Prayers & advice


#1

This will be long, so bear with me.
I have a daughter who is 19 & blind. She spent her entire school life at a blind school. Staying there all week & coming home on the weekend. While in middle school & through high school, she would do a Bible study with her friends. We thought that was a good thing. During her senior year, she was going to be confirmed. Had not done so before then because the classes were during the week & she could not attend. I decided to teach her on the weekends along with her twin brother & another brother who was 14.
Anyway, during this time we found out that she was the only Catholic person in the Bible studies at school. This made her question her faith & she decided to not get confirmed. We were doing some classes with a priest on Friday evenings to try to help her understand the faith. These were going ok until the priest was moved to another parish. Our parish does not have a full time priest.
During this time, she called a church in town out of the blue. Did not know anyone & asked them if they could pick her up so she could attend their service. We told her as long as she lived in our house she would have to go to mass on the weekend. She would go to mass on Saturday evening & then go this other church Sunday morning. We allowed this because she was over 18 & we were hoping she would not continue. Unfortunately that is not the case.
She really likes this church & since attending there has become very disrespectful to her father & I. To the point that she almost moved out a year ago. Because she is blind we knew she could not live on her own yet without some help so we told her she could attend this church as long as she fulfilled her obligation to go to mass.
In October she started attending school on Friday nights & Saturdays every other weekend. She could not go to mass on Saturday night so her father would take her early Sunday morning. This past weekend she once again had class. The weather was nasty with not so nice roads & her father & I told her she would need to go to mass with us on Sunday morning. She was told this Saturday night.
She came to me later that night to tell me she had decided she wasn't going to either church. I told her she was going to mass unless she was sick. That was the rule & she knew it & I wasn't going to argue about it.
Sunday morning came. I went out to start the van to warm up. I got out to see her standing in the yard where she would always wait for her ride. I aksed her what she thought she was doing & she pretended not to hear me. I told her she needed to go to mass with us, she knew the rules. She ignored me. I got her father who told her to get back in the house. She pretended not to hear him. About that time her ride pulled in. A woman jumped out & quickly grabbed her & helped her in the vehicle. I told the driver they were not to pick her up here again. The woman yelled at me telling me she is an adult & can make her own decisions. I told the woman as long as she lived in our house she needed to follow our rules. She shut her door & off they went.
We went to mass with our other children & came home as usual. She called to say she wasn't coming home right away. I told her that was fine, but we would deal with it when she did come home. Later in the afternoon I got a call from the state police about a domestic situation. He said our daughter did not want to come home & wanted to get some clothes & her medication & toiletries. He wanted to know if that was a problem. I told him that was fine, but if she wanted her clothes she was going to get them all. So we bagged up her clothes & some of her belongings & an officer came to pick them up. She was in the car. We told the officer that she would need to get the rest of her belongings as soon as possible.


#2

It is now 5 days later & we still have no idea where she is or who she is with. We were never introduved to anyone that picked her up. Nor given their names. She will not answer her cell phone. She has sent me an email telling me that one of her aunt’s will be contacting me about picking up her items.
When this first sarted I contacted the pastor of the church to ask them if they would not pick her up & allow us to teach her what our faith believes without interference. He basically told me they didn’t care what we wanted, since she was 18 they would pick her up for their service.
We think this was very disrespectful of them. They encouraged her to dishonor her father & mother by helping her do something we were against. I can shoot holes through all of their beiliefs from the scripture she gave me to support them. She tells us she only believes in the Bible, does not believe in purgatory, praying to the saints, infant baptism, confession, etc. The usual protestant arguments. When we told her we could give her scripture to support all of those, she refuses to listen. She would not EVER even sit down to hear us out. Finding out when we did the classes with the priest she did not go with an open mind. She just wanted to shut us up.
Anyway, by involving her aunt’s to pick up her stuff, this is going to cause problems. These are my brother’s wives. I do not want them to get in the middle of this as it is going to cause hard feelings between us.
The problem wasn’t so much the church. It was her disobeying the rules. We knew when she moved out she would not attend mass. BUT, we told her it wasn’t an option here. We have 6 other kids here to set an example for. Some of who were asking why she never went to church with us. If we allowed her to do as she pleased, then they would also want to do as they please when they reach 18. We are very strict in the “our house, our rules” thing. We will not tolerate any disrespect from any of our kids. Because of her years away form home, we did not have the same influence on her as we did our other children.
We believe we should stand up for what is right. I am beginning to think we will be standing alone soon as the majority of people I know, including a large portion of my family, turn their head to anything that is sinful. The typical argument of “everyone does it so it must be ok” ****. One reason they are siding with her. I have heard how most think because she is over 18 she should be able to do as she wants. We say not as long as she lives under our roof.
She e-mailed me to say she wants a relationship, but she will not talk religion with us. At this point in time, I am not sure I can do that. We have tried for the past year to compromise & this is where it got us. For her to call the police on us was something we will not soon forget. For her to tell other people where she is, but not her own family is not something we’ll soon forget.
I have been praying ever since this all began. I know it is ultimately in God’s hands. If she would have moved out on her own, we would have helped her & helped her get settled. Instead she chose to disobey the rules & ignore us, but suddenly we are the bad guys. I know some are saying we threw her out. We don’t feel as if we did because we have repeatedly told her if she didn’t want to follow the rules she would need to move. She chose to not follow the rules, & this is where we are.
I am just unsure what to do. If we try to talk, I know it will be like a huge elephant in the room. I feel so lost right now. I do not want this to destroy our family, but we can not have such open defiance in front of the other kids. We are very strong in our faith & at times she practically makes fun of it & won’t participate when we do things as a family.
I guess I am mainly asking for prayer as talking to her right now won’t happen. She won’t even answer her phone.


#3

Hello MrsWendyW
I am so sorry your family is going through this turmoil. I will certainly pray for you and your daughter.
You cannot “force” your daughter to be Catholic if she does not want to, MrsWendyW, that is the sad fact of the matter. Being rigid also seems to have driven her away from home.
Forgive her behavior ( police and all). Let her know she is free to come back home; at least with you at hand, all may not be lost. Put everything in God’s capable hands and continue to pray for her, if it takes the whole of all your live! Remember St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine, prayed for her son’s conversion for many years.
God Bless you and your family!


#4

Remember, O most loving Virgin Mary,
that never was it known,
that anyone who fled to your protection,
implored your help, or sought your intercession,
was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence,
though burdened by my sins,
I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To you I come, before you I stand,
sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions, but in your mercy,
hear and answer me.
Amen.


#5

I think it would be good for you to acknowledge that the situation could be much worse.

Here's the impression I get from the events you detailed. First, your adult child was in a special situation because of her disability that made her more dependant on you. While it is entirely up to a parent to make a rule for adult children living at home to go to Mass as a family, typically this is about acknowledging that an adult child living with their parents is an extra privledge and can be used an an encouragement for that child to live independantly. Its ultimately "Because we have other children and want to be consistant, these are the conditions to live here."

I think however because your daughter is blind, it sounds to me that she felt more like a hostage situation. I'm not saying that is what you wanted to communicate to her, but I can see how she'd interpret it as such. I get the impression that there were far too many arguments about this and it doesn't sound like they were conducted very civilly. Its still important to treat adults as adults and to speak to them as adults. We lecture children on respecting their parents. With adults, we don't. If they disrespect us than we talk civilly, compromise and truly leave the door open of moving out as a respectful decision. It should not be seen as a threat or as a punishment for bad behavior.

It sounds to me that she sought council from other adults who weren't Catholic and that it was probably not just her idea to call the cops. The fact that the cops were called to pick up her stuff makes it sound like she felt threatened - that had she come home and informed you that she was moving out, she couldn't imagine it as happening in a civil manner that didn't make her feel threatened.

I know you're worried about the impression that would give your other children, but young children watching their parents argue about it with an adult child and treating an adult child as if she were much younger is not likely going to be a positive influence and may negatively effect their receptivity to the faith as well.

I'd really advise you to not only to forgive her, but to ask for her forgiveness. So long as she views you as being overbearing, and controling to the point that she and others felt that the safest way to get her stuff was through the police, she's going to see that behavior of an example of how the Catholic faith influences people and that is not an attractive picture.

Its hard to let go of adult children when they don't take the paths we've been guiding them toward. But we need to acknowledge that they have free will. Our role is not to control their will, but to be a positive influence on them when their young and to teach them the faith. In the end, being confirmed should be their decision that is respected. Our only reason to force them to go to Mass with the family is to avoid confusion, but we really need to weigh out the harms.

God bless you. I know you're worried about her, but I think you need to let go.


#6

Well, I guess at least she feels competent enough to strike out on her own...unless she's been taken in by a cult...which her new church seems to resemble. They are definitely anti-Catholic and have no business interfering in your family life and in her efforts toward independence. On the other hand....

This could have happened with any young person, even if she hadn't been blind. Even if she had spent all her time in your family, she might still be rebelling against her faith right now. So don't second-guess this situation. It doesn't sound as if you have coddled her too much. I hope she does have survival skills and can really manage mostly on her own. I wonder though, about the part this "church" has played in influencing her.

Does she get disability payments or how does she think she will survive? Does she have a job? Has she graduated from her school? If not, how will she pay for it? She's probably somewhat immature, hasn't thought through these issues. She may have been telling the church members that she was being "abused" and they believed her, or they may have been telling her that she was being religiously abused and planted that idea in her mind. Is she the type of person who enjoys drama? I have one of those, and he's managed to create such chaos in our household that we seriously considered kicking him out when he was 15 and 16.

She's your prodigal right now. Pray for her, always watch for her return, but let her know that you respect her decision to leave your house. You will never stop loving her but she has made the decision to leave, in a way that was too dramatic for the circumstances. Try to downplay it to the other kids - make it less about religion and more about her own choices. Not to minimize it, but to keep the focus on HER and her CHOICES. That you did not kick her out of the house, not in any way, that SHE had created all this drama and that you did not want this or enjoy it. She may go through a rough period where she gets taken advantage of. I pray that she misses her life and returns humbled. Do keep an eye on the church and watch for true cult behavior/abuse. If you have evidence she is really being harmed, then take action and get her out of there.

It would be nice if you could talk to her about what she plans to do, but you have tried and she refuses. Keep trying but never beg. Keep the word "CHOICES" in front of you at all times. Keep praying.


#7

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:6, topic:225831"]
Well, I guess at least she feels competent enough to strike out on her own...unless she's been taken in by a cult...which her new church seems to resemble. They are definitely anti-Catholic and have no business interfering in your family life and in her efforts toward independence. On the other hand....

This could have happened with any young person, even if she hadn't been blind. Even if she had spent all her time in your family, she might still be rebelling against her faith right now. So don't second-guess this situation. It doesn't sound as if you have coddled her too much. I hope she does have survival skills and can really manage mostly on her own. I wonder though, about the part this "church" has played in influencing her.

Does she get disability payments or how does she think she will survive? Does she have a job? Has she graduated from her school? If not, how will she pay for it? She's probably somewhat immature, hasn't thought through these issues. She may have been telling the church members that she was being "abused" and they believed her, or they may have been telling her that she was being religiously abused and planted that idea in her mind. Is she the type of person who enjoys drama? I have one of those, and he's managed to create such chaos in our household that we seriously considered kicking him out when he was 15 and 16.

She's your prodigal right now. Pray for her, always watch for her return, but let her know that you respect her decision to leave your house. You will never stop loving her but she has made the decision to leave, in a way that was too dramatic for the circumstances. Try to downplay it to the other kids - make it less about religion and more about her own choices. Not to minimize it, but to keep the focus on HER and her CHOICES. That you did not kick her out of the house, not in any way, that SHE had created all this drama and that you did not want this or enjoy it. She may go through a rough period where she gets taken advantage of. I pray that she misses her life and returns humbled. Do keep an eye on the church and watch for true cult behavior/abuse. If you have evidence she is really being harmed, then take action and get her out of there.

It would be nice if you could talk to her about what she plans to do, but you have tried and she refuses. Keep trying but never beg. Keep the word "CHOICES" in front of you at all times. Keep praying.

[/quote]

This post hit it on the head. We have not made it about church. She knew she was to obey house rules. Her one chore was doing the dishes which was also not being done. We were tired of telling her constantly to do that. We compromised on the church issue, allowing her to go as long as she still went to mass. I explained to her that when she was on her own & missed mass, it was on her. When she lived here & missed mass, dad & I were a party to her sin & we weren't going to do that. We told her we understood her having different beliefs, but she could not ask us to go against what we believed to make her happy because then we felt as if we would not be making God happy.

This is no different than if my child came home to tell me they believed taking drugs was ok. Just because they are an adult doesn't mean I am not going to try to get them to see it is wrong & it sure doesn't mean I'll allow them to do drugs in my house. Just because a person is 18 doesn't make them magically start making adult choices & good decisions.

She does get SSI & it is not enough to live on. We tried to explain that to her. We encouraged her to stay here until she finished school. She is in massage therapy school. We told her she is welcome here as long as she wants as long as she follows the rules.

I know we can not force her to be Catholic. It would have been nice if she would have least listened to explantions on Catholic beliefs. When we would try to give her a scripture verse to support something she would tell us her pastor told her that's not what it meant. We haven't quite figured out why she would believe a stranger over her own family. Anyway, she is free to live here, but only if she follows the rules. She needs to learn in life that there are rules & you need to follow them whether you like it or not. We can't choose to go 90 mph just because we don't want to follow the rules & not expect consequences. We can't shoot someone because we felt it was ok & not expect consequences.

We knew she wanted to move, we offered our help in finding a place. We offered to help her move & get her set up. Instead, she CHOSE to act like a spoiled 2 year old not getting her way. Now she will need to live with the consequences. She sent me an e-mail that she only called the police because she didn't want to talk to us when she picked up her things. That is not acting like an adult.

Perhaps my other kids will stop attending church when they are adults, but not as long as they live here. We have set a good foundation with them. We did not have the same opportunity with her. We basically gave her up 13 years of her life.

I still go to my parents for advice. I still would never, ever disrespect them or back talk them & I am 40 years old. If I were in the yard & my dad told me to get back in the house so we could talk, I would go, even now. It is about respect. My parents were strict. They had the same rules. If we didn't like it, we could move. We understood that & I didn't move until I got married at 20. I am so tired of seeing kids run households. I have several in my family. We will not tolerate that in our house. We will not have them back talk, ignore us, or outright disobey us without there being a consequence. Now everyone here is trying to make us out to be the bad guys.


#8

By the way, I din’t mean everyone here on the forum is trying to make us out to be the bad guys,. I meant here in our area.


#9

[quote="MrsWendyW, post:8, topic:225831"]
By the way, I din't mean everyone here on the forum is trying to make us out to be the bad guys,. I meant here in our area.

[/quote]

It is because people don't understand rules and structure any more. God loves Israel but every time his people disobey Him there is a consequence for them. He forgave them for their complaints in the desert, but they still had 40 years in the desert because of their unfaithfulness. The Bible is full of consequences, even the NT. Jesus didn't stop Judas from suicide although He certainly had the power to.

I can't go back and say "what if" too much, but my husband and I deal with child rearing differently. I tend to be the strict one and he is much less assertive, wants to basically get along and not have to be in conflict. I guess I sort of take it for granted that raising kids will include conflict and I'm not afraid of it. But we are divided spiritually as well (both cradle Catholics, both lapsed, I returned and he didn't). That has added an element of confusion into our family life that our very strong-willed son exploited. I tend to think that if his father and I could have agreed on how to handle his rebellion when it first started, it would not have gone on as long as it did. I'm not sure any more if it might not have happened anyway. We do the best we can as we can do it.

Hold your head up and grow a thicker skin - those people who criticize you do not support your family and how you choose to live. Take it for what it is worth. You know how you respect your parents, and what they demanded from you. People don't want any demands placed upon them by anyone, including God. I wonder if that's why our Church is so weak these days???


#10

You say "why she would believe a stranger over her family" but she grew up in a boarding school. You taught her just such things. She probably hasnt had to live "in a family" since she was a small child. This is going to leave huge emotinal holes...one which this other church fed. You put down rules and argued philosophical points without getting down to the real issues. Religion has become the representation for all that she must feel and struggle with. It is "your" family identity which you tried to throw at her on weekends. She never owned it....only lived through the lectures 2 days week and lived with her friends 5 days a week. You will never be a part of the blind world...and besides prayer you all need councelling to repair what boarding shool has done. To help her feel wanted and loved all those nights she spent in a dorm secertly wising to be home with a family...now she is thrown into one only to discover that the only love she created for herself is a battleground you're willing to die on.


#11

She spent weekends & summer breaks here at home. And all school breaks. It’s not like we put down rules just this past weekend. The rules have been the rules since we formed our household. And where exactly did I say that we ‘argued’ philisophical points? Yes, we tried to correct misunderstandings, but we did not lecture her every minute she was home. In fact for the past year or so, religion has been pretty much off limits between us because we do not agree. Well, since it is our family identity & she is a member of our family, I am not sure what that means. Gosh, I think I know I’ll never be a part of the blind world. If I had known how sending her there would destroy our family relationship, we would have sent her through public school. Yes, she learned a lot & it made her independent, but at a huge cost to our family. She also made sure to tell us she preferred school over being at home. I know it bothered her when she was small, but when she reached middle school age & high school, she wanted to be at school. To do things with her blind friends. Now she is out & away from them & we can’t fill that void. I only wish she would try to create a bond with her siblings & us instead of doing this. We tried to get her involved with people & things here. She stayed in her room on teh phone or the computer. She didn’t want to do family things with us. We tried. She just keeps going farther away.
We are meeting her today to give her the rest of her stuff. We are going to tell her we love her, but she made this choice & now needs to live with it. We are taking all of the kids because they deserve a good-bye from her. They don’t deserve her just dropping out of their life. She still refuses to tell us where she is. :frowning:


#12

I think without placing blame it is a difficult situation when a child has been at boarding school most of her life for a disability and then tries to adjust coming home. It can be a difficult adjustment. Maybe she is used to her time at home being limited by the calendar (summer breaks and etc) and panicked at the thought of a more open-ended stay. It sounds like it was hard on the family and I'd second the recommendation for counseling. I know independence is a big deal and parents need to make difficult choices where the results are often very unclear, such as you don't know how sending her away to school would turn out 10 years later. I hope this is temporary conflict that works out and the alternative could have been lack of independence, or not living up to her potential.


#13

[quote="MrsWendyW, post:11, topic:225831"]
She spent weekends & summer breaks here at home. And all school breaks. It's not like we put down rules just this past weekend. The rules have been the rules since we formed our household. And where exactly did I say that we 'argued' philisophical points? Yes, we tried to correct misunderstandings, but we did not lecture her every minute she was home. In fact for the past year or so, religion has been pretty much off limits between us because we do not agree. Well, since it is our family identity & she is a member of our family, I am not sure what that means. Gosh, I think I know I'll never be a part of the blind world. If I had known how sending her there would destroy our family relationship, we would have sent her through public school. Yes, she learned a lot & it made her independent, but at a huge cost to our family. She also made sure to tell us she preferred school over being at home. I know it bothered her when she was small, but when she reached middle school age & high school, she wanted to be at school. To do things with her blind friends. Now she is out & away from them & we can't fill that void. I only wish she would try to create a bond with her siblings & us instead of doing this. We tried to get her involved with people & things here. She stayed in her room on teh phone or the computer. She didn't want to do family things with us. We tried. She just keeps going farther away.
We are meeting her today to give her the rest of her stuff. We are going to tell her we love her, but she made this choice & now needs to live with it. We are taking all of the kids because they deserve a good-bye from her. They don't deserve her just dropping out of their life. She still refuses to tell us where she is. :(

[/quote]

The saying that you had an answer to everything that her preacher said indicates to me that you may have approached this argumenentivly and somehting in need of fixing.

I would recommend that you find other parents of disabled children who end up moving back home after boarding school or adult children who went to live with the non-custodial parent in adulthood. Yours isn't an uncommon problem. Your daughter vacationed with you. I'm sure you made an extraordinary effort to have fun and include her. In the daily scheme of things this is impossible.

Of course she got farther adn farther away. I've seen this many, many times. It is good that you got her help for her disability, and you did what you were told to do by professionals.

She is rebelling and is in great pain. I promise that she is unhappy right now. She won't tell you where she is because she finally has control. She is controlling in her life what she could not control in yours. She couldn't control the weeknight she was at school and you were doing things with the other children. Subconsciously this is her punishing you for her pain. Its not right but it's common.

I grew up around an boarding school for disabled kids. When they were young they cried nightly wanting their parents, as pre-teens the became dependent on eachother for emotional support, and as teens they rejected their families and only sought the comfort of school. Their families shared vacations but not the same life experience in general. I wish schools would do more to help parents and adult children bridge this gap. She needs to be on her own right now. With any luck she's in a good family. For a while this family will give her the extra attention she craves...but within 2-6 months it will fall apart. She may never come back, but she will discover that she holds a fantasy of family.

As far as your other children, please get help for them. They will likely feel abandoned and cheated, they also poured out their love on weekends and vacations...I'm sure that mixed in is jealousy of the extra attention that she probably received...especially in a big family.

Even if she has to live in subsidized housing I'd suggest researching ways for her to do so and supporting her in that. Let her eat ramen, let her struggle...she will be much happier to be independent. And if she wants to come back home let it be a family decision with your older children.


#14

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