The Discerning Parent

An Ignatian Guide to Raising Your Teen
Author: Tim Muldoon
Author: Sue Muldoon

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Format: Paperback

Publication date: April 7, 2017

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Blending personal experience and practical advice with wisdom they’ve learned from Ignatian spirituality, Tim and Sue Muldoon, authors of Six Sacred Rules for Families, offer guidance for Catholic parents raising teens and tweens. You’ll gain confidence to help your teen make better decisions, deepen the roots for your parenting, and relate to your teen in a way that reflects the tenacious love of God.

The Muldoons draw from their professional experience working with teens and their parents in high schools and colleges—Sue as a counselor and religious educator, Tim as a theologian and professor—to explain how the Ignatian practice of discernment is an excellent tool for the healthy parenting of teens and pre-teens. They share their hard-won wisdom as parents of three to offer you encouragement and practical guidance to:

  • Let your teens know you love them
  • Appreciate their gifts while accepting their limits
  • Put them in touch with those less fortunate
  • Guide them in choosing friends who will care about what’s best for them
  • Appreciate the value of their faith and going to Mass
  • Respect their bodies and make good choices about sex, alcohol, and drugs
  • Think about what really makes them happy

Tim and Sue describe discernment as slowing down, listening, being receptive, praying, examining our lives, and sifting the conflicting forces at play around us. In this wise and personal book, they share how Ignatian spirituality and discernment can help us keep a clear-eyed, prayerful perspective on the difficult decisions you and your teens face. The key is to open yourself to God’s presence and discover what he calls you to do.

This thoughtful approach shows you how to talk with your children openly about freedom vs. limits, friendships, family time, sexuality, the use and abuse of technology, faith and Catholic practice, recognizing the needs of others, and getting through hard times together. You’ll discover when to be tough and when to be forgiving, when to control and when to give freedom, when to give feedback and when to wait. You will learn the importance of praying for your teens, and the important of praying together as a family.

Daily and weekly prayers, devotions, and meditations will guide you as the Muldoons show how this is a time of discernment for you as well as your teens—and create a way for you to move through these challenging years together. The Discerning Parent offers you an opportunity to pause and consider your life and your teen’s in the light of faith.

Product Details

Pages: 192

Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches

ISBN: 9781594716898

Imprint: Ave Maria Press

  • “An engaging book.”

    “An engaging book for parents who desire that God be the center of raising their teenage children. Applying Ignatian discernment to this specific task—a valuable contribution—the authors offer clarity and hope to all parents.”

    Rev. Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V.
    Author of The Discernment of Spirits

  • “A solid guide to parenting done the right way.”

    “How many books have you read on parenting? Whether your answer is none, or too many, you should read this one. The Discerning Parent is a solid guide to parenting done the right way. After the first few chapters, I knew I was not simply going to endorse this book, I was going to pause, consider, and incorporate its insights into my own parenting. Tim and Sue Muldoon have done all parents a service with this gracefully written volume, a practical manual for raising holy young men and women.”

    Chris Stefanick
    Founder of Real Life Catholic

  • “Practical strategies and spiritual wisdom.”

    “This is a book I wish I'd had for those challenging years of raising my own teen sons. Learn practical strategies and spiritual wisdom to help your favorite teens not only survive but thrive.”

    Lisa M. Hendey
    Founder of and author of The Handbook for Catholic Moms

  • “Wise companions on the journey.”

    “Tim and Sue Muldoon have done it again, welcoming readers on their family journey as they raise teenagers with faith, hope, love, and no little amount of courage. The Discerning Parent equips us with an Ignatian toolbox containing rich practices that include the daily examen and imaginative encounters with the scriptures. We are invited to explore our deepest desires for our children and attend to the ways in which God’s 'slow work' is unfolding in their lives. Parents who are experiencing the many challenges that adolescence brings will find mercy and consolation here. Parents who are celebrating the joys that come with this stage of life will be encouraged to view these anew through the eyes of faith. The Muldoons are wise companions on this journey.”

    Mary M. Doyle Roche
    Associate Professor at College of the Holy Cross

  • “You will be grateful for their insights.”

    “Tim and Sue Muldoon draw from the wisdom and spirituality of Saint Ignatius Loyola, whose reflections on discernment are a blessing to many in the Church today. As parents, they see how the practice of discernment sheds light on the task of parenting teens, who themselves are beginning the work of making important life decisions. I am grateful and so will you be for their insights on a discerning approach to family life.”

    Most. Rev. Robert P. Reed
    Auxiliary Bishop of Boston
    President of CatholicTV

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Additional Resources

Press release
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Fathers for Good (Knights of Columbus) Book Review
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Tim Muldoon on Meet the Author Podcast
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Catholic Connection Interview
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Excerpt on
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The Kyle Heimann Show Interview
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Tim Muldoon on Spirit in the Morning
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Kresta in the Afternoon Interview
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The Gist on CatholicTV Interview

Tim and Sue Muldoon talk about how to raise your teens in the Catholic faith, especially through an Ignatian lens.

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