The Bible tells us of many teachings regarding children, particularly young adults, who depart from their homes. In modern times, Jewish teens are generally having a hard time even in the process of just planning to leave. This usually occurs during the ages of fifteen to nineteen when teens are conflicted of their freedom – to be independent or not to be? (It is the season of bar or bat mitzvah.) It can also be deemed that the attached rollercoaster of emotions to it (which will minimize in the later years.)
Anyway, for the information of all, here are the strategies to be diligently applied when it comes to teenagers wanting to leave their home, according to the Torah:
Home Is Tranquillity
It is a significant challenge for parents to address familial problems regarding adolescence. This stage is technically the age of transition, exploration, and identity crisis. To decipher which issues must be acted upon immediately and those that are not can be very tricky. This is the very reason why it is essential to have a tranquil set up at home in preparation for the upcoming years. In times like these, the Jewish tradition guides the parents for better coping of both parties – parents, and their young who wants to “spread his wings.” According to Carl E Pickhardt Ph.D., “Personal family living space matters more to the teenager than to the child”
A Zhitomer rabbi once told a story about an encounter with a drunken father together with his drunken son. He applauded the father for raising his son just like himself, but is it right to increase your son as a drunkard, such as yourself? The eventually pleaded that he must have a better influence on his son.
What is the lesson here? It is to be noted that children, especially adolescents, are very observant when it comes to the “whole package” of their parents’ personalities. They tend to imitate what they see and follow the footsteps of their parents. This is the reason why parents need to be conscious of their actions and hold back on their tempers when their kids are around. They must also be consistent in their parenting style so as not to avoid confusion and irregularities. “Research suggests that the most important way to help our kids feel secure is to make them feel safe, seen, and soothed,” Lisa Firestone Ph.D. wrote.
Why is this important? Your child is leaving home, and shortly, he will build a family and a home of his own. Do you want your child to copy your not so good ways? Will he be a good husband if he follows your not so tranquil practice? Keep this in mind all the time.
Being Open To Each Other
The concept of openness was emphasized in the Talmud (Sukkah 46b). There are tactics to avoid mistrust from both parties like setting up an environment with acceptable rules and regulations, and of course, an allowance for mistakes. Parents need to do their very best at opening up with their children and then trying to avoid behavior that can lead to rascal attitudes. “To build a sense of belonging requires active effort and practice,” Karyn Hall Ph.D. wrote. This will prevent your teens from rebelling against you, and then, they can be trustworthy.
Why is this necessary? Even as an adult, if your child is open to you because you have reared him to be such, his life will be better by your guidance. As his parent, you will want what is best for him and knowing that you two trust each other, it will foster a sense of security that whatever he confides in you, the outcome of that is for the best.
Next week, Part 2 of “Jewish Style Of Parenting” will come out.