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Essay on Amish Tradition of Rumspringa in the Film Devil's Playground

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In the Amish world, children are brought up following all Amish family traditions and church traditions. At age 16, Amish teenagers do away with these traditions for several months to several years and go out into the “English”, modern world to experience what life is like outside of the Amish community in a tradition called Rumspringa. The hopes of Rumspringa are that Amish teenagers will see the evil in the modern world and turn back to the Amish church and community and will choose to be baptized into the faith. At this time, the parents of these Amish teenagers choose to overlook the new habits and actions of their children. The Amish parents want the best for their children and feel as though allowing them to party and live wild for a time away from them is the best way to teach their children. The parents have the approach to be hands off and ignore the behavior during Rumspringa. This is not an effective manner of parenting for these teenagers at such an influential time in their lives.
During Rumspringa, many teenagers continue to live with their parents in the Amish community, but take up new habits like smoking, drinking, and driving a car. Some teenagers do choose to move out to get the “full experience”. At this time, Amish teenagers completely throw themselves into the modern world. Many get into using and selling hard drugs and other negative habits. For most of the Amish teenagers during Rumspringa, they “get wasted, get a hangover, and then go back” according to Gerald from the documentary Devil’s Playground: Amish Teenagers in the Modern World.
Several questions I was left with after watching Devil’s Playground: Amish Teenagers in the Modern World, was that of wondering who was paying for these teenagers cars a...


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...ave fun and experience the world, but they also want to please their parents. Many come back and join the church just to make their parents happy. This could be due to the fact that adolescents may think that their neglectful and uninvolved parents consider other areas of their lives to be more important, and as a way of trying to get attention they act out in harmful ways and then eventually just do whatever they think will make their parents happy.
The neglectful parenting style displayed by parents of teenagers during Rumspringa may seem to be the best approach to those parents, but it is not. It leaves many teens in life-long trouble. The Amish parents do not act as managers of their family but simply hope for the best. In the end, many teens engage in health-compromising behaviors, become addicted to hard drugs, and engage in many other risk-taking behaviors.


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