Young children being Catholic to please Grandmother


#1

Do you think a grandparent should insist that her grandchildren receive the Sacraments even though the parents are non-practicing and extremely anti-Catholic?

I do not. And I'll tell you why. Children ,especially, small children are receiving instruction for the faith that directly contradicts their parents views on these matters.

I have a niece, with 2 young siblings, who is struggling because Grandmom has insisted she receive Catholic instruction and even payed for Catholic school and of course that she receive the Sacraments. The child's mother, (the father is not in her life), has given in to all of this to placate the grandmother. But the mother tells her children that this catholic stuff is all nonsense and that there really is no God . The mother is living an immoral life with a boyfriend coming and going so she is no example to the children. Also, the mother, tells the children that homosexuality and cohabitation are OK and that the Church is wrong on these matters.

The problem in all of this, is that the children do love, respect, and want to believe their mother. (I think that is something God put in all children-a need to love and honor your parents) As a result they are torn between God and their mother. They are very young and I don't know about you but I remember my parents being my authority on everything at that age. I really think God made it that way for the good of the child.

Now the niece is forced to choose between the Church and her mother(she doesn't have strong relationship with God) I know she will have to choose her mother. And in this unfortunate situation where she must choose, she chooses against the faith and all it has to teach her. She already has.


#2

Well I see how you think that the children feel like they have to chose. But maybe in there own minds they think that church is something thre mom doesnt do or understand. And the grandma takes them to make sure they learn the "right" thing. I am glad that atleast someone is there for them to set an example for the children. It is is important that they recieve the sacraments. Because at one point in their lives they will be able to think on their own more.


#3

I have gone back and forth on this issue myself. This situation is not unique. There is a very large number of children going through Catholic schools and Catholic parish catechetical programs not because of their parents but because of their grandparents. It presents a huge problem for catechists because they are trying to catechize children who receive zero faith support at home, do not attend Mass at all, and whose parents may be teaching them exactly the opposite of what the catechist is trying to teach.

On the one hand, it seems problematic to place before a small child the choice between faith and their parents. By giving them the sacraments, the children have a much higher degree of responsibility, yet without parental support they are very ill-equipped to handle it.

On the other hand, God's grace works ex opere operato in the sacraments. However poor their catechetical training, and however much it may contradict with what their parents are teaching them, they at least have something to draw from when times get tough. Perhaps right now they are mostly receiving seeds that are being quickly eaten up by the birds of the air. But maybe, just maybe, one of those seeds will penetrate their soul. Even if it takes years of germination before the seed begins to bear fruit, there is still that chance which may be absent if the child had no contact with Catholicism whatsoever.

So what is the solution? If I had the answer, I'd be selling millions of books and traveling the speaker circuit. ;)


#4

Doesn't sound like there is much direction from Mom. I admire the Grandmother. I assume she's paying the tuition? What about the second child? How did grandma get her to allow the kids to go to parochial school? Out of the will if she didn't?


#5

I think this is a bad thing. I think there is a good reason parents are meant to be the primary educators in faith, and this is it.

Not only does it have real problems from the POV of the child's psychology, but it could potentially result in some of those sacraments being invalid.

Consider baptism. For good reason, priests will not normally baptize a baby unless they think the parents have some intent to raise the child in the Catholic faith. THis can be a bit sticky, since it seems like it would be good for the baby to be baptized in any case. Priests are not allowed to baptize at the instigation of grandparents, or even foster parents - it must be the parent, the legal guardian, the person who has responsibility for the child and his upbringing.

When an adult chooses to receive a sacrament, he or she has a certain responsibility in that, and has to will participation. A child has to rely to a greater or lesser extent on the parent to fulfill that role. Even with confirmation this is an issue. A person who is not a parent, in the biological or legal or psychological sense cannot fulfill that role, so there is an element missing.

People often complain about adult Catholics who do not take CC teachings seriously, or don't know them, and then go and do things like marry in a civil ceremony, without understanding the implications, or go to communion without confessing first.

Grandparents in these cases mean well, but are doing a disservice to their grandchildren. They are stepping in to a role that does not belong to them. They would be much better off to model their faith to their grandchildren, talk about it, and expose them to the church in ways that the parents will not feel they have to undermine.


#6

"Stepping into a role that doesn't belong to them".......how so? The grandparent can't grab the kids and enroll them in the school. The mother has to do that so the mother, one way or another, has given her permission. I'm sure it isn't for the sake of the kids' religious education. I'm assuming it is for some benefit yet to come.

Grandparents have a moral obligation to their grandkids too just as a godmother would if the children had a godmother and had been baptized.

Grandma has no legal rights so for some reason Mom is going along with this for her own reasons which we don't know.


#7

The mother allowed it because the Catholic school was a better choice in the inner city and free tuition.
That year in Catholic school backfired in the evangelization department because the child told her mother that the teachers where mistreating her and mom pulled her out of that school. The child says she is now an athiest.

Child number 2 now wants to receive Communion because she heard a party is involved.

Children by God’s design want to obay the will of a parent, particularly young children. If a parent hates the Church(and this one does believe me) the child is in a very difficult situation. I’ve witnessed their confusion and felt their pain, they need their mom. They are not equiped to pass judgement about the Faith at this young age. They, by the inclination God gave them to love and obay their parents, will side with the parent.

Grandmother should,by all means take the children to Mass, read them our Catechism and the Bible but don’t try to make the child make a commitment that causes a division with the parents, no matter how much we disagree with the parent. No child should have to choose between God and mommy.
I also think the grandmother needs to start by evangalizing her own child whenever she is given the opportunity even if she is a adult. And pray for not only God’s will, but also knowing that He will pick the perfect time to evangalize these grandchildren.
Strangely enough the children come to me, not grandmom, with their spiritual and moral questions. They seem greatly suspicious of their grandmother’s brand of Catholicim and this worries me. God help me if *I *mislead these children that is why this thread is so important to me and your input is so valuable.


#8

Thank you Bluegoat!


#9

[quote="m_crane, post:7, topic:182232"]
The mother allowed it because the Catholic school was a better choice in the inner city and free tuition.
That year in Catholic school backfired in the evangelization department because the child told her mother that the teachers where mistreating her and mom pulled her out of that school. The child says she is now an athiest.

Child number 2 now wants to receive Communion because she heard a party is involved.

Children by God's design want to obay the will of a parent, particularly young children. If a parent hates the Church(and this one does believe me) the child is in a very difficult situation. I've witnessed their confusion and felt their pain, they need their mom. They are not equiped to pass judgement about the Faith at this young age. They, by the inclination God gave them to love and obay their parents, will side with the parent.

Grandmother should,by all means take the children to Mass, read them our Catechism and the Bible but don't try to make the child make a commitment that causes a division with the parents, no matter how much we disagree with the parent. No child should have to choose between God and mommy.
I also think the grandmother needs to start by evangalizing her own child whenever she is given the opportunity even if she is a adult. And pray for not only God's will, but also knowing that He will pick the perfect time to evangalize these grandchildren.
Strangely enough the children come to me, not grandmom, with their spiritual and moral questions. They seem greatly suspicious of their grandmother's brand of Catholicim and this worries me. God help me if *I *mislead these children that is why this thread is so important to me and your input is so valuable.

[/quote]

Do you think the seed of evangalization is there since they are coming to you with their spiritual and moral questions? That says a lot about the children absorbing what they are being taught and their ability to discern whom they should ask when they have a question. These kids are young but willing to discuss spiritual things. That is something!
There are many people in the ghetto who send their kids to Catholic school for the discipline. Of course, they may not opt to sit in on the religious classes. Mom obviously sees some benefit in having the kids attend a Catholic school.
The one making her communion may have to cover herself because of Mom. It does involve a party. It will be an occassion which does bring families together for the sake of the child. Better than spending that Sunday in front of the tv with a pizza.


#10

A parent (grandparent) may have no legal authority, but that doesn’'t mean he or she cannot try to take on a role in the family that isn’t appropriate. If a grandparent undermines the parent to the child, for example, that is clearly inappropriate, and can be very difficult for the parent who wants to preserve the relationship between the kids and grandparent.

In this case, it sounds like the grandmother may be using money as a way to try to usurp the parents role. So, a carrot rather than a stick. Yes, the parent could say no, and probably should. But a good education is a powerful carrot.


#11

Forgive me, but I fail to see how the grandmother is manipulating the mother. She has made an offer and the mother has accepted. The mother can say no. Grandma is paying for a good education and Mom, apparently, has conceded that point even if it is a Catholic education.

By legal I meant if Mom had said “NO” there is no legal way grandma could get a court to make Mom send the kids to Catholic school. Grandma has no rights when the Mom is competent and able.

Since Mom has agreed to this she needs to act as an adult and not undermind her kids and what they’re learning at the school. She knew what they were going to be taught before they were enrolled. The alternative appears to be a public school which is not up to the standards of the Catholic school. If the school is free, which I doubt, it is still the better choice between the two. I think Mom knows that.


#12

I do think that a grandmother should insist such things. If I had grandchildren and my children started doing something goofywith their kid's faith, I would be pushing for them to recieve the sacrements within whatever bounds I were able.

It is unfortunate that it all fell out the way you described.


#13

I completely understand why a grandparent would want to take an active roll in the intiation and education of their grandchildren into the cathol faith. That probably works fine when the parent is completely passive about whether the child is religious or not.
I am talking about a parent who is actively work to demonstate that the Faith is nonsense. She is telling the child that God does not exist and providing a lot of evidence to back up her opinions. She persuaded child that the catholic school teachers where out to get the child and took her out of school. She bought the child a ouiji board because she wanted to prove to the child that demons don't exist. She throws religious items in the trash . She teaches the children to lie to adults to get out of trouble teachers, police, their dad's family, even a social worker.

I need to add more information about grandmom to explain why I her actions in insisting the children have their Sacraments...
Grandmom does the same things. She teaches the children to lie to their teachers. She lets them miss Mass to go to sleepovers and parties (not just for special occasions either). She allows them to watch R rated movies and shows like south park. When they ask why Grandmom lies and isn't it a sin, she tells them is isn't a sin to lie to stay out of trouble. Grandmom is talking to talk but not walking the walk as far as her faith goes.

Oh and about paying the children's tuition that year. She only paid half of it, knowing full well(we discussed this before she when ahead with it) that she did not have the balance for the second half. So the school got stiffed.

One time asked grandmom not to allow the other grandchildren living with her,(not my sister kids) to go to sleepovers at sister's boyfriend's house where my sister was living because it was dangerous for the other grandchildren to be around a man we don't know (he turned out to be an alchoholic (she is too) which resulted in violencebtw he and my sister many a night) and sinful to be around a couple who are cohabitating. I even asked her to talk to a Priest about it. She told me the priest said that it's OK to let the children go over there because they are old enough to know what their Aunt is doing is wrong. They where only 10 and 12 at the time. And I may be completely crazy but I think she lied to me, as she usually does when I confront her. because I can't imagine a Priest saying such a thing . I could tell you many other times when she has twisted the truth or ignored her moral responsibilites just to do what she pleased. And I am sad to see to fruits of this crazy behavior result in the further damaging all the grandchildren. And the use of the Catholic faith as a cover for all her immoral behavior. It just makes me ill.


#14

What you’ve described is a highly disfunctional family including grandma. And am I right that the kids are no longer in Catholic school because granny stiffed the school?

Any chance of social services offering any counseling to these kids? Apparently, the family is already known to child services. Mom and granny sound like pieces of work. The kids need counseling.


#15

Yes aircrit, Social services have been called. Grandmom told me that SS same about 2 months ago. It was reported that the 13 year old was not attending school. My sister told SS that she had a problem with the paper work, a lie. Since then, 13 yr old has been enrolled into cyber school but given her learning disabilities.(She's had special classes for ADD and a hearing and understanding problem.) I fear that grandmom or mom are doing her work for her. I just don't know if cyber school has any way of telling if the child is the one doing the work or the parent. I wish I did. If child protective looked into her attendance record for the past 3 years I think they would find a problem.
I know this is starting to sound like a rant. I don't mean it to. But I don't know what I can do for any of these children as long as this grandmother is in their lives pulling the strings. It's to the point that I feel* I * need counselling just to handle the anger and confusion of dealing with this situation. I'm watching innocent children being emotionally and spiritually destroyed. What I am dealing with feels extremely evil. I pray the prayer of St Michael constantly.


#16

Is cyber school connected to the physical school where she normally would attend? Does she have to pass tests by going to the school once in awhile?

Why would they approve cyber school if she is capable of attending regular school as she has been doing in the past?

If she has ADD, is she receiving medication? If she has been prescribed meds and not receiving them, that would constitute medical neglect of a minor.

Has Child Services ever interviewed you? Usually, they like to know if there exists a responsible relative somewhere in the family tree. Was granny known to Child Services when she was raising her daughter? Should we assume the father is MIA? Do you see him as being responsible or interested in the lives of his children?

The kids are very lucky to have you in their lives. You may be the answer to someone’s prayers.


#17

The child was taken out of school when the mother was thrown out of the boyfriends house because she had regular fights with his 14 year old daughter.and was drinking every night. When she broke the child,s laptop, (she kicked it in a fit of rage), the boyfriend packed her up and left her things at grandmoms door. The mother said she could only afford about 1000.00 a month maximum so I found a few affordable rentals for her in that price range,but she chose one, that grandmom talked her into that was expensive ,1500.00 per month, in grandmom's neighborhood. So I suspect grandmom is paying some of the rent. (more control) The most ironic thing is that the boyfriend still comes around regularly.

As far as I know, this online schooling is done on the honor system and there is no physical place where she is taken for testing but I could hopefully be wrong.

Her first dad is missing. He is a drug addict. She was unoffically adopted at 3 to a second man who she called daddy when the mother married him. That marriage ended. The father is now in jail, he was a city official who defrauded the city by taking money for favors. No help from the dads.
I have no contact with child protective because at this point I know my sister would completely cut me off from the children. I am the only one who knows all the things she has done except maybe the boyfriend and grandmom and she knows I no longer support her in the way she lives. She very intelligent and it wouldn't take her long to figure it out that I gave them more information. Of course, I will, if anything more happens.
I saw the children at Christmas, I took them out for pizza. The 7 year old told me that mom said if they tell a counselor that anything is wrong at home that they with be put with a stranger . I told her that wasn't true, that they would first try to get mom into counseling but if someone got badly hurt they would be placed with a relative. This reassured her. (She is very smart and strong willed. She vacillates between loving and hateing her mother and tells me she doesn't want to live with mom far to often. That alarms me)
I if I can find out which cyber school my niece attends. Hard because my sister is on to me then I can at least find out if there is any outside testing.


#18

Children are astute. The seven year old has seen enough to make her own judgements re. her Mom and probably her Grandmother. I’m sure the 13 years old shares her sister’s concerns. It wouldn’t surprise me if the older one shows up on your doorstep in three years and opts for independent living. On the other hand, she might not want to leave her sister behind with Mom.

I understand your concerns about Child Services. You’re the only link to sanity for the girls and you don’t want to jepordize that. I’m still curious as to why the older child isn’t in regular school. Better for her socially and also allows others to monitor her. Teachers must report abuse. Actually, everyone is required to report abuse. In this case, it doesn’t appear to be any abuse that would jeopardize their lives.

Because the kids are being provided for by their Mom and the Grandmother, Child Services can’t act. They have a roof over their heads, food, education, and medical care. That doesn’t mean Child Services isn’t concerned. It just means their is no reason they could present to a judge to have the girls removed.

You must believe that you are the one God has sent to direct these kids. I know you’d like to do more but you can’t. You must work within the perimeters of the situation as the kids’ aunt.

If the younger one wants to make her Communion, offer to take her out for the dress. Mom would be making a terrible mistake in stopping this. It would be something the child will always remember, hopefully for the right reason. If it is something that will not be allowed, tell the child that when she is older and makes the decision on her own, you’ll still buy her a dress.

You are the one God has sent. Pray for strength. :flowers::hug1::knight2: They’re blessed to have you.


#19

I do want to say this - cyber school is not always bad for every child. One of our friends has two children and he and his wife both travel a lot on business. Due to cyber school they can homeschool their children in an approved curriculum. Part of this particular program which is done in PA also includes webcam between student/teacher and parent/teacher conferences by webcam. Overall the children have done well. B/C both of his children are giften they also get to work at their own pace which is extremely accelerated and b/c they don’t see other kids working at a more average pace they do not get the inflated ego about it. I guess this could also work with the learning disability especially with ADD.


#20

Thank you for your kind support and interest in the welfare of my nieces and nephew.

I am glad to hear there is a web cam on the other end with a live teacher interacting with the student. I hope this is the case for my niece. I will try to find out.

As for why she is not in regular school, I was told that the middle school in the neighborhood is no good but also she has to be home to watch her siblings when they come home from school until the evening when mom gets home.


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