It’s become a battle in our home.
My lovely 19 year old daughter has had a wonderful frum chinuch, did well in school, got into a good seminary. All through her high school years, she did well. She was respectful, listened only to Jewish music, wore appropriate clothing, didn’t watch videos, used the internet responsibly – at least according to our knowledge.
Things have changed since she got back from seminary. At first it was subtle. Suddenly, she knew the lyrics to some secular music. She brought magazines into our home. Her style of clothing became more flashy, but within the lines of tzniyus. She spent more time with her friends in Manhattan, ‘doing what teenage girls do’. Yet, she was still helpful in the home, participating in everything to help the family.
But lately, things are changing. She got herself a laptop – with her own money. And spends hours in her room, with her laptop, her cell phone and IPod. We have found some of the more gossipy magazines in her room – in plain view, she doesn’t bother to hide them. Her sleeves have become shorter, her skirts shorter and her necklines lower. She has stopped helping the family, and hangs out more with her friends out of the house, and barely helps in the home.
Of course, we still love her. But her actions are disappointing. And so the battle begins.
My husband wants to throw her out. He wants her to follow his rules, “In my house, everyone follows my rules.” He screams, she slams the door in his face. Then it simmers down for a day or so. And then the battle continues. She threatens to leave his crazy house, “I don’t need this. I have enough money to rent an apartment.”
And I stay on the side – trying to understand her, trying to show her love, trying to keep her to want to stay in our house. And I get the brunt of my husband’s frustration with her. He wants me to throw out her problematic clothing. He wants me to check out what she wears before she leaves the home. He wants me to take away her laptop. I talk with her, I try to calm her down after a battle.
The battle in our home is huge. On one side, we are trying to help our daughter maintain the frum lifestyle that we strongly believe in. On another side, we parents are battling about how to do this. And we are losing the battles on all sides. We are not helping our daughter better connect with Yiddishkeit. And we are ruining the Shalom Bayis between ourselves and in the home in general.
This situation is not unique to our family. Observing the young people on the streets of Crown Heights today, and knowing their families, I imagine that many families are facing similar challenges. We’d love to hear from you – how are you helping your daughters maintain a love for Yiddishkeit and a standard of tzniyus and refinement, while keeping your sanity and family intact.