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Who am I? The Parent Role Post B'nai Mitzvah 

There is a traditional blessing said over a Bar or Bat Mitzvah by parents, that shares the idea that once the service is over, parents are no longer responsible for their child’s actions. What is so interesting is that saying these words seems like, “Phew! Finally, I can take a deep breath; my child is responsible for all his actions. I can take a break!”

However, that’s not really true. You will still say “no” to sleepovers that are on a school night, help your child plan to study for finals and help talk with your child about friendship drama. You are still that person your child needs, but in a very different way. 

On this journey, you become the parent who listens, helps guides, listens more and helps your child navigate a personal and unique path supported by you. It means that with your child you work out a schedule to practice his Torah portion, but don’t nag. It means that you involve your child in picking out all parts of the service, including the readings, and you honor her opinion. 

After the big day, you speak to your child like a friend or an adult, and be there to listen when there’s been a bad day. You offer advice or create boundaries if your child is struggling and needs order, but without yelling or making it about you. You won’t yell, it never works anyways, and you’ll be sure to make time to listen; even if it’s about Instagram posts or the drama that day during history class. It’s all part of the story. 

You will become your child’s partner in life, but your child’s choices are her own. Her life is her own. His story is his own. Your story just happens to be parallel in this life - that’s amazing! In this part of the service where you give your blessing, you are celebrating your child and her individual journey in connection to yours. It’s important to note the difference. 

 

Tue, February 25 2020 30 Shevat 5780