As he says:
I am getting a new wave of parents begging me to speak to their children. The profile is chillingly similar: 13-14 years old boys and girls. High achieving in school. No emotional problems; great, respectful kids from great homes. Well adjusted. They just don’t want to be frum. Period. They are eating on Yom Kippur, not keeping Shabbos, not keeping kosher; et al.
No anger, no drugs, no promiscuous activity. They are just not buying what we are selling. Some have decided to ‘go public’, while others are still ‘in the closet’. In some of the cases, their educators have no idea of what is really going on.
What I found interesting was that right away, the very first commenter, chose to bury his (or her) head in the sand. The comment was:
I dont believe it. 13 and 14 year old kids are still very much under their parents control. They might not be as frum as their parents might want them to be, but eating on Yom Kippur and being Mechalel Shabbos at home with their parents there? Personally I think that you are trying to scare up some business for yourself. Maybe get more speaking engagements or more people reading your column. Kids at that age are not bold enough to go against their parents.
The commenter, IMHO, missed the point entirely. Could a parent enforce observance on a thirteen or fourteen year old? Probably. They could probably lock up the kitchen on Yom Kippur, make sure the kid doesn't go to parties on Friday night, bentches after every meal and so on. But is that really what we want? In my opinion, if you have to *force* kids to keep the mitzvos, then you've already lost a good deal of the battle.
Teenagers (and yes, even ones as young as 13) are old enough to begin searching for their own identity and to begin forming world-views. They are no longer at an age where they will simply accept the hashkafos of parents simply because it's what their parents believe and do. They are beginning to find their way in the world and will not be stuffed back in the bottle. As the parent of three kids in the age range of 11 to 14, I can tell you that they can all think independently of how you *want* them to think.
The goal, as I said earlier, is not to enforce observance of the mitzvos. The goal should be to foster an environment in which your children *want* to keep the mitzvos. That's the only method that has any chance of success... because the time will come when your thirteen-year-old turns twenty, and you have no control over him/her at all. At that point, the only thing that you have left is how much you made your kids want to keep the mitzvos. You won't be able to force them anymore.