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Forcing a high school boy to go to shul on shabbos
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amother




OP
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 6:19 pm
My high school son decided a few months ago that he's off on shabbos and he doesn't want to go to shul. Not the shul dh goes to and not any other. He went on rosh Hashanah and YK. He is stubborn beyond description. Dh put his foot down yesterday and yelled, screamed and threatened. It sort of worked as my son went but it was awful.

Can anyone advise? Should we force? If we don't force he won't go. My friend was saying going to shul needs to be a positive experience and yelling and threatening is not the right way and we should let him stay home.
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octopus




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 6:21 pm
I really feel for you. But I don't think you should force either. If he is davening at home I wouldn't make a big deal.

Teenagers are a fickle bunch. This is how your son is pushing the boundaries. Doesn't mean he will never go to shul for the rest of his life. Teenage boys also have insane 12 hour days in high school. It's really hard.


Last edited by octopus on Sun, Oct 03 2021, 6:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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amother




Sunflower
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 6:21 pm
That must be so painful.

I have no experience with teens- my oldest son is 11- but my Dh is very into not forcing at all. My boys only go if they want to.

But I don't know how that would play out with over bar mitzva.

Can you reach out to a mentor in real life?
Hugs
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amother




Papayawhip
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 6:24 pm
Is there someone he would talk to about it? I would consult your rav but I wouldnt force him. Let him go through a phase. Having to fight him could have terrible consequences.
You should try to find someone who he could look up to or respects to gently talk to him about it. To me it sounds like he wants a day to relax (which sounds reasonable to me) and wants a bit of freedom. How is he other than this issue? In terms of Yiddishkeit/school?
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allthingsblue




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 6:30 pm
No. You shouldnt force. If you do, you will ruin your relationship with him AND cause him to hate shul. The second he’s out of your “control” he’ll stop going to shul altogether.
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Hashem_Yaazor




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 6:47 pm
Speak to his rebbe/rosh Yeshiva.
Speak to your son, see what bothers him. Is it getting up early? Is it the length of shul? Is there something he is willing to do? Is there something he's willing to earn to make it more appealing for him to go?
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amother




Dill
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 6:54 pm
My 16 year old son is not a big shul goer. Honestly, it's embarassing, as we are a "normal frum family" (whatever that means)-- but he really does not like going to shul, and will often spend shabbos morning sitting on the couch reading Garfield or some other completely riduculous activity. If he does go to shul, he spends half the time in the lobby shmoozing with any random person he can strike up a conversation with.


We've spoken to Rabbonim about this, and we basically ignore it. Definetly no yelling, screaming, threatening. It's between him and Hashem. Not my problem (it took me a while to accept that it's not my problem, but that's the truth!). I'm still working on internalizing the idea that his lack of chashivus or interest in davening is not a reflection of us as parents, but it's the truth.

To answer your question, no you shouldn't force. What would you accomplish by forcing? His davening is between him and Hashem. You and your husband need to stay out of it (sorry if I sound harsh.....that's not my intention! )

hatzlacha!
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amother




Bellflower
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 6:57 pm
amother [ Dill ] wrote:
My 16 year old son is not a big shul goer. Honestly, it's embarassing, as we are a "normal frum family" (whatever that means)-- but he really does not like going to shul, and will often spend shabbos morning sitting on the couch reading Garfield or some other completely riduculous activity.


We've spoken to Rabbonim about this, and we basically ignore it. Definetly no yelling, screaming, threatening. It's between him and Hashem. Not my problem (it took me a while to accept that it's not my problem, but that's the truth!). I'm still working on internalizing the idea that his lack of chashivus or interest in davening is not a reflection of us as parents, but it's the truth.

hatzlacha!

Same here. I have more than one teen this way and it all started after being in quarantine during Corona. We ignore it. I see that when they feel up to it they do go. Also, we may move because it seems like my kids are not happy with the shuls in our neighborhood and that may be causing the issue.
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amother




Electricblue
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 7:00 pm
Did u try bribing? We offered $10 every time my 10th grader went to shul. We gave more for slichos or chol hamoed when davening was longer. He’s saving the money up and it doesn’t always work he likes to sleep late but if he goes 4 times that’s $40 so it adds up.
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amother




Dill
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 7:03 pm
amother [ Electricblue ] wrote:
Did u try bribing? We offered $10 every time my 10th grader went to shul. We gave more for slichos or chol hamoed when davening was longer. He’s saving the money up and it doesn’t always work he likes to sleep late but if he goes 4 times that’s $40 so it adds up.


that's a great idea! If that works for your kid, that's amazing! Applause
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keym




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 7:25 pm
Depends on the personality of the child.
But I found a huge difference when we started going to a different (equally yeshivish) shul that encouraged the teens to participate in the davening. Bachurim daven for the amud frequently even on Shabbos and Yom Tov, Bachurim lain if they want, and they give aliyos to teens to reward attendance in shul, but equally as frequently as the married men.
This helps boys feel involved and part of the minyan and encourages boys to come. I guess it's more motivating to get out of bed and go to shul for a chance to be an active participant rather than a spectator.
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Hashem_Yaazor




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 7:30 pm
One more thing: when you yourself daven, daven for your kids to also want to daven...

I think this is more common than people realize and especially post covid, it became worse. You're not in this alone.

I will say having an incentive really helps.
When one son expressed interest in a certain item, I said I'd be happy to buy it for him if he made it it shacharis for all Shabbos/YT days. And he did make it, BH. (Weekdays weren't an issue.)
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amother




Wheat
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 7:45 pm
Are there any shul’s in the area that has a youth minyan

Perhaps the rabbi of that minyan can “hire” him to help him with the kids, like a madrich

This will make him feel important, responsible, etc.

The job should come from the rabbi direct.
If funding is a problem, you find it
But don’t let your son know it’s coming from you
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amother




Brickred
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 7:51 pm
amother [ Dill ] wrote:
My 16 year old son is not a big shul goer. Honestly, it's embarassing, as we are a "normal frum family" (whatever that means)-- but he really does not like going to shul, and will often spend shabbos morning sitting on the couch reading Garfield or some other completely riduculous activity. If he does go to shul, he spends half the time in the lobby shmoozing with any random person he can strike up a conversation with.


We've spoken to Rabbonim about this, and we basically ignore it. Definetly no yelling, screaming, threatening. It's between him and Hashem. Not my problem (it took me a while to accept that it's not my problem, but that's the truth!). I'm still working on internalizing the idea that his lack of chashivus or interest in davening is not a reflection of us as parents, but it's the truth.

To answer your question, no you shouldn't force. What would you accomplish by forcing? His davening is between him and Hashem. You and your husband need to stay out of it (sorry if I sound harsh.....that's not my intention! )

hatzlacha!


That’s amazing that you can do this!
My husband is constantly saying how there needs to be youth minyanim that are quick, and have a nice kiddush after to make shul into a positive experience for boys.
Maybe ask around if there’s any fast minyanim with a nice davening and nice kiddush after and then mention it to your son in a nonpressuring way.
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amother




Babyblue
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 7:53 pm
The first thing you should do is take yourselves out of the picture . This is about doing what’s best for your son and his future.
Show him that you care about him. Try to find out what is holding him back from going. Work on solutions to his challenges- but for his own benefit. The second that it becomes about you or your dh and your image, is becomes a losing battle.
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chocolate moose




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 8:01 pm
how does he do in yeshiva? does he have a problem with yiddishkeit and authority?
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amother




Black
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 8:08 pm
Talk to someone familiar with teen boys today

Is there a later teen minyan in your neighborhood. Starts later. Kids lead davening. Sit down kiddush. Feeling of comeaderie. Dh started one by us a few years ago snd it’s been really positive. (Some parents were against but rabbanim supported it strongly).
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notshanarishona




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 8:59 pm
Definitely don’t force. A person has to want to daven. It will just backfire.
Encourage, motivate, bribe, etc. but it’s between your son and Hashem.
Forcing davening will turn it into a chore
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amother




OP
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 9:04 pm
Thanks for the responses everyone. Seems to be a consensus not to force. I think I agree. It might get him there that day but he is more miserable and hates davening and shul even more.
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amother




Nemesia
 

Post Sun, Oct 03 2021, 9:11 pm
Is there such thing as a class minyan? Or can one be created? Davening is always more fun with friends. Would he be interested in getting a job as a baal korei? Some shuls pay a lot of money.

Our yeshivos have mandatory minyan shabbos morning with the principal and some staff.
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