Not Wanted: Parents?

That’s actually the opposite of the way I feel, but before I whine about how I’d like more parents involved in what their teens are doing at a Jewish supplementary school, I have to think about the messages they’re getting from the secular world about how much their presence is desired.

How often are parents part of the picture at middle school? High School?  When my children were in elementary school, there were numerous ways to be involved: classroom parent, library aide, PTO member, usher, office worker, committee member –and encouragement to volunteer my time any way I could. 

So, what happened as my children got older? All of a sudden, the welcome mat disappeared. Whether this was intentional, implicit, or perhaps inspired by teens who would much rather not associate publicly with their parents is a mystery.  This experience has been confirmed with other parents, especially when invited for programs and they tell me they’ve promised their teenaged children complete anonymity and decide to stand ‘way in the back’ unnoticed.  So, contrary to popular expectations, I want parents to show up.  A place in the back guaranteed but not condoned.

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About Ruth Schapira

I am a Jewish Educator of teens, interested in changing paradigms of Jewish high school education, incorporating strategic and creative initiatives and collaboration with like-minded organizations. Interested in creating new educational opportunities for Jewish teens using best practices and networking tools. View all posts by Ruth Schapira

2 responses to “Not Wanted: Parents?

  • Deborah Nagler

    I think that it depends upon the child and the parent. It is natural for children to pull away at some point. Some do it earlier than others. My children kept me pretty involved in their teenage years. I was honored to be the “mom at prom” at my daughter’s request. Later on, in their early twenties, they found ways to stretch the cord.
    Although, I find that the umbilical cord has incredible tensile strength. I guess it differs from family to family.

    • JteenEdnews

      My experience with my own kids was similar. I was talking more about how comfortable parents were made to feel by secular schools, and the lack of outreach to parents by the schools themselves.

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