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How St. Augustine can help you cope with a challenging child


Suzanne Tucker | Shutterstock

Cerith Gardiner - published on 03/15/21

At your wits end, look to this former bad boy.
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One of the trickiest parts of parenting can be getting your children to tow the line. Some kids are naturally more biddable, whereas others can test your nerves, your parenting skills, and your patience! If you happen to be blessed with the latter do not fear — St. Augustine can reassure you that the future is bright.

As Augustine’s mother, Monica, can attest to, a child’s path can be full of potholes. Yet each time they fall, if a loving parent is there to pick them up and show them the way — even if they resist — there is always hope. Although this may try your patience, with a little perseverance your child (at any age) will feel the pull of God bringing them closer to Him.

The 5th century Father of the Church was a little reluctant to mend his wanton ways — even when he began to know God’s love. But he had a hard time resisting the temptations that came his way. As his famous quote from Book VIII of Confessions stated: “Lord, make me chaste and continent — but not yet.”

Eventually he gave in to his true calling. Thanks to divine grace, he was able to follow the path that would lead him directly to God. He went from the ultimate “bad boy” to a respected theologian, preacher, and teacher who wrote prolifically — so much so that he profoundly shaped the Christian Church forever more.

So when you’re at your wits end and worried sick about your child’s future, do not give up. It’s never too late for them to get back on track and find their way to God, who’ll be waiting to welcome them with open arms. (And don’t forget to turn to St. Monica, who understands the worried parent’s plight!)


If you’re questioning your parenting, you might also look to these ancient saints and how their parenting styles can inspire us today:

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