Your Child’s Teen Years
by: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
Several weeks ago, Dr. Benzion Twersky and I delivered a parenting talk on the topics raised in this space over the past four months – sending children to Eretz Yisroel, dealing with alcohol and substance abuse, and many of the challenges facing our teens.
During the question-and-answer segment at the end of the lecture, a man got up and asked with great emotion, “OK rabbis; now what?” There was pin-drop silence in the room and lots of heads nodding in complete agreement as Rabbi Twersky and I contemplated our response to his question.
Truth be told, the feelings that this gentleman expressed are the sentiments shared by many parents these days. “OK rabbis; you got our attention. We agree that there are real issues that need to be addressed. We are frightened and perhaps confused. Now, what are we supposed to do about it”?
I turned on the microphone and softly responded, “Now, we need to parent.”
The honest answer is that the skill set that our parents used when raising us – or for that matter, what we may have used when raising our younger children – just may just not be enough anymore.
HANDS-ON AND EFFECTIVE PARENTING – YOUR CHILD’S BEST HOPE FOR SUCCESS
No, not all problem children are the result of bad parenting. There are so many educational, social, and emotional factors that have a significant effect on your child’ success in school and in life, many of them beyond your control. However, without a doubt, effective parenting can be helpful in dealing with a difficult (or an easy-to-raise) teenager.
The ubiquitous and highly-effective “Parenting – The Anti-Drug” ads that have been running the past few years were a direct result of the voluminous research (visit www.casacolumbia.org for many of their findings) conducted over the past two decades. The studies indicated that the greatest predetermining factor in the success of children – and their ability to stay trouble and drug-free – through adolescence, was the involvement of effective and knowledgeable parents in their lives.
THE CHANGING FOCUS OF THESE COLUMNS
I began this “Reflective Parenting” column with the intention of writing on generic parenting issues. In fact, the first six columns were on the tranquil topic of “Giving Constructive Criticism to your Children.”
After the horrific death of a yeshiva bachur in Eretz Yisroel due to a drug overdose and the arrest of four young men for drug pushing, I shifted the focus of these columns to matters related to the issues of substance abuse detection and prevention.
Now, over the next few months, I would like to address the issues related to parenting adolescent children
The objective of this series of columns is to help you with your first teenager. By the time you have raised your second or third teenager, you’ll be able to write columns of your own, if you can find the time and energy. I hope that this series of articles will help speed up the learning process, and help you raise your eldest teen effectively and painlessly.
It is my sincere hope that this series of columns will be helpful in guiding you through the most challenging and rewarding endeavor you will undertake: the raising of happy, productive, well-adjusted spiritual young men and women.
© 2005 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved
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