Catholic Psychotherapy |
Spiritual Counsels |
The Solution |
Raising Children to Revere the Holy |
Healthy Communication |
The Gender-based Communication Bias |
The Mistake of “Gender Equity”
beginning of the solution
to all family problems is to realize that just as plants can’t grow in chalky soil
unless you add to the soil whatever is needed to make it healthy, so children—and
husbands and wives—can’t grow unless they are given whatever support and encouragement
they need to become independent and responsible. No child or spouse can grow in the
“chalky soil” of your pre-existing desires and expectations, because what a child or
spouse needs for emotional growth might not be what you had expected—or
It’s a tragedy, but parents who do not
raise their children with the blessings of real love impede the child’s reverence for
the holy and thereby contribute to the child’s tendency to fall into perversion in
seeking acceptance from the world—and then these wounded children have their own children
who start the cycle all over again.
So, let’s consider what you can do to raise
a child with and blessings and prayer so the child will grow to revere the holy right
Raising Children to
Revere the Holy
Teaching a child to revere the holy
should begin in the womb, with blessings, and should continue through infancy
and childhood with blessings, prayer, and teaching.
While the child is still in the womb,
give it a blessing in the morning and evening and several times a day by making
the Sign of the Cross over the womb and saying audibly, “May our Lord Jesus
Christ bless you and protect you, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
After the child’s birth, whenever
you fetch the child from bed and when you put the child to bed, make the Sign of
the Cross on the child’s forehead with your thumb and say audibly, “May
our Lord Jesus Christ bless you and protect you, in the name of the Father and of
the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” As the child gets older, you can teach the
child to say his or her own prayers on waking and going to sleep.
Whenever you feed the child, make the
Sign of the Cross on the child and say audibly, “Bless us, O Lord, and this
food which [name of child] is about to receive, in the name of the Father and of
the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” As the child gets older, you can teach the
child to make the Sign of the Cross himself or herself, and, ultimately, to say
along with you the standard Catholic blessing (“Bless us, O Lord, and these
Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord.
While the child is an infant, hold the
child in your arms or lap while you audibly pray vocal prayers such as the Rosary
and the Liturgy of the Hours. This will teach the child to sit quietly during periods
of prayer and worship. As the child gets older, he or she can join you in the
prayers. Furthermore, this will teach the child to sit in church quietly and reverently,
unlike all the other unruly children in church who have not been taught to sit quietly
in prayer at home.
Wherever you go and whatever you do,
let your child witness you praying and giving thanks. For example, before leaving
home, go before the crucifix and ask for protection, and give a blessing to your
home; on arriving home, do the same, giving thanks. Let your child see you constantly
engaged in prayerful interaction with God. Whenever possible, pray audibly, rather
than silently, so that the child can learn from you how to pray.
When the child is old enough to understand,
every time you bathe the child, teach him or her that the genitals are to be kept
private because of their holiness before God, and that they are not to played with
When the child asks about babies and where
they come from, explain that the genitals are used by adults in marriage to make
babies. Explain that a girl has a special, holy place inside her for a baby to grow,
but that it doesn’t work until adulthood. Tell the child that just before
adolescence, when the genitals begin to work, you will explain the details.
As an aspect of an environment of love
and blessings, it’s important for all family members to be aware of what other members
are experiencing, and healthy communication within a family becomes an essential
element of this awareness.
All too often, communication becomes
unhealthy and takes the form of unconscious anger through sarcasm, innuendos and
hints, or not saying anything at all—and mutual cooperation, the basis of family
health, is defiled.
In contrast, healthy communication is
direct, immediate, and clear, and it is a good model for learning healthy assertiveness.
It depends on facts, opinions, emotions, and needs, as illustrated below.
Facts: “I had
a very important appointment this morning, and when I got in the car I found that
you had left it with barely enough fuel to get to the fuel station. Stopping for
fuel made me late.”
believe that none of us should bring the car home at night with an empty fuel
“The whole experience left me feeling irritated and frustrated.”
need to be able to leave in the morning without having to deal with unnecessary
delays, and I need the car to have a reasonable amount of fuel in it at all times,
regardless of who used it last.”
In most Western cultures, women tend
to depend on emotions as the basis for communication while men tend to depend on
thinking and intellect for communication. This gender-based communication bias can
cause considerable problems in families and in all relationships in general.
For example, a woman might seek emotional
support and a man will offer an intellectual problem-solving response, thus missing
the point of the woman’s emotional needs. Or a man might seek concrete information
(“just the facts”) and a woman will offer an emotional response, thus frustrating the
man in his need to solve a problem.
Therefore, remember that healthy
communication generally involves both emotions and facts—and a charitable attitude
of mutual cooperation, rather than sarcasm and criticism, can help to overcome any
communication misunderstandings that might occur.
The Mistake of “Gender
Quite often men are socialized to ignore
healthy communication and to be aggressive and hostile in their communication. Sadly,
this is a spiritual failure based in the sins of pride and wrath, and even though it
tends to be common in Western societies, it is still opposed to the Christian virtues
of charity and mutual cooperation. But when women try to attain “equity” with men
through aggressive and hostile social attitudes and behaviors it only makes matters
worse, not better, because then all communication degenerates into endless arguments
and rebuttals, and the underlying emotions get trampled underfoot on the battleground
into a social mire of degenerate rudeness and vulgarity.
A treasure of a resource for psychological and spiritual healing. Information
gathered from my websites (including this webpage) is now available at your fingertips
in book form.
Falling Families, Fallen Children by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. Do
our children see a mother and a father both living in contemplative love for
God with a constant awareness of His presence and engaged in an all-out battle
with the evil of the world? More often than not our children don’t see living
faith. They don’t see protection from evil. They don’t see genuine, fruitful
devotion. They don’t see genuine love for God. Instead, they see our external
acts of devotion as meaningless because they see all the other things we do that
contradict the true faith. Thus we lose credibility—and when parents lose credibility,
children become cynical and angry and turn to the social world around them for
identity and acceptance. They are children who have more concern for social approval
than for loving God. They are fallen children. Let’s bring them back.