Parent Bar/Bat Mitzvah Preparation Rituals

As the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah student become known to their peers in religious school, or through another context, it becomes clear that this experience is an initiation for them too, into being parents of a(nother) teenager, an evolving adult. This is a season of new parenting skills and perspectives.

One community of which I am aware holds a session of Bar/Bat Mitzvah prep where the parent(s) aren’t present so that the youth can outline any concerns that have been repressed. At such a session an assignment is planned for the parent(s)/guardian(s) that will help them prepare for the B-mitzvah day.

This might be something like:

Asking for a letter to be written to the student describing moments when the parents were particularly proud, detailing the qualities they love best in the child.

Journaling on a moment when they faced their own fear and independence and a sharing time for them with their child present at the Personal Kehillah to talk about this.

It might be an act of going to one of their parents (the student’s grandparent(s)) and selecting a precious heirloom, from an emotional point of view. Then that family member is assisted in preparing to present it formally at the B-mitzvah or privately to the youth.

The Personal Kehillah might observe a skill set that would help the parent(s) and recently I heard of a parent recommended to take a communications skills retreat with Marshall Rosenberg, author of a work I assign to my clergy students: Non-violent Communication Skills: A Language of Compassion.