Raising children and immorality in the family


I’m expecting my first child at the moment and have been thinking about all the family problems on both mine and husband’s side and how to address various issues when bringing up children. I would very much welcome advice, especially from parents who have difficult family situations and have had some explaining to do already.

I’m going to try and explain the context a bit. Divorce, living in sin and abortion are the norm in my family (when I say ‘my family’ I include my husband’s too). It goes back several generations. Both my husband and I have been hurt by divorce in our families and absolutely detest it, together with all the lies and deceit that goes along with it. We will teach family values and importance of marriage to our children but what to do about the number of bad examples we are surrounded with?
The worst story so far includes my father. He left my mother 10 years ago for a mistress (after a number of affairs) and is now ‘respectfully’ remarried with a young son and a baby on the way. After all that he has done he expects me to consider his new family my own and to show love and affection to his children. Now, I’m 33 years old, have my own family and no intention to participate in his family life in such a close way. (I’m sure his wife wouldn’t want that either). On the other hand, I want my children to have some kind of a relationshiop with all the grandparents. I have no idea what to do about this and how to present complicated family relationships to children when they are old enough to ask questions. I don’t intend to tell lies to protect anyone’s feelings and reputation.

This is such a painful issue for me and my husband and I would appreciate your thoughts on how to handle it best.


Very difficult when family is involved to remain objective. However, one must do so, and in doing so always try to remember to "hate the sin and love the sinner".

Be honest with your children, teach them that wrong is wrong and a sin is a sin, regardless of who has committed the wrong and sinful act. Nobody is without sin, but that does not mean that we must accept sinful behavior as the norm.

Forgive your Father! That does not mean that you have to spend every Sunday having special family time, but it sounds like you may be holding on to some baggage in that area. (Didn't say it was going to be easy, just something that needs to be done). Family is family, there is nothing that you can do about that, but you can create distance between them and you. It sounds like less exposure would be better for you, your husband and your children.

May the Good Lord Bless You and Watch Over You!



Thank you, I appreciate the advice. It seems that distance will be the way to deal with it. I spent my childhood and youth surrounded by lies and don't want to put my children in a situation where they might think that sin is ok. This is going to be tough since both grandfathers have very different ideas about marriage and family.


Remember, MERCY! Also, these younger siblings of yours are NOT at fault for the actions of their (and your) parents. Do not punish them for their actions. Unlike you, I did things all backwards and have a family who have many issues similar to yours and more. Guess what, God has forgiven me and even though I too have sinned (like the rest of humanity) I cannot let that sin dictate how my husband and I raise our children. Remember, and this is important, Peter denied Jesus three times and was not their at His death yet Jesus picked him to lead the Church, knowing Peter's sins. Humility is difficult to obtain, but it is possible. I'm not there yet, but trust me, God definitely allowed me to be broken so that I can decrease my judgmental mentality and focusing on my hurts and increase my sincere love for others (though I am no where near holiness in this regard).

First step, work on forgiving your father. You too will disappoint your child when s/he realizes that you too are human and not a super hero.


Gmarie, you’ve made some good points. Mercy is indeed important. However, I’m not sure how to reconcile my desire to protect my children from bad influence and my own feelings towards family members. I’ve forgiven what I could with a lot of prayer, but I can’t do the impossible - only God can forgive everything. I know I’m not perfect but I can’t let that justify all the filth I’ve encountered in my family.
My half siblings certainly carry no blame and I don’t intend to treat them with disrespect. But given the enormous age difference I don’t think anyone can seriously expect me to have a relationship with them. I have my own life and family to focus on. I’m just wondering what to do about the adults in question.


Try to find other people who share you values, start at your parish. Choose your children’s Godparents carefully even if you have to go out of your circle of family and friends to find people who share your values.

My husbands and my own family have been great examples of what happens when one chooses to live immorally.
They have been terrible when it comes to lending the support that families give to one and other at important times like births and illnesses. Birthdays and holidays are always a time of loneliness and stress when I involve my extended family. I regret that I didn’t reach out to like minded people when my children were young and build a support group with folks who share my values.


Thank you.
What you said about times of birth and illness really resonates with me. Such times show you who is supportive and caring.
A good friend from church will be this baby’s Godparent and I’m slowly building a little network of like-minded people. I guess those of us who have not been blessed with good families have to find other sources of love and support.


Your family is your family. Period. But your family does-not need to be your childrens 'role-model' family for developing a faith-filled life; fortunately we have the Holy Family to fulfill that role.

This resource can help: familyland.be/family_consecration/introduction-to-consecration-to-the-holy-family.html


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