One of the hardest things about being parents is letting go of our dreams. Perhaps the OP had dreams of the perfect Catholic family–a family of loving, polite, respectful children who grow up to be saintly teenagers who love praying the Rosary, love Mass, and have a deep faith like that of the saints of old, many who were teenagers themselves.
Unfortunately–or maybe fortunately–real life has a way of waking us up from our dreams!
It’s really, really hard for parents to accept that their dream is just that–a dream. I remember the day when I realized that my daughter would never be an Olympic figure skater. She was about six–gosh, that was hard for me to accept that she would just be a regular figure skater, not the next Kristi Yamaguchi! Sigh.
Your daughter is a real girl, not St. Catherine of Siena, who was also a real girl with a different calling. And that’s good! God makes all girls and loves them and has plans for each girl!
Drop the dream girl, and accept the real girl. That’s the best thing you can do for your daugher. She’ll know that you’ve accepted her, and she’ll be glad.
I agree with the other posters so far. Don’t make a big issue out of this. She’s going through the natural process of breaking away from her parents and becoming an adult. This is a hard time for her, even though you might feel like she’s enjoying every minute of testing you.
She’s sad in her heart, and her emotions are all over the place because she senses the end of childhood, and that’s a good thing and a bad thing. No more playing with dolls–the next children she has will be real. No more wrestling with Daddy on the floor because she has boobs now and that feels weird to her. Boyfriends–exciting, but scary–what if they’re jerks?
And she has sexual feelings now, but so many Church teachings seem to imply that sex is sinful and she doesn’t know what the balance is yet, so she lashes out in her frustration.
And Grandma and Grandpa are getting old and feeble and she can’t stay overnight with them anymore because Grandma doesn’t always remember names, and that’s sad and she realizes that death is real and that’s sad.
And she’s aware that money does not grow on trees and she wants more of it, but isn’t quite old enough to get a job yet. And there’s the future–college? Military? Marriage? A vocation??? Stay home and live in the basement and let Mom and Dad continue to take care of her?!
It’s really, really hard to grow up! Give the girl some slack. Back off and let her work through it.
I wouldn’t even have a big talk about religion with her. There’s no need. There’s no deep reason–the reason she is feeling the way she’s feeling about religion and everything else is because of hormones and the natural process of growing up, and she doesn’t know how to explain all that to you. She’ll feel cornered and there’s a good chance that you’ll end up preaching at her and possibly getting angry at her and the whole thing will turn into a huge loud fight and she’ll cry and you’ll cry and things will be even worse afterward.
Don’t do that to her.
I would simply tell her in a non-emotional way (which will be hard for you) that you respect her individuality, that you will pray for her to find her own way to God, and then ask her for a compromise–tell her that you will allow her to pursue her own path to faith, including opting out of the family Rosary and praying private prayers if she wishes, but you would appreciate it if, for the sake of her SIBLINGS, she would continue to attend Mass and participate in family rituals such as holiday traditions, birthday dinners (or whatever), etc. at least until she is old enough to live on her own. This is a gamble, but keep in mind that she is experiencing a lot of inner turmoil and sadness about growing up, too, and she isn’t vindictively desiring the downfall of her little brothers or sisters. I’m guessing that she’ll agree to the compromise for their sakes.
And also make sure that she realizes that you love her and you’re always available to talk to her. It’s just possible that she may have experienced some form of abuse from someone at the Church, and perhaps that’s why she doesn’t want to attend Mass. I certainly hope that’s not the case. Make sure she knows that you will listen to her and help her if she comes to you, just in case something awful like that happened.
And then after you have loosened her bonds a little and given her more freedom and allowed her to grow up like a real girl, pray your butt off for the next couple of years!! She’ll turn out fine, and probably have a family and raise the kids just like she was raised.
One more thing–if you choose to ignore the good advice that so many of the posters are giving you, and you choose to make an issue out of this and to punish your daughter and force her to pray and go to Mass and all the rest, you will regret it and cry many tears over your mistake. Yes, she’ll submit and do as you say–she has no choice because at this point, she has no money to leave you. But she’ll look for an opportunity to escape, probably with a boy, and she will get away from you and your oppressive ways (as she sees them) at the first opportunity. She’ll reject God and you, and you will suffer years of separation from her as she rebels big-time when she’s older because she wasn’t allowed to experience the normal rebellion that all teenagers go through. A lot of parents here can testify about their mistakes along these lines, and it’s heartbreaking.