web analytics
October 20, 2014 / 26 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Yom Tov Family Crisis


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Last week I interrupted a series of columns on the subject of “holiday mayhem,” concerning the problems faced by many families whose adult children come home for Yom Tov with their families.

Our letter writers expressed frustration at the attitudes of their daughters and daughters-in-law who feel they are on vacation when they come home for Yom Tov. Specifically, they spoke of the insensitivity of their children who act as though they were at a resort that offers maid, dining, and baby-sitting services.

The question they posed was, How can we register our annoyance without damaging our relationship?

B’ezrat Hashem, I now hope to respond to that challenge.

My Dear Friends:

To begin with, your complaint is not unique to your families. I do not mean this to be an expression of comfort, for I do not believe any decent person derives consolation from the knowledge that other people share their difficulties. My mother, Rebbetzin Miriam Jungreis, of blessed memory, was always annoyed when people tried to offer comfort by pointing to those who had even greater tsoris.

“Should it make me happy to know that someone else has even more trouble than I do?” she would ask irritably.

I have never forgotten her words and I try not to resort to this type of glib response when people speak of their personal pain. So why am I mentioning this? Because parents have a way of flagellating themselves – “It must be my fault. I didn’t raise them properly!” This self-condemnation can be endless, so I would like to assure all those mothers and fathers who blame themselves for their childrens’ chutzpah that it is not necessarily they who are responsible, but that the root of the problem may be traced to cultural aberrations that are symptomatic of our times.

Nowadays, people (and there are always exceptions to every rule) have an attitude that in Yiddish is referred to as “es kumpt mir” – “it’s coming to me” or “I am entitled.” Always entitled and never indebted. Appreciation is a foreign concept to this generation; a genuine, heartfelt “thank you” is rarely heard. And the colossal chutzpah of this generation is often manifested by a lack of kibud av va’em (honoring father and mother).

Having said that, let us try to deal with the problem at hand. Some people would advise these mothers to remain silent and be grateful they have children who are willing to come home. “Keep your mouth closed and your pocketbook open,” they may recommend, quoting a Yiddish saying: “Years ago, parents taught children to speak. Today, children teach parents to be silent.”

I do not believe that we, the Jewish people, who heard G-d Himself proclaim “honor your father and mother,” should ever accept such perfidy or compromise our legacy in favor of a vacuous and decadent society. Rather than parents “zipping their lips,” they have a responsibility to talk and teach. Obviously, precautions must be taken that this be done in a positive, constructive manner rather than in a destructive and harmful way.

Some Practical Suggestions

When you invite your children or when they call and announce their intention to spend Yom Tov with you, speak with joyous enthusiasm: “Daddy [or Abba or Tatie] and I will be so happy to have you with us for Yom Tov.”

I included the various titles with which children refer to their fathers, for they reflect different shades of Jewish observance and, sadly, in situations such as this all groups are equally affected.

Today’s parent/child relationships are, to say the least, not what they were years ago, and in expressing delight at your children’s forthcoming visit, ground rules often need to be laid down. But how to do this without offending is the challenge.

After expressing delight at the prospect of their visit, ask what you can do to make their stay more enjoyable. For example, is there any special dish they would like you to prepare? What would be a good toy to buy for the children? Admittedly, this can be somewhat tricky, for they might ask for something beyond your means. In that event, don’t be embarrassed to tell them that in these difficult economic times you have to be more cautious in your spending.

Having assured them you are prepared to do whatever you can to make their stay a wonderful experience, you can proceed to inform them of the rules of the house.

You might say something to this effect: “We do not have a staff to help with the household chores, nor are we at a resort where these services are readily available, so I will have to ask you to pitch in, be it cleaning, cooking, baby-sitting, etc., because as much as I would like to, I can’t possibly do everything by myself.”

Should it happen that both your daughter and daughter-in-law are coming for the same days of Yom Tov, warn your daughter to refrain from criticizing her sister-in-law if she feels she in not doing her share. Such remarks can only lead to serious family disruptions that, G-d forbid, can split a mishpacha.

Should it happen that, despite making these guidelines clear, your daughter or daughter-in-law fails to abide by them, be careful not to criticize her in the presence of others or complain to one regarding the conduct of the other. That type of an exchange can only cause terrible damage, with long-lasting ramifications

What you should do, however, is take that individual aside and, in a warm, loving voice with kind words, tell her you would really appreciate it if she would pick up after her children, not leave dirty diapers around, or go visiting friends and expect you to baby sit and prepare the seudah at the same time. The manner in which you couch your words, the body language you use, the love that emanates from you – these will make all the difference.

I have often given this advice to grandparents, many of whom were hesitant to act on it from fear of alienating their children. If, however, this discipline is enforced in a warm, loving manner, children and grandchildren will learn to relate to grandparents with respect rather than arrogant entitlement.

At the end of the day, all grandparents have to realize it is up to them to set boundaries. If they are afraid to do so, they will have to accept the consequences.

In these pre-messianic times in which chutzpah abounds, families are splintered, and children and parents often do not communicate, we all need the help of Hashem to recreate our mishpachas on the pillars of shalom bayis.

There is no magic solution that guarantees good children. Painfully, even the best of families who spare no effort to do everything right can have troubled offspring, and the converse is also true. So at the end of the day, with all the advice and guidance, we have to do a lot of davening and ask Hashem to help us see nachas.

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 “Yom Tov Family Crisis”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ismail Haniyeh, highest ranking Hamas member in Gaza, pictured Nov. 25, 2012.
Hamas Leader’s Daughter Treated in Israeli Hospital; #BDSFail
Latest Judaism Stories
God-and the world

The creation of the world is described twice. Each description serves a unique purpose.

Questions-Answers-logo

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

Lessons-in-Emunah-new

To the surprise of our protectzia-invested acquaintances, my family has thrived in our daled amos without that amenity, b’ezras Hashem.

Business-Halacha-logo

Shimon started adjusting the branches on the roof. In doing so, a branch fell off the other side of the car and hit the side-view mirror, cracking it.

I, the one who is housed inside this body, am completely and utterly spiritual.

Should we sit in the sukkah on a day that may be the eighth day when we are not commanded to sit in the sukkah at all?

For Appearance’s Sake
‘Shammai Did Not Follow Their Own Ruling’
(Yevamos 13b 14a)

If one hurts another human being, God is hurt; if one brings joy to another, God is more joyous.

I’m grateful to Hashem for everything; Just the same, I’d love a joyous Yom Tov without aggravation.

Bereshit: Life includes hard choices that challenge our decisions, leaving lingering complications.

Rabbi Fohrman:” Great evils are often wrought by those who are blithely unaware of the power they wield.”

The emphasis on choice, freedom and responsibility is a most distinctive features of Jewish thought.

The Torah emphasizes the joy of Sukkot, for after a season of labor, we celebrate our prosperity.

The encounter with the timeless stability of the divine occurs within the Sukkot.

Hashem created all human beings and it should sadden us when Hashem, their Father, does not see nachas from them.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

The call of the shofar is eternal. It is not musical. Its magnetic allurement cannot be explained.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

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

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/yom-tov-family-crisis/2011/11/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: