April 18, 2012 7:50 am at 7:50 am #602968
Any advice on how I can help my 16yo son who is going off the derech? I am really breaking…April 18, 2012 8:18 am at 8:18 am #1181195
have fun with him, something that you really enjoy, no pretendingApril 18, 2012 8:37 am at 8:37 am #1181196
First off, take a breath. I know it’s a very hard time, but it also important to keep yourself sane.
I would start by finding someone who really knows what they are talking about. This could be someone from his yeshiva, it could be someone like R’ Horowitz, anyone from Our Place or Madraigos. You are not alone and there is help available.
Finally, daven, daven and daven. Love him unconditionally. Good luck.April 18, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am #1181197
There are two things your son needs right now; Love and Validation. Love – The first step is to show him (not just tell) that your love for him is unconditional. You must show him that even if he chooses this path in life he always has a warm home to come to.
Validation – Somewhere in the last couple of years your son must have felt very little self worth living a Torah life-style. If he was happy with himself this usually does not happen. Therefore, before he takes any further steps down this road try to validate parts of his life right now. Example: if he listens to certain music, instead of asking “why are you listening to such shmutz?” surprise him by picking up the headphones and saying “this song is pretty good”… eventually that feeling of validation often leads to positive improvements in the future.
As for you… PLEASE have patience, I happen to be a highschool Rebbe and have seen this scenario many times before. 16 is a very immature age. As long as he can see the positive in Yiddishkeit then he has a very good chance of coming back in a couple of years.
In conclusion: It will be extremely tough for you to watch your son doing certain things, yet, if you stay calm, just show him love, validate anything you can of his newly acquired lifestyle(obviously nothing that is clearly against the Torah) and have patience, things should eventually work out.
Hatzlocha Rabbah!April 18, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am #1181198
Bezras Hashem I may be able to help. I am active as a teen mentor and counselor in many such case and always work well with parents.
Please email me at your convenience (my email from the mod or alternate provide me yours) completely confidential, you don’t need to tell me your name!April 18, 2012 1:04 pm at 1:04 pm #1181199
different things work for different kids.
some get a “big brother/big sister” who gives a sort of role model and supports the kid
some go for counseling
some just are asking for TLC
some need firm strong rules
some need less rules ?(when something is prohibited its more inticing)
some need to change schools
some need more friends
some need more activities
some dont really have enough hashkafa
and some just have TOO much hashkafa
elaborate more so i can give a better answerApril 18, 2012 1:11 pm at 1:11 pm #1181200
Do you know why he is doing this? Did something happen to drive him away? Also, what exactly do you mean by OTD? Is he not keeping Shabbos, kosher, etc? Or do you define it as no longer wearing a black hat?April 18, 2012 1:32 pm at 1:32 pm #1181201
Hi write or wrong.
I would recommend to be the “voice of reason” for him. At his age, he is very influenced by his peers and this trend of wanting to be cool by going after shtussim.
He may just be testing the boundaries and also note that your words may have more of an impact on him than you realize.
Your support and encouragement for him to do the right thing will help him “go off” a little less, than more, until he matures and is understands why he should be grateful.
Listen, many of us who made it here from there know the appealing garbage is garbage, so…… I hate the idea that some people already “on the derech” have to learn that the hard way. But the hard way is usually a lesson well learned.
Hatzlacha Rabbah!!!April 18, 2012 1:42 pm at 1:42 pm #1181202
Without being Nosy, What is the definition OFF THE DEREACH
Does Off the Dereach mean , he refuses to wear a Black hat, Learn for 12 hours a day and Daven 3 times a day
Does OTD mean he listens to Rock Music and play Video Games
Or does OTD mean
He hangs out with his friends Friday Night at the Local McDonaldsApril 18, 2012 1:54 pm at 1:54 pm #1181203
I have my opinions, but you should be speaking to experts at this point.
When I say experts, I mean therapists. You can ask your rav to recommend one.April 18, 2012 2:04 pm at 2:04 pm #1181204
I myself went otd from age 18 till 30. I agree that the unconditional love is most important. I can remember coming home 2 am Friday night by cab and no one said a word about it.
I apologized to my mother once about this and she said, your’e my son you are always welcome here.
this made a very strong impression on me possible the thing that kept the connection. I always said SHma at night and went to Shule on every Yom Kippur except one. SO see if you’re son wants a minimal connection like that and be proud of that.
I think tho that nothing was going to keep me away from the otd.
in my case there had been molestation that was never dealt with and also some other trauma.
SO don’t try that much to keep that road off closed they are going anyway but keep the light on.
also in my case, learning Torah was the spark back not davening.April 18, 2012 4:47 pm at 4:47 pm #1181205
I am overwhelmed by all the support and interest that you’ve all showed me, thank you so much for all the advice.
When I said ‘off the derech’, I meant that he has decided to leave Yeshiva, being only a few months away from finishing shiur gimmel, with no plans to go to Yeshiva Gadola, as we had hoped all these years. He is in with a terrible chevra of kids, either off the derech (mechalel Shabbos), or in ‘tapered’ Yeshivas. He listens to all secular music, watches secular movies, and wants no connection to anything ‘religious”. He doesn’t wear tsitsit, let alone black hat and suit. Doesn’t pray, hasn’t learned all month during ben hazmanim. He sleeps ’til about 12pm, then leaves the house ’til around midnight. I’m ‘lucky’ he comes home, since he’s said he wants to sleep out. On the positive side, he still puts on tefillin in the morning (sometimes), wears black and white, with kipa.
Jdb- Thanks, and of course I am davening constantly, but how to show unconditional love to a child who is full of anger, screaming in our faces?
ProudtobeaYid- How can my son see the positive in Yiddishkeit, when he’s disconnected from everything, and doesn’t spend time at home?
Menuch12 and Popa bar abba -You’re right that different things work for different kids, but I haven’t figured out what will work for him. He had a mentor about 3 years ago, and he never opened up. He would never go to counseling in a million years, refused to change schools, and wants no rules at all!
BTGuy- How can he feel my support when he knows I don’t approve of what he’s doing?
Adams- I know my son had some struggles in school, but he’s a very private, closed person, and would never talk to a ‘stranger’. His self esteem is low, how can I keep the light on?
Basically, he’s told me he wants to do whatever he wants, go wherever he wants, no questions asked. My husband and I know where he “hangs out”, should we run there to bring him home? Or let him come home on his own, at his own pace? I’m afraid to let it take its own course bc who knows what else he could get exposed to?April 18, 2012 6:16 pm at 6:16 pm #1181206
Every teenager has some rebeliniousness and I am not looking forward to it, but its the truth.
You will have to decide which battles to pick and which not to let go, not all those things on that list are so terrible (Maybe from your haskafa they are, but they are really not)
The #1 battle Id recommend is if he doesnt want to go to Yeshiva Gedola, accept that, but he has to do SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE. If it means getting a job or going to secular college accept that. Hanging out doing nothing is unacceptable. But make him do SOMETHING constructive even if its off your Hashkafa. Getting a Job or Secular college is not “religious” (In his terms) but it will at least teach responsibility. You can work from there.
It is Your house and you do have to make some boundaries, but they might not all be boundaries you would likeApril 18, 2012 6:51 pm at 6:51 pm #1181207
Dear Write or Wrong,
I must admit when i originally posted i was under the impression that he was “going…” meaning he was showing signs of disinterest. It seems like he is further in the process. That being said, I re-read my post and would not change anything from what I wrote earlier. Work on his self esteem! At this point try to only compliment his good moments. Don’t worry so much about what he is exposing himself to because a) it will make you sick b) discouraging him will provoke him more.
To answer the question you directed towards me “How can my son see the positive in Yiddishkeit, when he’s disconnected from everything, and doesn’t spend time at home?”
Simple… “Wow my parents are complimenting me when i rejected their lifestyle and my entire upbringing…. There must be something that Jews have that others do not…”
Hatzlocha Rabbah!April 18, 2012 7:17 pm at 7:17 pm #1181208
Write or Wrong: My heart literally bleeds for you and all the parents of these lost neshomos…. Bringing up teenagers today is so very difficult, with the society being the way it is… I agree with the others that you need to get professional help. If he won’t go, then just you and your husband. You really need guidance on a daily basis. It’s so hard to know what to do , when these difficult moments come up. May Hashem give you the strength and encouragement to get through all this!April 18, 2012 7:21 pm at 7:21 pm #1181209
Make sure to get help for yourself too! A support group, or a good frum therapist to talk to. What you are going through is extremely painful and don’t be ashamed on getting help for yourself, so you can help your son.
I am davening for your son and all the other kids that are off the derech. Including my daughter.April 18, 2012 7:49 pm at 7:49 pm #1181210
Write or Wrong:
Forgive me for saying so, but you sound like your in a bit over you’re head. And its important that you keep yourself cool and objective so that you don’t make things worse, and hopefully, make them better over time.
Please don’t take that the wrong way. Let me explain:
In some communities (call them MO, more worldly, ect.), parents tend to handle teens going OTD a bit better than in other circles (more yeshivish, chareidi, lakewood, ect.). From your posts, it sounds like your family is more yeshivish. Oftentimes more chareidi families and parents have a narrower view of what is within the range of acceptable than those who are more MO. I’m not saying that is a good or bad thing; just trying to state the facts.
Anyway, with that more insular worldview comes a more emotional reaction to a teen’s going OTD. For many MO parents, even when a teen does things that are completely unacceptable by any measure (chilul shabbos, kashrus, ect.), they can handle the change rationally and proceed just as ProudtobeaYid suggested – they remain accepting of their child as a person, support him/her emotionally, and leave the door open and light on. While it may tear at their hearts for their teen to come home in a car from a Friday night concert or the like, they will not scream or yell, or even give him the cold shoulder when he walks through the door with a cell phone in his/her hand talking to his/her buy/girl friend, ect. Ultimately, they make sure their child can return home, and as long as he can respect their choice to be frum (i.e., no cheeseburgers in the kitchen; no loud music on shabbos), they can respect his choice not to be. Its a tragic and painful way for the parents to live, but oftentimes it results in a positive change years later, and if not, at least the relationship between child and parent hasn’t been destroyed forever (who know, maybe that connection can bring back grand children).
More yeshivish parents (in my many years of experience with OTD and BT teens) tend not to react this way. Their attachment to the “ritual” of our religion is very emotional and they often react to a child’s violating those “rituals” in an angry or very emotional way that just drives the kids further away.
While it is important to seek to help you son, if he will accept it, it is even more important for you to seek help and guidance from a professional – a successful TEEN kiruv person (try getting in touch with NCSY, they really know how to give OTD teens their space to be and how to handle boundaries in terms of your frum home and your OTD child) – so that you get a handle on how to handle this right, and not react poorly and drive him away even more.April 18, 2012 7:52 pm at 7:52 pm #1181211
Zahavasdad- I agree with you. I’ve alreaady accepted that he won’t go to Yeshiva gedola, and tried to get him to see that hanging out with this crowd is not going to give him a good future. These kids are basically street boys, and that’s what my son says he wants to be! Like BTGuy said, I try to be the voice of reason, asking him, “where do you want to be in 2 years? 5 years?”. His answer is, hanging out with his ‘friends’. ProudtobeaYid says it’s an immature age, and it’s true, bc he can’t see beyond today. Apparently, he’s been living a double life the past few years, reluctantly going to Yeshiva, praying etc, while escaping into secular music and videos. Now he feels connected to the secular world, and this ‘chevra’ reinforces that feeling. I wouldn’t complain if he ends up with a good job with a kipa on his head, but he’s already changed, in terms of his ‘walk’, his language, attitude etc, that it doesn’t look like that’s where he’s going.
I hope you’re right, ProudtobeaYid, but it just seems like a ‘compliment here and there’ will carry any weight in comparison to the pull of those street boys.
Thank-you A Mamin for your nice words.
Imaofthree-Thank-you for your advice. How did you cope with your daughter going otd?April 18, 2012 8:17 pm at 8:17 pm #1181212
unconditional love no matter what!!!!! take him on a vacation (if possible just you and him and have a great time )April 18, 2012 8:24 pm at 8:24 pm #1181213
First of all, kudos on asking for advice, I know that that’s not easy to do, especially in situations like these. I don’t have kids so I can’t imagine what you must be feeling right now, but I work with kids like these every day at Our Place so I hope I can offer some ideas. Please pardon me if I seem blunt at times. Please correct me when I’m wrong.
Someone said above that in their opinion your kid isn’t going anymore, that he’s already a but further. Based on your description I would say that’s accurate. While there is what to be said about what people said above about trying to instill a love for yahadus is nice, but it has to be in context. It sounds from what you said that your son is angry about something and that is making him dislike judaism and by extension his family. The most important thing is unconditional love, as mentioned above by several people.
You ask a good question though, exactly how permissive do you have to be to be seen as loving unconditionally? The truth is that permissiveness and love are not mutually inclusive. For example, if a small child shoplifts and you reprimand him, do you not still love him? Permissiveness is not necessarily love, not is lack of permissiveness a lack of love. But back on point. I would say based on your description that it’s past the point of permission, so that’s a moot point. How do you show unconditional love for someone who does not appear to value that love? Good question.
First of all, accept who and what your son is. That does not mean you have to like it, that does not mean you have to approve of it (nor should you), but you should accept it. When you see your son now you need to see your son, not what you would have liked him to be, not who perhaps he might have been, you need to see and love what he is. That means that no matter how he looks, and who he is with, the smile on your face when you greet him is the same as it would be if he looked like the next bochur. I know that that’s hard to do, but that’s what he needs. You need to love him.
This is not meant as a criticism, it’s just instructional. Mussar has a time and a place, and it is only to be given if it will be readily accepted. It doesn’t sound like your son is interested in any, so don’t offer it. When you interact, leave it all off the table, and just treat him like you would if he were your standard run of the mill kid. The idea being that right now there’s something holding him back from embracing yahadus, and many times it’s common for kids to view their parents as the source of whatever is bothering him. Eventually that something will hopefully go away, and when it does he will be looking for a strong support system to fall back on. That strong support system will ideally be his family.
By doing this you are investing in his future. Support him and love him and he will eventually return. If he isn’t interested in going to yeshiva, don’t push it. Make a man out of him, help him learn a trade and get an honest paying job. There is no reason why he can’t be an upstanding member of society just because he doesn’t feel like being frum now. It will help in the long run if his life gets in order now.
About the wrong crowd though…that’s a tough one. There’s not much you can do about who he hangs out with, and forbidding it outright will just make him drift further away. I don’t know what he’s into, or what his friends are into. Many kids turn to the streets just to do what they want regardless of the consequences, but the fact that your son comes home at night is a very good thing. Please try to keep it that way.
You have quite a challenge ahead of you, and I wish you much hatzlacha. Just two questions, one may be a bit offensive but I don’t intend it that way. 1) Do you have any idea what might be causing such intense anger? 2) Is he on anything? Please be mochel me for the second question and feel free not to answer it.April 18, 2012 8:38 pm at 8:38 pm #1181214
You should also you must determine if there is substance use and abuse involved. This changes the dynamic. If so, you have to focus on healing that first. It depends which drugs but some are very toxic and fatal.
I would not argue Hashkafa at all, but just invite him to all religious events as normal whether he goes or not. Get him Seforim also that may be of interest, not Gemara per se maybe books by Rabbi Twerski also, best of luck, please let us know how things go.April 18, 2012 9:30 pm at 9:30 pm #1181215
Maybe tell him that you understand his need for freedom and you will grant it to him on some conditions:
1. He must tell you what time he’ll be home that night.
2. Tell you who he’s hanging out with for the day.
3. He should tell you 2 things he did that day.
3. He won’t engage in any dangerous/illegal activity.
Etc… These are just examples. You can set your own conditions.
Hashem should help you and your son overcome this challenge and give you strength to deal with it.April 18, 2012 9:51 pm at 9:51 pm #1181216
I really hope you manage bezras Hashem to weather this difficult storm. I hate to tell you this, in such a difficult time, but realise the other siblings may be hurt and confused and need mentoring. HatzlochoApril 18, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm #1181217
Therapists are bad. To them OTD is a normal, acceptable, lifestyle choice.
You should speak to Gedolim and Rabbonim.April 18, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm #1181218
I think one of the more importatnt things is to make sure he feels accepted. Make it so he feels that there is actually something( a connection, reason…) to come back. When he feels that he is ready he wont tell you and it wont be straight out, it will be little signs. If there is some acctivity that you know he has some intrest in that is ok that you never addressed before, try now. He is looking for understanding, show him you dont need him to be perfect but who he is. Do something something special that he wants, not what you tell him you want to do.April 18, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm #1181219
Write or wrong: I would find him something religious that he can enjoy. Find some cute Chaddishe vorts about Mitzvos so he can feel and enjoy doing Mitzvos. Also, try and go easier on him with the things that aren’t as important. If he’d stop wearing black and white but would start wearing Tzitzis again instead that’s a tremendous plus. He’s still your kid. Make trade-offs. Tell him that you won’t let him hang out with friends all day but in exchange for being allowed freedom most of the day he has to do some things for you. Also, you can disapprove of what someone is doing and still love them. Show him that you support him as a person, even if you don’t support his actions.April 18, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm #1181220
Have him meet Rabbi Wallerstien at Yeshiva Ohr Yitzchok he has helped a bunch of friends who had this problem. He is very good with these kind of kidsApril 18, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm #1181221
avhaben: Not sure where you got that from. Psychologists are not rabbonim, true, but rabbonim are not psychologists unless they’re licensed. You wouldn’t go to a pediatrician if your car is broken, would you?
Sam2: assuming there’s an interest at all. Usually with stuff like this there’s an underlying reason especially since it sounds more like there’s something that drove him off rather than just losing interest. Vertlach are nice for people who might be a bit shaky, but they can backfire in the wrong setting. It’s like telling someone who’s depressed to just snap out of it; it doesn’t necessarily work like that.
Rabbi Wallerstien would be a good idea if you can get ahold of him.April 19, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am #1181222
I would just like to say that i was also once a child “at risk”.First of all these ideas about unconditional love is false,saying i love u no matter what u do or how u act.Every person in this world’s love is condiotional to an extent only hashems love is unconditional.so when u tell a kid im ok if u listen to goyish music or do x y and z they will really know deep down ur lying 2 them.In my humble opinion the way to be a good parent and not have kids go off the derech is a: try as much 2 lead kids as much as possible on their own path like rav wolbe says al darco (see alei shur) not your own path.B:validate him for real and including is empathize with him and just try to be a friend not a parent yes thats a real concept ur kid should have open relationship with u err on the side of being 2 friendly over the side of being fearful(though a little bit is oviously importantApril 19, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am #1181223
“so when u tell a kid im ok if u listen to goyish music or do x y and z they will really know deep down ur lying 2 them”
It’s not that you’re ok with what they’re doing, its that despite the fact that they are doing something you don’t approve of, you still love them.
“B:validate him for real and including is empathize with him and just try to be a friend not a parent yes thats a real concept ur kid should have open relationship with u err on the side of being 2 friendly over the side of being fearful(though a little bit is oviously important”
yepApril 19, 2012 1:06 am at 1:06 am #1181224
soliek, my point was therapists generally do not see leaving religion as being at all problematic.April 19, 2012 1:27 am at 1:27 am #1181225
i love camp govoahMember
i think u should speak to rabbi shmuel gluck from areivim in monsey he helps a lot of teens in that situation or even worse, you could check out the website areivim.com they have a lot of programs that could help the office # is 845-371-2760 his cell # is 914-490-8129 I’m sure he would help u helped thousands of kids i hope this helpedApril 19, 2012 1:43 am at 1:43 am #1181226
But they can often find and treat what caused a person to leave in the first place.April 19, 2012 2:02 am at 2:02 am #1181227
Welcome back, soliek! 😛April 19, 2012 2:12 am at 2:12 am #1181228
I’m not “back.” I saw this thread, I have experience with these things, and I felt I had to answer. I will not be posting on other threads unless they’re like this one.April 19, 2012 2:16 am at 2:16 am #1181229
So we just need to put “off the derech” in the title?April 19, 2012 2:21 am at 2:21 am #1181230
soliek, the therapist won’t feel any need to “treat” the cause of going otd, just as they wouldn’t feel any need to treat someone engaging in toeiva. Neither are considered abnormal in the medical field and in neither will they see any need to diagnose a cause.April 19, 2012 2:48 am at 2:48 am #1181231
From Personal Experience
Their based in monsey NY
but the Director, Rabbi Gluck has Connections Everywhere and has dealt with the most extreme cases.
They’re actually starting a wilderness program which basically takes these kids into the wilderness with professional instructors, and its sort of like a boot camp, no phone, no iPod, no computer.
the idea is to make a dysfunctional teen into a functioning teen, and then once he’s a functioning human IE, has a schedule and has a sense of what responsibilities are
then u might find him surprisingly going back “on the derech”
Good luck to you allApril 19, 2012 3:28 am at 3:28 am #1181232
Oh well.April 19, 2012 3:38 am at 3:38 am #1181233
avhaben: Have you ever worked with people who are off the derech? Do you know what the purpose of psychology is? Do you even know why someone would suggest that he see one?
“the idea is to make a dysfunctional teen into a functioning teen, and then once he’s a functioning human IE, has a schedule and has a sense of what responsibilities are
then u might find him surprisingly going back ‘on the derech'”
which is a good way of explaining to avhaben why therapy is important. I forgot who said it, but it was someone big in kiruv, that sometimes you need to make someone into a regular goy before you can make him into a ger. If a person has issues that drove him off in the first place, or a person is suffering with something that is preventing him from going back on, then you first need to address those concerns before you can try to be mekarev him. Otherwise he will have no interest in what you’re saying.
Also for some reason you’re assuming that there are no frum psychologists out there who would be aware that for us going off the derech is problematic. That’s assuming you were at all right. You happen to be grossly mistaken, except for certain cases.April 19, 2012 3:57 am at 3:57 am #1181234
Kids who go off the derech usually have a deeper reason and its just a symptom of something wrong. I suggest he go to therapy.
As for your part, unconditional love and compliments (GENUINE!!) and just let him do his thing. The more you object, the more he’ll do it. That’s rebellion’s natureApril 19, 2012 4:49 am at 4:49 am #1181235
avhaben- Where did u get this idea that therapists don’t view being OTD as a problem, im a frum therapist myself and your simply wrong. Idk if this is what you are referring to, but many times therapists will show true unconditional love and support even when they don’d agree with something. Its a way of dealing with issues, however that doesnt mean they don’t view going OTD as a positive decision.April 19, 2012 6:05 am at 6:05 am #1181236
RSRH – I hear what you are saying, the only thing is this is not happening in a bubble. My other children are already challenging me as to why I don’t “punish” him if he doesn’t go to pray or learn. They also want to miss school, and sleep late. Of course I can’t tolerate loud music on Shabbos, but are you saying soft music would be okay?? The other thing is, he’s already playing his secular music in the house, usually with earphones, but sometimes he takes them out and my other kids hear it. He’ll even sing some of these songs around them. I tell him to please keep it to himself, but how can I enforce anything with him? It seems he’s in complete control. I have no leverage.
Shaul 1- Thanks, but he’s “too big”, and doesn’t want to go places anymore with his parents. He ONLY wants to be with his friends, or sleep.
Soliek- You said, “support him and love him, and he will eventually return”. Is it really true? The funny thing is, I’ve always thought that we gave him the message of loving him, loud and clear. I’ve gone over it in my mind, again and again, looking to see what I missed, what I didn’t give this child. If you ask all my other kids how they feel, they will probably tell you that HE always got the most attention, the most love etc. He is the first born, and we always seemed to have a good relationship, with good communication. I do have some ideas as to what might have caused the anger. One is an experience he had in school many years ago, when the kids were making fun of him. We addressed it a number of times with the principal, but apparently it continued for too long. It got to the point where I begged my son to consider switching schools, but he refused, saying even though some kids were making him miserable, he liked the Rebbes, and wanted to stay. The other issues are situational, and are not something we can change.
Adams- I don’t there is substance abuse, although I’m sure he’s smoking with this chevra.April 19, 2012 6:14 am at 6:14 am #1181237
Smart Cookie- I like what you said, and I’ve actually been trying to do that. I give him my cell phone when he goes out, and ask him who he will be with and when he thinks he’s coming home. The thing is, he always stays out later than he says, and there is no way I can enforce compliance.
Avhaben – I hear you, we did speak with a therapist a while back, and while I do think they have insight into helping troubled kids, not doing the mitzvos is not really a ‘crisis’ for them as it would be to a Rebbe.April 19, 2012 6:46 am at 6:46 am #1181238
“looking to see what I missed, what I didn’t give this child”
Again, it’s not about giving or permissiveness, or even approving of what he’s doing. It’s about accepting him for who he is and loving him for who he is, not what he might have been. Not that I’m saying you don’t–I don’t know you so I obviously can’t judge or even comment on that–I’m just giving some of my experiences. Giving a kid things isn’t loving him, nor is being overly permissive necessarily.
You said that he was the first child and got the most love, and then you said that there’s something that you know of which may be making him angry. It’s quite possible that that situation is making him forget everything in the past. You need to love him now as he is. You can obviously try and steer him in the right direction, after all that’s what parents are for, but love him for who he is now.
Again, I don’t know you, your kid, or your family, so please don’t take what I say the wrong way. I’m just speaking from what I know.
“The other issues are situational, and are not something we can change.”
Whatever it is, if he won’t agree to see a therapist then perhaps you should. The therapist will be able to A) better equip you to handle the stress you’re currently obviously experiencing, and B) possibly help you bring your son back by teaching you what to say, do, etc. I’m not an expert, I just have a little experience.April 19, 2012 6:50 am at 6:50 am #1181239
Also something else…when someone feels angry with life they tend to rebel against any authority they know. Religion is a pretty big authority. Therefore, in many cases, that anger must be dealt with before you can be mekarev a person. However you feel it should or could be dealt with.April 19, 2012 7:31 am at 7:31 am #1181241
start slow make deals w him like if u dont go out w ur friends tonight w will bye u…
show him the gadlus of yidishkiet stuff that if he c”v takes the wrong path he will miss out onApril 19, 2012 8:00 am at 8:00 am #1181242
write or wrong – First of all, “unconditional love” is a beautiful concept. However, today, not every child goes off the derech because he did not get unconditional love. It appears that that was what we heard about maybe five years ago. Today, boys are going off because they are going off. Today, there are boys that no matter what was done for them, it was the wrong decision. It is a combination of factors; first and foremost, that we don’t really understand our children’s experiences and their natures until they are older and it is too late. Sometimes, even when asking Daas Torah, it is not the case anymore that the rabbonim know what to do. The world is changing much faster than anyone can keep up, and unless a rav has a kesher with a boy and really knows that boy, there is no rhyme or reason on what makes boys today go otd. Third, there is much more abuse in our community than people realize. There is a growing awareness that many of our kids are being porek ol because they were victims and are too ashamed to get help. There could be any one of a number of traumas that occurred, as well. What is most important to ALWAYS remember is that the child who goes OTD is suffering terribly and could not communicate this in a healthy way, for whatever reason, mostly because they are immature.
To reiterate, today there is a hester ponim, and we really don’t necessarily know how to raise our children. First and foremost is to daven. Secondly, speak to a rov that is familiar with these issues in your neighborhood, and if your son won’t go for counseling, then please, you and your spouse should go, to answer your critical questions of limitations, how to deal with his anger, and how to communicate with your other children.
As a suggestion, today, what appears to help the boys/girls is “unconditional acceptance”: this is much harder and apparently leaves a greater impression on the child, because many of these kids really do know that they are loved. Remember, the one suffering the most in this picture is your son. May you be bentshed to see Yiddishe nachas from EVERY one of your children. Hatzlocha vebrocha.April 19, 2012 8:26 am at 8:26 am #1181243
Sam2- At this point, he doesn’t want me to even mention anything religious, he’ll just change the subject. Telling him “I won’t let him hang out with his friends all day” is useless, bc I can’t control him. He is basically coming and going as he pleases. What consequence could I offer if he stays out all day?
Tikvayes- It sounds nice, but I can’t ‘lead him on his own path” when I, myself have no desire to go there. And I don’t think it’s a good path. It’s like hiking in the mountains, only he wants to walk on the edge of a cliff. I can’t encourage it, and truthfully, I want to pull him in. The hard part is that I have to somehow let him walk this path and pray he doesn’t fall.
My Brother/I love camp govoah/hock613-thanks for the recommendations.
Soliek/blabla-you’re right about therapy, but I’ve tried in the past to involve my son in counseling and he always refused. My husband and I went by ourselves. I think part of the reason this is happening to my son is bc it fits in with his personality. He has always been independent and controlling, and he is now expressing it in its fullest.April 19, 2012 8:44 am at 8:44 am #1181244
Soliek, as far as ‘from now on’, I will have to find ways of showing him that I love him and accept him. But are you saying that in the past, he must not have felt that I loved him ‘for who he is’, and perhaps he is testing us, so to speak?? Meaning, maybe he felt that he’d have to ‘become a Rebbe one day’, for example, for us to love him?
When I said I keep thinking of what I didn’t give him, I meant, emotionally, not materialistically. Perhaps materialistically, he was somewhat deprived, but emotionally? I can only remember showering him with love and praises, being truly impressed by his talents and abilities since he was born, not limited to learning Torah and mitzvos.
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