Going off the Derech

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  • #1181346
    EzratHashem
    Member

    Sounds like there are power struggles to deal with there—your discomfort with him calling the shots, the other kids wanting you to restore the balance of power, and not wanting them to get the idea that calling the shots is an option for them too.

    #1181347
    Imaofthree
    Participant

    Zehavasdad, my daughter has been out of the house for several years and I think it improved our relationship, B”H. Why should I shun my daughter? I could never do that. My heart and home is always open to her.

    writeorwrong, I really feel for your situation. I am wondering if his teachers/Rebbe/principal know about what your son is up to these days. Are you able to talk to them and tell them that your son needs some chizzuk?

    I am also wondering why your son wants the computer if it doesn’t have internet. having been in your position, let me warn you that OTD kids learn to be very sneaky and you need to be very wary. You do not have to give or share your computer with him. He can get a job this summer or find ways to earn money to buy his own computer. That is my opinion but you of course should ask daas Torah.

    #1181348

    Being accepting is key in this situation….believe me I speak from experience! If you’d actually know what im up to you’d be surprised that I visit this site, but somehow somewhat I do occasionally for reasons not known to myself. Just letting it out there, had my parents not shown me the acceptance they do to this day, I would have been completely off. At this point I cannot say im all good, I’ll be honest im not. But thanks to my parents I didn’t trash the entire religion just yet! I’m confused like all at risk teens and by people constantly lashing out and giving ‘mussur’ so to speak, THAT drives us further away!

    #1181349
    msseeker
    Member

    “Tell me msseeker, if someone chas v’shalom has a child with cancer, do they kick the child out or put them away in an institution?”

    No, but if someone chas v’shalom has a child with a contagious fatal illness, they put them in quarantine with a bleeding heart in order to save their other kids.

    WOW, I understand your point. Just be on guard, talk to your kids a lot and listen to them closely. Keep the atmosphere happy, as difficult as it is. If your son will see what he misses by rejecting our way of life, he might reconsider. Much hatzlacha.

    #1181350
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Even if the child rejects your way of life, by rejecting the child you are ALSO rejecting potential grandchildren as well.

    Maybe the child will never come back, but Grandchildren love going to Bubbie and Zadie

    #1181351
    Imaofthree
    Participant

    msseeker, it is a very big shailoh and has to be asked from an adom gadol, not for something in the coffee room. I think my other children got stronger from it. If chas v’shalom I would have kicked her out of the house I think it would have gotten her siblings very angry and upset. Each situation has to be carefully considered.

    #1181352
    msseeker
    Member

    IO3, Agreed.

    #1181353
    soliek
    Member

    “If your son will see what he misses by rejecting our way of life, he might reconsider. Much hatzlacha.”

    there are many way of going about that and kicking a kid out is not one of them…nor is turning siblings against each other

    #1181354
    write or wrong
    Participant

    AZOLIS- makes sense.

    Wandering Teen-acceptance does seem to be the most important thing.

    msseeker- you are right, thanks.

    #1181355
    msseeker
    Member

    Wandering Teen, thanks so much for sharing your insights with us. Perhaps you can help me out here so that I can help other parents and understand OTDs better, including my relative. My daughter once told me that even if she had wanted to go OTD, she could never have done this to us, her parents. My question is, what makes OTD kids different from her? I’m not at all the huggy-kissy type, though I’m a very caring parent. You seem to be a thinking, feeling person who loves and respects her parents. Do you feel that being lax in Yiddishkeit is the worst thing you could do to them? If so, do you feel your enjoyment is worth their pain, or is it just too difficult to control yourself, or you just try not to think about it, or is it something else? I’m not judging you or trying to pry, just trying to understand something I’ve always wondered about. TIA for your reply.

    #1181356
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Msseeker.

    Lots of kids do things different than their parents. One could like Yiddishkite, but not love a certain kind of Yiddishkite.

    Some look at Chassidus as a wonderful thing and an amazing thing, and other look at it as a terrible thing. its just OPINION.

    You might look at marrying off your daughter at 17 as a wonderful thing to build a bais neeman b’yisroel with lots of wonderful children, others might look at it as being forced to marry a man they hardly know and become barefoot and pregnant.

    People who go OTD do follow different traits than their parents, but so do Baal Teshuva and converts. I know of converts and Baal Teshuvas that have cut off ties to their parents and relatives (and some have even cut off ties to their children).

    There is a difference between “enjoyment” and “deprivement” . There are plenty of things that can be enjoyed, but are forced “deprivement” because of Frumkite or Hashkafa.

    A simple example bought up many times is a Baseball game, Lots of people say here they dont go, and lots of people say they go. Are those who go to the game “Enjoying” the game or are those who abstain “depriving” themselves of the game.

    Its been quoted here many times, but Rav Shlomo Friefeld said, “If the only way we can sell our children Torah is by forbidding everything else, then we are bankrupt. “

    This is really a powerful statment. Kids see everything not “Hemish” banned and think Yiddishkite is terrible and want to leave.

    #1181357
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    We all know the Story of the Roman who wanted to learn torah standing on one foot

    Shammai chased him away and Hillel told him Love thy neighbor as thyself and the rest is all commentary.

    Many are behaving like Shammai. What you have a Question, Get out of here, You are expelled from your school or community.

    If we behaved more like Hillel, you might see a different result

    #1181358
    msseeker
    Member

    ZD, did you attempt to answer my question? I can’t see how. What’s your point?

    #1181359

    Msseeker,

    Usually something triggers going OTD. Your daughter probably just said that as an outsider, not knowing anything about whatever situation made her say it.

    #1181360
    daniela
    Participant

    WoW I have to say, it seems to me you and your husband have to take responsibility within this situation. You are the parents, you have to make the decisions. And you have to be considerate of others, starting from your own other children and continuing with the neighbourhood and with those considering a shidduch with your family in the future.

    Your son would not approve of you speaking with the rabbi? Do you need his approval? And why being expelled from yeshiva is suddendly such a terrible deterrent? I thought he was not interested in that lifestyle.

    #1181361
    derszoger
    Member

    zahavasdad: Following Shammai’s approach is 100% Torahdik. Eilu v’Eilu.

    #1181362
    Josh31
    Participant

    zahavasdad and derszoger,

    Shammai’s view is being mis-represented.

    He was dealing with a potential convert whom he saw as having unreasonable expectations. For someone who wants everything taught on “one foot” the 7 Noachide commandments could be his best path to spiritual growth.

    Once someone is already Jewish, both Shammai and Hillel would agree that a much different approach is needed.

    #1181363
    write or wrong
    Participant

    Wandering Teen- when you said, ‘part of it is feeling no connection for whatever reason”, do you mean to the mitsvos, the lifestyle or Judaism in general? Also, may I ask how old you were when you came to respect your parents? You show a lot of maturity and insight in your words.

    daniela-I agree with you that I feel we must take responsibility and make the decisions. But how do we force compliance? Like I said, I don’t think I could threaten to throw my son out of the house if he doesn’t conform. Yet we don’t seem to have any other leverage.

    When we wanted to speak with my son’s Rebbe, it was a while back when my son wasn’t looking to leave Yeshiva. And yes, if my son was dead set against us speaking to his Rebbe, then I wouldn’t. Although I would try to convince him to change his mind. I might have spoken to the Rebbe anyway, however, if I was positive that it wouldn’t get back to my son. But in this case, I wasn’t guaranteed that confidentiality.

    In line with what Josh31 said, I don’t think Shammai would have sent away a troubled Jew.

    #1181364
    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    I havent heard anyone else mention this but I find the extreme intensity of his being private to be worrisome. In some kids I know it was a symptom of sxl abuse. I dont throw that around loosely, Im just finding some of your descriptions unsettling in that way. Is it a possibility?

    #1181365
    msseeker
    Member

    WT, thanks so much for responding candidly (Hashem’s reason for the internet!) and respectfully. But I’m afraid I still don’t understand. You say you’re confused while you seem to trust your parents. So why don’t you just follow their ways blindly for the time being, without understanding why, until you figure things out? If you were lost somewhere and you knew someone trustworthy who knows the way, you wouldn’t hesitate to follow them. Is it that you’re not sure theirs is the right way? Still, isn’t it worth it just in case it’s all true and we have to give din v’cheshbon at the end?

    Ugh, I must sound like one of those musser zogers. Please understand, I’m not trying to lecture you, only trying to understand teens, especially my relative, who’d never grant me such an enlightening discussion.

    Another thing. You feel terrible about being a bad influence on your siblings, and you don’t want to hurt anyone (your parents I assume?). Yet this is not enough to keep you on the straight and narrow. Why? You’re not even enjoying what you’re doing! And you don’t seem at all spiteful or bitter. Now I’m even more confused than you are! Do I make sense?

    #1181366
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I am not a teen anymore, but I get it

    Teens are trying to figure their place in the world, Part of being a teen is seperating yourself from your parents. You need to explore life for yourself and sort of figure out where you belong in Life.

    Frankly a little rebellious is not so terrible, you need to learn from the wrong things too.

    Maybe in your communities this is not allowed. Teens days are filled with learning and More learning , no time for breaks or fun. Teen Girls days are filled with school and being a mommy by taking care of younger siblings. Then they become engaged at a young age even 17.

    the parents probably followed a similar path and dont realize that the kids need a “Different Dereach”. Jsut because there is a fork in the road doesnt mean the path diverege.

    I posed a poem for the OP , It was written towards a mother, It seems many did not understand the Poem, The Poem was saying that teens will rebel and when the time is right they will return and that is OK.

    I commend the OP for trying to keep her son. and the reason I dont have answers is people dont want to give answers, Answers exist, but they are not popular.

    Its alot easier to throw out a kid than wait the years required for the kid to mature a bit. I certainly respect someone who went off a bit and realized this mistake than someone who was a Tzaddik all their lives and dont understand lifes challanges.

    I read Soliek Story, And I really respect that, I dont condem his at all for the Video chat, I respect him MORE for doing it and realizing it was wrong.

    #1181367
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Sometimes one can learn alot more from mistakes than doing the correct thing

    #1181368
    daniela
    Participant

    w.o.w. it is impossible to give advice on what you should do, if you should allow your son to hang out with his friends or not, if you should allow him to sleep all day long or not, if you should allow him to use the computer or not, and so on. This, only someone with understanding and wisdom, and with expertise and common sense, and who in addition knows your son very well, can do. But there is also something which I think can be said. You and your husband are in charge and you must be. You sometimes seem to look up to your own confused son for guidance. You appear to believe that he decides and you have to live with his decisions, when it’s the contrary. Also, in response to the suggestion that maybe it’s possible to invite his friend to hang out in your backyard, you opposed a no, reasoning that you are not sure you’d be able to handle them. Yet your son is meeting them often, and in some random public place or private house. Can he handle them alone, at 16 and at a difficult time? Perhaps, but you have to think this out.

    I am not saying you should forbid or permit, as I said already. But you need to make a decision – one that you are convinced of, one that you feel you can defend in front of everybody, be your other children, your neighbours, your rabbi, and anyone else, now and in the future – don’t haste to make it, don’t search for a quick fix that does not exist, talk to people you trust, then think about it, then talk to them again. But then, make a decision and stick to it.

    What do you mean you can’t force compliance? And what do you mean throw him out of the house? Why would you, and even more, why would he? Does he have a source of income? Does not sound like it, on the contrary it looks like the boy could not even keep his bathroom clean enough and cook for himself and do the laundry, let alone take care of a house, let alone earn money to pay for it. Do you have family members that you can trust? where he could move for a few weeks? a grandfather or an uncle? If so, perhaps it’s not a bad option, but you don’t mention it.

    I think the problems of the boy have nothing to do with “off the derech”. I think they would be identical if he had been born in a non religious family and attended public school. He has no real idea of what he wants, except from a vague expectation that problems solve themselves by miracles and that the world is out there at our service. Unfortunately this is not how life and reality is. I do not mean in any way to belittle his pain, which, whatever the source, he is obviously feeling. But it does not help to let that pain destroy his life, and possibly more than his own. Many people have had to suffer the unspeakable and it is possible to rebuild a life from all sorts of shattered past. No doubt your son can do so, but at this time, whatever the reason, he does not want to. I believe you have not considered this – I know, we all wish it would never happen to our loved ones; but think about it the other way, he has loving family to help, and you are in a position to help and make a difference. He has a life in front of him. Picture him in a few years, picture his wife and their children….

    However you have not told us a very important part of the story, not even through your eyes. What does *he* says? Is that really, he wants to hang out with his friends and have fun (?) and wants you to support him with money, clean laundry, freshly made bed with pressed bedsheets, awesome food, justifying him in front of his siblings, schoolmates and rabbis, and shutting up the neighbours in case there’s some gossip? Has he said so? You know, you may be misinterpreting him and his attitude. Before assuming something, we need to make sure. He sounds like a sweet boy and not like that. Perhaps a boy who finds it hard to express himself, especially with you, but not someone like that. It’s important to be fair and to hear and listen to his side of the story. Perhaps the only reason he is not discussing with you his hopes and plans for the future, is that he does not dare, or perhaps it is that he is so worried and confused he can’t find a few hours to think clearly, but would do so in a few days as soon as circumstances change. You are in a short-circuit at this time, and so is he. Also his siblings do not seem to be able to reach to him. His friends, I don’t know, they may or may not (and in any case, it’d be your choice to talk to them or not to). But, you have to find someone. Try to think about it, to think about people you know and trust and who can help.

    #1181369
    write or wrong
    Participant

    Syag Lchochma-I know that sometimes abuse and privacy can go together, but in this case I think it’s just an insecurity on his part. He may be private, but he’s very verbal (or at least he used to be) and I think our home environment would have allowed him to tell us if something like that occured, chas v’shalom.

    daniela- it is difficult to force compliance, since I wouldn’t want to make “taking care of him” (ie laundry, food etc) contingent upon his compliance. Maybe I’m wrong, but I prefer to try to reason with him, and treat him like the ‘adult’ he wishes to be. How does a child feel his parents’ love, if not by the things we do to take care of them?

    Sending him to a family member is not an option. And yes, he does say that he wants to hang out with his friends. I tried to be the voice of logic, saying exactly some of the things you mentioned, and it’s obvious he’s not seeing the big picture, or the future.

    We did speak with someone who knows my son and he said that my son, deep inside, does not want to be with this chevra. It’s just that he has a deep need to feel connected, and he doesn’t have so many friends. He recommended we try to be a stronger support to him, maybe he’s testing our loyalty.

    I agree with zahavasdad about the poem. It’s not unusual for a teenager from religious families to feel that the yiddishkeit he is living, is not his, but his parents’. They don’t want to feel like they are blindly copying their parents’ will. After all, they are ‘grown up’ now, and want to make their own decisions. When and if this happens, they may test the waters, and pull back to see if this is genuinely the path they want to take. Then if they come back, it’s bc it’s their decision, not bc they were born into it, and the yiddishkeit is truly theirs

    #1181370
    daniela
    Participant

    It’s not unusual for a child to rebel a little bit, and in fact, it usually turns out to be healthy. But is this what is happening? From the outside, this is not what I see.

    You say he listens to terrible music, with curses and everything. But, he is not really rebellious. He is not standing up and saying: “I’m not interested in a frum lifestyle, which was imposed upon me as long as I was a child, and I am not interested in college either; I think my career is in disco music or in the show business, dirty words included: live with it”. If that were the case, I think supporting such a child would mean a lot, and possibly such a child would remain shomer shabbos and keep kosher and so on, in a secular environment, according to his wishes. But this does not seem to be the case. Plus, your son is a very sweet-hearted child, who feels embarrassed, who as your friend says, deep inside does not care for that music and time-wasting, and who knows why he hangs out with these boys? You assume he is seeking for acceptance, but instead, I suspect he might be *offering* acceptance to those kids. This is a child with a golden heart, and as such, he may be taken advantage of (not necessarily by his friends, who seem to be a little bit disfunctional, but overall, decent people) or simply he may be a victim of unfortunate circumstances. You realize that, due to stupid laws (which, however, exist), he can’t legally have a beer with his friends.

    #1181371
    write or wrong
    Participant

    daniela-I’m not sure I understand what you mean. If it’s not rebellion, what is it exactly?

    I see it as rebellion bc he is saying “I don’t want to be Haredi”, and sometimes he says he doesn’t want to be religious. Initially he rejected a bunch of things, ie tefillah, tsitsit, mitsvos, learning, etc but I’m hoping, he’ll find his own middle ground. My concern, and I’ve told him this, is that in order to really make a choice, you have to expose yourself to both sides, not just the chevra/videos/music he’s listening to. But also learning Torah, Yeshiva etc. But he’s still struggling.

    The friend told us that he didn’t think my son wants to really be with that chevra, but my son very much likes the music, and now seems to be addicted to it. He has no desire to break away from the music, and has said that even if he decides to stay religious, he still wants to see videos and listen to this music.

    #1181372
    far east
    Member

    WOW- ok so ive been following these posts for a while.. It seems like your son is going through a very standard teenage stage. He’s starting to question things about his life. He’s never really chose to be a frum jew, its been a lifestyle he he has been forced to grow up with. Inside hes questioning all the rules and challenges of being frum and saying to himself why should i be doing this. Contrary to what a lot of people think, i dont think this is necessarily a bad thing. It means he has a brain and is not just going with the flow. He clearly has an independent side of him thats bursting to be shown. Him being frum has to be a decision he makes on his own and it cant be forced into it or bribed into it. Its scary how many guys i know played by the rules until they hit their 20’s and then slowly went off the derech.

    Because of this i would encourage him to be independent and make his own life choices. If he wants to watch movies and listen to music there is nothing u can do to stop him he’s his own person. However if you see him encouraging your other children to do these things, simply and respectfully let him know that he’s free to make his own decisons, but youd prefer if the younger children arent exposed to these things.

    In a way i can relate to your son i feel like i was in a very simialar situation as a teenager. I remember listening to music in the car and my father nicely asking me why i listen to this music. I gave him the true honest answer, that i didnt think any jewish music compared to it. But i was extremely appreciative that even t this day he doesnt comment on my religiousness he understands i have to pave my own way. You can’t as a parent expect your son to mirror your religious observance exactly, but be respectful of his lifestyle and i promise hel be respecful of yours.

    The best advice i can give you now, is to tell you that your son badly needs a role model. A rebbi is possible, but the best person would be someone a few years older who he can relate to. That means this person should be someone who works/college but still keeps his religious values. Your son needs to learn that being frum doesnt mean you should be forced to learn in yeshiva 10 hours a day or wear black and white or anything like that (which it seems like he has no interest in). If someone does that kol hakoved, however you can still be a productive jew and not be a classic yeshivish bochur. There is an amazing fullfillment in serving hashem and your so just needs that spark to serve hashem in his way

    #1181373
    interjection
    Participant

    First of all, you seem like a great mother, that you really care for his best.

    I am an FFB but was OTD for some of my teenage years and up until a few months ago. It took a long time for me and my parents to come to terms with each other, but now we have a tremendous relationship and I love and respect my parents immensely.

    What frustrated me most about the system and caused me to lose interest were:

    1) From how I saw the system, there were so many inconsistencies in the way my teachers and parents acted and the way they expected me to act.

    2) As much as they (my parents and school) would say that they don’t expect everyone to follow a one-size-fits-all level of Judaism, everyone who does not follow their level of observance is radically in need of help (i.e. read the Dvar Torah from a Chayal blog)

    3) My parents and the school cared more for how others viewed them than about the individual child.

    IMHO a child first needs to learn responsibility before he can appreciate the Torah and Mitzvos. His role models need to exemplify integrity and responsibility. He doesn’t need to see that Judaism is ‘also’ fun; he needs to see how awesome Judaism actually is!

    About the computer, it seems more like he is testing you. Have him earn the money to buy it himself; it may encourage him to get a job.

    Sing your heart out all to the zmiros by the Shabbos meal! Bring up all your kosher experiences which could only happen in a Jewish framework (like something that had to have happened on Shabbos or Chag), and don’t make it appear like your trying to prove a point.

    Let your children see how much you love the mitzvos. It doesn’t need to be said, all they need to see is that preparing for Shabbos and waking up for minyan, truly makes you happy.

    Encouraging him to be productive is the first step toward building up his self-esteem. Give him space (but don’t be an enabler) while allowing him see that every single mitzva makes sense, and he’ll come back on his own.

    Be strong in your values for yourself so he sees Torah is true! If he and the rest of the children see that Judiasm is not only worth living, but that you truly are obsessed with it, be”H you should see nachas.

    #1181374
    mirik
    Member

    I have a son who was very close to going off and I tried many people until I found one person who was a good match for him and was able to relate to him. Rabbi Binyomin Ginsberg from Minneapolis is a great listener and my son found him to be someone that he was able to relate to. You can reach him at his school.

    Hope this helps.

    #1181375
    daniela
    Participant

    I don’t think it is rebellion, I think it is confusion, which in teenage years of course there is usually some friction with family, but I would not call it rebellion, he is not sure himself of what he wants to do. He rejects your lifestyle (but it seems to me he is committed to judaism, which is a huge blessing) but he has no alternative! Listening to that music is not a lifestyle, it may be something we do on the subway (or we may prefer reading, or whatever) but can not define an identity, no matter how many hours a day is done.

    He does not want to daven? Tell him “there is no jew who does every mitzva, there is no jew who does none, so, we are all in the same middle ground”. What you should do, is to enable him to daven and do mitzvot without feeling embarrassed, whenever he wants to (I suspect it accounts for most situations, and possibly to all) so that he can be observant (at least, as much as he wants to) and all that while retaining his self-image that he is independent, adult (he actually is), and different from a surrounding which, for some reasons that so far you don’t know, he feels as oppressive. If it is necessary, let him call himself non-haredi…. no big deal. Yes some fools may say a word or two, if so, proudly introduce to someone else in front of them your non-haredi boy, and they will shut up once for all.

    You’re lucky w.o.w. that you did not go through these difficult “growth pains” when you were his age 🙂 most people do, and sure I did. I suspect most rabbis too, would relate, but what do I know, I am no rabbi 🙂 yet, don’t dismiss that a rabbi may have been through the very same experience, possibly his own rabbis and teachers.

    Not sure if I can check again before shabbat, either way, shabbat shalom to you and all your family. And to your son’s friends too.

    #1181376
    write or wrong
    Participant

    far east- you make a lot of sense, and I think you’re right that a role model would help. He needs to see that you don’t have to be Haredi to be a successful Jew. But, should I keep my comments to myself? I mean, it’s kind of difficult knowing the music he’s listening to and the videos he’s watching. And it actually seems like he wants my approval, do I have to give it?

    interjection-thanks for the compliment, but I don’t really feel like I’m a ‘great mother’. You also make a lot of sense, and I will try to internalize what you’ve said. May I ask you what helped you to come back to the derech?

    mirik-thanks

    daniela-how do you see that he’s committed to Judaism? And what if he never wants to daven? This Shabbos, he didn’t daven at all (as usual). Should I let it go completely? My husband keeps trying to get him to go, but it ends up in an argument. Instead of waking my son up and telling him to go daven, I’ll usually ask him if he wants to go, but he always says no. A counselor that I spoke with said, I shouldn’t comment on any mitsvos he doesn’t do. Those are between him and Hashem. Only issues related to derech eretz, or responsibility etc.

    #1181377
    derszoger
    Member

    write or wrong: What country are you in?

    #1181378
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    wow

    I heard a speech from a Rav about OTD Kids given at the Agudah Convention.

    He said that even OTD kids for the most part have some connection. He metioned a girl who was pregnant from a non jewish man, but still wanted her new daughter named in Shul.

    Maybe he doesnt want to daven. Maybe there is something else. Right now I think its best to concentrate on those mitzvos he wants to do and not those he doesnt want to do

    #1181379
    interjection
    Participant

    One sentiment common among all OTD kids (really most teenagers in general) is that the most they are reminded of something that others, but not they themselves, think they should be doing, the more they won’t want to do it. Even if he might consider davening, the more it becomes a fight, the less interest he will have. He knows G-d thinks he should do it, but the more he feels your respect of him is dependent on his personal ben adam lamakom, the more he feels like you’re jutting into his privacy.

    I don’t mind sharing how I found my way back but I’m not sure how it would help. You mentioned he believes in G-d – I didn’t, nor did i believe in the validity of the Torah. Doesn’t seem like he and I were dealing with the same situation. Except what I said about proving that the Torah is awesome. Don’t try to be in competition with video games. Just however much pleasure you get out of keeping the mitzvot, work on yourself to love it more and the enjoyment will be infectious.

    #1181380
    Sam2
    Participant

    Write or wrong: If it’s a fight that you can’t win, then it’s better to let some things go for the time being and worry about keeping in connected in ways that he’s still interested in.

    #1181381
    write or wrong
    Participant

    zahavasdad- sounds right, but I’m not sure which mitsvos he really wants to do at this point.

    interjection-I agree with you that the more he thinks we want him to do something, the more he won’t want to do it. But I’m just wondering how to get a kid to want, or like to daven? Even if it doesn’t come from us, which seems inevitable at this point, where does it come from?

    Sam2-good advice.

    #1181382
    far east
    Member

    WOW- i definitely understand how its hard for you not to make comments to him. But i know from experience and being in a similar situation that hes in now, that people commenting on his life is probably the worst thing for him. He knows that you dont approve of some things even if you dont say anything to him. He’s gonna make his own decisions regardless. Like you said, he needs to see that he can be a frum jew without being charedi. He can still be completely frum and a great person while listening to music and watching movies.

    #1181383
    write or wrong
    Participant

    far east- I think one of my problems is that it’s hard for me to believe that a person can be completely frum, and be so immersed in the tumah of such music and videos. To me it seems like a contradiction. And it’s not like it doesn’t affect him ,bc he not only sings some of the songs in the house, but he uses the language/expressions that he learned from it. I’m afraid that eventually all that music/videos could pull him away even further.

    #1181384
    Imaofthree
    Participant

    He listens to music and watches videos? big deal! Pray that this is the worst he will do. I laugh when I remember the big deal I made over my daughter wearing short socks, little did I know what was to come.

    Hopefully your son is just going through a hard time and will get over this soon, but don’t flip out over the small stuff.

    #1181385
    write or wrong
    Participant

    Imaofthree-but that’s just it. The small things do mean something (in retrospect, now you can see that the short socks were a sign of things to come). It means that bigger things are coming! If it just stays at music and videos and doesn’t go further, then you’re right, what’s the big deal. But does it ever just stay where it is? I’m petrified that bc he’s also pulled back on the learning and davening, that this secular influence is taking over his life, chas v’shalom.

    #1181386
    msseeker
    Member

    Wandering Teen, if you’re wandering in here one of these days, please scroll up to see my post to you. I’ll be looking for your reply until this thread falls off the page. Thanks!

    #1181387
    far east
    Member

    WOW- its not a contradiction at all. I listen to music, watch movies, and even go to theatres…but i also daven 3 times a day, learn everyday, and try to follow halachah to the best of my ability. Is music good for my neshomah? i doubt it. But its something i enjoy and im not yet at the level to not do it. But im still completely frum i dont think its as bad as something like loshon horah or sinas chinam. I’m obviously not your classic yeshivish person, but your son doesnt need to be either. You cant as a parent expect your kid to follow every single one of ur customs, he has to build a life for himself and be his own individual. There are some things you do better then him, but undoubtly there are some things he does or has the ability to do better then you. I wouldnt be so worried about the tv and music, id be more worried about keeping him away from drugs. In his circles its very very common. As a kid we always used to joke about how drugs were the most hushed up problem in the frum community cause everyone was just in such denial. So thats the most important thing for him right now is to not get involved in drugs.

    #1181388
    Imaofthree
    Participant

    Of course the small thing mean something but if you make a big deal over it and let it take over your relationship with your son then you better believe you will be in for the bigger fun stuff, including drugs and mixing with girls and things that are a parents worst nightmare. Yes, I understand that you are not thrilled with what he is doing right now but try to be calm and see the bigger picture.

    #1181389
    write or wrong
    Participant

    far east- thank you so much for your perspective. You are right that it’s not as bad as lashon hara etc. My son even tells me, “What, it’s assur to watch videos?”. By strict halacha it’s not, but there’s always the fear that he’s absorbing foreign ideology and philosophy contrary to Torah. And then the real fear is that if it continues long term, it could pull him further away.

    #1181390
    Fashionablee
    Member

    write or wrong: I really hope you’re not taking any advice from the faceless strangers here. Please go to a frum, trustworthy Rabbi and therapist for help and opinions!

    Please! Get advice from people who truly care!

    May Hashem listen to all the prayers of mothers with searching children.

    #1181391
    write or wrong
    Participant

    Imaofthree- should I ignore it completely? If I ignore it, will it go away? I guess I have no choice, bc to focus on it would make things worse, from what you and everyone else are saying.

    Fashionablee-We have spoken with a Rav and a therapist, but I have to tell you that it really helps to get advice from people who give their pespective, either having gone through it, or bc they work with families with this problem. Hearing it here helps to reinforce what I have to do, gives me ideas, and helps to keep my focus. It’s also helping me to see my son’s point of view.

    How will I ever repay the kindeness you all have shown me?

    #1181392
    msseeker
    Member

    How will I ever repay the kindeness you all have shown me?

    By helping others. ?’??? ?? ???????? ??? ??????.

    #1181393
    Fashionablee
    Member

    I understand the tremendous chizuk you are getting, but some of the ideas presented here are detrimental for teens who need guidence and love.

    As long as you have appropriate help other than from your friends at the CR, then by all means, keep posting.

    Much mazel!

    #1181394
    Imaofthree
    Participant

    The most important thing is to have a good relationship with your son, and that he knows you love him no matter what. This way he will not do things that are really bad (drugs/girls) because he won’t want to hurt you.

    I went to a zillion Rabbonim and spent a lot of money on therapists. But this is the most important piece of advice I can give you.

    Hang on and be very patient, IY”H you will see he will turn himself around. Always keep the door open.

    #1181395
    daniela
    Participant

    I would not focus so much on mitzvot or lack thereof or his observance currently being “less than mehadrin”, because as I said, I think it would be the same if it were a secular family, then he’d seek excuses for avoiding sunday brunch or the baseball game or whatever else. This is one additional reason I believe it is a mistake for you and your husband not to step in and take responsibility. Please, keep in mind he is very vulnerable.

    If you feel you are lost, I believe you should go to your rabbi, the one you trust, and talk to him and then do what he says. Nobody, not even a qualified person (and I am not, nor do I know if other CR commenters are) is able to give sensible advice over the internet. Please, don’t rely upon us. I know we are anonymous to each others and the rabbi knows you, and we all, in your position, would rather not. But, we all sometimes have to say embarrassing things to the rabbi (or the doctor, or our spouse, or our parents, or worse it was found out by others), and yours does not even compare to some worse ones we’ve had to share and that I can, unfortunately, think of.

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