Need advice or book recommendation on dealing with fallen-away older children


I have a heavy heart, and need some advise. I take my faith very seriously. I have 5 children, the two oldest of which are in their 20’s. One had a child out of wedlock, and is living with her boyfriend and their baby (our dearly loved Grandchild!). The other is in mid 20’s and also lives in sin. This was not how we wanted them to live, and was not how we raised them. Neither is currently practicing the faith any longer. I know that this is somewhat common, and there is hope that they will return.

My wife and I pray for them alot, but I am still worried about their souls.
Are there any good reading materials offering advise on how to cope with this? I am becoming depressed. I keep offering advise in a gentle manner, loving way. I figure I am planting seeds, but I am not very patient.




You raised them. Now let them be who they are. You are now older brother and sister to these young people, not parents.



I have been in your shoes; in fact, I still am.

I know you will always be dad, and your wife will always be mom. I know this is a relationship that over time, changes, but does not mitigate your guilt at their behaviors. After all, you didn’t raise them that way!:wink:

They are over 18. If it helps, they are now responsible to God. God knows how hard you strove, and God knows you did your best. Don’t let their current lifestyle stop your prayers! Shoot, increase them! I enrolled my wayward daughter in Masses at a church known for its devotion to confessions!!

You have to draw the line at certain behaviors, such as the couples sleeping at your house in the same bedroom. Otherwise, I am sorry to say you have to pick your battles, esp. if you want to see your grandchild.

If you are talking with them and otherwise the relationship is OK, have them over for dinner. Take them out for dinner. Babysit. Have them in your home. And always let them know you will be happy to have them accompany you to Mass or other things at your parish. They might not be up to Mass, but it’s hard to resist a KofC fish fry, or a spaghetti dinner, or a parish picnic, or a carnival! It’s really good when the little old ladies pop out of the woodwork to cootchie-coo the grandchild!:thumbsup:

I haven’t found a book that’s been helpful in this regrad- yet. Books that have helped me peripherally are God Help Me! These People Are Driving Me Nuts! by Greg Pocak and Boundaries by Henry Cloud. Maybe Dr. Ray has something at .


**Search and Rescue: How to Bring Your Family and Friends Into, or Back Into, the Catholic Church (Paperback)
**by Patrick Madrid (Author), Scott Hahn (Foreword)


**Rediscovering Catholicism: Journeying Toward Our Spiritual North Star (Hardcover)
**by Matthew Kelly (Author)


Thanks for the thoughtful response. I am a control freak, and it is hard for me to realize that I am no longer in control. I just want the best for them, and unfortunately, our society leads them down the wrong path in so many ways.:eek:


Thanks, I looked up these books on Amazon, and find that the descriptions and reviews are just what I am looking for. I appreciate it.:slight_smile:


I have 4 kids ,3 boys and a girl.They dont want to have any thing to to with Mass.I have no control over them.All i have is control over my reaction to it .praying helps.Stop the worry .


And hi, I’m your kid! :stuck_out_tongue:

There isn’t anything you can do – directly. You haven’t lost control of what your children believe, you never had that control in the first place. It’s just now they have their own ‘house rules’, and ‘thou shalt go to Mass’ has been dropped. There’s nothing you can do to make them change that.

Indirectly, you do the same thing for your children that you do for every other poor heathen sap out there: set an example of how to live a good, virtuous life. A quote often bandied about here is St Francis’ ‘preach the gospel always; use words when necessary’. It’s good advice. No, it probably won’t give you the satisfied feeling of holding your own in a heated debate, but for all that (if not because of that) it’s by far the more effective option.

Also, the patron saint of people in your position is St Monica. You think you have it bad, you should see what her kid was up to :wink:


To give you hope - I was your kid too, for 20 years!

During that time, I went to Mass almost never, fell away from all of the beliefs of the Church (I could best have been described as agnostic during that time), and broke most of the rules for good Catholic living (I never had a child out of wedlock but only by luck and the grace of God… certainly by no doing of my own!)

Now, at age 41, I’m back in the Church (have been for a little more than two years now) and I am SO happy. I’ve had my marriage validated, and I’m raising my children in the church as well - they are going to Catholic school, and really enjoying it! When I fell away, the other members of my family did as well. Mom has gone back with me… next, hopefully, the others!

To make the long story short, there is hope for your kids! Just keep praying and giving them the best “model” for the faith that you can!


From my experience, which mostly comes from having a wife who has not voluntarily set foot in a church in several years, and shows no interest in God, here is what I have figured out so far:

  1. First and formost, pray.

  2. Second, remember that God gave us two ears and one mouth and I think we should use them in that proportion. My wife has a friend who is a protestant and spends a lot of time, witnessing for her faith. My wife will actually listen to her (as opposed to me:shrug: ), but the reason she has not made any progress with my wife, is that her listening skills are horrible. When my, my wife tries to talk to this lady about her own life, she just waits till my wife is finished, and then picks up again with her own agenda. I actually think God’s grace may be at work here, because the church her friend goes to is very anti-catholic.

  3. Remember, we are called to plant seeds, and let the grace of God do the rest. This is hard to do when their tendency to ignore God in their lives is making a mess out of things and what they need more than ever is to turn towards the grace of God. I think at times we can push too hard and become too argumentative.

  4. Be alert for times when you are being given an opportunity to share your faith. Sometimes, the person will come to you, and that can be a real blessing, because at that point, they are more likely to listen to you.

  5. Pray and ask others to pray.

I must admit, that my wife is still indifferent and hostile towards God. But sometimes, I sense that she is at least on occasion listening to what I say.

I hope this helps.


:confused: Are you directing this at me or the OP? If so, trust me, Mirdath, you have your tendencies, but you are responsible to a degree (:wink: I wouldn’t want to offend you by saying you are darn responsible). Tell your mom I’ll trade you for one of my older two any time.


There comes a time when we just have to entrust our children to Our Lord’s Divine Mercy. And pray, pray, pray.

Jesus I trust in You.


Pray and sacrifice. I have not had a Starbucks since my son told us he stopped going to Mass. I offer a Rosary for him everyday.

I seriously doubt he would read any books. I wouldn’t have at that age.

Pray and sacrifice.


I wouldn’t be offended by that – nowadays I have a prescription for the sole purpose of making me chill out a little! :stuck_out_tongue: I’m just high-strung and a worrier by nature, but when I cut loose, all hell is raised. And I don’t think my mother is up for trades, but thanks for offering :wink:


Thanks, I do pray to St Monica, who was mother of Augustine. She had to wait many years for here prayers to be answered.


Thanks for the thoughts. Our religious director once told us that faith is better *caught than taught.:thumbsup: *


Thanks for the thoughts and the idea about sacrifice, as I haven’t tried that one yet. I love Starbucks too!

The book would be for me, not my children. I just want a book about having more patience and trusting in God.


I’ll second these books!


Darn. I was hoping for a trade-in. :smiley:


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