Wanting to be a Priest, but Struggling to Tell Your Parents

Over the past couple of months, I’ve started to discern the priesthood and I’m all but certain it’s what’s God is calling me to. I’ve gone to mass just about everyday since April (before school for a while, now I walk to my local parish) and I do my best to pray the liturgy of the hours. My problem arises when I haven’t even told my parents any of this. My discernment has been through private prayer and doing a lot of research in private browsing, I’ve been able to go to daily mass by claiming I like to get to school early/saying I just went for a long walk, and I usually just say something along the lines of “oh I’m just reading something” when my parents ask me what I’m doing while I pray the liturgy of the hours. For the most part, I’m not worried about them not supporting me (they’ve said in the past they would support any of their kids who chose a religious vocation in casual conversation), but I’m worried they’d bring it up in a fight.

   It seems like a weekly thing where I get pissed off at my parents because I feel as those their constantly helicopter parenting me (although they aren't as bad as some helicopter parents). They nonstop check my grades even though I've repeatedly asked them not to, as I'm very aware of my grades and but tons of pressure on myself to keep them up (which they know), and most of all they try to take excessive control over my life. Last summer my brother attempted Suicide, and then shortly afterwards started to sneak out and lot and disobey my parent's wishes (around this time they were giving him a lot of extra privileges and taking a very hands off aproach), but now they don't want to make the same mistake again, and rather than treat my like an individual who deserves privacy, and a chance to just hang out with my friends, they are constantly trying to figure out what I'm doing and acting like I'm some bad kid whose just going to go out drinking. I'm a good kid. I think drinking is incredibly stupid, and I'm not afraid to call my friends idiots and walk away when they do something dumb, but rather than look at that they continue to watch me and upset me and that leads us to getting into arguments. Sometimes it'll just last a few minutes before I leave and go to my room, then in the morning everything is fine, but in other cases the anger between us can be felt  for days or even weeks. 

     These fights have gotten so intense that at times I've tried to figure out if I could reasonable sustain myself if I ran away (there was a good year in Middle school  where I decided that i would stick it out till I was sixteen, then take my car and leave my house forever), and there are sometime where I find myself feeling like (as terrible as it is)  I don't need these people or even love them. They just feel like people that pay for my food and give my a place to stay. I know it's a terrible thing to say, but it's how I've genuinely felt at times. 

     I don't want to get into these fights, I try my best to honor the fourth commandment, but it's difficult when I feel so angry at my parents and they just seem so wrong to me. It puts a strain on our relationship that I want to ease, but it just always feel so intense. 

     Next year I'll be a Junior which means I'm going to have to start looking into colleges, which means I probably need to talk to the vocations director and figure out if I should go straight to seminary or to college first, and in order to do that I'm going to need to tell my parents I've been discerning the priesthood, but I'm scared to do so because of the aforementioned fights. In the past they've used things going on in my life against me (for a while it was my "work ethic" and my mom even tried to use confirmation against me once). 

    My main question is, how should I overcome my fear and tell them about what I think my vocation might be, also what should I do if they try to use what my vocation might be against me, or how do I just avoid these fights in general?

You are still young and the future is full of possibilities. I am sorry to hear of the struggles with your family. I would imagine their son’s suicide attempt scared them so much they just want you to be safe and perhaps have gone overboard in that respect.

In my own thought this is too complicated to be solved by one post on the Internet full of strangers.

Do you have a counselor at school you could talk to about your family situation? Most schools have the and perhaps a trained professional could help guide you with your parents.

Also, I would speak with a priest about your calling to a vocation. It’s good to hear your parents said they would support as such and I can understand your hesitancy to tell them given you feel it could be thrown in your face later. A priest also might have some insight as to when to tell your parents about your thoughts of the priesthood. Maybe waiting until you are older and seriously contemplating the vocation with the help of a vocations director would be a better plan. I don’t know, but a priest might have experience with these types of situations.

Just my thoughts. I feel for you and pray that there might be assistance in resources that could help you. I’m sure other posters will have some good thoughts as well.


What MaryT777 said is very good :thumbsup:

Please consider reading about Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati he had parents who were not even interested in living as faithful Catholics. He, lived it with his whole self.
I started reading a novel based on his life and it’s pretty good, To the Heights! by Brian Kennelly.

I also suggest keeping a journal. It doesn’t have to be a bound book, you can keep on on your pc or as a sketchbook. A prayer journal might be a good start, especially if you are considering the Priesthood.

It sounds as though you are blessed with parents who love you and are hopeful for you and your future.

God Bless you on your journey to discover and discern your vocation. You and your family are in my prayers.

Broach the subject as a hypothetical, if they seem ok, then go with your desire. Hey, you can always say they won’t have to worry about you living in their basement unitl you are 30! :slight_smile:

Mary has good advice to which I will add some personal observation:

In my experience, one of the most difficult changes in life is when it is becoming time for a child to begin to assume the mantle of adulthood and for the patent to begin to let go of parental control and responsibility, Having experienced this change as both a child and a parent, I can tell you that it is much more difficult to be the parent. In fact, parents never really let go of feeling responsible for their children.

I think that the argument and upset that occur during this time of life are one way that people have of dealing with feelings of fear and apprehension such those felt by both parents and their off-spring when this inevitable change is at hand. Anger and upset actually facilitate separation. However, acting out of love and respect is always the better way although it requires more effort - more listening; more understanding; more patience; more honesty; more courage; more reaching out for help; more prayer; more reflection; more time.

You clearly love your parents, and they clearly love you. Let that love guide you as you work through your journey into adulthood. You and your family are in my prayers.

I read this essay and thought of you, Ryan, and your parents:


I hope it gives you some idea of what it is like to be a parent.

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