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This room is dedicated to those who are facing the challenge of raising children without the support of a spouse. This is a place to share ideas and lend mutual support.

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scratchchin Here's one for the group - all input is VERY welcome!
Here's the story: My ex-husband "came out" as atheist last year. I have been attending a Catholic church and recently converted (April 7 of this year). My daughter was 7 when I started taking her with me to the Catholic church. Now that her father is VER VERY vocal about not believing anything "supernatural" and quite insulting to all religions, she has begin refusing to go to any church, nor will she talk about atheism.
Our Parenting Plan actually specifies that she is to be raised Catholic. But, at the age of 9, now, she is so belligerent about going to church that I almost feel like it would do more harm than good to force it. She is only with her father 2-3 days every 2 weeks, but he consistently listens to atheist rap songs, and has things reflecting his views everywhere. Also, his new found friends are of like mind. I can't figure out for the life of me how to get my daughter back to the Cathoic church. She used to be so excited about the idea of being able to take communion. Now, just the mere mention of it sends her into a fit of anger. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can curtail the damage that has been done and persuade her to go back to church?

10/04/2012 new

(Quote) Celia-821539 said: Here's one for the group - all input is VERY welcome!Here's the story: My ex-husband ...
(Quote) Celia-821539 said:

Here's one for the group - all input is VERY welcome!
Here's the story: My ex-husband "came out" as atheist last year. I have been attending a Catholic church and recently converted (April 7 of this year). My daughter was 7 when I started taking her with me to the Catholic church. Now that her father is VER VERY vocal about not believing anything "supernatural" and quite insulting to all religions, she has begin refusing to go to any church, nor will she talk about atheism.
Our Parenting Plan actually specifies that she is to be raised Catholic. But, at the age of 9, now, she is so belligerent about going to church that I almost feel like it would do more harm than good to force it. She is only with her father 2-3 days every 2 weeks, but he consistently listens to atheist rap songs, and has things reflecting his views everywhere. Also, his new found friends are of like mind. I can't figure out for the life of me how to get my daughter back to the Cathoic church. She used to be so excited about the idea of being able to take communion. Now, just the mere mention of it sends her into a fit of anger. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can curtail the damage that has been done and persuade her to go back to church?

--hide--


Welcome to CM and the forums Celia. More importantly, welcome to the Catholic Church!!!

Be consistent and firm. Never try to force the faith on her, but bring her to Mass every week. When mine were that age and fussing about not wanting to go to church, I'd make sure we went to coffee and donuts afterwards and/or took them out for lunch. I tried not to lose my temper when they resisted or said they hated church. That can drive them away. They know that when they're at my house they will go to Mass on Sunday. Their mother always goes too, but will concede if they fight hard enough. Kids look for reasons to discredit the faith because life seems easier without the moral stirctures. So be a good and loving example. Be flexible. Don't punish her for saying things she's heard or thought of. Counter gently and with assurance. Kids tend to respond well to this. Force it on her, punish her, or tell her that God is going to punish her, and you will sour her on the faith forever.


As for your ex, I've found that athiests are the most strident and worst religious fanatics in our society. You can always take him to court for violating the order. If it costs hoim enough money, he may ease up on the onslaught.



10/04/2012 new

(Quote) Celia-821539 said: Here's one for the group - all input is VERY welcome!Here's the story: My ex-husband ...
(Quote) Celia-821539 said:

Here's one for the group - all input is VERY welcome!
Here's the story: My ex-husband "came out" as atheist last year. I have been attending a Catholic church and recently converted (April 7 of this year). My daughter was 7 when I started taking her with me to the Catholic church. Now that her father is VER VERY vocal about not believing anything "supernatural" and quite insulting to all religions, she has begin refusing to go to any church, nor will she talk about atheism.
Our Parenting Plan actually specifies that she is to be raised Catholic. But, at the age of 9, now, she is so belligerent about going to church that I almost feel like it would do more harm than good to force it. She is only with her father 2-3 days every 2 weeks, but he consistently listens to atheist rap songs, and has things reflecting his views everywhere. Also, his new found friends are of like mind. I can't figure out for the life of me how to get my daughter back to the Cathoic church. She used to be so excited about the idea of being able to take communion. Now, just the mere mention of it sends her into a fit of anger. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can curtail the damage that has been done and persuade her to go back to church?

--hide--


Celia,

If I were you the first thing I would do is pray for your daughter, and turn her over to Christ to take care of her and her needs and also ask St. Monica for her intercession as well. I would also pray that your ex has a softening of his heart. It may take daily, if not hourly prayer, but it will succeed where all your efforts may not.


Next thing I would do, is tell your daughter that although you understand her feelings, she is still going to mass with you on Sunday, but that she does not have to take communion, and really with the things she is saying I would almost forbid her to take the body and blood of Christ because I would be afraid for her soul. Now granted she is only 9 so she clearly doesn't know what she is saying. But you never know, and since our job as parents is to ensure our kids get to heaven it would just be better to say no she can't get communion and that is it. One reason I say this is normally (at least with my 9 year old) if you tell a child they can't do something, well then they will want to do it. If she says why can't she have communion then tell her why, but keep your answer short and to the point. If she wants more information just tell her you are willing to do more talking, but keeping answers short and simple are the key.


Next thing I would do is the same thing as your ex but in reverse. Immerse yourself in the Catholic faith, only watch EWTN, only listen to Christian music or Catholic Radio if you have it in your area. Only buy DVD's that are faith based, or have good morals. Make lots of friends at church and practically live there as opposed to your own home. Have pictures up of the Blessed Mother and the Holy Family. Pray as a family even if all she does is sit there and stare into nothingness. Basically you make your life a living example of what you want your daughter to be like. It isn't easy, but it may be the best thing you can do to get your daughter to be more open to the church again.


Last thing, I wouldn't punish your daughter for not wanting to go to church, however, I would punish her for disobediance or not listening. An example she is allowed to say she doesn't want to go to church, but you can say, "I know you don't want to go, but you will be going and you will be quiet and respectful the way I taught you, not there will be consequences." Now if she is basically a good kid, she will respect your authority and be quiet but she may also sulk the whole time. I would say as long as she is standing when she is supposed to and kneeling when she is supposed to, ignore the fact that she isn't saying the prayers or looking around at everything and person but not at the alter. I know some may disagree with this, but my view is, if she suddenly said to you she wasn't going to school, you would make her anyway, and you would make her be quiet and respectful to the teacher as well. The same holds true for church. Even though she may seem like she isn't paying attention, if she is standing when she is supposed to and all the other actions, then she is paying attention a little.


I would also sit closer to the front of the church, my daughter didn't like going to mass but that was because she couldn't see anything, now that we sit closer she can see everything and enjoys it much more. I realize this could be scary if your child could have a break down, so only you will know if that is a good move or not.


I will keep you both in my prayers!


Peace and Joy!

Amanda

10/04/2012 new

(Quote) Celia-821539 said: Here's one for the group - all input is VERY welcome!Here's the story: My ex-husband ...
(Quote) Celia-821539 said:

Here's one for the group - all input is VERY welcome!
Here's the story: My ex-husband "came out" as atheist last year. I have been attending a Catholic church and recently converted (April 7 of this year). My daughter was 7 when I started taking her with me to the Catholic church. Now that her father is VER VERY vocal about not believing anything "supernatural" and quite insulting to all religions, she has begin refusing to go to any church, nor will she talk about atheism.
Our Parenting Plan actually specifies that she is to be raised Catholic. But, at the age of 9, now, she is so belligerent about going to church that I almost feel like it would do more harm than good to force it. She is only with her father 2-3 days every 2 weeks, but he consistently listens to atheist rap songs, and has things reflecting his views everywhere. Also, his new found friends are of like mind. I can't figure out for the life of me how to get my daughter back to the Cathoic church. She used to be so excited about the idea of being able to take communion. Now, just the mere mention of it sends her into a fit of anger. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can curtail the damage that has been done and persuade her to go back to church?

--hide--


Both of the above have wonderful advise. I am the oldest of 5 kids. My parents ALWAYS took us out for donuts after Mass growing up. It was something we did only on Sunday. We also ALWAYS sat in the front row so we could see. I continue both of these traditions with my own children. Sometimes we go to McDonald's or out for brunch.

I have also taken to immersion of the faith in our home and car. I am fighting the same evil as you. At first the kids "hated" the Christian music. Now, I hear them singing the songs when they are not listening to the radio. Music is very powerful. The books and videos are important too, keep them Christ centered. We love and own the video Soul Surfer. We have icons, crosses and devotionals through out the home. The more they see and are around, the more Christ is able to work in their life. When an ambulance goes by we pray for the person they are helping, we pray before every meal. We pray at bed time. And they see me praying and reading the bible with out them.

My 13 year old daughter loves Toby Mac. He is a Christian Rap artist. We know the words to most of his songs and have been known to sing and dance with the volume turned WAY up.God loves it when we sing and dance for His Glory! Involve ALL of her senses.

Stay strong for your daughter. She needs a rock in this storm. The storm will pass! God Bless you.

10/05/2012 new

(Quote) Celia-821539 said: Here's one for the group - all input is VERY welcome!Here's the story: My ex-husband ...
(Quote) Celia-821539 said:

Here's one for the group - all input is VERY welcome!
Here's the story: My ex-husband "came out" as atheist last year. I have been attending a Catholic church and recently converted (April 7 of this year). My daughter was 7 when I started taking her with me to the Catholic church. Now that her father is VER VERY vocal about not believing anything "supernatural" and quite insulting to all religions, she has begin refusing to go to any church, nor will she talk about atheism.
Our Parenting Plan actually specifies that she is to be raised Catholic. But, at the age of 9, now, she is so belligerent about going to church that I almost feel like it would do more harm than good to force it. She is only with her father 2-3 days every 2 weeks, but he consistently listens to atheist rap songs, and has things reflecting his views everywhere. Also, his new found friends are of like mind. I can't figure out for the life of me how to get my daughter back to the Cathoic church. She used to be so excited about the idea of being able to take communion. Now, just the mere mention of it sends her into a fit of anger. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can curtail the damage that has been done and persuade her to go back to church?

--hide--


David gave you good advice. Does she have any Catholic friends? Is there anyone she looks up to or would look up to as a mentor? Maybe a Catholic teen who is learned in her faith can take an interest. If there are Life Teen Mass's in your area, go! You know how girls her age want to be around "older/cooler" kids. Ultimately and consistently pray. As her mother you carry a LOT of spiritual authority (as does her father), do not be afraid to use it to break the unholy bonds that are occurring. Do your research on Spiritual warfare prayers and use them. Find ways to challenge her father's beliefs without being argumentative. When she tells you that she doesn't believe in God, tell her God believes in her. In her heart she wants to belong and feel accepted, that is in jeapordy with her father's departure which is why she is grabbing onto whatever will bond her to him. The human heart knows and wants to connect to its Maker, those who reject God do so out of a deep hurt, they feel God rejected them so they will reject God.


Many prayers headed your way. Praying Praying Praying

10/05/2012 new

First, thank you guys so much for your thoughtful replies! I appreciate your taking the time and energy to give some really good ideas.

Much of my personal immersion in church is being done while she is in school, so she isn't seeing enough of it. I am there for something or other 5-6 days of the week, but she doesn't see that. So, that is an area I can definitely improve upon.
The other idea about the doughnuts after church, or making that the one day we go to Mc. Donald's is also an excellent idea, which makes a lot of sense. She may start to associate church with something good happening. At this point, if I can get her there without her having an emotional melt down, even if it is only because she knows we are going somewhere she likes afterwards, I will be thrilled!!!!

She used to talk about wanting to take communion, but now that is all a thing of the past - nothing, no interest now. But, I have not tried telling her she can't.

I also think the comment about how she may be trying to somehow hang onto her Dad may have hit the nail on the head....His lifestyle leaves a lot to be desired. It is much like a 40 year old fraternity boy. He used to see have her for visitation every Tuesday, then every other weekend. He has now CUT that in half, and is only seeing her for 48 hours (barely the whole weekend) every two weeks. Ever since he asked/said he had to cut down the time he spent with her, she has done two things: 1. Refused to speak to him and complains about having to visit at all and 2. Gone REALLY anti God and church.
As her Mom, I do find myself worrying....about her soul...but, even more than that, about how empty her life on this earth will be. If she doesn't have the faith guiding her, what sorts of choices will she make in the future for her career, and husband....and, eventually, her own children.
The other idea was of enforcing the agreement through court....That is not a bad idea. I have to keep my attorney on constant retainer for other violations of the agreement, so this really is no different. Playing atheist rap music in the car with her definitely goes against the clause that states "This child with be raised Catholic." And the comment about the atheist "movement", for lack of a better term, being somewhat militant - that is so true. He and his friends just spew hatred of all religion, and the Catholic Church is very much a butt of their jokes.
This Sunday, I will start the "Krispy Kreme" after mass tradition. And maybe I can call some of my friends from church and find some "big girls" she could sit with that she would admire. Then move on up from there in my efforts to pull her back in.
Thank you again for the wonderful suggestions. And, yes, please do pray for her. Her name is Ruth Ann. :)

10/05/2012 new

she's only 9. kids that age try on attitudes and mindsets the way we try on diferent outfits at the store. take it with a grain of salt. i wouldn't prohibit her from taking communions. she's so young she may begin to have unpleasant associations with the eucharist and that's the LAST thing you'd want for her to experience. be gentle yet firm and consistent. the carrot works better than the stick. all kids fuss and resist going to mass. i remember doing it myself.


to counter-balance what her father is telling her, you must live christ in her presence and preach christ only very judiciously. conduct speaks much louder than words. she will see the difference - yours will be the poath of love and acceptance; her fasther's the path of bitterness and resentment.


again, she's only 9. she will go through many different phases and attitudes. love her and be a good example.


find a website with atheist jokes and tell her a few of those. wink

10/05/2012 new

(Quote) Celia-821539 said: First, thank you guys so much for your thoughtful replies! I appreciate your taking the time and ...
(Quote) Celia-821539 said:

First, thank you guys so much for your thoughtful replies! I appreciate your taking the time and energy to give some really good ideas.

Much of my personal immersion in church is being done while she is in school, so she isn't seeing enough of it. I am there for something or other 5-6 days of the week, but she doesn't see that. So, that is an area I can definitely improve upon.
The other idea about the doughnuts after church, or making that the one day we go to Mc. Donald's is also an excellent idea, which makes a lot of sense. She may start to associate church with something good happening. At this point, if I can get her there without her having an emotional melt down, even if it is only because she knows we are going somewhere she likes afterwards, I will be thrilled!!!!

She used to talk about wanting to take communion, but now that is all a thing of the past - nothing, no interest now. But, I have not tried telling her she can't.

I also think the comment about how she may be trying to somehow hang onto her Dad may have hit the nail on the head....His lifestyle leaves a lot to be desired. It is much like a 40 year old fraternity boy. He used to see have her for visitation every Tuesday, then every other weekend. He has now CUT that in half, and is only seeing her for 48 hours (barely the whole weekend) every two weeks. Ever since he asked/said he had to cut down the time he spent with her, she has done two things: 1. Refused to speak to him and complains about having to visit at all and 2. Gone REALLY anti God and church.
As her Mom, I do find myself worrying....about her soul...but, even more than that, about how empty her life on this earth will be. If she doesn't have the faith guiding her, what sorts of choices will she make in the future for her career, and husband....and, eventually, her own children.
The other idea was of enforcing the agreement through court....That is not a bad idea. I have to keep my attorney on constant retainer for other violations of the agreement, so this really is no different. Playing atheist rap music in the car with her definitely goes against the clause that states "This child with be raised Catholic." And the comment about the atheist "movement", for lack of a better term, being somewhat militant - that is so true. He and his friends just spew hatred of all religion, and the Catholic Church is very much a butt of their jokes.
This Sunday, I will start the "Krispy Kreme" after mass tradition. And maybe I can call some of my friends from church and find some "big girls" she could sit with that she would admire. Then move on up from there in my efforts to pull her back in.
Thank you again for the wonderful suggestions. And, yes, please do pray for her. Her name is Ruth Ann. :)

--hide--



Something else to think about is having her see a counselor. It sounds like she has a ton of anger- towards the divorce, towards dad for cutting time, towards God, and even towards you. Some of her acting out may not have any thing to do with not believing in God but striking out at you for what she sees as a situation thats your fault.

My daughter has been in counseling on and off for 3 yrs. Her dad did something that caused him to now have supervised visits only. She blamed herself and felt that no one including God would love her any more. She hasn't seen her dad in 3yrs because he refuses and hasn't talked to him in over nine months. Their last conversation caused her to have severe anxiety. We would have been lost with out the church and her counselor.

I hope my story helped. I will pray for you and her. Good luck and God bless. If you need someone to listen we are here for you.

10/05/2012 new

(Quote) David-364112 said: she's only 9. kids that age try on attitudes and mindsets the way we try on diferent outfits ...
(Quote) David-364112 said:

she's only 9. kids that age try on attitudes and mindsets the way we try on diferent outfits at the store. take it with a grain of salt. i wouldn't prohibit her from taking communions. she's so young she may begin to have unpleasant associations with the eucharist and that's the LAST thing you'd want for her to experience. be gentle yet firm and consistent. the carrot works better than the stick. all kids fuss and resist going to mass. i remember doing it myself.


to counter-balance what her father is telling her, you must live christ in her presence and preach christ only very judiciously. conduct speaks much louder than words. she will see the difference - yours will be the poath of love and acceptance; her fasther's the path of bitterness and resentment.


again, she's only 9. she will go through many different phases and attitudes. love her and be a good example.


find a website with atheist jokes and tell her a few of those.

--hide--


OK...so here is the "joke" about Atheism my 13 year old found:

ATHEISM

The belief that there was nothing
and nothing happened to nothing
and then nothing magically
exploded for no reason creating
everything and then a bunch of
everything magically rearranged
itself for no reason what so ever
into self-replicating bits which
then turned into dinosaurs
Makes perfect sense!


And what David said about your path being one of love and acceptance and her father's a path of bitterness is absolutely correct. Be the rock, be the shelter from the storm, be loving and kind and she WILL remember when she is older.

10/06/2012 new
(Quote) David-364112 said: Welcome to CM and the forums Celia. More importantly, welcome to the Catholic Church!!!
(Quote) David-364112 said:




Welcome to CM and the forums Celia. More importantly, welcome to the Catholic Church!!!





Be consistent and firm. Never try to force the faith on her, but bring her to Mass every week. When mine were that age and fussing about not wanting to go to church, I'd make sure we went to coffee and donuts afterwards and/or took them out for lunch. I tried not to lose my temper when they resisted or said they hated church. That can drive them away. They know that when they're at my house they will go to Mass on Sunday. Their mother always goes too, but will concede if they fight hard enough. Kids look for reasons to discredit the faith because life seems easier without the moral stirctures. So be a good and loving example. Be flexible. Don't punish her for saying things she's heard or thought of. Counter gently and with assurance. Kids tend to respond well to this. Force it on her, punish her, or tell her that God is going to punish her, and you will sour her on the faith forever.




As for your ex, I've found that athiests are the most strident and worst religious fanatics in our society. You can always take him to court for violating the order. If it costs hoim enough money, he may ease up on the onslaught.





--hide--
Celia - I think David has a few very good ideas here.

You are the parent and in charge. She WILL go to Sunday Mass. However, the treat after Mass (reinforcement/reward - attaching Mass with something to look forward to) is an excellent idea!

Also, if the Court Order states that your child be raised Catholic and he is poisoning her mind against it by diametrically opposing views, he is disobeying the Order. Take him to Court after you have collected enough solid documentation. Unsure that you would be able to stop him from playing atheist rap music, but document the lyrics if you can. Perhaps it will have some subjective affect on the bigger picture to the Court. Document everything. Hopefully, you will get a Christian judge. Make sure your attorney does what he can to switch judges should you get assigned to an atheist judge.

Place her in Catholic School with religious environmental influences and other "like-minded" children. Making Catholic friends, having other supportive Catholic adults (teachers/principle/priests) in her daily life should offset damage.

Her anti-God thing may just be more psychological in that she is imitating his behavior as a means to rebel against what you stand for...because she is upset about the divorce. Since he is cutting his visitation time, he will have less effect. Maybe he is trying to upset you via the child, too. If that is the case, that game might get old for him, too.

So many spiritual battles out there. So many!

Holy Mother of God, pray for us...poor sinners. theheart
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