Going off the Derech

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    First I think you should seek professional (Rav and or therapist) help for this with or without your son and spouse. As soliek said it sounds as if you are stressed and deserve to help yourself as well. Suggestions here are good but you need to have a tachlis conversation with someone who is experienced with helping parents and families deal with similar issues.

    That said I want to try and contribute my own suggestions for your consideration. I agree with what everyone here said about unconditional love. Does your love have boundaries? Can you conceive of situations that would cause you to lose that love? If yes then I would certainly bring this up with a (frum) therapist to discuss privately. If not then your challenge is to make your son understand this. He should feel that no matter what he can always come and speak to you and you will do your best to help in the situation. This is not a simple thing but it is important.

    Second is honesty. I dont agree with posters saying you should feign interest in something that doesnt interest you (e.g. rock music). Children are very good at detecting when they are being played. On the other hand I think he will increasingly respect you more for sticking to your principles. So when I said above that you would do your best to help, it does not include breaking your own guidelines – it does mean that you will listen, try not to judge, and help within halchic parameters. But no matter what, you are open to hear and will always love.

    I think your discussion with your child should be along the lines of:

    1. Will always love you

    2. Want you to speak to me (us) about <<anything>> that is troubling you and we will always listen and try to help

    3. I will never compromise my religious principles and will always be honest with you if you are doing something that i dont approve of (if asked or if I think it will help) but NEVER in a heavy handed way.

    4. I have certain guidelines that you must adhere to if you are to remain in my house (and if you do I will always have my door open to you). If you choose not to adhere to these guidelines and to leave I will always be interested in where you go and what you are doing and want to stay in touch as much as possible. If leaving is the resolution it should not be done by running away but by mutual discussion as much as possible.

    To your other children I would say that punishment is a tool used to keep children following parental rules. unfortunately their brother is beyond the help of punishment and that is very painful to you. Nevertheless you will always love all your children and very much want your child to return to Torah and as long as certain rules are followed this house will have to accept his presence (and show same love and kindness shown to rest of family). This does not mean in any way that this behavior is approved of.

    These are very difficult and delicate discussions and I think should be had (if at all) under advisement of an outside expert.

    Hope this helps and good luck!


    OP- yes, it definitely is easier said (written!) than done.I can see a very rebellious child not caring about those rules.

    I just thought it shows a lot of understading from the parents side, by giving your son his independence he now needs, and at the same time it show care and concern that he stay safe.

    Then you should also Daven and daven! Besoros tovos.

    write or wrong

    What came up last night was, that my son said if I want to keep him away from the chevra, I should buy him his own computer and let him do whatever he wants, watch any movies he wants, no getting involved. Should I consider this? My gut reaction is that I don’t really want to bring this into my house, and help him immerse himself further into the secular world, but on the other hand, it would keep him away from the bad crowd (hopefully). I was letting him use my computer periodically (without internet) to see Groveis movies, or transfer songs to his MP4, but when I realized he was somehow putting garbage onto his MP4, and hanging out with this crowd, I stopped it.


    I heard of a great camp called project extreme where they have a lot of hatzlach with such kids. It may be worth your time to check them out.

    The little I know


    Your attack on mental health professionals is unfortunate, and your recommendation of rabbonim or gedolim here is frightening and dangerous. You have the picture backwards.

    For one, therapists are not enthused or even indifferent to OTD. It is not normal, and is not condoned by therapists. To the therapist who is a goy or not frum, the behaviors we define as OTD may not appear as abnormal. But that therapist fails to judge a client by the culture from which he comes – a grave error. Fortunately, there are many frum therapists with expertise in this parsha. You can get referrals to them via the Nefesh International organization (nefesh.org), and Relief Resources is a referral agency for the range of mental health issues that is spectacular.

    Secondly, the greatest Rav or Posek may lack the competence to pasken or guide a situation in which he has no familiarity. This is not to minimize their Torah knowledge, but to recognize that there are many facts on the ground that must be known before achieving the competence and exeprtise to become a halachic authority in matters of halacha lemaaseh. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ZT”L invested many hundreds of hours studying about electricity before paskening shailos of chilul Shabbos related to chashmal. Most rabbonim do not understand kids at risk or OTD unless they invested much time with the subject. An earlier comment mentioned Rav Gluck of Areivim or Rav Zecharia Wallerstein. Both are active full time in dealing with this parsha. And there are others. But the true gadol will turn to professionals and seek their guidance, to which I am personal witness. As an earlier comment noted, you do not turn to your Rav to fix your car, nor to unplug a drain. I welcome the input from rabbonim and gedolim, but I reject guidance that has no basis of experience in the subject. This is not a swipe against Torah chas veshalom.


    You should absolutely not agree to it. The internet can be a portal to things much worse than bad chevra. Also, what is going to bind him to his word and not go back to the chevra. In three months he’ll be back with them regardless.


    about the computer, I don’t see a problem as long as you are able to monitor what is going on there, no illegal activity of any kind. What is it he does there?

    what sort of garbage on his MP4? I think this is the problem. He considers these songs as culture. I also don’t care for rap music lets call it. But for young people this music speaks to them.

    I would be most concerned about substance abuse at this point. The nature of that is that, they see that a little alchohol or pot is not so bad, so then they are offered the hard stuff, which is both addicting and toxic.

    I would forget about frumkeit for a while. He may likely come back when he sees that there is nothing out there but

    he has to see this not be told. like others have suggested you should contact those Rabbanim and others who work with kids in this situation. It’s very likely they have learnt the nature of the beast and their advice is best.


    Write or wrong (or should I call you WOW?) – if I were in your situation, I would hope someone would tell me this: please find a Rav/Rebbetzin/frum counselor/therapist to walk with you on this road. There are a few good reasons to do this:

    1. As much as we care about you and your situation, we (well, I for sure) know nothing about you or your son or your family. For truly good advice, you will need someone who has a much clearer picture.

    For example, I don’t think the advice about listening to his earphone would EVER work for me: not as a child – I’d view it as a boundary violation, and not as a parent – I’d view it as phony.

    Hopefully this person will help you gain insight into your child, give you practical tips of how to handle specific situations, and help you approach this challenge with optimism.

    2. You seem to be taking this personally. This is definitely a nisayon for you, but his frumkeit level is not essentially about you. It is not about what you did right or wrong, how you favored him or didn’t favor him – not at this point. That is history. You need to individuate; this will allow you to have your rational side be in charge of this situation.

    Many people like to assume that their successful children are a result of their successful parenting, but it just isn’t always the truth. Some awful parents have great kids, some great parents have terrible kids – we will only understand the reasons after 120.

    3. You have other children and you know you also need to take care of your emotional health for their sake. Please do.

    I will keep your son in mind in Birkas Hatorah and Ahavas Olam. He is Hashem’s child so we are only asking Hashem to do what He wants to do: to ignite the spark of Torah in his heart.



    I knew people who called themselves FFB-WSL (Frum from Birth With Slight Lapses)

    They freely admit they were wild as a teenager and accept this, its not uncommon. And frankly I dont think its so terrible.

    Look I know its against your Haskafa, but watching movies isnt as terrible as it sounds. Look I know many here will argue, But given the choice of watching movies or hanging out with his friends and possibly doing physical harm to himself. Which do you prefer?

    I do think you need to seperate “spirtual Harm” vs actual “Physical harm” . One can easily do teshuva from Spirual harm and I know of plenty who did, however there is no teshuva from “Physical Harm”


    Soliek, as far as ‘from now on’, I will have to find ways of showing him that I love him and accept him. But are you saying that in the past, he must not have felt that I loved him ‘for who he is’, and perhaps he is testing us, so to speak?? Meaning, maybe he felt that he’d have to ‘become a Rebbe one day’, for example, for us to love him?

    When I said I keep thinking of what I didn’t give him, I meant, emotionally, not materialistically. Perhaps materialistically, he was somewhat deprived, but emotionally? I can only remember showering him with love and praises, being truly impressed by his talents and abilities since he was born, not limited to learning Torah and mitzvos.

    Firstly, there’s nothing wrong with having expectations for a kid, and no I don’t think that would be it. And you may very well have loved him for whoever he was. I never meant to call that into question, and if that’s what you thought I meant then I’m sorry. Like I said it’s possible for a parent to show a kid the most love in the world, and then something completely external comes along and negates it. Nothing to do with you, don’t pin this on yourself. When I said love him unconditionally I meant for the future, I wasn’t referring to the past.

    RationalRose–All of that. Just…yeah. All of that. He needs to know that no matter what he does, you will always love him as a mother loves a son. Again, that does not mean you have to enable him, does not mean you have to give into his demands. You can set guidelines, and expect him to adhere to those guidelines (be reasonable but firm with them) but love him even if he breaks those guidelines.

    Don’t push it, but make him aware that you’re available to discuss whatever is on his mind. If he doesn’t feel like discussing religion, then don’t bring it up, but don’t shy away from being as overtly religious as you feel like being, and don’t feel a need to pander to his interests.

    Perhaps most important of all, don’t give up on him. I’ve dealt with parents who have gone through exactly what you are with your son and have given up on their kids. It may be hard, but don’t give up on him.

    What came up last night was, that my son said if I want to keep him away from the chevra, I should buy him his own computer and let him do whatever he wants, watch any movies he wants, no getting involved. Should I consider this?

    Absolutely not. That’s nothing short of blackmail. He’s not going to stop liking his chevra just because you buy him a computer, so don’t even bother.

    My gut reaction is that I don’t really want to bring this into my house, and help him immerse himself further into the secular world,

    Yep. No reason to enable him, or potentially influence your other kids negatively.

    but on the other hand, it would keep him away from the bad crowd (hopefully)

    It wouldnt. I wouldn’t say this applies categorically, but many times when a kid falls in with the wrong crowd it’s because the wrong crowd does something for him–it fills a void that he feels. Maybe it’s because they accepted him, acceptance is very important to teens. Maybe it’s something else. Who knows. But giving him a computer isn’t going to change the reason why he started hanging out with them in the first place.

    but when I realized he was somehow putting garbage onto his MP4, and hanging out with this crowd, I stopped it.

    If he wants it he’ll get it, but you don’t have to be the one who gives it.


    I like what adams said – to forget frumkeit for now.

    Focus on his safety and “middos”. Teach him that even though he doesn’t want to live by torah rules, he still has to be a good person.

    No drugs, no other illegal or dangerous activity, no dangerous people. And to have SOME structure to his day.

    Otherwise he can do as he pleases.

    Hopefully, this will teach him appropriate conduct, and perhaps he’ll return one day. At least he’ll turn out to be a decent person.

    Again, easier said than done. Hatzlacha.


    W/O/W: You are not alone. The grief that parents suffer with OTD is massive, but the potential for changing ourselves is also great. You will need to develop and strengthen your davening, sometimes all the advice on earth is well meaning but unproductive. And just a hopeful note about the residence situation: if your son does move out in the end, your relationship with him may improve at that point. Try to be involved with the decision of where he will move and with whom he will live. And afterward, find out what is his main mode of communication—typically these days it is facebook, but may be something else like e-mail. Then go there and communicate with him that way. As long as he stays in your home, the relationship with his siblings has to be a priority. Each kid is probably having their own reactions, and it is worthwhile to seek some private time with each one to let them air their concerns to you. It’s OK I think to let them know you are sad, but give them chizuk at the same time if you can find the right words that will reach each child’s heart.

    And finally I want mention that it is a disaster for all of us, that a parent suffering this massive grief must turn to an internet blog for support and advice, and it is indeed offered and received well here. Where are all the in-person support networks for parents and siblings of OTD, all of whom are grieving deeply? I hope this matter will be considered well at the upcoming asifa on internet. How will you keep children away from internet when adults depend on internet to fill large gaps in support in the community? And one other point, please don’t use therapy as the final solution for every difficult problem. We have heard it ad nauseum, and at this point we have heard from many who followed this advice and found it ineffective.


    The computer is the worse thing for an off the derech sixteen year old boy. Makes it easy for them to hook up with people that are not good for them.

    You ask how I deal with having a daughter that is off the derech? well, it’s been a long time, we tried everything. Now I just daven. and cry.

    a mamin

    What I also want to add here is WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER CHILDREN IN THE HOUSE?? They also need to be addressed. Write or Wrong: I truly admire your courage!! May Hashem guide you in the right direction!

    write or wrong

    Soliek-How can I deal with his anger when it sems like everything makes him angry?

    Bochur613- the only thing he’d want us to buy him is a computer, which would allow him to immerse himself in the garbage even more.

    ir- you are right.

    RationalRose-it’s not that my love is conditional, but my son knows that certain things would upset me, and perhaps he wouldn’t open up as a result. Also, should his leaving the house really be enforced if he doesn’t comply with house rules? I’m afraid he’ll end up living with a bunch of these street kids.

    write or wrong

    Smartcookie- I’m definitely davening!


    The little I know- I think there is a place for both therapists and Rabbonim in this kind of situation, and my husband has already spoken to his Rav, and we plan to speak also with a therapist.

    Adams- I really don’t think there is substance abuse at this point, although he may be smoking cigarettes and drinking occasionally, perhaps just to experiment.

    write or wrong

    thehock-you are right, thank-you.

    Zahavasdad-thanks, it makes sense.

    Soliek-I am just trying to find possible reasons for why this may have happened, I don’t take any offense to anything you’ve said. Quite the opposite, I appreciate everyone’s advice and perspective.

    You also make a lot of sense, I agree with you about the computer. It’s just that I’m kind of desperate for a solution.

    I must tell ALL of you that I truly was falling apart, and still have my moments. But you are all heaven sent angels, and are helping more than you’ll ever realize. I told my husband that I don’t think I could have coped at all, even to the point of considering getting myself help if you hadn’t all reached out as you did. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all of you.

    write or wrong

    EzratHashem-I really hope it doesn’t get to that point. Anyway, where would he go?

    Imaofthree-I will pray for your daughter, may she come back to you!


    “Soliek-How can I deal with his anger when it sems like everything makes him angry?”

    I don’t know because I don’t know the specifics of what you’re dealing with.

    “even to the point of considering getting myself help if you hadn’t all reached out as you did.”

    Not sure what you meant, but i would suggest that you speak with a therapist about all of this. We can just offer you broad advice here, but if you need help with specifics you need to talk to professionals.


    the following advice is not really for the OP

    Ive seen people here discuss drinking wine touched from an OTD child and my Brother-in-law also disussed it regarding a “Rasha” child.

    Ive also seen stories where OTD children were forced to eat from paper plates (as opposed to real Dishes)

    (Both cases occured in the Frum parents house so Kashruth was not an issue)

    This is terrible advice and behavior I have seen, Not only will you not bring back the person, you will make them even more angry.

    Tough Love as some have suggested is not always the best medicine, It CAN and DOES backfire


    w/o/w: consider how he is spending his time now, according to your post, he is either with friends or sleeping. So the question is what is the most productive and realistic thing he can do with his time now. He is refusing yeshiva options, and I have to say from personal experience at this stage it might not be the worst thing if he doesn’t go back to yeshiva now, only because of what he may have to go through to find the right yeshiva shidduch at the moment. The search for a yeshiva shidduch for an OTD kid can push him further, as it can be grueling with all of the applications, rejections, trials & expulsions, etc.. So what should he do? He is 16, and he could, if all agree, get a job. And once he is working, either the situation at home will change for the better, or, he will have the means to take a small apartment or room on his own. You are right, I hope it doesn’t come to that point, it’s better if you can find a way to keep him home.


    Hi WoW

    Please do not follow this advice w/o speaking to someone. I do not know your situation and am not a trained therapist or a poseik. I am just offering something to think about and maybe discuss with someone experienced before taking the drastic step of asking a child to leave. I also don’t know the legal or practical options with a minor. What I meant was if you really think the other children are in danger of following and the behavior is so destructive that it is causing serious damage to shalom bayit then I think you can make very clear last resort rules and expect them to be followed. I think that is showing respect to your son by giving him the responsibility for his actions. In any case laying down these rules must not be done in anger or haphazardly but with seriousness and couched in all the love you can muster.

    I am glad you are finding some Chizuk here. We are all with you and hope for the very best for you and your family. Please now take the next step and find someone trained in these issues to help you get through it.



    I think something you wrote in another discussion explains why your son is OTD and hangs out on the street: “He went through a tough period in school where the kids made fun of him…”

    His school friends don’t accept him, whereas the street kids do.

    It’s good that all adults are showing him love, but I think that he needs acceptance from his own peer group. It seems to me that he may need a new peer group. Even if his present (or should I say past) group of classmates don’t bother/ostracize/reject him, they still have lost all credibility with him. He will not forget what they did to him.


    maybe bye him the computer but put a lock on it so if hes watching movies its only pg13 or st



    It is against the US law to kick out minors under 18 and not only is it illegal.

    Imagine if the news got the story that a 16 year old was kicked out of his house by his parents for watching Movies and listing to music.

    It would not go over very well

    write or wrong

    Baalsechel, I wouldn’t agree to the internet if I give him a computer, but you’re right, I can’t guarrantee he will keep his word and stay away from the chevra.

    adams- I’ll tell you the truth, I don’t really know what he is doing on the computer. He doesn’t have internet, but he has his MP4, a disc on key, and an external hard drive. He says he’s ‘trying’ to organize and erase some of the stuff on there. I may be naive when it comes to these things, my fear is that he gets things elsewhere, and then puts it on his MP4 somehow, but he practically swears that he’s really trying to get rid of some of the stuff. I’ve been a little lax with him bc I figured, without internet, he can’t really be accessing anything horrible. By the way, he still begs me everyday for the computer. In some way, this is perhaps my only leverage.

    Soliek- “You can set guidelines, and expect him to adhere to those guidelines (be reasonable but firm with them) but love him even if he breaks those guidelines.” My question is how to enforce he adhere to guidelines?

    EzratHashem – I’ll tell you, I think it was a “lifeline” that I could turn to the internet blog for support, and I’ll tell you why. I can’t disuss this with my friends for a number of reasons. One is fear, mine and theirs. My fear of their reaction, and their fear of me and my famiy as a result. People do look differently upon families with kids otd, and my community is no exception. It’s not right, but it’s the way it is. Perhaps it’s unconscious, or unintentional. When I started going through this, I was completely alone. I still feel alone, except when I go to this blog! I’m also still hoping my son will come back, and I don’t want them to think badly of my son. Maybe he’ll “come back” before anyone notices.

    write or wrong

    Zahavasdad-I could never go that far with my son, and make him feel like an outcast.

    write or wrong

    EzratHashem-At this point, it doesn’t matter what I want, either Yeshiva or job. He doesn’t want to do anything. He’s really just escaping, living a lazy life and I don’t know how to get him to do anything else.

    RationalRose- I am concerned for my other children, and I guess if things don’t improve, I will have to consider all options. But it would be very difficult for me to send him out of the house. During one heated screaming match with him, where I said that if he wanted to live with us, certain house rules would have to be maintained, he actually told me that I’m obligated to take care of him until age 18.

    write or wrong

    MDG- You are absolutely right. But a peer group is the one thing I cannot provide. Believe me, I’ve spoken to my husband about even moving to a different neighborhood, (since my son would never agree to switching schools). My husband felt that it wouldn’t solve the problem, bc the damage has already been done. His self esteem is low, and he will look for these types of kids at this point no matter where we live.

    write or wrong

    A maamin- you are right about the other kids. I’m probably not the best mother to them right now bc of all this. Thanks for your bracha.


    w/o/w: Again, speaking from experience, I would say there are 2 things that cannot coexist: helping your child and at the same time trying to hide him because of worrying about what the community will think. One thing for sure, our kids have sensitive antennas and if we are ashamed of them, they pick it up quickly and resent it. So as difficult as this step is, it is really step one: make your son the priority over your reputation in the neighborhood. And of course, this is where a support network would be invaluable, but I cannot tell you where to find one.

    As for how he spends time, he may be content with laziness for the time being, but eventually he will probably realize that he can acquire things for himself if he works. It may be that the idea of work doesn’t occur to him, or he thinks there is no job he can do. I don’t necessarily think this is the correct path for him, it would be better if he could connect to someone who would turn him back on the derech.

    It’s interesting how he is challenging you, by letting his sibs listen to the forbidden music and warning you that you have to support him until 18. Could it be that he is daring you to show strength and resolution? It does sound like he has an agenda of some sort, have you figured out what he really wants, other than a computer?

    If the teasing/bullying is really the motivator here, it can be a rough road ahead. Been there.


    w/o/w, BTW, I don’t know your family, but in today’s world it is not a stretch to say your son may already be spending considerable time on the internet with friends, maybe even reading YWN Coffee room!


    “My question is how to enforce he adhere to guidelines?”

    Depends on the guidelines. The only thing you can really try to enforce is how he behaves when he’s inside the house, so that depends on what he already does inside your house and what you don’t want him doing inside the house.

    About your neighbours and the community…trust me when I say that worrying about stigma will only make your life harder, not easier. That’s not to say that you have to go around handing out fliers saying “Hey! look! my kid is OTD!!!” but don’t bother trying to keep secrets. It will come out anyway, and when it does you’ll be embarrassed for hiding it in the first place, and it just gets in the way of you doing what you need to do for your family. Also when a kid knows that you’re ashamed of his image in front of others it’s very degrading and kills self esteem.

    Back on point. How to enforce it? Your only real threat is to kick him out and that shouldn’t even be on the table unless he does something exceptionally unacceptable. When you talk to him and lay down guidelines, speak gently but firmly, and from your heart. Respond to his anger as calmly as you can, and tell him how you feel about it. You don’t have to be a wimp about it, but expressing your feelings will disarm him in the long run, and send the message that you really do love him despite this rough bit. Tell him why you need him to keep these guidelines, bring up the siblings, do not bring up the neighbours, or shadchannim, or any kind of reference to public image.

    If you can, I would recommend having an honest and frank conversation about all of this with him. Don’t talk down to him, or treat him like a kid. If he wants independence and adulthood then treat him as such. Honest conversations never hurt. Even if he yells at you again, he will eventually remember it all when he feels like coming back. Lay it all out for him. Explain that adulthood comes with responsibilities, among which includes acting responsibly around his younger siblings, etc.

    Just one more thing. The fact that you’re asking for advice here, and judging by your posts here, it is evident that you love and care for your son and his wellbeing very much. I would have been honoured to have a parent like you, and I wish you hatzlacha with your son. Many of the parents I’ve dealt with aren’t half as caring as you appear to be.

    I keep thinking of more things to say, I’ll wait for your response before I say any of it.

    Baal Boose

    Write or wrong.

    First of all, many many times the parents have an impossible task. King Chizkiyahu himself was foretold by a Novi of Hashem that his grandson will grow up wicked, and there was nothing he could do to prevent it. And he was a righteous and caring powerful king. The grandson? King Menashe!

    You could drop a hint that he can come with his friends for Friday night.

    Do you love Yiddishkeit? How do you express it? Are you happy?

    This is a tough one, but try and give him direction in life without preaching.

    Important; Make the home and the Shabbos table a happy and fun place to be.

    Please be moichel me if I have offended you.

    If you comment I will attempt to reply.


    Wow: A computer in the hands of a frum erlicher person can make that person no longer frum nor erlich as has happened unfortunately to too many people (even those who still look & act frum). It is the absolute worst thing to get for a confused teenage boy.

    Hashem should give you koach and siyata dishmaya.


    If u were talking to the kid and not to the parent what would u tell him?

    write or wrong

    EzratHashem-It’s hard not to care about what the community thinks, everyone tries to keep their kids away from these street boys, and now my son has become one of them! But I accept your point that we have to make him the priority, bc it would only validate his fears that we don’t care about him, if I was more worried about the neighbors.. I don’t know what else he might want, other than a computer, and it may be true that he has access to internet outside the house. Which is another reason I should try to keep him home

    Soliek-you make a lot of good points, so it sounds like I still don’t have any (good) leverage with him. I’d have to reason with him during a good moment and try to get him to agree with complying with house rules on his own. At this point, the house rules for him are to speak to his parents respectfully,as we speak to him, and to get rid of (or perhaps seriously reduce) his anger. I told him that as a parent, I am obligated to know where all my children are, who they are with and when they will be home. To some extent, he is trying to comply.

    Thank you for your compliments. I hope I live up to your words..


    “At this point, the house rules for him are to speak to his parents respectfully,as we speak to him, and to get rid of (or perhaps seriously reduce) his anger. I told him that as a parent, I am obligated to know where all my children are, who they are with and when they will be home. To some extent, he is trying to comply.”

    sounds like a nice tacit understanding

    “-It’s hard not to care about what the community thinks, everyone tries to keep their kids away from these street boys, and now my son has become one of them!”

    yochanan kohen gadol became a tzeduki after 80 years in service…if your neighbours can swallow that they can swallow what you and your son are experiencing

    write or wrong

    Baal Boose-thanks so muuch for all your words. It made me think of our Shabbos table. Usually, my son won’t come to seuda, although his place is always set. It’s not like he isn’t home (sometimes), he’s just in bed “resting”. I don’t know if he’ll ever feel the same sentiments as the boy in your story, my son feels it as pressure, and doesn’t want any connection to it. If anyone were to ask any of the questions you mentioned, my son would just say, “who cares?”

    Computer777-even without internet??

    write or wrong

    Anybody have suggestions as to how to handle Shabbos, where my son will probably sleep through shacharis, miss seuda, get up around 12 and eat cornflakes, then leave until late in the day, or ’til the evening? Not to mention that tonight, if he comes to seuda, he will leave quickly afterwards until past midnight?

    I wish you all a Good Shabbos, in case I cannot get back online later today.


    Well, off the top of my head I would say that any chillul shabbos should be kept private and away from the rest of your kids. If he feels like watching a movie, listening to music, or whatever else he may feel inclined to do, he should do it from the privacy of his own bedroom. As far as meals go, if he decides to show up for one, then kol hakavod, and for as long as he’s at the table he’s as much a part of the family as anyone else. And as for leaving early and staying out late, missing shacharis, and sleeping in, why is that different than any other day?

    I mean, to someone who doesn’t feel kedushas shabos, or appreciate it’s gift, it really is no different than any other day of the week. Although you may understand that it’s not, he obviously doesn’t. So as far as he’s concerned, treat it like any other day of the week. You can invite him to participate in whatever the family is doing, but don’t push it too much.


    I wanted to clear up MP4, I think you mean MP3

    All that is , is probably music. It might not be music you would like, but its simply music.

    When many of us were younger we collected Albums, Cassettes or CD’s, today Kids collect their music on MP3.

    It COULD be Vidoes, but unlikely as video takes up alot more space than music does and usually does not mean a Flash Drive.

    Its probably also an MP3 Player / Flash Drive.

    Many of the Cheaper MP3 players (Not Apple iPods) look like Flash Drives


    I am as far from a Rav as possible, but as far as Shabbos is concerned, Dont worry about it now, for many Teens especially its a terrible day.

    While many here look forward to Shabbos as a day of Davening, Learning and Rest for a teenager its a day they cant listen to the Radio, Cant Use the Computer, Cant Drive to their friends house, Cant Talk to their friends on the Phone or computer and basically a day of NO , Cant do this, Cant do that. In fact all they can do is Eat Sleep and Learn a Sefer which they find unplesant.

    My advise is try to get him to do things that are “Not Shabbosdick” but not Melacha either, Like Play basketball or stuff like that. (Yeah I know many arent going to like that advice, but the choice isnt Basketball or Learning, Its basketball or driving to the mall)


    “I wanted to clear up MP4, I think you mean MP3”

    MP4 players play video

    write or wrong

    Soliek-thanks for the tips. And just to make one point, my son is not (yet) mechalel Shabbos exactly, he just doesn’t go by the general halachos.

    zahavasdad- It’s not an MP3, it might even be an MP5 bc it does have videos. You are so right about Shabbos feeling like a day of ‘no’ to him. But…something interesting just happened. Someone from his Yeshiva just called to say there is a Shabbaton at his Yeshiva tonight, and told him to come. I told him to think about it, rather than say no outright. Maybe if he goes, it will spark something in him to consider returning to Yeshiva next week. I’m hoping!


    I do think you should make contact with one of the Rabbi’s or orgnizations mentioned, asap.

    One thing about the computer, there is you know alot of Torah that can be read and listened to, different Shiurim or many topics. Possibly different sort of frum communities that may be of interest.

    Realistically, lets say, he is likely interested in meeting girls this way. I am only surmising this sort of social thing i have no clue.

    You aren’t going to stop this Taavah you know. So maybe funding or making sure he has the Shiurim on MP3 or the interenet is your prerequisite. IN your own time, investigate who is a dynamic speaker or MAggid shiur online. I personally like Rabbi Mansour, he has a warmth and intellectual rigor that your son may relate to.

    But looking and meeting girls you can’t prevent I don’t think if he is so inclined.


    adams: That’s a nice ideal, but don’t kid yourself. You don’t enable something even if it’s going to happen based on a remote possibility.

    write or wrong: That’s good to hear 🙂 Then just let him do his thing as long as he isn’t spoiling shabbos for the rest of the family or being an actively negative influence.


    W/O/W, too much to post about Shabbos today, but just wanted to tell you again, you should not feel alone, your descriptions of your son’s behavior on Shabbos were so familiar, right down to the cornflakes at noon… Have a peaceful Shabbos.



    Honestly people who listen to Rock and Pop music are not going to listen to a Shiur.

    There is no such thing as MP5. It must be both MP3 for Audio and MPEG for video files.

    I wish I had answers for the OP, because I dont, I only know the questions and I am a realist and know many of the answers given here wont work


    ” I wouldn’t complain if he ends up with a good job with a kipa on his head…”

    instead of “not complaining” about this outcome, maybe it should be encouraged….

    Our Yeshivas need options, real options for those who are cut out to be in Kollel their entire lives.

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