A Catholic Perspective
Living in 2022 and raising a family is a challenge in just about every way but especially for those striving to teach kids the value of practicing the faith and in living a good virtuous life. The digital world can be both positive and negative in terms of what is available for both learning and for down time. Our Catholic faith teaches us to keep the focus on our Lord, which is a call for people of every age, but particularly hard for younger people as there are many distractions and avenues of sin to be tempted by especially in the areas of chastity.
The Catholic perspective is that of staying on the right path throughout life with the help of God, prayer, and the sacraments of the Church. Teaching teens virtue is of great worth now more than ever as there are obstacles placed in their way in our society. Here are some tips on how to teach teens to live virtuously for parents.
Prayer is primarily the first step to begin the path, as without prayer nothing can happen of value. Prayer is our guide, and teens must be taught the treasure of a relationship with God. Without this we cannot move forward in faith. Set aside nightly times to pray as a family. Offer prayer for your teen when things are rough. You will soon find that those moments will increase since at the heart of prayer is love. Your teen will recognize your care and concern.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
As a parent the response “no” is a good one in terms of helping kids to get on the best path of life and to avoid sin. Too many parents give in to allowing vice to sneak into the lives of their teens by being too permissive, wanting to please and not to protect, and in not teaching children the value of exercising their faith throughout life. When other parents are allowing their kids to do things you may never allow, don’t be afraid to stick to what you know is best for your child. Safety and care come first, and some parents are afraid to upset their kids by being afraid to say “no” which could actually in the end save a life. In prayer, ask God to help you to be able to do the right thing in this regard even if it causes a little friction. Most adults who have experienced the “no’s” of their younger life are thankful that their parents were not afraid to set clear boundaries. However, being permissive in teen years as a parent could very well be a regret later in life for both you and your child. There will be times when "yes" the the proper response, and God will guide you on the right path.
Teach the Faith
Parents are the primary teachers of their families as our Catholic faith teaches this as part of the mission of the domestic church. Make sure your children are catechized, know and care about their faith, but most importantly be able to see the importance in why being Catholic and practicing is valuable not just for older adults but for every age.
Be sure to check out a new book called Heart Burning Within Us through Patchwork Heart Ministry a book which answers the questions of faith of teens and young adults. The book is available at PatchworkHeart.org. The book is a wonderful resource and a great gift for recent high school graduates.
Don’t Give Up
Most of all don’t give up on praying and on loving your teen through the challenges. Parents are not meant to be buddies with their kids; they are meant to love, to care, to teach, and to guide. Don’t be afraid to teach virtue to your children and teens. They may not thank you now, but they will surely understand more fully later on. May God bless you and your family!