A fellow BT has written a good summary about Dealing with Non-Frum Family based on some posts and comment threads on Beyond BT so we’re reposting it here with permission.
There’s a lot of discussion about dealing with non-frum family in the Beyond BT site. It’s a hot topic for all baalei teshuva’s because we all go through it to some degree. It’s also a very sensitive topic as everyone has different types of relationships with their parents and families to begin with.
Here’s some tips other Baalei Teshuva have provided:
– Almost every BT has to resolve conflicts with their parents, it is a normal process.
– Obviously every parent and every situation is different, but it does need to be pointed out.
– There is an emotional factor of rejection that the parent often feels when the BT chooses a (radically) different lifestyle.
– There is also an implicit (and sometimes explicit) statement that what I’m doing is right and what you’re doing is wrong.
– One general approach is to be as accommodating and accepting as possible and over the long term expose the relatives to the depth and beauty of Torah.
– Another approach is to encourage mitzvos observance (positive and negative) whenever possible in a reasonable manner.
– We generally should set the rules in on our own houses, but we should consider which rules to set and how to gently enforce them.
– When our children are negatively effected by non-Torah behaviors we have to weigh that factor in heavily.
– We need to internalize the truth that our non observant relatives are good people and impart that understanding to our children. Non-observance is generally due to a lack of knowledge in our generation.
– If we focus on growing together, perhaps there will be less conflicts (oops, thats from the next Mussar post).
– BT conflicts with parents can be shalom bayis issues and a rav should be consulted.
– Every time you do or say something think whether it will create a Kiddush Hashem or Chillul Hashem.
– Most important word that summarizes this entire thread – tolerance!
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