For both parents and teenagers alike, adolescence can be a very hard time. Unfortunately, when family life gets rough, communication tends to break down. And when it does, parents need to restore their ability to relate to their teenagers by learning about the rules of communication.
When the parent-teen relationship is strained or just needs improvement parents can utilize outside help to bring about a change. When necessary, one of the most effective ways of wielding indirect control is by having the teenager meet with a mentor. As a third person, uninvolved in family conflicts, a mentor is able to interact with a teenager and provide an informal means of solving problems at school, help the teen do homework or simply be a friend.
I once received a call from a forty-seven year old distraught mother whose seventeen-year-old son Moti had changed his style of dress, wearing jeans and refusing to wear a hat. She explained that he had gone through a difficult time in school and was now hanging around the house instead of studying in yeshiva. He was also mixed up with the wrong crowd and was associating with at-risk teenagers late at night on the street. She was very concerned as she had an older son who had gone “off the path” and was worried that Moti was going in the same direction. She believed that Moti could be helped if he would be willing to talk with someone.
In our rapidly changing world, the idea of control has begun to change quicker than anyone can imagine. A metamorphosis of unparalleled proportion is taking place and many parents feel that they are unequipped to deal with the challenges that it will demand.
Ruth had just recently discovered (from another parent) that Toby had been secretly dating a boy for over a year. When she confronted Toby about her boyfriend, Toby had adamantly refused to admit that she was secretly seeing anyone. Ruth was extremely distraught to realize that her daughter would do something against her wishes and asked if I could help.