Thursday, September 1, 2016

Why Kids Stray From The Path

I just read an aricle by a frum psychologist on the phenomenon of kids off the derech. 37 pages to say one thing - it is ALL the parents fault. They didn't love their child enough. Had they loved their child enough it wouldn't have happened. 

Avaraham didn't love Yishmael enough? Why don't we see any pasuk blaming Avaraham for the probelm. Yitzchak didn't love Eisav enough??? If you look at modern Jewish history you will find children of tzadikim and gedolim who strayed from the path. They ALL lacked love?? I have a friend in the neighborhood who lives a block over who is FILLED with love for his children. He has a LOT of problems with them. He once gave me a whole speech about how one must love and love and love regardless of what the child is doing. And he lives that way. His wife goes out to buy their son his non-conformist clothing. So HIS kids suffer from a lack of love??? 

Ahhhhh - I think it is a big mistake to blame every parent of every kid off the derech. There are of course cases where the parents are all fault but it is a mistake to assume that this is always the case.

You have many families where 9 kids are GREAT and one is off. What happened?? They only loved the other 9? Or maybe the other nine stayed on miraculously despite the fact that they weren't loved enough. But if they could do it - so could child number 10. There are people who grow in up homes where there is a serious love deficit and yet they grow up to be fine [albeit emotionally wounded] Jews. Even Tzadikim. 

It is easy to point fingers and blame - it is more sophisticated to try to understand the MULTIPLICITY of factors that contribute to the downward spiral in a child's religious behavior. 

Here are a few - 

1] Natural inclinations - some kids are born off the derech. There is a condition called ODD - Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Kids who have it are IMPOSSSIBLE to control. There is no "no" in their lexicon. From age 0. Some kids have chemical imbalances. They really need medication and it is not always easy to find the right medication and the right amount. 

2] Learning difficulties - Not doing well in school causes kids to find other forms of "fulfillment". 

3] Modern technology and the yetzer hara's it serves so readily and easily. 

4] Abuse or negative experiences from a teacher, other adults or siblings.

5] Religious questions that they don't feel are sufficiently answered [and they don't have the patience to learn enough to find the answers].  

6] Attraction [in teenagers and above] to members of the opposite gender who aren't religious.

7] Homosexual or other such tendencies that make it hard to remain religious and in the community.

8] Evil. Sorry to say it but some kids are just BAD [to differing degrees]. Not politically correct but nevertheless true. How about Kapos in the holocaust. They were often more cruel than the Nazis. I heard about a formerly Chasidic boy who gave his parents over to the Nazis. And all of the children who told the Communist authorities that their parents were secretly practicing religion, causing their parents to be sent to Siberian work camps. There is evil in this world and it isn't limited to the Presidential candidate you want to lose. 

9] Poor education and religious satisfaction -  If a kid isn't enjoying Shabbos then he will text. If children aren't taught the beauty of Torah they might well stray.

10] Laziness - It is much easier for some to sleep till 12 Shabbos morning than it is to get out of bed.

11] Extended bachelorhood - It takes a toll and a large percentage become irreligious over time. 

12] Secular society and ideals that are so pervasive. 

13] A lack of love at home from parents. A broken home. Shalom Bayis problems. 

14] Many other possibilities. I have a friend who works with such kids and he told me that EVERY KID IS A DIFFERENT STORY.

So PLEASE stop blaming all the parents for everything.