I once had a priest gently remind me during confession that I have a moral obligation as a mother to show love to my children and bring them to Christ.
Do I remember this day in and day out?
My sanctity doesn’t depend on how well I do outside the home or how much money I make. It’s what happens within these walls. The hidden moments of guarding and loving the souls God has entrusted to my care.
With the stress of everyday life, sickness, fatigue, and busyness I fall easily into less than loving parenting if I’m not careful.
Here’s a compilation of how I examine my conscience as a parent. Before reading, it may be helpful to read my post Nightly Examen for Husbands and Wives, especially the words from Fr. John Hardon on particular examens.
NIGHTLY EXAMEN FOR PARENTS
Through the grace of the sacrament of marriage, parents receive the responsibility and privilege of evangelizing their children.
-Catechism of the Catholic Church 2225
- Have I yelled or spoken harshly to my children today?
- Do I speak in calm, gentle, and loving ways when dealing with them?
- Have I modeled a strong and consistent example of a mature Christian?
- Did I pray with and for my children today?
- Have I said I love you in both my words and actions?
- Did I bear wrongs patiently and lovingly?
- Have I compromised their innocence by my words, actions, or example today in how I live and act?
- Have I smiled at them?
- Have I yelled at or spoken harshly at my spouse or others in front of my children?
- Do I find time to play and fully engage with my children?
- Do other priorities, hobbies, friends, or pastimes distract me from loving and caring for my children?
- Have I read, watched, listened, or learned in some way new information about Catholic parenting today?
- Do I strive to be the best parent I can be or do I give in to laziness, idle thoughts and behaviors, fatigue, or a sedentary life?
- Am I a joyful witness of the Gospel and love of Jesus to my children or do I allow depressed moods and thoughts to take over in front of them?
- Do my children see the love of the Trinity mirrored in me (and my spouse) and how our family loves?
- Have I sought to serve my children today in love?
- Have I gone out of my way to make them feel special?
- Do I make excuses when I don’t feel like helping with an activity?
- Did I discipline with the inherent dignity of the child in mind?
- Do I follow parenting techniques that are sound or do I use techniques with the goal of my comfort and convenience?
- Have I treated my child’s body with respect and honor in all my dealings and disciplines today?
- Have I respected my children and their developmental needs?
- Did I fail to meet real needs (physical, emotional, social, psychological, educational, spiritual) of my children today out of selfishness?
- Have I allowed my children to view shows or listen to music that compromises their innocence?
- Do I monitor the type of friendships my children are engaging in?
- Have I gossiped about my child or shared information not meant to be shared?
- Do I complain about my children or shame them in front of others?
- Do I joke about hurting them or their feelings?
- Have I treated them how I would want to be treated by a loved one?
- Have I bullied my child or used fear tactics to get my way?
- Have I apologized and sought forgiveness if I have wronged my child?
Disclaimer: This is a personal spirituality post and should be taken as such. If you have specific questions about parenting, are in an abusive home, or need help with other specific situations, please seek professional counsel from a trusted priest, spiritual director, or counselor.