Rev. Fr. George A. Kelly, The Catholic Family Handbook

Don’t stress sin too much

In giving your child the moral training he needs, avoid the extreme of referring to all of his transgressions in terms of how they will affect his relations with God.

It is true that parents must never encourage children to be lax about moral matters, for a sin is always hateful in the eyes of God.

Nevertheless, some parents–fortunately a very tiny minority–use their child’s religious sense as a weapon to force him to do things which should not normally be expected of him.

A mother discovered that she could get her daughter to comply instantly with her commands if she accused her of “sinful disobedience” for failing to do so. Soon the mother had a means at her disposal to force the child to do excessive amounts of housework. As a result, the girl grew up lacking respect for authority and with a scornful attitude toward all the commandments.

When parents constantly thunder about sin, their children may develop an abnormal fear of God, viewing Him as a judge who will thrash them for the slightest offense. Such children may come to lose their trust in God’s mercy–a trust they will need in later life to meet the crosses which will inevitably be theirs to bear.

In his book “Your Child’s World,” Dr. Odenwald describes a nine-year-old patient who had become so terrified of the dark that he had extreme difficulty in sleeping.

“This boy feared that because of his sins–really not sins at all but rather the normal actions of a boy his age–he would be severely punished by the Almighty,” Dr. Odenwald writes.

“Another boy reached the point where he confessed his sins to the priest on Saturday, but felt unworthy to receive Communion on Sunday because he might have offended God unwittingly by committing some mild offense.

A five-year-old girl, who was attending a Sunday School, was so impressed by a sermon on hell and damnation that she could not get it out of her mind. Because of her one-sided introduction to the idea of punishment for sins, she displayed psychotic tendencies even at this early stage.”

Attitudes on Confession

Most Catholic parents fully respect their child’s right to privacy in regard to confession. Of course, you should not question him about what he told the priest, or what the priest told him. To do so would be depriving him of the right to privacy in confessional matters which is his. His decision to receive or not receive the sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist also must be his to make.

While you must stand guard over your child’s spiritual welfare, never place him in a position where his failure to confess or receive Communion will make him conspicuous.

The reason for this warning is that a child who is unworthy to receive Communion or fears to confess his sins may be tempted to partake of the Holy Eucharist sacrilegiously if his failure to receive will make him stand out in the crowd.

Before the rule for the Eucharistic Fast was relaxed, a person who did not wish to receive Communion might create an excuse by saying that he had inadvertently swallowed water. Since beverages one hour before
Communion are now permitted, and water is permitted at any time, such an excuse is no longer valid.

The person who does not wish to receive may find it more difficult to hide the fact that he may not be in a state of grace. Be doubly cautious, therefore, that you do not use pressure upon your child so that he receives unworthily to hide the existence of another sin.

Parents should be alert for opportunities to suggest the reception of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, however. If a child consistently resists the sacraments, they may fairly assume that he is troubled by some moral problem.

Without mentioning the matter directly, a parent might tell him anew that God will forgive any sin and that any problems brought to the priest in the confessional will receive sympathetic consideration.

Children may need to be reassured that they have nothing to fear in confessing their sins and that their secrets will be kept from all mankind.

If your own attempts to encourage your child to frequent the sacraments prove unsuccessful, you should discuss the subject with your pastor.

“At a certain moment when going to confession to a Capuchin father, St. Therese came to understand that it was just the opposite: her “defects did not displease God” and her littleness attracted God’s love, just as a father is moved by the weakness of his children and loves them still more as soon as he sees their good will and sincere love.” -Fr. Jacques Philippe,The Way of Trust and Love, http://amzn.to/2fpXVzl Painting by Millie Childers

Make a pennant border for your “classroom” by providing a fun project for your children! See this post for instructions and for more pennant pages.

In this sermon I teach the two ways of meditation, Lectio Divina and Mental Prayer, according to St. Bruno and St. Teresa of Avila, respectively.

Catholic Young Lady’s Maglet (Magazine/Booklet)!! Enjoy articles about friendship, courting, purity, confession, the single life, vocations, etc. Solid, Catholic advice…. A truly lovely book for that young and not-so-young single lady in your life! Available here.

This booklet contains practical advice on the subjects of dating and choosing a spouse from the Catholic theological viewpoint. Father Lovasik points out clearly what one’s moral obligations are in this area, providing an invaluable aid to youthful readers. Additionally, he demonstrates that Catholic marriage is different from secular marriage and why it is important to choose a partner who is of the Catholic Faith if one would insure his or her personal happiness in marriage. With the rampant dangers to impurity today, with the lax moral standards of a large segment of our society, with divorce at epidemic levels, Clean Love in Courtship will be a welcome source of light and guidance to Catholics serious about their faith.

A Frank, Yet Reverent Instruction on the Intimate Matters of Personal Life for Young Men. To our dear and noble Catholic youths who have preserved, or want to recover, their purity of heart, and are minded to retain it throughout life. For various reasons many good fathers of themselves are not able to give their sons this enlightenment on the mysteries of life properly and sufficiently. They may find this book helpful in the discharge of their parental responsibilities in so delicate a matter.

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