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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Follow-Up On Teens Running Wild

SephardiLady talks about the appalling teen behavior I brought up here. She feels that the problem stems from a lack of involved parenting. I'm not sure that anyone can disagree that a lack of parental supervision and involvement can have very serious consequences. In her words:
And lastly, I have never heard of sending away high schoolers on vacation sans parents. My parents never allowed me to attend a function without first speaking to the supervising parents directly. Let's just say that I was never invited to any inappropriate parties because my parents where known to be a constant presence. Are we known to be a presence in our children's lives or do we feel the need to be "cool parents?" The fact that there are masses of children on winter break without parents present is just downright shocking. It is entitlement gone wild; pure lunacy.
I do think there's a lot to be said for the "cool parent" mentality. But I think there are also parents who are trying very hard to strike the balance I spoke about in my earlier post. They are afraid of alienating their kids by being too restrictive, so they allow their children more latitude than they might be fully comfortable with. Unfortunately, if they are sending their young teens off to a Florida hotel room by themselves with no supervision whatsoever, they aren't doing their children any favors. I feel the balance has to be struck without compromising on our children's safety and security.

Jewboy seems to feel the same way when he asks: Where Are the Parents?

Harry Maryles thinks it's all a symptom of Modern Orthodoxy. I completely agree that the vast majority of kids traipsing around Florida for winter break trend toward a MO upbringing. The concept of parents sending their children off in their early teenage years to various hotels populated solely by other teens who can choose to spend their week any way they wish is simply unheard of among my children's more Yeshivish school friends. That said, uninvolved parents can exist on any observance level, and across all spectrums. No segment of our community is exempt from the risk of losing control of their children's behavior.

30 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is unfair to pigeonhole this problematic situation as a Modern Orthodox symptom. I just returned from Eretz Yisroel to visit my son who is learning there for the year. Strolling along the streets of Ben Yehuda at night, I noticed that most of the students smoking and drinking were of the yeshivish persuasion. The infamous "crack alley" was full of mostly young israelis as well as american yeshivish kids. I even met some former students of mine from a prominent Brooklyn yeshiva who slurred as they spoke to me. My son was embarrassed and I explained to him what a totally restrictive upbringing can lead to.
All in all, modern, yeshivish, chassidish etc, it's all about communication with your children. It's not about coming home from work and running out to learn and never seeing your children. It's about explaining to them about the trials and tribulations of life and giving them the time that they so desire. This way they don't find it through escape.

8:21 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I agree completely, which is why my post read:
That said, uninvolved parents can exist on any observance level, and across all spectrums. No segment of our community is exempt from the risk of losing control of their children's behavior.

However, the unsupervised jaunts to Florida for mid-winter vacation is largely a MO phenomenon, and I simply noted that in agreement with Hary Maryles.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous MIAFL33140 said...

I live on Miami Beach and see the horrible beavior first hand.

Modern orthodoxy that is not the problem. The modern orthodox dress no different then Goyim and act like regular teenage goyim and blend in with the South Beach Crowd.

The bigger problem is the Yeshiva Bochrim and Bais Yaakov Girls and lets not forget the Chssidim
That all tramp around get drunk on the beach, at clubs. Behave like animals on the street,at the movies all while wearing the uniform of a frum /ben torah /bas torah and or Chassid.

We residents of Miami Beach are appalled over the behaivior that we see...IT IS ALL THE PARENTS FAULT! take care and supervise your children!
would you leave a loaded gun on your kitchen table?
How dare you let your teenage children run amok on Miami Beach like little animals.

Shor She nagach b'reshus haraabim

The worst is not over
Here comes Pesach when the real fun starts





Harry Maryles thinks it's all a symptom of Modern Orthodoxy. I completely agree that the vast majority of kids traipsing around Florida for winter break trend toward a MO upbringing. The concept of parents sending their children off in their early teenage years to various hotels populated solely by other teens who can choose to spend their week any way they wish is simply unheard of among my children's more Yeshivish school friends. That said, uninvolved parents can exist on any observance level, and across all spectrums. No segment of our community is exempt from the risk of losing control of their children's behavior.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an adult who, not so long ago was a teenager, I have to say, it is NOT mostly MO. I grew up in a pretty yeshivish community and all of this was there. And it gets worse every year.

Recently, I overheard a conversation between 2 quite yeshivish mothers. One has only small kids (I know her)the other has teenage kids (she is a friend of the former) and the second mother was saying that her 16 year old daughter wanted to go to LA for winter vacation with a couple of friends and she was not sure she wanted to let her because LA is so far away, she is much more comfortable with Miami. I piped in wondering how she would let her child go without supervision. She was insistent that there is nothing wrong with letting her go because "the whole Miami is frum during winter vacation". I was incredulous...how could this woman be so blind? Honestly, how can a parent let a teenage child go on vacation without parental supervision? I think it's just plain irresponsible.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The modern orthodox dress no different then Goyim and act like regular teenage goyim and blend in with the South Beach Crowd."

There is an implicit racism in this statement. How would you like to read non-Jews saying "they dress no different than Jews and act like regular teenage Jews ..."

How about just saying these kids aren't dressed appropriately in accordance with their community and yeshiva standards instead of injecting religious and ethnic bias.
Consider that "goyim" has really become a pejorative term, not much different than "shvartzers."

11:29 AM  
Blogger Married and Navigating Jewish Brooklyn said...

Unfortunately people think this can only happen when teenagers go away.

From our own personal experiences and through our friends we no that no supervision even near home can be horrifying as well. I can remember many times of a friend's parents going out of town and there would be a party or get together in their house or that could go anywhere in the city without supervision, that there so many places to hide and get around the public eye of other Jews that you can basically do almost anything you wanted if you really put your mind to it.

What can help stem the problem? Parents being open and involved with their children. By having proper supervision. By demonstrating the correct behavior and showing you care about what they do.

11:31 AM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

Orthomom-First off, thanks for the link.

Secondly, I think it would behoove us as a community to institute certain behaviors as "normal" so that the balancing act is balanced towards sane as opposed to insane.

And personally I don't mind being that parent who always checks in with the other supervising parents, randomly shows up a bit early at a function, etc. My parents did this a lot and it really embarrassed me. But I know it was for my own good and I'm thankful.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find that yeshivish kids have more of a temtation to rebel than the MO.The MO teens don't act that much different on vacation than they do at home.yeshivish kids let loose much more, just look at some of the yeshivish parents that do the same, (act and dress differently). My sister has a Bobov neighbor who openly admitted she and her friends sit on the beach in miami in bikinis, why should their teens feel any different. The yeshivish kids have more of a need to break free from all the rules and restrictions. I grew up MO and I am now more yeshivish, I've experienced both 1st hand.

2:23 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

They must get quite the sunburn when the strip down to their bikinis.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous rejewvenator said...

Harry Maryles thinks the problem is MO parents failing to transmit MO values to Jewish teens. I wonder how big the problem actually is. Anecdotal evidence is notoriously inaccurate. Do we know how many kids go to Miami Beach? How many go unsupervised? How many are arrested? Do we have any kind of measurements at all? I think that if we're going to solve this problem, we can't just speculate about what caused it and argue about which denomination has more problems. We need ot actually measure the problem so we can understand what kind of resources we will need to mobilize to deal with it.

4:35 PM  
Blogger triLcat said...

I went to Frisch, which seems to be that MO type everyone's talking about. I didn't know anyone who went to Miami for break without parents...

Either I was very innocent, stuff's changed a LOT since the nineties, or this is a problem that is associated with very specific segments of the MO population...

I once had a sleepover without parents. We stayed up all night watching Disney movies and eating salami. Once I went to a study group sans parents. We all wore jeans and we listened to music.

Strangely, almost all the making out I heard about (or was involved in) was either outdoors or in the house when parents were home.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous 5Town Rumor Mill said...

Dont underestimate the powerful influence of television.
Kids act like they are on the oc even when they are not on vacation

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When did it become ok to send a 16 year old to a faraway place without adequate supervision? I think the problem crosses all groups of frumkeit, but I would bet that it is most prevalent among the affluent folks. When we (those of us in our 40's) grew up, for most of us, there was no money for such things.

Of course, why is it ok to send kids to Israel for an entire year with minimal supervision and not ok to send kids to Miami for a week with minimal supervision? I think in many cases, both are irresponsible parenting.

1:00 AM  
Blogger buzzee said...

Ah, don't worry about these kids, they are just getting it out of their system before they go to Israel and "flip-out." (READ WITH SARCASM)

The truth is that there is a bit too much emphasis placed on a year in Israel. Too many parents think that a year in Israel is a panacea and will straighten their children out. Unfortunatley, in some sad cases their child comes back from Israel in a body bag after imbibing in too many illegal substances.

I am not yet a parent, and did spend a year in Israel. While Israel is where I started drinking, hanging out in bars, and getting involved with the opposite sex beyond the occasional hug (I AM NOT CONDONING THESE ACTIONS IN ANY RESPECT), I entered the situation with great lessons on responsibility. My parents taught me well, so I know what a strong example set by parents can do. Please parents teach your children well and most importantly by example and they will make you proud.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This not the forum for yeshiva in Israel talk but as a parent of boys who were way off but stayed in Israel not one and not two and not even three years but going into 4 and 5, I can tell you from knowing their friends who came back after just one year that they (my sons and many of their friends are today) would be dead to torah had they not gone and stayed so many years there. One or two years will not break Amercia a country which is an "H'aretz ochels yoshveha" a country which eats its inhabitants -- not my vort, but that of Rav Yerucham of Mirrer and Ponevich. But too many parents want their kids starting college careers way before they have established torah skill and love. Most likely (but not always) those same boys' parents do not come to shul and learn regulary.

9:46 AM  
Blogger buzzee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:54 AM  
Blogger buzzee said...

>But too many parents want their >kids starting college careers way >before they have established >torah skill and love. Most likely >(but not always) those same boys' >parents do not come to shul and >learn regulary.

Look, I am not saying living a life devoid of torah is the correct way to go, but in the end it is the child's descicion on which way to live their life. All I am saying is that one should live their life with respect, respect for g-d, respect for other people, and respect for oneself. If you can get at least two of those I believe a child is heading in the right direction and will hopefully someday learn to embrace all three. All you can do as parents is set a good example and try to instill these value in your children. You would be amazed how teaching by example can work.

Although, I am insulted by your generalization. How dare you say most of these parent dont go to shul or learn on a regular basis. My father goes to shul as much as he can and learns on a regular basis, and I find this to be the case with many parent in the Five Towns, or at least the one I am from. I have not taken after him in these respects, but I do have a respect for this because of my parent's example.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

Reason why story in Miami was a MO kids -those are the kids who have vacation during those two weeks.
See kids hanging out in Central Ave at night. Many spent elementary school in Chareidi or Pseudo chareidi institutions.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not know how anyone can generalize and say that this problem affects one group more then another. Do you know how many children there are out there? By generalizing you are showing that you are harboring a grudge against that group. The problem as many have already written is lack of supervision. It’s us the parents to blame. I will never send my children on a vacation with anyone except for my closest friends who I trust to watch my children. For the same reason I will not send my son out of town to Yeshiva, who will watch him during the off hours and weekends? Going to Israel while a teenager forget about it!

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