Practical steps to help keep your kid in the Church

Dear Katrina,

After watching our friends’ two grown kids go off to college and stop going to Mass and the disappointment it’s caused their parents, I was wondering if you had some advice for me and my own son, who will be leaving for college in two years.

He’s already grown disinterested in coming to Mass with us and I imagine once he’s on his own he’ll probably stop going, too.

What should we be doing as his parents to minimize the chance that he’ll stray from the Church?

M. in Wichita

Dear M. in Wichita,

There are a few things I always like to suggest to parents who express these concerns about their older children.

While there is no surefire guarantee, I tell folks the main objective is to build a solid foundation of faith that our adult children can come “home” to, similar to having a balanced and functional family life.

An analogy would be children who come from dysfunctional families may have severed relationships with their parents and as a result have little interaction with their families as an adult.

Children from stable homes will continue to have healthy relationships with their families well into adulthood. The Church then is our spiritual family.

So while I say there is no guarantee, there still are some things we can do as parents to help establish these roots of faith in our children.

Don’t disparage the Church

I have a rule in my house that we don’t criticize the Church or disparage our priests in front of my son.

It’s a vocation killer and a spiritual cancer spreader when speaking negatively of the Church. If a conflict arises it’s important for your children to see it resolved in a mature and respectful manner.

Priests are people too and not immune from error, but also by their role in the priesthood they are are deserving of our utmost respect. It’s important that we instill in our children this sense of respect for the Church and her servants. Continue reading 

  • Katrina Fernandez  has a PhD in being single, and a master’s in single parenting with a concentration in Catholic guilt.
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