web analytics
September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Dealing With Rebellious Teenagers

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Last week I shared a letter from a troubled mother. Her story is typical of many ba’al teshuvah families who discover the Torah way of life in their middle years only to encounter resentment on the part of their adolescent children. Very often these teenagers become angry at the new restrictions in their home.

The story of our letter-writer began when she and her husband went on their first visit to Israel. They were deeply affected, especially when they prayed at the Wall. It was at the Wall that they met a rabbi who invited them for a Shabbos meal, and that was the beginning of their “journey.” They returned home inspired and determined to live a Torah way of life.

Their resolve, however was frustrated by the rebellion of their teenage son. They subsequently had two little girls whom they nurtured on the milk of Torah. In the interim the problem with their son, Benny, became more and more acute. Spitefully he would desecrate Shabbos, eat treif and in general disregard our Torah. Instead of the serene home the couple had hoped to build, turmoil and anger reigned. The two little girls were embarrassed to bring their friends home. Worse still, they became confused and troubled.

The following is my reply:

Dear Friend,

For whatever good this will serve, you should know you are not the only ones in this boat. I’m not just referring to ba’al teshuvah families but to families who have always been observant – families who discover to their horror that their sons and daughters are becoming rebellious despite years of yeshiva education.

In a way, the plight of those parents is even more painful than yours – they thought they were doing everything right only to discover that the formula didn’t work. (Please don’t think I’m minimizing your suffering, but just consider the shame such parents feel in their shul and among friends and neighbors.)

Time and again I have pointed out that everything I teach, write or counsel is based on the wisdom of our Torah. I take the responsibility of giving advice very seriously. I don’t like to play games with people’s lives so I always search the Torah for an answer. You ask if you should send Benny to your sister’s house. You also write that your sister is not only secular but views our Torah way of life with disdain. Additionally, there is another problem in your sister’s home – the inclination of her eldest son to drink and party late into the night. Your son would love to move in with his aunt and, his doing so would resolve the constant tension and bickering in your home. So what should you do?

Our forefather Jacob was also confronted by this dilemma. His firstborn son, Reuben, acted inappropriately. Despite his anguish, Jacob decided to admonish his son only at the end of his life when he was on his deathbed. Why did Jacob wait so long? He feared that if he spoke critically to his son, he would abandon his father’s home and take up residence with his Uncle Esau and be totally lost.

These are the same fears parents have today. Should you send your son to live with your sister? He will be influenced by his aunt – and his uncle and cousins. “Uncle Esau” comes in many guises and can be found in many places – on the street, in college, and among friends, family members and co-workers. The very air in our society is polluted with noxious fumes of immorality, decadence and corruption.

Parents cannot badger young adults into compliance. They can ill afford to come down too hard on them. If discipline is to be effective it must be administered at a young age, when children are still pliable and their character traits have not yet been fixed. Unfortunately, in our society just the opposite holds true. When our children are small we indulge their impudence and regard them as cute and clever. When they become older and rebellious, we wonder how they ever got that way. In your case this dilemma is double-fold because when your Benny was young you lived a totally secular lifestyle. The Torah way of life was never in his heart or mind, so you cannot anticipate that a flash of light will make him see that which you wish him to see.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Dealing With Rebellious Teenagers”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
rocketpopmap12009
IDF Confirms: Rocket Launched from Gaza
Latest Judaism Stories
15th century Book of the Torah

This week’s parsha offers a new covenant; a covenant that speaks to national life unlike any other

Leff-091214

All Jews are inherently righteous and that is why we all have a portion in the World to Come.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

If mourning is incompatible with Yom Tov, why is it not incompatible with Shabbat?

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Since it is a Rabbinic prohibition we may follow the more lenient opinion.

How can the Torah expect me today, thousands of years after the mitzvahs were given, to view each mitzvah as if I’m fulfilling it for the first time?

Torah isn’t a theological treatise or a metaphysical system but a series of stories linked over time

In contrast to her Eicha-like lamentations of the previous hour or more, however, my youngest was now grinning from ear-to-ear.

An Astonishing Miracle
‘Why Bring the Infants to Hakhel?’
(Chagigah 3a)

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

e are in a time of serious crisis and must go beyond our present levels of chesed.

According to Ibn Ezra, the Torah was stressing through this covenant that hypocrisy was forbidden.

“Tony said that the code in most places in the U.S. is at least 36 inches for a residential guardrail,” replied Mr. Braun. “Some make it higher, 42, or even 52 inches for high porches. What is the required height according to halacha?”

Simcha is total; sahs is God’s joy in protecting us even when we are most vulnerable.

Not only do we accept You as our King, it is our greatest desire that the name of Your Kingdom be spread throughout the entire universe.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

“There is nothing new under the sun” is as valid today as it was yesterday.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

The time immediately preceding Mashiach’s arrival is likened to the birth pangs of a woman in labor.

If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives

What does Hashem want of us? That we should protect each other and the awesome heritage He gave us.

Gratitude=Great Attitude. Appreciation is always appropriate.

The two words “thank you” have no time expiration; even if spoken after many years they’re as potent as ever.

Let us shake the heavens. Let us not stop until our boys and all our people are liberated from bondage.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/dealing-with-rebellious-teenagers/2013/03/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: