I have not met someone who feels ready to be a father before having children. When we have our first child, it is common to wonder if we are going to play our role well. Some parents feel the need to prepare properly. This is very good. The key is to listen to those we should listen to. That is, the Church. There are many people, groups, movements (people of good will), who do very good work in this matter. Books, podcasts, videos, schools for parents, etc. The worst mistake we can make as parents is to listen and pay attention to what the world says about parenting. Many times, the magazines, TV shows and movies that the world presents us, really have no idea what it really is to be a good father and mother. They based their criteria on fashion, and they pretend to tell us how to be a good parent. I also often see how some children of good parents, Catholics and concerned about their formation, suddenly when they reach adolescence and youth, they take a path totally opposed to the one practiced at home. I would like to contribute a grain of sand by giving some practical tips for parents. Although some of them may affect the lifestyle of the parents, I think it is worth it.
First, limit access to the TV: cancel Netflix, Hulu, etc. Cancel Cable TV. Although with the excuse that there are good programs, there is a lot of garbage that children have access to, even if you don’t look for garbage the garbage looks for you and will find you, sooner or later. In addition, they can have access, not only by TV but also by cell phone, tablet and computer. It also limits the time they watch movies.
Second, limit the time of video games, and select games that are most suitable for them. Many video games today contain pornography and violence. Although the child or young person, who plays, is not physically practicing what is there, their brain is processing it.
Third, get access to some kind of Catholic programming (like EWTN, FORMED, etc.) that shows the lives of saints, movies, documentaries, and news. Is good that your children see that you are watching that. They may listen and even sit with you to watch it together.
Fourth, when traveling by car, put on a Catholic podcast, or CD, or catholic radio station. There are many sources like Catholic Answers, Relevant Radio (there are many internet streaming options), etc. Also, some parishes sell CDs (such as Lighthouse Catholic Media). When they go from one place to another, you can listen to these programs, and even if they don’t want to, everyone is listening in the car. This practice also puts the basis to open a conversation.
Fifth, that portable electronic devices, such as, cell phone, tablet and laptop, do not sleep in their room. It is good to establish an order, a schedule. For instance, Google Family application allows you to deactivate your child’s phone at a certain time and restrict the apps they can install.
“…some children of good parents, Catholics and concerned about their formation, suddenly when they reach adolescence and youth, they take a path totally opposed to the one practiced at home.
These are just a few tips. Remember that your children are being exposed, on television, radio, music, movies, school, etc., to ideologies and doctrines totally external, alien and strange to Christianity. We have to counteract. On a certain occasion, when visiting some people, during the summer; they were watching cable TV. A supposed channel for children “Nick Jr.” every 3 or 4 minutes, they were posting announcements to support Black Lives Matter (BLM). Children, pre-adolescents and adolescents, who are exposed to this bombardment, already automatically support these movements, even without knowing why they do it. I know that putting many of these things into practice will involve a “push and pull”, a fight. But, do not be afraid, you are the Father or the Mom. You have the authority and the right to do so. You pay the bills, their cell service. I recommend doing it with tact and prudence, everyone knows their family and can know the right time and way to do things.
“Sometimes the only way the good Lord can get into some hearts is to break them.” Rev. Fulton J. Sheen