Messy Parenting | Catholic conversations on marriage and family
Parenting is not a clean-cut, simple process for those who like to follow the rules. Parenting is messy and unpredictable, but it is the greatest adventure you will ever have. We are Mike and Alicia Hernon, parents of 10 children ranging from 2 to 20 and we would like to invite you into some of the conversations we have had with each other about parenting and Catholic family life.
“Emotions are like children. You shouldn’t lock them in the trunk, but you don’t want them driving the car either”
Have you ever had a child melt down because they didn’t get what they wanted? How do we respond to emotional outbursts in our children? Self control is an under appreciated virtue in our modern culture, but ironically, it is the one skill we can teach our children that can help them achieve great success. Instead of embracing the maxim of today, “Just do it!” we should be echoing the slogan of the 80’s anti-drug campaign which was “Just say no!”. Our children need to learn from a young age that they CAN be in charge of how they react to their emotions, but they need your guidance and help to do this. In this podcast we give some tips and tricks on how to speak to your child and put them in the driver’s seat of life.
We regularly get questions from our listeners on a variety of topics. Some can become podcasts, some are answered individually, but some questions are a bit in between. On this episode, we tackle someone struggling with outgrowing a friendship and wondering how to handle that and another who is working to build community where they are. Another listener has an autistic son and would like to encourage all Catholics to be sensitive and inclusive, especially in church. We had another question about godparenting when the parents of your godchild are not practicing their faith. All important and relevant issues for parents everywhere. Listen in to hear our take on these questions and then feel free to contact us with some of your own issues!
“The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference” ~Elie Wiesel
Have you ever felt distant from your spouse? Living like married singles in the same house? or maybe just some dryness in your marriage? Every marriage goes through cycles of romance and then disillusionment which can lead to true joy. But without intentional decisions and actions, marriages can get stuck in indifference and that is a very real danger. What are the most effective steps to move out of this stage? How do you overcome indifference? In this podcast we give some practical and simple advice to husbands and wives who are striving for an exceptional marriage.
When our family was young, we had a wonderful pastor named Fr. Rich. I will never forget his explanation of Lent one Ash Wednesday. He proposed that one way we can think of Lent is as a time to evaluate our relationship with God and our spiritual health. Like a check up. How are you doing? What do you need to improve? What are your strengths? Weaknesses? How can you do better? The Church in Her wisdom knows that we cannot go full steam all the time, so She gives us seasons in which to intensify our spiritual practices.
As a family we need to encourage and help each other during this time of renewal. Even young children can make small sacrifices, do extra chores, and walk with you, their parents, on the road to Easter. It’s not about keeping your Lenten promises perfectly every day (though it would be great if you did!). Lent is about the journey and keeping our eyes fixed on the goal.
No matter how well you remember to keep your Lenten promises, do not neglect Holy Week! This is the most sacred time of the entire Church year. In order to communicate this to your children, plan some special activities during the Triduum – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Going to services at your parish is a great idea, but sometimes with young children this can be difficult. If you decide to not go to services, be sure to do something at home that will emphasize the sacred nature of Holy Week. Maybe you could have a special meal, act out scenes from the last hours of Christ’s life, or do the Stations of the Cross together as a family. What ever your children need to focus their minds and hearts on the events of the passion, that is what you should do. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it should be memorable to them.
We hope that you use Lent to look at your relationship with God, and your family’s relationship with Him. Our Lord is waiting for us and He rejoices when we bring our children to Him. Do not disappoint Him this Lenten season!
Dads, no one will call you Hero like your daughter will. – Dr. Meg Meeker
The Father-Daughter relationship is sweet and sometimes cute, but the reality is that it is of vital importance in the light of every girl who will become a woman. Father’s don’t have to be perfect, but they need to be intentional about how they relate to their daughters. Well-fathered daughters enter the world with a healthy respect for themselves, and for men in general which often can help them enter into deeper, more fulfilling relationships as they enter adulthood. Listen in as we give some insight, inspiration and ideas on how you can work on your relationship with your daughter.
“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way…” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
Very few of us are blessed to be surrounded by people who agree with us on our faith or values 100% of the time, but we need to navigate these relationships and keep them healthy in spite of our differences. This is true especially in parental relationships because honoring your parents is a commandment, without a caveat or condition. The reality is that when people are critical of our faith, our values, or our parenting choices we need to learn to respond first with love and charity. It is a simple answer but a difficult one. In this podcast, we give 5 steps in loving those who differ with us. This podcast was sponsored by an anonymous supporter who is struggling to stay in relationships with family members who disagree with their practice of the Catholic faith.
Screens are part of our world and they are here to stay. TV, computers, smartphones, tablets are all around us and becoming an essential element in our everyday lives. Though many would like to demonize these devices, the reality is that they are amoral – not good nor bad. It is our job as parents to help our children learn to use these screens in a way that is beneficial for their physical, social, and emotional development. Screens are a big issue for parents and a complex one. In this podcast, we discuss navigating this topic with our kids and why limiting screens is it actually more of a challenge for parents than for children.
“Their performance might be high in gaming and internet information processing, but what about performance in low-tech activities such as building relationships? Parenting? Achieving greatness at anything, from sports to music to business?” ~Amy and Evelyn Guttmann
Our family is a circle of strength and love. Every joy shared adds love, every crisis faced makes the circle stronger. With every birth and every marriage, the circle grows.
All of the parenting we have done for our son has led up to this point. The point where he separates from us and forms his own family. Feb 10, 2017 our son Patrick married Cassie in our hometown of Steubenville and it was a wedding to remember! Not everything went perfectly as planned, but that didn’t matter. The bride and groom beautifully reflected the love that God has for all of us and the formation of this new family should give all Catholics another reason to hope. We are so proud of our son and our new daughter, and we hope you are inspired by their wedding story!
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Ps 37:4
Making decisions is a stressful and sometimes difficult task for most of us, especially when you are a parent. Deciding where to live, what job to take, or how to educate your children are probably 3 of the most important decisions you will make. How can you know what God wants? How can you figure out what is best for you and for your family? In this podcast, we discuss things to consider when you have to make a big decision. God wants to bless you. Just seek His face, stay close to Him and don’t stress out!