How Do We Keep Our Kids Catholic?

A great reflection by More2Life Radio contributor, Kim Cameron-Smith of IntentionalCatholicParenting.com

So how do we keep our kids Catholic, then?  We build a strong Catholic home culture and we love our children unconditionally.  We respond to their legitimate needs with respect and tenderness.  We parent with grace and authority, but never strident, rude, controlling coldness.  This is a difference between authoritative parenting (clear expectations guided by warmth and acceptance) and authoritarian parenting (an expectation of blind obedience with threat of severe consequences for disobedience).  The fact is, and this statement is supported in the scientific literature, children who are securely attached to their parents are far more likely to internalize the values and religious faith (or non-faith) of their parents; children who are insecurely attached are far less likely to internalize those values or that faith.  That means we can have all the family Rosaries we want, but if we scare our kids, ignore them, threaten them, make them feel invisible, stupid, or bad, then they will be easy pickins for the goofy stuff they’ll encounter in adulthood that masquerades as deeper meaning.   READ MORE

For more information on raising Catholic kids check out a copy of Parenting with Grace:  The Catholic Parents’ Guide to Raising (almost) Perfect Kids!

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About Dr. Greg

Dr. Gregory Popcak directs the Pastoral Solutions Institute, an organization dedicated to helping Catholics find faith-filled solutions to marriage, family, and personal problems. Together with his wife, Lisa, he hosts More2Life Radio. He is the author of over a dozen books integrating psychological insights with our Catholic faith. For more info about books, tele-counseling and other resources, visit www.CatholicCounselors.com.

  • michicatholic

    1. Have a personal relationship with God inside the Catholic Church. Don’t dismiss this 95% of Catholics don’t have one, and about 50% of them believe you can’t have one!

    2. Read scripture with your kids and teach them to have a personal relationship with God too.

    This is the surest path to keeping your kids Catholic. If you simply teach them to belong to the culture, when they leave the culture, they leave their religion too.

  • Kim Cameron-Smith

    I agree: To become a disciple of Christ, our children need to encounter Christ personally and develop a thriving relationship with him. But values are passed on primarily through culture, for better or ill. We can’t dismiss the power of culture in cultivating in our children a love for the faith. I’m not talking about just going to Mass and doing the minimal necessary to avoid hell; I’m talking about the rich tradition and the many home practices that have been handed on through the generations that create a distinctively Catholic way of living and being, that help identify us as Catholic Christians and aid us in feeling connecting to the past, the present, and the future.


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