Parenting teenagers isn’t easy, as many parents will attest. It can be even more difficult to raise faithful Catholic children who will hold on to their faith through young adulthood and the rest of their life. What’s the key to success?
Leticia explained that her daughters, ages 14 and 15, resist attending Mass and Church functions. Her situation is even more complicated by the fact that she is divorced and the girls’ father does not practice the Faith. She wondered what advice Patrick Madrid had to help her kids connect to their Catholic Faith.
The most important thing, explained Patrick, is the joyful example of their parents. “Your genuine love for Jesus and the joy that you receive from going to Mass and receiving Him in Holy Communion, not to mention the other aspects of the Faith—going to Confession regularly—if you show them good example, that’s probably the biggest and first thing that you can do,” he said.
Second, parents today need to fight against the culture that lies to their kids, telling them that religion is not necessary, disordering their priorities, and distracting them from what is truly important. You can begin by reminding your kids that Jesus loves them, died for them, and wants them to be happy forever in heaven with Him. Explain that He established the Church to help them get to heaven.
“You can tell them, as you’re growing up aren’t you noticing that there are all kinds of things that are distracting and pulling you in different directions? Well, getting to Mass on Sunday will help you know how to live a life that is pleasing to God and that you’ll be happy, so you won’t become enslaved to sins and addictions and things like that. And receiving Jesus in Holy Communion gives you the strength that you need in the form of grace to help you be a virtuous and happy young woman.”
Third, Patrick tells Leticia to “fight fire with fire”. They’re bombarded with messages from social media, peers, and entertainment, so he recommends adding some positive messages about their Catholic Faith to the mix. Text them “Youtube videos, which they’re already watching anyway.” Patrick’s suggestion was to send a short video by Fr. Mike Schmitz about why it’s important to go to Mass on Sunday, and other similar content.
And if you’re not already praying the Rosary, Patrick tells parents of teens that they need to start. “It’s a weapon of grace”, he explained, that fights against sin and evil. Make a commitment to pray every single day for your kids.
He admitted that when he was raising young kids and teenagers, he had some days where he felt like a failure, as if he wasn’t getting through to them. “If you put Our Lady on the case, you get her involved—stand back! Because she’s going to help you, and you might not see it all at once, but it will happen and she will not abandon your daughters.”
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