The Role of Parents in the Current Crisis of “Off the Derech” Adolescents

The problem of rebellious adolescents has become a major area of concern for the frum community.  Many articles have been written on this subject and it is rare for a community organization to hold a conference without workshops devoted to this topic.  While accurate statistics are not available, most educators and activists feel that the problem is growing at an alarming rate.  Many knowledgeable activists use the term “epidemic.”

This paper will review the items commonly mentioned as risk factors in frum children becoming rebellious (“going off the derech”).  I will demonstrate that there is a strong tendency – albeit with the best of intentions – to downplay the role of parents in this problem.  The reasons for this avoidance and how it can impede efforts to alleviate the problem will be explored.

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