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Forum -> Parenting our children -> Teenagers and Older children
16 year old and shabbos table
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amother
OP


 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 6:54 am
My son is a top boy. He learns all yom tov has a happy outgoing personality and is popular, smart and wonderful. I am wondering how normal it is that he can barely sit at the shabbos table. We have a very chilled shabbos meal - husband will say funny stories, relaxed conversation but my son is always off somewhere else. He is scared to get fleishigs so eats cereal and milk in the kitchen first. Then he pops in for a slice of salmon and once done he is off reading the circle magazine. Re-appears for bentching. Why does he do this. I don't want to make a fuss because he is so outstanding in so many ways. Curious what is normal -
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NechaMom




 
 
    
 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 7:16 am
If he is “scared” of getting fleishigs you have your answer. Why is he so scared of it? It’s not enjoyable to sit at a meal if you’re not eating what’s being served. Seems normal to me that he prefers the couch if he’s not eating.
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shabbatiscoming




 
 
    
 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 7:22 am
amother OP wrote:
My son is a top boy. He learns all yom tov has a happy outgoing personality and is popular, smart and wonderful. I am wondering how normal it is that he can barely sit at the shabbos table. We have a very chilled shabbos meal - husband will say funny stories, relaxed conversation but my son is always off somewhere else. He is scared to get fleishigs so eats cereal and milk in the kitchen first. Then he pops in for a slice of salmon and once done he is off reading the circle magazine. Re-appears for bentching. Why does he do this. I don't want to make a fuss because he is so outstanding in so many ways. Curious what is normal -
To me someone being a top boy makes no difference. Your issue here is that you have a chilled shabbat meal and you dont say anything about him not coming to the table or coming for 3 seconds and then leaving. That would never float in my home. Nor would it have growing up. The meal starts, everyone comes to the table. You dont want to eat what is being served, that your issue, have challah and salad. But to be part of the shabbat meal, that is a must. For so many different reasons.
I think you have to be a bit less chilled and not just let him do whatever during the meal. Thats if you want him at the table, which it seems like that is what you want him to do.
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amother
Cyan


 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 7:24 am
shabbatiscoming wrote:
To me someone being a top boy makes no difference. Your issue here is that you have a chilled shabbat meal and you dont say anything about him not coming to the table or coming for 3 seconds and then leaving. That would never float in my home. Nor would it have growing up. The meal starts, everyone comes to the table. You dont want to eat what is being served, that your issue, have challah and salad. But to be part of the shabbat meal, that is a must. For so many different reasons.
I think you have to be a bit less chilled and not just let him do whatever during the meal. Thats if you want him at the table, which it seems like that is what you want him to do.


I agree with this. My first thought was that your shabbos table is too "chilled" for him and he's just not interested.
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amother
Bluebonnet


 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 7:34 am
Agree that being top boy has no bearing here. It’s not normal to sit out the Shabbos meal each week, and to so concerned with being fleishigs. What does he usually eat Shabbos afternoon that he needs to be dairy?

This kind of behavior needs to be stopped though, if for nothing else than the way he will act once he’s married. I don’t think his future wife and kids will appreciate him not eating at the meal or even being at the meal. And what will he do at other peoples houses? It’s considered disrespectful in a lot of homes to just leave the table and hang out on the couch.

Personally I had a hard time sitting through my families Shabbos meals. They were too long and dragged out, with lots of conversation I had zero interest in. But the rule was no leaving the table until after the meal, regardless. Clearly something is bothering him and making him not want to stay. Either it’s too relaxed, he doesn’t like the topics, or it’s purely just the food. Does he normally eat meat or chicken? Is he maybe a closeted vegetarian and being around it makes him uncomfortable? If you know he doesn’t like to become fleishigs, do you also make a main dish that you know he would eat, that’s parve?

Something just isn’t right here
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NotInNJMommy




 
 
    
 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 7:36 am
I don’t think this is a power struggle to have. If the worst of it is he doesn’t want to sit at the shabbos table or be fleishig, let him have that space. Let that be his “rebellion”.
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amother
Daisy


 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 7:37 am
let it go
he is 16!
you can ask him in a kind nonjudgemental way if there is anything you can do to help him stay longer at the meal as you love having him there and all being together
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amother
Fern


 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 7:41 am
My 16 year old disappears to read, but we will call her for key points like course is on the table etc. She does help a lot so I give her some leeway. But also, in general kids who aren't at the table don't get dessert. Also, if there's a kid on the couch reading a magazine I will specifically tell them to get up to get something/clear/serve if it needs to be done, rather than the ones who are sitting at the table contributing.
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amother
Rainbow


 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 7:41 am
OP, are you me?

But we know why DS does it.

In our case, it's related to his ASD diagnosis. in addition to not liking to be around the smell of meat, he has social issues that maki him hide from siblings (who also have other issues), and guests.

Following to see if anyone has good ideas.

I'm going to change this to amother in a bit.


Last edited by amother on Sun, May 28 2023, 12:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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naturalmom5




 
 
    
 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 8:35 am
Sounds like my husband , he will have spagetti and vegan meatballs then go on ccouch and read tge Vojce or learn parsha or daf yomi

But he claims hes over 60, he has earned the right , especially if children ( 24 and 27) arent home
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amother
DarkRed


 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 9:25 am
The fear of getting fleishig is what stands out to me as concerning. Not typical at all.
Sometimes “top” boys are really suffering from anxiety and ocd that’s also driving them to be so “top”.
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amother
Jean


 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 9:25 am
I'd let it go. If he's there for kiddush and hamotzi and salmon and chilling nearby on the couch it's ok. That's his shabbos menucha. It's not like he's in his room or out with friends.
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lucky14




 
 
    
 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 9:38 am
I don’t think it’s a big deal and if he prefers dairy it’s a pain to have to wait 6 hours before he can have it again.

Just make sure he’s fine otherwise.

I remember being 16. It was annoying when parents were so strict about things that didn’t matter so much. Reading a Jewish totally appropriate magazine during a meal- especially if he’s in like common living areas (den, dining room, playroom) and not locking himself in his bedroom is like not a big issue at all in my opinion.
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amother
Jasmine


 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 9:54 am
If he's really afraid of being fleishik, this is not normal and should be checked out. Maybe it's an anxiety disorder or a form of religious OCD. OTOH if he avoids being fleishik because he loves ice cream and milk chocolate or wants to become ovo/lacto/pescatarian, it shouldn't be that hard to accommodate. Just make sure that you serve a few dishes that don't offend his anti-carnivorous sensibilities. If you serve one grain and one legume, such as rice or lokshen plus green beans or chic peas, you have a complete protein combination and meat is completely not necessary.

However, staying away from the table for the whole meal is not acceptable. He doesn't have to eat if he doesn't care to, but I wouldn't let him get away with absenting himself from the table. It's family time and he's family.
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amother
Cherry


 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 10:01 am
OP is your son ever in Yeshiva on Shabbat? Do they eat there? Ask him what he eats? I also have a son who is ASD and will not eat certain types of food. he likes the Breast of the chicken and white rice. He will not eat Chummos,fish, eggplant, mixed salad. Tell your son you would love for him to more part of the Shabbat Table with the Family. ''Is there anything I can prepare for you that you would enjoy''?
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camp123




 
 
    
 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 10:03 am
It's he's such a great boy he should be able to communicate to you what his problem is. Have you spoken to him about it. What does he say?
Does he think cereal and milk is appropriate for a shabbos meal. Has he learned about kavod shabbos? Speak to him and listen, find out what motivates him and what exactly he is scared off.
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amother
OP


 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 11:05 am
lol - no he is not a vegetarian, non carnivore or anxious at all. Yes he likes meat He simply likes his cereal and milk, then his yogurt, then a coffee. He like's cheese and stuff like that. He is a lot like me - I don't like getting fleishigs and resist eating cholent for fear of not having a coffee etc.

Friday night he sits at the table more. Shabbos morning he is hungry after shul but wants "his" foods. I see it as notinnjmommy - it's his "rebellion" - he likes to chill after a long davening (friday night he learns as well).

If we call him to the table he comes. Curious if anyone can relate?
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amother
Fern


 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 11:07 am
amother OP wrote:
lol - no he is not a vegetarian, non carnivore or anxious at all. Yes he likes meat He simply likes his cereal and milk, then his yogurt, then a coffee. He like's cheese and stuff like that. He is a lot like me - I don't like getting fleishigs and resist eating cholent for fear of not having a coffee etc.

Friday night he sits at the table more. Shabbos morning he is hungry after shul but wants "his" foods. I see it as notinnjmommy - it's his "rebellion" - he likes to chill after a long davening (friday night he learns as well).

If we call him to the table he comes. Curious if anyone can relate?

Do you guys start the meal really early, or do you have a kiddush first? Some people just can't handle fleishig so early in the morning.
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Fox




 
 
    
 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 8:31 pm
I had one like this. As an adult, she's probably my most yiras Shemayim offspring.

Yes, try to encourage him, etc., but don't let it become a power struggle.
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amother
Olive


 

Post Sun, May 28 2023, 9:39 pm
amother OP wrote:
lol - no he is not a vegetarian, non carnivore or anxious at all. Yes he likes meat He simply likes his cereal and milk, then his yogurt, then a coffee. He like's cheese and stuff like that. He is a lot like me - I don't like getting fleishigs and resist eating cholent for fear of not having a coffee etc.

Friday night he sits at the table more. Shabbos morning he is hungry after shul but wants "his" foods. I see it as notinnjmommy - it's his "rebellion" - he likes to chill after a long davening (friday night he learns as well).

If we call him to the table he comes. Curious if anyone can relate?


I have a ds the same age who did exactly this. Had a bowl of cereal and milk in the kitchen, then asked to go to the couch to read.

Once he's not eating with us, I don't blame him for not wanting to sit there. It's hard to sit at a table and watch people eat.

I decided that I need to make the shabbos seuda enjoyable for him. I make cholent because that's what everyone loves, but everyone doesn't include him.

He likes schnitzel, so I started making 1-2 pounds for him and to share with anyone else who wants, or buying one piece of pretzel schnitzel from the takeout, which is his favorite.

And now he sits at the table and eats with the rest of us, and knows that I care enough about him to make the extra effort.
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