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Catholic Parenting

St. Joseph

PRAYER TO ST. JOSEPH

Father, You entrusted our Savior to the care of Saint Joseph. By the help of his prayers may Your Church continue to serve its Lord, Jesus Christ, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen

From Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, Irondale, Alabama

PRAYER TO THE HOLY FAMILY

Lord Jesus Christ, who being made subject to Mary and Joseph, didst consecrate domestic life by Thine ineffable virtues; grant that we, with the assistance of both, may be taught by the example of Thy Holy Family and may attain to its everlasting fellowship. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen

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As practicing Catholic parents we want to bring our children up the "Catholic Way". In other words, we want to practice Catholic parenting. It is from experience as a Catholic parent who also home-educates, that most of the following advice is given. The rest of the advice is from experts who have written extensively on the subject on Catholic parenting.

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Young people are threatened... by the evil use of advertising techniques that stimulate the natural inclination to avoid hard work by promising the immediate satisfaction of every desire...Pope John Paul II

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What exactly does Catholic parenting entail? We make sure our family attends Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. We make sure our children memorize and say their daily prayers. But Catholic parenting means more than just teaching our children prayers and making them attend mass as a family.

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Among our responsibilities as Catholic parents are to provide our children with a religious education. That is, to teach our children adequately about God, the saints, angels, traditions, scripture, as well as all aspects of spiritual life; to respect the dignity of our children; to give good religious example to our children. We also have a responsibility to discipline our children. Here is where parenting gets complicated.

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The root of this trouble (deliquent children) is in the home; and those who talk about more nurseries, better playgrounds, curfews, better milk, and more dance halls, are perhaps diminishing the effect but not removing the cause...Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

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We are striving for a balance in discipline. We do not want to be too lax with the boundaries or discipline. We also do not want to be too strict. Children do need structure and rules. A parent who is afraid of disciplining or punishing his or her child for fear that the child wil not like them, is only looking for trouble. That child will not respect the parent and will most likely sense the parent's sense of unsurety. On the other hand, a parent who is too strict with discipline and punishment will probably find him or herself with a rebellious child. That parent will be feared, but not respected.

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We as parents, especially as Catholic parents, need to balance discipline and we may have to overlook some minor infractions committed by our children. The goal after all, is to raise children to become good Catholic adults who will ultimately get to heaven.

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Children mostly learn by example, whether it be a good example or a bad one. We as parents need to keep this in mind at all times. If the parent is a good Catholic who loves God above all and loves his neighbor as himself, and the child see the parent feeding the hungry, helping out the less fortunate, visiting the Blessed Sacrament, praying, etc., that child will more than likely imitate the parent's love of neighbor and God. This is especially true if the parent does these things with a cheerful attitude and also involves the child in these activities at the earliest age possible.

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By the same token, if the child sees and hears the parent making excuses when he is in the wrong, arguing with others, calling people names, etc., the child will learn these bad habits and will most likely imitate the parent. This is true because the child's number one teacher is the parent.

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To the bad conscience God appears always the God of wrath. The boy who broke the vase by throwing a ball at it, says to his mother: 'Now Mummy, don't get mad.' Anger is not in the mother, anger is in the boy's projection to his mother of his own sense of justice. Anger is not in God; anger is in our disordered selves."...Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

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It is good for the parent to sincerely apologize to the child when necessary. The child needs to learn how to be forgiven and also how to forgive. Children need to see humility in action in order to learn how to become humble.

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Catholic parenting during our times is very difficult because our families are assaulted everyday from the outside influences. However, it can be done properly and successfully with the help of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Family, prayer and of course the support of our own family.

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"Why is it that children, when they have a grief, will run to the mother rather than to the father? It is because the mother knows trouble better than the father; she has companioned more with pain, has more often passed through its cycles, and in giving birth has gone down to the very edge of death..."Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

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"Not only a woman's days, but her nights--not only her mind, but her body must share in the Calvary of motherhood. That is why women have a surer understanding of the doctrine of redumption than men have; they have come to associate the risk of death with life in childbirth, and to understand the sacrifice of self to another through the many months preceding it...Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

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Guardian Angel

Parent's Prayer

O Heavenly Father, make me a better parent.
Teach me to understand my children, to listen patiently to what they have to say,
and answer all their questions kindly.
Keep me from interrupting them or contradicting them.
Make me as courteous to them as I would have them be to me.
Forbid that I should ever laugh at their mistakes, or resort to shame
or ridicule when they displease me.
May I never punish them for my own selfish satisfaction or to show my power.
Let me not tempt my child to lie or steal.
And guide me hour by hour that I may demonstrate
by all I say and do that honesty produces happiness.
Reduce, I pray, the meanness in me.
And when I am out of sorts, help me, O Lord, to hold my tongue.
May I ever be mindful that my children are children
and I should not expect of them the judgment of adults.
Let me not rob them of the opportunity to wait on themselves and to make decisions.
Bless me with the bigness to grant them all their reasonable requests
and the courage to deny them privileges I know will do them harm.
Make me fair and just and kind.
And fit me, O Lord, to be loved and respected and imitated by my children.
Amen

CATHOLIC PARENTING LINKS

  1. Beginning at Home: The Challege of Christian Parenthood*
  2. The Catholic Family Handbook*
  3. Catholic Mom.Com
  4. Catholic Parents
  5. Catholic Parenting
  6. Challenging Children to Chastity*
  7. Childhood Chores and Adult Success*
  8. Family Life Center International
  9. The Christian Home: A Guide to Happiness in the Home*
  10. From Crib to Stroller: Parents, Educators, Teach Children at Home*
  11. How to Make your House a Home: Family Liturgy and Religious Practices*
  12. LISTEN, SON: A Father's Talks on the Facts of Life*
  13. MOTHER'S LITTLE HELPER: Twelve Heart-to-Heart Talks of a Mother to her Daughter*
  14. Kepha
  15. Mind the Baby*
  16. Morality in Media
  17. National Association of Catholic Families
  18. Out of the Mouths of Babes*
  19. Pope John Paul II's Letter to Families
  20. Principles for Christian Dating*
  21. St. Joseph's Covenant Keepers
  22. The Family for Families: Reflections on the Life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
  23. Teaching Catholic Morality to Children
  24. Women for Faith and Family

*We are grateful to EWTN.com for these documents.

This page was last updated on June 10, 2006.

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