We have a new policy set in stone in the Alvarez family beginning the next school year. Boy do I wish I had implemented it this past year! Our youngest daughter, evolving from a tween to a teen, will begin the school year grounded until we get the grades we feel she is capable of attaining…. As a seventh grader, we have struggled with the huge emphasis from her peers on guys and parties….Geez, I could have sworn our 23 year old didn’t start the drop off boy-girl parties until her sophomore year in high school….Then again our soon to be teen says her older sister was a nerd!
Parents, we need help, we need to work as a team of Catholic parents focused on living the faith we proclaim to be ours. It’s easier to turn a deaf ear to the constant wailing and whining when our soon to be teens do not get their way. My 12 year old daughter, otherwise a wonderful human being, seems to thrive on skating on thin academic ice. She expects us to jump for joy when her friends get summer school and she doesn’t. She expects us to applaud mediocrity. She also expects us to reward her with party after party on the weekends….
We put our foot down this week and limited her to one party this past weekend. Each and every day the week before the parties brought exaggerated levels of whininess, including the old standby: I hate you! She tried using her mother against me and vice versa. She actually waited until her mom was asleep, then cajoled an OK from her while she slept to go to the second party! When I held my own the next morning, she raged and sulked…something only a tween can do at the same time!
The morning after the grounding for the first party, the storm passed. I can’t believe my wife and me held our own and held to our new rule. I’m sure our daughter now understands that rules will not be bent from now on. But unfortunately, some of our peer parents don’t do the same. We as parents, need to set the standard. We must set the bar at a level that will make them successful young ladies, both academically and morally. Next year she goes into 8th grade. A pivotal year academically that will determine what high school she goes too.
Sending our children to a Catholic high school does not absolve us from our responsibility to prepare their souls for eternity. I had the incredible blessing to go to confession with our beloved Bishop Augustine Roman only a few days before his passing. I mentioned my concern as a Catholic parent that I wasn’t doing enough to guide my daughter through these tumultuous years as a Catholic young girl. He told me in no uncertain terms that a Catholic education is only as good as the morals and lifestyle taught at home and shown by the parents. That Catholic High schools in and of themselves are not an adequate replacement for the examples of parents.
I wasn’t on a committed walk with our Lord while we were raising our eldest daughter. Even though she is a wonderful young woman and gifted academically and artistically, I beat myself up for not giving her the example I should have as a Catholic father…. I am determined not to the same with my evolving tween…. I pray that the Lord give my wife and I the strength to hold our own and be an example as Catholic parents; not only to our daughter – but to our peer parents as well.