Sunday, January 16, 2022

If you are reading this right now, then the answer is probably yes, or you know someone who is having difficulty with their teenage son and maybe you can offer them some constructive advice after reading this article.

The word teenage presumes your son has become a bar mitzvah, regardless if the event was accompanied by a ceremony or celebration. To coincide with this, according to Jewish custom, he is then old enough to be obligated to certain responsibilities as well as rights. He is accountable for his behavior both on an ethical as well as moral basis. He can also perform mitzvot, such as fasting on Yom Kippur, participating in charitable events or activities, and wearing teffilin.A teenage boy can even be counted as part of a minyan.

On the other hand, even with many rights and responsibilities, a teenage boy is not yet considered an adult. In Mishnah Avot, it is indicated that a Jewish boy can only earn a living at the age of 20, and marry at the age of 18.

This poses a potential issue when dealing as a parent with your teenage son. He is supposed to have the sense to differentiate between right and wrong, but he will invariably perform certain acts which are not reflective of adult behavior. How should a parent react when this occurs?

Suppose that your 16-year-old son has a final exam at school in three days. You observe him doing everything but studying. He is filling his time with social activities, video games, and many other things—everything except preparingfor his test. As an adult, you are fully aware that the more he studies, the higher grade he will ultimately receive. You have educated him well as far as you are concerned and you cannot understand his disregard of his studies. Questions come to your mind such as, “How will he be accepted to a reputable university with this attitude? Should I stand back and watch him potentially fail? If I do approach him, what would I say and in what tone?”

At 16 years old, your son must experience the consequences of his actions. If not, he will never learn to make proper choices and decisions. It is very difficult not to impose your “opinion” on him. It is very difficult to sit back and ignore his actions, which you know categorically will not lead to him reaching his potential. However, you must do all of these things. Why?  If you bother him, you are sending him messages that you had no intention of sending. Messages like: you do not know how to arrange your time properly; you are not responsible; we do not accept you; we are disappointedin you, and so on. Your son will focus on these subconscious messages, and not even consider that he may need more time to study.

The end result of you giving your “opinion” will be a fostering of a feeling of being unloved and his lack of ability.It could create within your son a level of insecurity. You just wanted him to study as much as you think you would study if you were him. Well, you are not him. God made us all perfect, and perfect is your son. Let him live and learn on his own and become the man God intended on him becoming. What you can do is pray to God that he does well in school, and in all areas of his life!

Suzanne Savion Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Master Life Coach www.mastercoach.webs.com masterlifecoach_therapist.net

By Suzanne Savion

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