Preparing for Confirmation can be stressful for youth and parent alike. Here are four ways you can help your son or daughter through the process.
by Ryan Langr
Time to Start Thinking about Confirmation!
It’s the season when kids are back to school and Confirmation programs are starting up again. In my role as a youth minister, I’ve met with parents and kids, checked and double checked my “Confirmation packet,” and prayed hard about what all should be included in Confirmation requirements. In fact, in my diocese we are currently revising our Confirmation requirements which has caused me to prayerful consider the process and everyone’s roll in it.
Parents play an important roll, and because Sacraments are communal, must work closely with the priest, sponsor, religious education coordinator, and the confirmandi to help prepare for this amazing sacrament.
Four Ways to Help Your Child Prepare for Confirmation
Here are the top four things I tell parents whose kids are preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation.
1. Don’t force it
A lot of teens get confirmed because their parents or grandparents want them to. They enter into what is essentially an agreement with God to live their faith without having the full desire to do so. Of course, we want our children to be confirmed, but we also want them to 1) be authentic in their words and actions, especially when making a serious commitment, and 2) live up to the responsibility that they’re taking on. To be granted the gifts and graces of Confirmation without intention to use them fully is a serious matter. Encourage and support your child in Confirmation, but have a serious—and perhaps difficult—conversation about if they actually want to be Confirmed.
2. Be an example
Your son or daughter’s Confirmation preparation is the perfect time to re-examine your own faith life. If they see you attending Mass weekly, praying in daily life, doing spiritual reading, and getting involved in the community of the Church, they will most likely want to do the same. It’s OK if your faith isn’t as strong as it should be. Use this time of your son’s or daughter’s preparation to reconsecrate and recommit yourself. It will mean a lot to your kid and will bear fruit in your life as well.
3. Encourage participation
If your children weren’t involved in the Church community much before Confirmation preparation, encourage them to do so now. You may need to provide a “bridge” to more active participation by helping them figure out ways they can get involved—or even getting involved in church activities alongside them.
This is part of the goal behind parishes instituting service and retreat requirements, and I firmly believe that it is a sense of community that will keep our youth coming back to Church when their faith in fledgling. Get them involved in service, liturgy, and fellowship at your church. If they find a place they fit in, they are less likely to think of Confirmation as “graduation” and more as initiation into a community to which they have a responsibility.
4. Pray for them
Often we ask ourselves what tangible things we can do for our children . . . and forget about the power and importance of praying for them. Your prayers and the prayers of other adults in their lives are the most powerful support your son or daughter will have during Confirmation preparation. For instance, you can:
- offer up their preparation during the offertory in Mass
- do penance and abstain on their behalf
- say a daily rosary or chaplet
- pray with them directly
All of these have the power to convert a heart that may be unsure about Confirmation, and can strengthen and light afire a heart that has already embraced the responsibility and gifts that will come with the sacrament.
Preparing to receive the sacrament of Confirmation can often be a stressful time for parents and youth as they worry about fulfilling requirements and think about what is being asked of them in their faith. It can also be a time of incredible growth for everyone involved. These four simple steps can help transform the process and bring you and your child closer to each other and closer to Christ.