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Teen daughter

too much influence of tv, music, friends, imodest clothing

Not enough influence from God, church ,family

Obviously we have made mistakes as parents…any advice on fixing it? Is it possible to turn your teen around after she has been immersed in too much of the wrong thing?
Certainly, Ladybug. A Christian should never despair, that is, give up hope. With God, all things are posssible, right?

How old exactly? If she is near 18 and about to leave the nest, you can expect to have minimal influence. If she is nearer 13, then you can hope for more lasting results. Now, I am not a mom of teens. I have three daughters 6, 4 and 1, but I can at least suggest what I do to bring my children closer to God and the Faith and maybe you can modify that for a child 10 years older.
  1. We limit TV severely. If it were up to me, we would totally eliminate the TV, but my husband is a born-and-bred channel surfer on his days off. However, in the name of frugality, I did manage to limit our channels to something called “Limited Basic” which means we only get the local news and PBS. Not very exciting to most teens and fortunately little children’s programming outside of PBS. We limit total media (TV and computer) use to 1 hour per day for the 6-year-old. Our 4-year-old rarely asks to watch TV or play a computer game.
If your teen is used to having free access to TV you might disconnect the cable service to “save money.” Better for you and her. You might set limits on which channels and how much time she can watch. Ask her to pick a specific show in advance (that you approve of) to watch rather than just randomly flipping on the TV. Get rid of Mtv and the E! network at all costs. There is just blatant pornography and blasphemy on these networks.
  1. We homeschool. True, this might be a difficult change if your teen is used to years of public or even parochial school, but well worth it for just the time spent alone with your child. If you choose this option, there are many, many support groups specifically for Catholic homeschoolers and they are almost all orthodox Catholics. I have never met a Catholic homeschooler that was a “cafeteria” Catholic.
If you can’t homeschool, you can “afterschool.” Is your teen’s religious education lacking? Order catechism materials from Ignatius Press such as Faith & Life or from Catholic Heritage Curricula (www.chcweb.org) for great reading for both of you.
  1. Attend more than just Sunday Mass. Try to attend Mass one more day per week. Have you taught your teen the basic prayers? Have you ever tried a family Rosary after dinner? Build routines that reinforce your faith. As a convert, these were all foreign concepts to me, yet slowly I incorporate them into our family life.
  2. Perhaps this should be first: Pray for your teen! Pray before the Blessed Sacrament. Fast for her conversion of heart. Make a holy hour. Let your teen know you are praying for her to make good choices in her life.
  3. Attend Life Teen with your teen if you think it is a worthwhile program. Many people are mixed about this. Personally, I find the music and pumped-up attitude annoying. Yet my good friend insists that without it many teens would never meet any other Catholic friends their own age. Use your best judgment.
  4. Limit dating if this is already allowed. It is never too late to talk about the importance of purity and chastity. Catholic Answers has some great materials on this. It is not too late to change the norms for dating if your teen is used to more freedom and a late curfew. Research the ideas about courtship vs. dating and see what you think. I’m not talking about arranged marriages here, just parent-approved courting leading to marriage rather than unsupervised and aimless dating.
If your daughter is too young for dating then make sure she is not spending time unsupervised by adults you trust at other homes. The youth culture of today is frightening. There is a New York Times article about the culture of “friends with benefits” that shocked even me and I came from a mostly urban public school background. The link I had came from www.ladiesagainstfeminism.com which is a Protestant outfit, but generally friendly to Catholics and has some other good articles about encouraging femininity, modesty, etc.

Also look at www.domestic-church.com for many, many more ideas on how to encourage your teen to turn away from the culture of death and embrace the culture of life.

The more time you spend with your teen without outside influences such as secular music, TV and school friends, the better chance you have of influencing her. Schedule a long family road trip and “forget” all the batteries to the Walkman to ensure ample time for conversation.

God bless you and don’t give up,
The Hidden Wife
Is it possible? Yes.

Will it be easy? No.

Get her in a youth group. Figure out a way to eat meals together. Get rid of the immodest clothes after talking about it (don’t make her wear a sweater to cover up, she’ll just take that off). Start doing more family things. Figure out who her friends are (a good way is to haver her invite them over, if you get a bad vibe from them, its trouble).
No MTV (slowly ween her off of it).

Do not ground her as punishment, grounding is not punishment with all the things we have in our rooms. Make her do chores or volunteer at local events or Church.

Don’t take any disrespect.

Start going to Church.

Most importantly, pray.

I am a teenagar of the other half. Hope this helps.
As a High School Youth Minister I can offer this:
*Pray, pray alone & pray together start slowly-be honest explain your fear of the trouble she may be heading for, admit that you may have been a little lax, apologize
*Time, spend time with your child(ren) not in front of TV
*Set limits, time, clothing, tv, phone -stick to them (expect grumbling)
*Know what your child listens to -get rid of the garbage of sex, violence & drugs you are going to have to spend the time to listen to the words or look them up…offer alternatives- go with her to any Catholic or Christain bookstore for alternatives -rock, pop,rap
*Know her friends, their backgrounds etc.-talk to teachers about them make sure they are not the ones headed for trouble -if they are invite them to your house, and restrict where else they meet
*Know where she is , check it out, if she has a cell phone don’t let her call you to check in you do not know where she really is and it’s too easy to bend the truth
*Be charitable, be a good listener, be patient
My 16-year old daughter was very disrespectful and told me she was moving out this Tuesday and going to live with a friend. When I told her she would have to pay her own bills and hand over the car keys, she decided not to. I got suspicious why she had over-reacted like that, so I put keylogger software on the computer she uses to do instant messaging. It records all her keystrokes and creates a log that I can view later. (HomeKeylogger is free and available from downloads.com, though better versions are for sale on the 'net).
This log told me she had been sneaking out with her friend after we went to bed and both had gotten drunk. We confronted her last night about who the guys were on her Buddy List. She told me, but the keylogger told me she was lying because she IM’d her friend about it. We lovingly confronted her and told her we knew everything but did not tell her how we knew. I disconnected the modem (though disconnecting the detachable computer cord would do the same thing) to keep her from using the chat software, so she got on the phone to her friend, exactly as I thought she would. We listened on the extension and found out a guy was coming over to pick her up at 1:30 am. My hubby sat in the truck in our driveway. He caught her after she sneaked out and shined the flashlight on the guy’s car, so they fled.

We are going to be doing bed checks randomly every night. We are locking up the modem and all the phones at night. We put alarms on our windows and doors. (available from Radio Shack.) She is grounded big-time. No more spending the night at friend’s houses. No cell phone, because it doesn’t have an extension we can listen in on. We are stategizing with the other parents.

I put the modem back this morning so I can gather more keylog data. What scares me is we do not know how long she has been doing this.

Warning: You can’t be too careful these days! Know what your kids are up to. They do not deserve privacy if they are doing such dangerous things. A good parent keeps their kids safe. Don’t assume because they are going to Catholic schools and are in a strong Catholic family with parents that set a good example, that they won’t try to sneak around. I am grieving the loss of the trust I had in my perfect straight “A” Catholic high school daughter. Please pray for her and that we will be guided by the Holy Spirit.
Ladybug Don’t forget offering up sacrifices, fasting and holy hours for your daughter. I would second the homeschool suggestion and joining a catholic homeschool group, where the teens will be a positive influence on her.
You will be in my prayers. God bless.
She is a Senior in Highschool next year and I don’t think homeschool is a good choice in her situation…it would have been a few years ago. We do homeschool our other children. But she was in 8th grade when we started…thought she would do fine in school because she has always been a good kid, she makes good grades, and doesn’t get into trouble elsewhere.
Thanks for the encouragement from all who have .

We all went to confession today and Mass. I’m going to try to do that atleast monthly with all the kids. My husband and I want to enthrone our home to the Sacred Heart of Jesus very soon. We are hoping it will be a visible reminder and reality to our kids - of what we hope for and try to live by.

I just keep hoping if we pray and use the sacraments that she will become more interested in what our church has to offer a teen like herself. And then there is the whole issue of her not knowing anyone at church functions - which is very much likely to keep her from attending. She doesn’t attend CCD , we have had many many bad bad experiences in several churches we have tried to become involved in. She has been hurt by people’s lack of welcoming a new person and then some parishes CCD program is quite scary, not only the doctrine but the kids do not want to be there it is just like highschool to them. We all go to Mass on Sunday , but our involvement is very little other than that. At any rate she does not want to get involved and I’m afraid if I force her to she will have an attitude . Maybe I need to just suffer through the bad attitude - make her attend - and hope she will find a niche somewhere in church??
I’m not a parent (but I play one on TV - just kidding) but I work with the youth in my parish …

I would first and foremost pray, which I’m sure your doing.

Next, I would recommend that you **look at your own life ** from a good healthy perspective. Growing up I had a hard time with parents who, as I perceived it, did not practice what they preached. This was mostly in how they interacted with me. I know the teens I work with can have similar thoughts. Look at how you may react to words/actions. Is it “reactive” or done with more thought? I’m not saying you are doing anything wrong, because I do not know, just suggesting one step of action. Your teen will notice your behavior changes here, then wonder if they will last, or if it is just a phase. Changing ourselves where we need to goes a long way. And when you make a mistake, are wrong, or don’t handle a situation well, tell them, let them know, and reconcile with them.

I would also recommend that you find a **good teen retreat ** to send your teen on, preferrably an overnight or weekend retreat. If your teen is highly against it, possibly make it worth their while, maybe skipping some chores or something. I have talked to too many teens whose whole image of God has change because of being on a retreat. And the retreat doesn’t even have to be overly-religious. What I mean by that, it that teens need a positive experience of church, where they can feel loved and accepted for who they are. Look at your parish, or surrounding parishes if your parish does not offer any. Its probably best to do a retreat with the group that you want your teen to connect with, as teens form friendships during these experiences. If your teen is really shy, ask the youth minister/retreat leader to keep an eye out, to take them under their wing, so to speak.
Teen daughter

too much influence of tv, music, friends, imodest clothing

Not enough influence from God, church ,family

Obviously we have made mistakes as parents…any advice on fixing it? Is it possible to turn your teen around after she has been immersed in too much of the wrong thing?
My advice is to get you and your teen deeply active in pro-life activities. I have never met any teen involved deeply in the pro-life movement who is not also deeply committed to God and rejects the secular world and its lies. The pro-life movement does more to show teens the real face of “choice” than anything else-- and they start to put together all the pieces, how contraception is wrong, sex outside marriage is wrong, immodest dress, etc.
Bettyg, I was a little disturbed that you have this device on your daughter’s computer. I know that you are only looking out for your daughter’s best interests but, do you eavedrop on her conversations on the phone and follow her where ever she goes? Do you read her diary too? How is your daughter going to listen to you and be respectful towards you when you are invading her privacy? Privacy is very important to a 16 year old girl. At this point in their life, privacy is all they have. Personally, though i am not a parent, i’m 20, i think you should stop doing that. My mother did that to me all the time, among other thigns and i don’t talk to her anymore, she doesn’t tlak to me. It put such strain on our relationship. I doubt that is what you want, but that might be what you get. What your daughter is going through is merely a phase. You shouldn’t condone it, but realize that this is what her friends do, she just doesn’t want to be left out or left behind. I know you will probably freak at me for this but that is my opinion.
Trust is two way however, and obviously she can’t trust her daughter to lead a good Catholic life. Since it is her duty as her mother to try and make her live a holy life, she’s more than justified in not allowing her any privacy.
Just a couple tips I have used with my teenagers with great results:
  1. I talk about my faith to them. Many times I thought they weren’t listening. Example: I had read an article about the benefits of faith and talked about it while I was making dinner. My teenager was barely listening - or so I thought. I later find out that he used my information in an arguement on faith on a school bus trip to defend belief in God to his peers.
  2. The kids go to public school because it is our only choice here. For the past 6 years we have done home CCD with another family - we meet every Monday all year round. The kids range in age 2 to 16 right now. We study our religion, have fun, great discussions, and of course always follow it with snacks. I have heard the kids turn down other activities in order not to miss this night.
  3. I have fun with my kids. We do things together and I let them know how great they are. When my first son was two years old my doctor told me to enforce good behavior I should “catch him being good” I found that works not only on two year olds but also teenagers, spouses, employees, etc. Catch someone doing something good, let them know you think they are great and they strive to be better.
i think that you are insane and going overboard did you ever think that the reason your daughter is doing these things is because you are acting like this i can understand the concern but you have to let children make their own mistakes or they will just make them later in their life and blame you for them… eventually your daughter will leave you and not speak to you. and you will know it was because you were trying to “protect her” children rebel ground them but dont put them under house arrest and go crazy on them you need to see a therapist seriously…
I don’t know if she needs a therapist but I agree with most. Children need to make mistakes and learn rather then rebel and not learn. If getting drunk is her things and sneaking out she’ll drink too much one night make herself sick and won’t do it anymore, that’s what happened to me.
Pray pray pray. Make many sacrifices. Go to daily Mass. I will also pray for you.

I do like the suggestion another poster had of sitting her down and talking openly and without accusation, tell her your concerns and admit that you have been too lax. Discuss with her the changes you feel are reasonable. Get her (name removed by moderator)ut, but remember you are still the parent. I too am the parent of teens.

Also, getting her hooked up with some Catholic friends in a youth group of volunteer movement is another excellent suggesiton already made by several posters. A teen desperately needs to feel they belong somewhere, and so you want to provide for them a group they can belong to that will give them positive and not negative peer pressures.

One thing my parents did for me as a teen when I had gotten into some “bad” music, was come into my room as ask me to read aloud to them the words of the songs from the album jacket. I was mortified. They did not preach about it to me, just asked the simple question of why I would be listening to something that embarrassed me when spoken out loud. Then they left my room. It made me begin to think.

Removing her computer priveleges is probably a wise move. One thing that disturbs me about the constant use of IMs by teens is that I as a parent cannot possibly overhear them, as I might be able to do if they were on the phone. It removes a hedge, if you will, a boundary that might keep them from going to far verbally. As a result, I insist that our computer is in the family room and that the monitor screen faces out into the room. They are forbidden from shutting down or covering up any windows if I walk by and will lose the use of the machine if they do so.

Parenting is tough work. I cannot emphasize enough for you to pray!!!
Is it possible? Yes.

Do not ground her as punishment, grounding is not punishment with all the things we have in our rooms. Make her do chores or volunteer at local events or Church.


I disagree with this part of your advice. DON’T MAKE VOLUNTEER AT THE CHURCH. She will grow to hate the church then. I mean I am only a teen, but think about it. People hate punishment so if you make her do somthing with the church then she might grow to hate it. Now, I do suggest a youth group.
Wow, I’ll have to agree with Raphaela. All of the methods used to spy on your daughters conversations sounded very disturbing to me…and, as a teen, I would say that if my parents ever did anything like that to me, my social life would go down the drain because most of my contact with my friends is online. A paranoia may develop, especially if the child doesn’t know HOW you’re spying. To me, there is no scarier thought than a reality of being watched and “supervised” all the time. The invasion of privacy would just absolutely devastate me psychologically, and if my parents did that I would probably never speak to them because I wouldn’t trust them. So, as Raphaela said…stop using that technology on her, at least now that you’ve found out what you needed to know.
if you want her to change, you must be the change that you want her to be. So totally reform your life. Be the best example you can. Say the family rosary, go to mass multiple times a week. Go to confession at least once a month. Go to adoration. have talks with her. It would be a bad idea to take everything away from her at once, like tv, and friends. but if there is a main problem, deal with that first. You don’t want her to hate religion and pull away. you just have to show her with love. It may take years, but God will work through you.

Oh and tell her to listen to my band…heheheh
Seven Sorrows,

I could not agree with you more on the advice you gave. It was very encouraging !!!
I tried to listen to the music you recommended. My computer
]would not play it very well. Is there any other way to get the music?
Ladybug–pray to Saint Monica and pray and fast as she did for her wayward son–Saint Augustine.

Betty–I think the situation you describe merits the devices you are using to monitor your daughter’s actvities.

I think all parents should evaluate the extent to which they really need computers. I grew up without one. Many of you did. There is an excellent piece on computers in the book THE WELL TRAINED MIND, popular with homeschoolers.

Chris C.
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