Amoris Laetitia 269: Acknowledging the Positive

amoris laetitia memeCorrection seems to work better when the adult’s approach with a young person is balanced: that potential is recognized and encouraged.

269. Correction is also an incentive whenever children’s efforts are appreciated and acknowledged, and they sense their parents’ constant, patient trust. Children who are lovingly corrected feel cared for; they perceive that they are individuals whose potential is recognized. This does not require parents to be perfect, but to be able humbly to acknowledge their own limitations and make efforts to improve. Still, one of the things children need to learn from their parents is not to get carried away by anger. A child who does something wrong must be corrected, but never treated as an enemy or an object on which to take out one’s own frustrations. Adults also need to realize that some kinds of misbehaviour have to do with the frailty and limitations typical of youth. An attitude constantly prone to punishment would be harmful and not help children to realize that some actions are more serious than others. It would lead to discouragement and resentment: “Parents, do not provoke your children” (Eph 6:4; cf. Col 3:21).

Yes, anger is a problem for many adults. One mental health expert I know once remarked that it’s not about the parent feeling insulted or affronted by a child’s acting out. Sometimes when a young person errs, it is not about the target of the misbehavior.

Likewise, punishment is very much a part of the secular culture. We might like to think that the West indulges its youth. This is true mainly, if not only, for young people who present a successful face to the public. Much resentment is cultivated among young people who are bullied by peers, then ignored by “adults” in “authority.” Among serious offenders, how often do we hear of a move to treat an accused as an “adult.” Don’t be deceived it’s about accountability; to be sure–it’s about punishment.

For your reference, remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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