Adolescents — Sensitivity to Their Needs
.. I would like to point out something you are undoubtedly aware of, and that is your son’s age. He is in transition from youth to maturity, a time of life that entails considerable strain. During this sensitive period of adolescence, it is particularly important not to do anything that might aggravate the strain.
This is particularly true in a country such as this … where even mature adults are prey to [forces of negative cultural and street] influence, and it requires much willpower not to succumb; how much more so where a teenager is concerned.
In light of the above, it is obviously the sacred duty of every near and dear one, and especially of parents, to do all things possible to promote the teenager’s peace of mind and thereby make his struggles easier, and certainly to avoid anything which might weaken his willpower to resist the influences of the street, etc.
A further point: In the realm of faith, religion and feeling, every individual is a world unto himself. This is not the case in the realm of reason, where one can argue and convince and change the other person’s mind. [In the former instances,] young people, especially, become attached to an ideal, particularly one that is expressed in actual behavior.
It can be extremely difficult to get such a person to change his feelings and conduct, and any effort to change his true nature, when applied to a young person during this sensitive period of adolescence, has serious implications.
(From a letter of the Rebbe in the year 5726)
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