Helping College Students Grow Their Faith.

Evangelization Catholic

How to Encourage Open Communication with Your Child About their Faith

Patti Stenson, MS, LPC
Written By Patti Stenson, MS, LPC
On Jun, 10 2024
6 minute read

Creating a supportive environment where your child feels comfortable expressing their questions, doubts, and struggles is essential for nurturing their faith. Here are six ways you can encourage open communication and address doubts with your teen:


Active Listening and Empathy


Be Present.


Set aside dedicated time to engage in conversations with your teenager about their faith. Turn off distractions like phones or TVs, and give them your full attention.

Practice Reflective Listening. 

Encourage your teenager to share their thoughts and feelings about their faith journey and actively listen to what they have to say. Reflect back on their emotions and concerns to show that you understand and validate their experiences.


Show Empathy. 

Put yourself in your teenager's shoes and try to understand their perspective. Validate their feelings, even if you don't agree with them, and reassure them that it's okay to have doubts or questions about their faith.

Create a Safe Space. 

Foster an environment of trust and openness where your teenager feels comfortable discussing their faith without fear of judgment or criticism. Respect their boundaries and avoid jumping to conclusions or offering unsolicited advice.


mom talking with daughter on couch


Ask Open-Ended Questions

Encourage Critical Thinking.


Engage your teenager in conversations that invite them to reflect on their faith. Ask questions that challenge them to explore the deeper meaning behind their beliefs.

Ask Open-ended Questions. 

Instead of interrogating your teenager about their beliefs, ask open-ended questions that invite them to share more about their thoughts and experiences. For example, you could ask, "What are some things you find challenging about your faith?" or "Can you tell me more about what you believe?"

Respect Their Perspective.


Respect your teenager's perspective and avoid imposing your own beliefs on them. Create a non-judgmental space where they feel free to express their thoughts without fear of criticism or judgment.

Listen Without Interjecting. 

When asking questions, give your teenager space to process and respond without immediately interjecting with your own opinions or perspectives. Show genuine interest in their responses.


Provide Reassurance and Guidance

Normalize Doubts and Questions.


Let your teenager know that it's normal to have doubts and questions about their faith. Reassure them that wrestling with complex issues is a natural part of their spiritual journey and doesn't diminish their faith.


Affirm Their Curiosity.


Encourage your teenager's curiosity and desire for knowledge by affirming their desire to explore deeper aspects of their faith. Let them know that asking questions and seeking answers is a sign of maturity and growth.

Offer Supportive Guidance. 

Be a source of support and guidance as your teenager navigates their faith journey. Offer to discuss their questions and concerns and provide resources or advice to help them find answers and deepen their understanding of their faith.


Spiritual Direction

Offer Support. 

Let your teenager know you're there for them no matter what and are willing to support them in their faith journey. Be patient and understanding as they navigate the ups and downs of adolescence and spirituality.


Identify Trusted Mentors. 

Help your teenager identify trusted mentors, priests, or religious advisors who can offer spiritual direction and guidance. Look for individuals who deeply understand the Catholic faith and have a compassionate approach to mentoring young people. Encourage them to be open and honest with their spiritual director about their struggles and doubts.


women comforting another women at a table


Share Personal Experiences


Be Transparent. 

Share your own experiences of doubt, struggle, and spiritual growth with your teenager. Be transparent about the challenges you've faced in your faith journey and how you've navigated them.


Demonstrate Resilience. 

Highlight moments of perseverance in your own spiritual journey to show your teenager times when doubt led you to deeper faith.

Offer Practical Advice.


Offer practical advice based on your experiences, such as praying, seeking guidance from trusted mentors, or reading scripture and attending Mass.


Encourage Prayer and Reflection


Prioritize Prayer.


Encourage your teenager to prioritize prayer and reflection as they navigate their questions and doubts. Suggest different forms of prayer, such as lectio divina or praying the rosary, and encourage them to find what works best for them.

Create Sacred Space. 

Help your teenager create a sacred space for prayer where they can retreat from the busyness of daily life and connect with God on a deeper level. Offer suggestions for creating a prayer corner in their room or finding quiet places where they can pray and reflect.


Model Prayerful Living. 

Incorporate prayer and reflection into your daily routine to model prayerful living for your teenager. Share stories of how prayer has helped you navigate challenging times and encourage your teenager to turn to prayer as a source of strength and guidance.


hands holding a rosary


Nurturing a strong Catholic identity in our children requires intentional effort, patience, and prayer. Ultimately, our role as parents and guardians is to shepherd our children on their faith journey, offering guidance, support, and encouragement as they grow in their relationship with God and His Church.


Pope Francis reminds us, "Faith grows when it is lived and shaped by love. That is why our families and our homes are true domestic churches. They are the right place for faith to become life and life to grow in faith.”


Here’s How You Can Support Your Student After High School


1. See If Your Student’s College Has a Campus Ministry

Use our Find A Campus tool to discover the campus ministry on your student’s future college campus. You can learn more about what the campus ministry offers, find a worship schedule, and connect your student directly to the campus ministry staff.


2. Connect Your Student To The Next Step In Their Faith Journey.

Did you know that over 80% of students stop practicing their faith in college? One top reason for this is that the student didn’t receive an invitation!

Let’s make sure your graduate gets that invitation!

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