Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 4 February 2015 -
Pope Francis to fathers:
Helicopter parenting stops children from growing
As promised, the Pope returned to the role of fathers in family life during his catechesis. He said that every family needs a father and that the role is irreplaceable.
"Every family needs a father. Not a father who wants his son to be exactly like him, but is instead happy when his son learns to be honest and wise. That is what counts in life."
Francis said that good fathers should spend time with their wife and children. However, he added that being present isn't the same as being overbearing.
"Being around doesn't mean being overly controlling. Parents who override their children too often do not let them grow.”
According to the Pope, a father should be close to his children and, above all, patient.
"Fathers need to have patience. Often all you can do is wait. Pray and wait."
Present, patient, and also firm. He said a father should help when a child fails at a difficult task without humiliating him.
"Today's children, when they come home after failing at something, need a father who longs to protect and encourage them. He must also teach them how to follow the right path. Sometimes fathers must punish their children, but they shouldn't slap their child in the face.”
Lucia Annibali, a woman who suffered through one Italy's worst domestic violence incidents ever, was present. In April 2013, men sent by her ex-boyfriend deformed her face with acid.
At the end of the audience the Pope made a strong appeal for peace in Ukraine. He asked to pray for the victims and said that the conflict is a scandal because the two warring parties are Christians.
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