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Chiyuv of Chinuch after 13 years

Question:

What are the parameters of chinuch for a 14 year old boy? Many times when I see my son doing something against halacha, i.e. he refuses to put on tzizis or say krias shema in the morning, my husband says, “I already said “Baruch shepatrani, it’s between him and Hashem.” Somehow that line seems wrong. Is there still a chiyuv of chinuch after a child has reached the status of a gadol and to what extent? Can you quote sources so I can tell my husband that there’s more to it…

Answer:

A parent definitely has responsibility for what his child does even after he/she is bar/bas mitzvah. There is some controversy as to the reason, however the bottom line remains the same. According to some poskim, (Mishna Berura) the obligation is not because of chinuch rather because of the mitzva of tochacha. That a person who can influence another and doesn’t is held liable for what the other person did. Therefore the parent still has the obligation because of this reason. Others say that he mitzva of chinuch still applies even after bar/bas mitzva. See sources.

As a side point, if your son doesn’t want to put on tzitzis or say kriyas shema etc. nagging him is most probably not the right thing to do. There is most probably an underlying reason for his refusal to do what he knows is expected of him. Therefore, I would strongly suggest that you be in contact with a person that specializes in chinuch for teenagers and seek his advice. If you need help finding someone, let me know.

You should have much success in bringing up all of your children.

Sources:

M:B 225-7, Dibros Moshe 2nd Perek Shabbos Haorah 82, Nazir 29b, Shulchan Aruch Horav -Talmud Torah 1-6, Children in Halacha pg. 8.

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