow-up in the other room so they were together. I am not sure how to handle this but may say something before the next time they come. I'm afraid my daughter will then never come stay if I do though.


#8

Anne Theresa~

I'm sure late at night arrivals are the hardest. If they live near enough, I'd recommend inviting them for dinner, or lunch, or just nice family time a few times before having them overnight again, so that the sense that you love them as persons is encouraged before you have to broach the issue. If they live farther away, mailing little "how are you? I love you" cards to your daughter is amazing. My mom still sends her married daughters little notes and we love them, especially as, for my (non-practicing) sister and mom, phone conversations can sometimes cause difficult conversations. They don't avoid the converstations, but the cards reinforce the love and connection.

When you do have them overnight again, it might be best to let your daughter know before-hand, so she is aware, and in a way that emphasises that this is because of your moral decisions, not to force her to change her's. Obviously, you're hoping to change her's, but through understanding, which is gradual. Then, make an effort to do something nice for her boyfriend in his room, nothing big, just a little welcoming gesture, so he knows he's not unwelcome. My mom used to fold fresh towels on my brother's girlfriend's bed and leave her a little pitcher of drinking water and a glass beside the bed. If she decides not to visit again, just retain the welcome, invite every now and then, and reach out in other ways. If she can become aware that it's not a personal rejection, she'll be more open to your terms.

St. Monica is also a wonderful help.

I wish you all the best! Blessings,
Masha


#9

Masha,
My daughter does live out of town so it’s always overnights if I want to see her. She was engaged to be married a few years ago and I let her sleep with her fiance at our house. (it was dumb I know now)So now I have to figure out what to say since I am the one who changed the rules on her. I wish I hadn’t done that before. I pray to St Monica but she never did the dumb things I’ve done in the past. :frowning:


#10

It's your home. You're allowed to change the rules as you see fit, especially when your children don't live at home (at least for the daughter's case).

What I would do the next time the daughter and bf come over is state that your beliefs have changed and you no longer find it acceptable for an unmarried couple to sleep together. If they object, or your daughter says something about it being unfair, etc. simply state that you understand that in the past it was allowed, but your beliefs since then have changed and you wish for your household to abide by those beliefs.

If your daughter no longer wishes to stay overnight at your home, then spend time with her outside of your home. Give the invitation that while your beliefs and rules have changed, your relationship with her has not.

For instance, I've heard of parents that told their children they would not help pay for a wedding because they were living together outside of marriage. I think something like that's acceptable.


#11

[quote="masha, post:6, topic:229084"]
Your main job now is to make sure that when your kid's think "Catholic" they think of their generous, loving, hopeful, and supportive mom.

[/quote]

Masha, your post brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful way to live one's faith. Thank you for sharing this - I'm sure I'm not the only one to have learned something very valuable from you today.


#12

[quote="AnneTeresa, post:1, topic:229084"]
As a new revert, I am realizing how I failed my children in so many ways by not bringing them up in the faith. (they are now ages 21 and 23). Is there anything that can be still done or is it too late? How do I make amends for what I did and didn't do? They were both baptized and had first communion but neither were confirmed. Of course I pray for them.

I'm especially interested in hearing from other parents with older children or anyone who made mistakes with their kids -and how they handled it later when they realized what they had done. Thanks so much for any help.

[/quote]

It's never too late. I rejected mass and church when I turned 18(never previously interested either) but by 21 I was helping out in youth ministry. I was looking for God the whole time, I just never thought it was in the church. I got drawn back by being my brothers sponsor. Have religious conversations with them. Ask them to go to church with you. The newman club is a great way for them to meet practicing Catholics their age as well which helped me.


#13

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