July 17, 2012 4:29 am at 4:29 am #1181875
mom12-will do!July 17, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am #1181876phrumMember
Let him find stam yidden who practice v’havta raecha kmocha and ze hyo asah HaShem nagia v’nishmacha boi – loving HaShem, loving ALL Bnei Yisrael, AND loving the righteous among Bnei Noach (and there are many), and he will find eventually find Torah and Mitzvahs and HaShem and even reach all the Abisher’s precious secret hidden places which only a master of reflexive turning can.
For mow you must let go and live your son, love HaShem, and love yourself.
I also recommend learning the MeaShloch.July 17, 2012 2:10 pm at 2:10 pm #1181877
phrum-I hope you are right, and he does find the right people and make his way back to Torah Judaism..July 17, 2012 5:05 pm at 5:05 pm #1181878SpeakerParticipant
Avi Fishoff is the founder/director of Home Sweeeet Home a residential living facility for off-the-derech boys ages 16-20. The boys move in to the home for a full year and the staff of volunteers care for them 365/24/7. The track record is sensational. Many rabbanim and askanim know of the HSH miracles. Ken Yirbeh.
Aside from that, Avi gives guidance to parents of off-the-derech kids (boys or girls) who are “out of control”. He meets JUST the parents and TRAINS them on exactly all the questions that you have all been talking about.
He has haskammos and backing from:
Belzer Rebbeh Shlyt”a
HaRav Yitzchok Scheiner shlyt”a
HaRav Moshe Wolfson shlyt”a
HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky shlyt”a
HaRav Yosef Rosenblum Shlyt”a
HaRav Yecheskel Roth Shlyt”a
Novominsker Rebbeh shlyt”a
HaRav Shmuel Dishon shlyt”a
HaRav Chaim Kohn shlyt”a (Ger)
HaRav Binyumin Eisenberger shlyt”a
Krula Ruv; R’ Naftuli Horowitz shlyt”a
Kossoveh Rebbeh; R’ Shraga Hager shlyt”a Dr. David Pelcovitz Rabbi Shimon russell Dr. Trish attia Rabbi Yerachmiel Milstein Mask David Mandel (ohel) R’ chaim glancz (our place) Rabbi Yerachmiel Milstein Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz
Instead of going to meet someone for an hour a week for six months till they understand the issue and give you advice, he meets new parents (mom and dad) for one long incredible 12 hour session. You walk in hunched over and confused and – take it from me – you leave a new person. You have a “derech”! You have guidance that is oisgehalten 100%.
After the first amazing life altering session, he sees you every week for 3 hours in a group with other couples who have gone through this same 12 hour initial session. The groups are UNBELIEVABLY POWERFUL and believe it or not we all leave charged with chizuk and practical advise – ready to face whatever craziness will come our way. Difficult to imagine until you experience it.
He holds your hands throughout your crisis and never let’s go. You will never feel alone. You will never feel confused. You will have complete PRACTICAL VERY REAL Torah guidance that WORKS!!
Oh… And he doesn’t charge for any of this.
He can be reached at: Edited. I am hesitant to publicize his email address. If anyone wants it I will email it to them privately providing I am the Mod who catches the post. Mod 18July 17, 2012 7:38 pm at 7:38 pm #1181879
Hello write or wrong and others,
as a follow up to the previous post about Avi Fishoff. I am a long time talmid of Avi Fishoff and although I wouldn’t call myself an expert on this subject, as a father of a child similar to the ones described here, I have extensive experience in successfully dealing with this problem (I use the term successful in very relative terms).
I have read a lot of the posts here (though not all), some very good advice and some NOT so good. For example, I read one post that mentioned to “Just ignore him”. That’s probably one of the worst things you can do.
The problem you describe usually stems from some sort of trauma (physical or otherwise) that occurred at some point in his life. So, in short, your child is probably suffering tremendous emotional (spiritual) pain. There are many ways of dealing with this, some of the methods were already mentioned in this thread. For example acceptance and unconditional love; but, the REAL definition of acceptance and unconditional love, goes way beyond the methods previously mentioned here. I can continue to give further details into this method or you can contact Avi directly. Let me know 🙂July 17, 2012 7:47 pm at 7:47 pm #1181880
Speaker-everything you wrote sounds great, and I am interested in contacting him if the mod would email me the email address. Not sure how much I can benefit, bc I live in Israel. But I would like to speak with him and see if there’s anyway he can still help/advise me.. Thanks so much.July 17, 2012 8:13 pm at 8:13 pm #1181881
here to help-let’s say, my son did suffer an emotional trauma in school many years ago, and it festered inside him all these years. Perhaps, other things also aggravated it. How do we help him now? Everyone says give acceptance and unconditional love, but how do you do that when he’s EXTREMELY nasty and chutzpadik, angry, and is either never home, sleeping, or on the computer ignoring you? He bought himself some computer-IPOD-Android thing, and now he’s on it constantly, with no patience to talk to us. Would appreciate any advice..July 17, 2012 8:34 pm at 8:34 pm #1181882SpeakerParticipant
His email address was in my previos postJuly 17, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm #1181883mom12Participant
speaker- looks like the email address was not posted..July 17, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm #1181885
“Last night, my son bombarded me with all the things I did wrong his whole life. He’s angry with everyone in his life from his RY, mashgiach, yeshiva friends, Shul, parents, neighbors etc etc. At what point, if ever, does a teenager begin to look at himself honestly and say, “Maybe I’m too sensitive, maybe I’m too controling. Maybe it’s partly me”? As long as my son blames everyone in his life for leaving the derech, how will he ever come back? My husband and I are supposed to be ‘loving and accepting’, but my son is making life unbearable. With all the support I have, I still feel like I’m hanging by a thread. How are we supposed to survive this?”
WOW, I haven’t looked at this website for many months. I don’t know why I peeked today but this is a subject I am very concerned with so I have chosen to comment. Firstly I agree about Avi Fishoff, I have much respect for him. He has written a book on the subject so I am sure if you google him it will lead you to contact information. We emailed just last week about his current program with parents.
Regarding your post above, to me this shows that he is finally reaching out to you and opening up a bit about his personal pain. I understand that the knee jerk reaction is to look at it as him blaming everyone else for his problems and issues, but if you can try to look past it and understand it from the POV point of view or perspective of a child in pain, one who is crushed under the huge burden, you might gain some insight on your child’s emotional equilibrium.
Take an honest look at his list of complaints. No one likes to accept blame and as parents, you did the best you could making the best decisions you could make with the knowledge you had at the time and the advice you were given at the time. Every parent looking back might choose to have done any number of things differently. What about with his complaint at this time. Could you have done anything differently? What could you have done differently to bring about a different outcome? What about the R”Y, Mashgiach, friends etc. ? Could they have done things differently? Should they have done things differently? Do they have any accountability here?
I am asking these questions for the simple reason of understanding and validation. It is very important as parents to “listen to understand” and then to be able to validate his feelings and emotions. Feelings are neither right or wrong. They are there and a person has a right to their own feelings. In order for a child to be able to deal with their feelings it is very important for them to feel validated. If you can tell your child that you heard every word he said, obviously in a calm and loving manner, and reiterate that at the time you thought it was the best way to handle the situation you are showing that you understood that he is hurt. Obviously had you known he was still hurt, or that what you did was not enough you would have tried to do more, or knowing what is known today if you had this knowledge then you would have handled it differently. By saying this you are also validating his feelings. As far as the other players ar concerned, would you be comfortable asking him what he feels they should have done differently, or if it were to happen to one of his siblings or his own children c”v, what does he feel he would do to handle the situation in a more productive and successful manner.
If you listen to understand and offer a sincere apology you might just be able to keep the line of communications open. When someone is angry, especially a child it is important to help them channel their anger in the right direction. If the line of communication is open and he is willing to talk about his pain he might even start talking about his anger. In many cases kids don’t even realize they are angry or why. They don’t recognize the anger in them. They are frustrated and they know that, but they don’t see that they are also angry. One thing that is very important to keep in mind is that his friends are validating his feelings. If he says these things to his friends they will agree with him and enforce these feelings rarely giving an insight to the other perspective such as what his parents were able or capable of doing at the time, or if your parents gave you the opportunity to switch yeshivas why didnt you? Maybe he does need to be gently reminded that you did advocate for him as much as he would let you at the time. He might just come around to realize that he pulled you into the mix but you really don’t belong there. It is a process.
You are absolutely right when you say you can’t control him. He does not want to be controlled. But by showing him validation and understanding you might be able to make agreements with him based on mutual respect. Obviously you can’t respect his choices but you can respect his “need” to make choices. Obviously you don’t love or approve of what he is doing but you love your son no matter what. And I am sure that no matter what he loves you too. So try to make an agreement with him by putting it in those terms. “even though I might not understand everything that is going on with you I do understand that what you are doing is not out of a need to hurt me or our family. So can we make an agreement that you confine what you need to do in your room, and keep the music low enough for only you and not your siblings to hear? And although you feel you are old enough to be out with your friends till all hours, I can’t stop worrying about my son whom I love so much, so can we agree that we show each other mutual respect and consideration? can we agree on a reasonable curfew and you call me or text me if you will be late so I know where you are and when you will be home. “
It is worth making every effort to reach him. He is going through his own nisyonos while you are going through yours. He will come back when he finds the peace within he is looking for and he finds the right sheliach to show him the path home. As long as he knows your arms are always open, he will eventually find his way home. Hatzlacha Rabbah .July 17, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm #1181886
It is definitely more difficult in the beginning and I don’t think it is ever too late. Eventually when you PROVE to him/her that you accept them no matter what, they begin to trust you and the relationship builds from there.
The first step is to get it through your head that you are dealing with a sick child (a choleh nefesh) and I mean that literally not figuratively. This attitude will make it much easier to follow through on what is required to help your child “heal”. Once you have accepted this fact we can move on to the next steps. However, without accepting this fact the process will be very difficult if not impossible to follow through completely.July 18, 2012 6:02 am at 6:02 am #1181887
aries2756-thank-you for your insights and advice. Some of the things you suggested, I’ve already been doing. But the main reason he is angry at his parents is for putting him in a religious school! He hates that he is religious, probably bc of some of the negative associations he has from ‘religious’ people. But had he grown up secular in a secular school, I’m sure he’d have a list of complaints about the non-religious people, bc that would be his reference point. So we, as parents, either way, are going to be ‘wrong’. And you’re right, his ‘friends’ are probably validating his feelings of hating religious people, bc most of them also hate religion and their parents. I agree with everything you wrote. And ‘on paper’, everything you said makes sense. But unfortunately, at least right now, my son is not interested in being reasonable or showing mutual respect. He wants to stay out as late as he wants, sometimes all night. He will never call us, and if we call him, he either doesn’t answer, or tries to hang up the second he answers. Also, every time he’s with his friends, he comes home more distant and angrier than before. It’s very hard (impossible?) to help him get past this stage of anger. We are sorely outnumbered, and spend only a small fraction of time with him due to his ‘unavailability’. I will, however, keep in mind everything you said, and pray that eventually, something will click…
The other issue is that he bought himself an android, and is now going out in the streets, trying to ‘catch’ someone else’s signal. He is on this thing at least 7 or more hours a day. Is it possible, that in this generation, a 16yo kid can do whatever he wants, without the parents’ consent? Who gave him permission to even buy this thing and bring it into my home, and expose my other children to this? And he is completely addicted to it! My husband wants to break it, but I’m sure if he did, my son would retaliate and break everything in our house. He shares a room with his brothers, and doesn’t respect our request of not using it in front of them. You said we shouldn’t control him, but who should control the running of the house? By not ‘controling’ him, he controls the house, and the chinuch, and the atmosphere, and, and, and..July 18, 2012 6:28 am at 6:28 am #1181888
here to help-you are absolutely right. The only way I can control my feelings/reactions, is to see my son as being ‘sick’ right now. I’m not sure I am doing anything right anymore. And I’m not sure I’m able to put everyone’s great advice into practice, bc he is soooooo difficult. I’m basically just staying above water, trying to maintain peace between my husband and son, and keeping an eye on my son for that window of opportunity, where I might be able to reach him again…July 18, 2012 6:36 am at 6:36 am #1181889
What happened to the ‘schools’ you were considering?July 18, 2012 8:08 am at 8:08 am #1181890
pcoz-the school he’ll consider going to, has no dorm, and for that reason, it’s not the best option. There are 2 or 3 that have dorming, but so far, he won’t go see them.July 18, 2012 4:29 pm at 4:29 pm #1181891
write or wrong-firstly, it is very important that your husband be on board; simply “keeping peace” may not be enough. However, it is also very important not to get into arguments with your husband about being on board, that will just create another difficult situation for you and make curing your child almost impossible. Problems with children often create problems in marriage, so let’s avoid that 🙂
secondly, it is not enough to “SEE” your son as being sick. I’m sorry to break it to you but your son REALLY IS sick. The cure will be much more effective when you’re not treating this like an exercise or an experiment.
I’m sorry if I sound a little harsh, but there is nothing more serious than the welfare of our children, right?
OK, once we’ve established that we may be able to take the next step, which is PROVING to your child that you accept him/her. To do that, you and your husband will need to do some things that you will almost definitely be uncomfortable with. So, before moving on, make sure your husband is on board.July 18, 2012 4:56 pm at 4:56 pm #1181892
here to help-thanks for being blunt, I do take this seriously and don’t want to make any mistakes. What do you mean by my husband being on board? My husband does agree with everything in theory, but putting things into practice can be challenging at times. He does see my son as a choleh nefesh, and when we speak, we are united in our love for our son, our assessment of things and our goals. It’s just that sometimes, they get into power struggles. I end up having to be a buffer, and the voice of reason, reminding my husband of our conversations.
Are you a therapist?July 18, 2012 9:02 pm at 9:02 pm #1181893BRAINFREEZEParticipant
It’s me again.
The way I see it, the most likely scenario here is that yourself and your son suffer from two separate conditions. Your son bipolar disorder, and you denial.
For the life of me I can’t understand why you won’t take my advice and consult a psychiatrist. You seem amenable to all of the other hand ringing going on here, all of which has failed to produce results. At least one other member here has introduced the concept of your son truly being sick and surprisingly you agree. Most sick people I know see M.D.’s and take medicines.
I wish Hashem would put the right words in my mouth to convince you.July 18, 2012 9:30 pm at 9:30 pm #1181894crisisoftheweekMember
People are skeptical of the mental health community for two reasons
1: The social stigma of being “crazy” or “damaged good” this can easily cause you to be dropped to second or third tier status on the shidduch circut
2: The commonly held belief that all psychiatrists/counslers/psychotherapists have an agenda to get frum people to abandon yiddishkeit. Only those therapists that answer directly to a Rav are kosher..and even in those instances you still run into the stigma issue.July 18, 2012 9:33 pm at 9:33 pm #1181895
No, I am not a therapist. As I mentioned before, I am a fellow parent of a CIP (Child In Pain) and a talmid of Avi Fishoff. Most if not all of what I’m sharing with you comes from him. When you mentioned that you were the peace keeper between your husband and son I felt it necessary to mention that this approach is a team effort so I’m glad to hear that you and your husband are on the same team. BTW the power struggles must stop immediately, there can be no negativity AT ALL between parent and child, no matter what; that will get easier as the relationship begins to improve, which can happen pretty quickly if the method is followed correctly.July 18, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm #1181896
BRAINFREEZE-if it makes you feel better, he was seen by doctors, and he does not have bipolar. I’ve already told you, that in order to have the diagnosis of bipolar, he had to have had at least 1 manic episode. He never had any, so why do you continue to insist that he has it???July 18, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm #1181897
Please forgive me for the following…
Bipolar is a word – let’s forget about that, words are irrelevant. The point the freeze is making I think is that to be fair your son is dysfunctional, that needs therapy.July 19, 2012 1:15 am at 1:15 am #1181898
WOW, his “disease” as you say is that he is angry at religion. Unfortunately he feels that he was hurt by the religion and NOT by religious people or people who represent the religion. I have often pointed that out to children I have worked with in the past and even asked the very logical question “so then if a goy would hurt you would you then turn your back on all goyim , their music and everything they believe in because that would mean they are all bad and everything they believe in is bad and harmful to you?”. This usually caught them off guard and gave them food for thought.
I don’t know if your son is capable of hearing that question at the moment but it is an important question to ask because one must define why one is hurt and angry and who is responsible for it. Yiddishkeit is no more responsible for the way he feels, than the air he breathes is. The people in in his life who were frum and let him down are responsible and they have names and faces and they didn’t hurt him because they are frum, they hurt him because they have the power of choice just as he does. They chose their own actions just as he is doing now. That doesn’t mean that it was the right choice at the time nor does it mean that they followed religious guidelines when they made them. It means they are human and as humans had the choice between right and wrong, good and evil just as he does, you do and his friends do. religion does not play a part in it whatsoever . One day when they stand before their maker they will have to account for their choices just as he will and you will. Hashem keeps very precise records and everyone has their day of reckoning.
This is an important message that kids have to hear. They have to understand that people ,no matter how religious they are or seem to be, still answer to Hashem and account for every person that they hurt throughout their life just as every secular Jew or any regular joe shmo. We are all on equal footing in front of Hashem and it is our record that has to speak for us.
Although you can’t catch him to have a chat with him, there are two other methods to get your points across to your kids. One is since kids rarely appreciate their own parents and think that their friends parents are cool and smart, have THEM tell your child what you want him to hear. The second way is to leave him notes. Kids at this age show tremendous bravado face to face but in private they let their guard down. If you write him a sincere note he will probably keep it and reread it many times. Make sure to be warm and loving. Make the notes short and sweet but get the message across. Leave it on his pillow to be found when he comes home. Be sure to seal it so his siblings don’t read it. Respect goes a long way, if you seal it you are showing him that you are teaching his sibs to respect his privacy. Hatzlocha Rabbah.July 19, 2012 3:59 am at 3:59 am #1181899
W.O.W. and others – firstly, brainfreeze, these kids are very often not willing to go for therapy much less take medication; And to show any type of control by trying to convince them, will just make the situation worse. Also, I STRONGLY believe that no one can help him more than his parents can. Yes, I’m speaking from personal experience with a very similar situation. Eventually,(but certainly not at this stage) when the parent/child relationship improves and everyone is thinking clearer, the idea of therapy and possibly medication can be approached, if necessary.
Secondly, aries2756, his pain is probably a lot deeper than simply being angry at religion and he’s probably not ready to hear logic and reason from anyone. Right now he needs to know that his parents are on his side. If he’s angry at religion, don’t try to defend religion, that just shows that you are against HIM. It’s getting late and I hate to leave you hanging, I will try to post again tomorrow. B’NJuly 19, 2012 4:47 am at 4:47 am #1181900
here to help – “these kids are very often not willing to go for therapy”
so ask him
“I STRONGLY believe that no one can help him more than his parents can” – there is a multi-billion dollar psychotherapy industry that says otherwiseJuly 19, 2012 5:58 am at 5:58 am #1181901
aries2756-thanks for your insight and advice. What a great point you made, it’s really smart…and true. And the note is a good idea, mom12 also suggested it.
pcoz-convincing my son that he needs therapy right now would just create more friction. Of course I believe he would benefit from it, in fact, I think MOST people would benefit from it. But like ‘here to help’ mentioned, our relationship would have to improve a bit before he could hear of the idea, let alone accept it.
Crisis of the week-I am not ‘skeptical of the mental health community’, on the contrary, I am working with them in order to survive this! I’m sorry, but your reasoning is off. Issues about shidduchim, and therapists trying to get you to abandon yiddishkeit is ridiculous. As for the bipolar issue, bipolar is a very specific psychiatric disorder with specific criteria needed for the diagnosis. BRAINFREEZE has insisted many times in previous posts that my son has bipolar, despite the fact that he does not have the criteria NECESSARY for the diagnosis. To say that I am in denial, after all this time, makes me wonder about the ‘reason’ for the suggestion. I have consulted with every type of professional at this point, in a desparate effort to help my son. If things were as simple as you say, that if he just took a pill, he’d be fine, I’d make sure to fill his closet with that pill. I do appreciate everyone’s advice, and I have followed up on many suggestions. But if something is not applicable, I think we should let it go… 🙂July 19, 2012 6:32 am at 6:32 am #1181902
had you asked him when he was 10 what he wanted to be when he grew up what would he have said?July 19, 2012 2:41 pm at 2:41 pm #1181903
W.O.W. if you think you’re ready I can begin relating to you some Basic ideas of the Avi Fishoff method called “Twisted Parenting”. There is a good reason why it’s called that, as you will see.
First, let’s review a few key prerequisites.
1. This is a team effort Husband and Wife
2. Your child is not BAD He is SICK we call it emotional cancer. Just like you wouldn’t expect a person with 2 broken legs to be able to walk, how can you expect a child to have any connection to spirituality and yiddishkeit when something, (or more probably someone), has ripped his neshama out from him
3. No negativity (arguing, blaming, tension, stern looks etc…)
4. No control, these kids are completely allergic to control
5. only positives (compliments, acceptance, approval)
6. lots of hugs, this works wonders, but don’t force it.
There is a lot more which we will get to… but…
Most of all, is the fact that you have tried all other methods and nothing has worked. To be continued, If you would like me to.July 19, 2012 4:23 pm at 4:23 pm #1181904
pcoz- a Rebbe
here to help-Yes! Please continue. Just a question about giving the hugs, my son doesn’t let my husband show him affection. Is there something else he should do? Also, about ‘No control’, does that mean no rules? My son wants to stay out all night, we should just be quiet about it and not voice our disapproval?July 19, 2012 6:20 pm at 6:20 pm #1181905HmomMember
Iam new to this forum and I have joined because after reading some of these posts I see that I am not alone in this unbearable situation. I have a teenage daughter who is off and I need chizuk to help get through this.July 19, 2012 6:41 pm at 6:41 pm #1181906ImaofthreeParticipant
What is your son doing all night long with his friends? Are there drugs involved? This may explain his behavior.July 19, 2012 7:07 pm at 7:07 pm #1181907
HTH, pointing out to a child that people have bechira and are responsible for their own choices no matter what religion they are, thereby pointing out that it has nothing to do with the religion itself but the person that the child feels hurt him, is NOT defending religion it is making a very important point. One that he will still be learning on an ongoing basis.
I agree that a child in pain does not want to hear or discuss religion and it is not important to do so. The main issue is his safety. Keeping him healthy is one’s main concern. That is the top priority and that is where unconditional love comes into play. Children do not come with warranties nor guarantees. They are born to us from our flesh and blood and are ours to love and nurture no matter what. That is our test. Hashem entrusts the gift of life, children, in our care. He doesn’t promise us perfection by no means. He did promise us “tzar gidul Bonim”. That is our challenge and our nisayon.. These are our children through good times and bad, through nachos and through challenge. Whether we walk, crawl, slide, climb, or slip through this dark journey with them or we are zocheh to dance at their weddings. These are our gifts from Hashem, and it is our job, obligation, responsibility, honor, and joy to love unconditionally no matter what. No matter whether they follow our dreams for them or they choose to follow their own.
One thing that we learn from such a challenge is that we must never miss an opportunity to tell our children that we love them. Whether it is when they walk out the door, walk in, when we end a conversation or say good night, you just can’t say it enough and they can’t hear it enough. Think about it, for those who didn’t hear it enough from their own parents, how did that make you feel? Learn to say it to your own children, even if you are not going through this challenge and especially if you are. The more you say it the more natural it will become and the more it will mean and be believed. You might even begin to receive an “I love you too” in response. Everyone has a need to be loved and feel loved and hearing the words regularly goes a long way.
Even anger is sometimes tempered when one hears “I am sorry you feel angry and hurt, I love you and if I am the cause of your anger and pain in any way, I truly apologize.” a sincere apology can also go a long way. One has to understand that even if they don’t think they did anything wrong, if their child feels hurt and needs the apology, it is very worth it because the hurt and pain they feel is very real. It is also a lesson one needs to teach, that parents are also human and are capable of both making mistakes and apologizing. As humans we are all prone to making mistakes, no one is perfect. And we are all capable of learning and improving, as long as we live and breathe we still achieve to keep learning and improving. We are even capable of learning a thing or two from our own children no matter their age. Some of us even learn to stop and appreciate the simple things in life from the youngest of our children. And we can and do learn things from the challenge and nisyonos that our children in pain go through.
One thing that I have learnt and taught many parents in this pasha is to separate our pain from that of our childrens’. For many parents it is very difficult to stop worrying about what the neighbors and other family members think or how our child’s behavior reflects on us as parents or our position in the community. This is a tremendous learning process. The pain a parent first goes through is their own pain until they realize and understand that it is NOT about them at all and it is about the pain their child is experiencing. And that is a very real and sometimes excruciating overwhelming pain. Once a parent gets past that hurdle with the help of a mentor, Rav, coach, or support system, they can better deal with and understand the dark journey their child is dealing with. It is a tough realization when faced with the question “what do you care about more, what your children think of you or what your friends think of you?”. When you get your priorities in order you will truly find out who your own real friends are. Those that really love you and care about you will support you and your child no matter what. They will love you unconditionally just as you love your child unconditionally and they will give your child the same support and love you do. This also paves the way for a child’s eventual path to return home; the faith, trust and love of and unconditional support of others.
What we need to understand is that we cannot control others or their choices we can only control ourselves, and we can’t change others only ourselves. So by being the best and the most honest role models we can be and by leading by example we set the stage for others to respond to us in a positive manner.July 19, 2012 9:10 pm at 9:10 pm #1181908BRAINFREEZEParticipant
Thank you for the response. I appreciate it.
Firstly, I never insisted you kid is BP, I insisted that he might be and that every possible avenue should be explored to rule it out.
You say you’ve consulted with ‘every type’ of professional. Great! Does that include a psychiatrist? That’s an M.D. with a 4 year residency in psychiatry. If you have, why on earth didn’t you say so earlier? If not, then you havent consulted with ‘every type’ just with ‘some types’ of professionals and I, therefore, contend that ‘this particular type’ should be consulted with. They are the ones who can make the diagnosis.
Besides, even if you saw a psychiatrist that ruled out BP, I would still say get a second and maybe 3rd opinion about the matter. Again, as I stated before, BP is too destructive of an illness to not diagnose and psychiatrists are notorious for underdiagnosing it. It would be great if there was a special test that can be ordered to diagnose the illness, but there isnt, so you need to rely on the doctor evaluating your child.
WOW–I never said taking a pill was the entire answer. You made that part up. It is a vital first step (assuming your kid is indeed BP). The meds will calm the rage, lift the depression, improve the mood and subsequently allow for good judgement. At that point, and at that point only, therapy and everything else mentioned here becomes both imperative and very effective, but you can’t skip the meds and go straight to therapy.
Next, saying he never had a manic episode means he’s not BP is amateurish and misguided. Who told you that, your family doctor or therapist? Both are clueless if they think that way. Many BP’s never have a full manic episode. There are many forms of BP and some forms don’t involve full scale mania. There is a phenomenon called a ‘mixed episode’ which involved mainly rage, irritability and poor judgement, all on a very grand and pathological level. Your son may or may not have this.
WOW–and others on this board,
I want to point something out here. I think it is obvious that there is a lot more at play here than just going OTD. There are plenty of teens who veer far from what their parents or rabbi’s tell them to do, but they do it with at least some level of respect and sensitivity. Many are too embarrased to admit they are no longer frum. The relationship with the parents may be strained, but it in no way resembles what WOW has been describing here all along. A few posts ago she describes not being able to take away the android because “he would destroy everything in the house”. OTD? Try acutely ill. You’re living in fear in your own house! You’re being bullied by your teenage son! This is a FAR CRY from merely being OTD. What I’m trying to get you to see is that the mere fact that your sons situation is so intensly dire provides grounds for believing that we are dealing with an actual medical condition, not just consequences to having a poor encounter with a rebbe or some low life classmates. The fact that you’ve essentially dedicated 90% of your energy in resolving this issue and have produced no results at all should alert you to the possbility that this is truly a case of someone ill–someone trapped in the prison of his condition who can only be helped by a drug. My line of reasoning is so much more sound than yours!
Have you ever tried argueing with an athiest or evolutionist about how life started? Despite the mounting evidence and logical conclusions they persist in their arguments, often resorting to acrobatics just to defend their position. What I am saying is that to explain your sons outrageous behaviour from a medical standpoint makes a lot more sense that conjuring up some mythical understanding of how several negative encounters at school can create such a monster. Nasty, constantly irritable, not sleeping at night, smoking, steals alchohol, destructive rages, hatred etc. etc. etc from someone who comes from a fully functional family and two stable loving parents???……which sounds more believable?: a) this child clearly has an underlying mental disorder and should be properly diagnosed and treated
b)he’s just upset and needs someone to talk to.
I pray I’m getting through to you.July 19, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm #1181909
Do you mean a melamed or a chassidish rebbe?July 19, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm #1181910
aries2756-I couldn’t agree with you more!
Hmom-Welcome! And you are right, it is unbearable pain. Even if it’s not ‘about us’ per se, that doesn’t mean we aren’t hurting terribly. It’s just that bc we are the parent, and are in a position to either help our child, or chas v’shalom, make it worse, we have to somehow put our pain on hold (or work it through) so that we can make our child the priority and hopefully guide them back on the derech. I have to say that I have felt tremendous chizuk from this thread, thanks to the many amazing and caring people who have offered their time and advice. I often wonder, how would I ever repay everybody for their kindness when I don’t know who anybody is??
Imaofthree-I’m not really sure what they are doing all night. If it’s a weekday, they’re probably on computers, watching movies, chatting on facebook. Maybe looking for girls(?), G-d forbid. My son says they’re ‘just talking’, but….. I hope there’s no drugs, and I have talked to my son about the dangers. How are you doing?July 20, 2012 12:14 am at 12:14 am #1181911
here to help- Maybe you could give me some advice about how to handle Shabbos. My son already told me he plans to stay out all night. How do we handle that? My husband wants to lock the door after a certain hour if he doesn’t come home on time.July 20, 2012 1:04 am at 1:04 am #1181912RSRHMember
WOW: You probably won’t like this one, but my response would be: “Thank you for telling us in advance, since we do worry when we don’t know how long you will be or when we can expect you back. Please try to stay safe. It would be wonderful to see you in the morning.”
He is going to do what he is going to do. The best thing you can do it neutralize his “victory” over you by changing the dynamic from a battle and confrontation (one that he is certain to win, by the way), to a collaboration. If he isn’t winning anything, there is little reason for him to fight you. This won’t spawn immediate results, but it will make an impression over time. “Hey, my mom is not out to fight with me and control me. She is just concerned, and appreciated when I told her what was going on.”July 20, 2012 2:17 am at 2:17 am #1181913
WOW, is it really necessary to lock him out? Does he not have a key? Or can’t you install a Shabbos lock so he can get in and relock the door? Your husband should be able to lock the door and feel that the family is safe when he goes to sleep. But will you really be able to sleep if you lock him out? I am not keen on locking him out. It might encourage him to stay away. It might backfire on you. If he finds a place to overnight, he might just overnight more often and since you have no control who he is having his sleepover with, I would not recommend it. On the other hand, knowing that he does have the means to come home to his nice warm, clean bed, he might decide he is tired and come home. He might not want you to know what time he is coming home but he might actually come home earlier than you might think. As long as you are both asleep it is safe for him to come home. Once you are asleep, he can tell you he came home a lot later than he actually did.July 20, 2012 4:02 am at 4:02 am #1181914
wow – the reason I asked is as follows. You have said
– he grew up in normal home
– he wants to hang out on the street and not do anything (essentially, that’s how whatever the problem is is manifesting itself)
So we have a kashe (subject of the last 600 posts), what is the issue (and also probably what is his friend’s issue)?
So I was thinking (it’s a thought – that’s all) as follows:
One of the foundational concepts of Transactional Analysis psychotherapy is the script. That is, the subconcious life plan of the individual.
This is formed early in life (about the age of 6) and goes through various permutations and combinations as the child tests reality and determines their possibilities.
It sounded like your child does not have a script, which would be a psychopathology. Becuase he has told you virtually explicitly that he does not know where he is going.
So he would be now testing a random process of seeing where he will end up in life if he lets go of everything he knew and only sails in unchartered watersJuly 20, 2012 7:13 am at 7:13 am #1181915
RSRH-If I say that, in his head he’ll be thinkning, “Wow! My mother lets, I can stay out all night!!” And then next week he’ll tell me that he’s going to Ashdod for Shabbos with his chevra, and they’re sleeping at the beach! I understand/accept your point about neutralizing his victory, but I think his ‘requests’ will get more difficult for us to ‘neutralize’, and we’d be setting ourselves up for failure in the long run.
pcoz-not sure I’m understanding you, can you clarify? He did have a ‘plan’ early on in life, as much as any little kid can really have a plan. But somewhere along the way, he lost confidence in himself.
Aries2756-we could give him a key, but by locking him out, my husband wants to show him that he can’t just do whatever he wants, come home whenever he wants, and worry us all Shabbos. But I kind of agree with you, that I wouldn’t want him to find a ‘solution’, and then stay out more often… There’s really no good solution.
I will check back before Shabbos for any more advice. I wish everyone a Gut Shabbos…July 20, 2012 2:10 pm at 2:10 pm #1181917
WOW, I don’t agree with your husband at this time, not when he is so angry and is not showing respect. That is only a play for power and control and that will most likely backfire. Maybe the best way is NOT to try and control the situation by pushing the envelope. Maybe the best way is to say to him or write a note saying that you can’t control how you feel any more than he can and you worry about him when he is out with friends you don’t even know late into the night. Let him know that you are doing your best to respect his needs right now and that respect and consideration is mutual in a relationship. Then let him know that Tatty needs to lock up before he goes to sleep for the safety and security of the family. Let him know that you discussed lending your key to him with tatty to be returned to you when he comes in and you want to discuss that with him and see how he responds.
You can decide where he can leave it when he comes in as opposed to you looking for it or waiting for him to wake up to return it. It might not impact him right now but he might realize later that you worked together on a solution to a problem.
HatzlochaJuly 20, 2012 2:32 pm at 2:32 pm #1181918
w.o.w. locking him out goes against every rule in the book and will show him nothing but that you are not accepting him. which is exactly the opposite of what we are trying to accomplish. he is going to do whatever he wants anyway, fighting him will only make him fight back. Remember, no negativity, no control. I realize I am only telling you what NOT to do. B’N after Shabbos I will try to give you some practical advice as to what you SHOULD do. I know it’s late but if you have something you can give him for Shabbos like a favorite food of his, give it to him with a note that you will miss him but that he should enjoy.July 20, 2012 4:12 pm at 4:12 pm #1181919bored at workParticipant
i think locking him out is the worst thing you can do. Why don’t you speak to him and show him respect by giving him a key, explain that like you are respecting his wishes and giving him a key, He also has to be considerate to u, tell him that you worry about him and it gets you nervous when he comes home so late, maybe discuss a time that he should b home latest…
Also, and this is soooo important, someone who was OTD told me this helped him come back “on” show him loads and loads of love!
Good luck!!July 22, 2012 2:25 am at 2:25 am #1181920HmomMember
Write or wrong- Thank you for welcoming me to this forum. How do you deal with a rebellious teenager? My 19 year old daughter doesn’t want to hear anything that has to do with religion, and goes out with non jewish people. This is extremely difficult for me, she won’t listen to what I say and at times I feel I don’t know how to deal with this, it affects the whole family. How do you cope?July 22, 2012 5:48 am at 5:48 am #1181921
Hmom-I wish I could give you some good advice, but the truth is, I am completely broken myself. My 16yo quit yeshiva, and stays out all night with a bunch of street kids. The worst part is that he seems determined to fall further. All I can say, is to go to the beginning of this forum when I first started it, and read all the wonderful supportive words that people gave me to help get me through the initial shock of this. Then, realize that the only people our children won’t listen to, is us. In your situation, I would look for someone your daughter looks up to, or has a good relationship with that could form a bond with her right now. Maybe she’ll be able to hear from them what she can’t yet hear from you. Also, Mom12 said to me in one post, “you keep talking, even if you don’t think they’re listening”. You never know, at some point, something might click, (hopefully soon!). I’ve tried to be less authoritative, and more like a friend to my son, bc it just breeds resistance and power struggles. I can’t say it’s worked in the short run, but I’m hoping that in the long run, he’ll be less defiant and ‘think things through’ a bit more. I’ve tried talking sense into my son, but I’m beginning to feel that, unfortunately, things may have to progress (or regress) on their own, before they get better. It’s extremely painful for us as parents to watch our kids do the wrong thing, especially when we know they are hurting themselves, but I don’t think we can stop them from going down the path they choose. They have to decide to stop, or not. If you know people firsthand who had a bad experience doing some of the things your daughter is doing, you could connect the 2 of them ‘matter of factly’ so she can hear things for herself. If you have always had a close relationship with your daughter, you might try to catch her in a good moment to have a heart to heart talk with her about your (loving) concern for her, with tears in your eyes. Nothing preachy, try to understand her point of view, but then just reality-test some of the things she says with good common sense and concern for her well being. Perhaps you’ve done this already.
You asked me how I am coping. Well, if you saw me on Shabbos, you would understand that I am not coping at all. I still think it’s just a bad dream, and I am desperate to wake up! In just a few months, my life has turned completely upside-down. Everyday is gehennom for me. I can’t even smile at my other children, bc I always have tears in my eyes, Hashem help me,..help us all…July 22, 2012 6:07 am at 6:07 am #1181922
here to help-So, we didn’t lock my son out on Shabbos, but now he stayed out later than last time. My husband thinks it’s bc we weren’t strong enough, and gave him the ‘freedom’ to come home when he wants, by not locking the door. Of course we told him we understand his need to go out with his friends, but also, when we would like him to come home, and that we should both try to respect eachother’s feelings. But it didn’t work. When he finally did come home, he stayed on his android until it was time to wake up my other kids for school! He probably fell asleep at about 830am, and will probably sleep until 5pm, when he will get up and go out with his chevra, and do a repeat performance. I understand that he is ‘allergic’ to control, but the truth is, I feel completely rediculous that he is in charge of my home, breaking or creating his own rules. He bought this android against our wishes, goes out at night catching signals, downloading/watching who-knows-what, and brings it back into my home. How do I handle this??July 22, 2012 2:21 pm at 2:21 pm #1181923interjectionParticipant
From what you say, it doesn’t seem that your husband gets that your son is not 8 anymore. He no longer can be controlled with threats. Teenagers need to feel that they are being treated with respect. Even if you disagree with most/all of what he is doing and even if his actions are that of a child, if he feels you trust him to make decisions as an adult he will be more willing to make more mature decisions. He is in a lot of pain and his friends give him acceptance where your husband attempts to oust him.
Teenagers hate authority so as long as you fight with him to come back earlier, he will come back late. If you’d leave food out for him or something, he may be more motivated to come back earlier. He is allergic to control but he is not allergic to reason.
I remember one thing that actually put me on the same team as my parents. That’s not to say I changed myself but it got me to not be as showy in front of my siblings. I must have been 18 when my yeshivish, uber frum dad discovered some guy from Anytown, USA was sending me illicit substances. My dad pulled me over and told me (I cleaned the language, I hope), “we both know why it is this guy is willing to give this to you for free. We both know he ultimately plans to make you vulnerable so he can physically take advantage. When he does that, it will kill me because you’re cutting yourself off from the Torah world. But, if he continues sending you these substances, I will find out who he is and I will fly down to his city and I will break his legs because he is ruining your entire future as a human being.” I no longer felt like my parents only loved me if I represented their lifestyle to their friends. Hearing that made me recognize that many of their suffocating restrictions were actually there for my personal benefit rather than their own and, as much as I still hated my life and had no desire to be observant, at least I didn’t feel I had to stuff it in everyone’s face. Once I saw that they were willing to discuss reason, I was willing to discuss reason, and communication began to open. Because they never did put restrictions on me I was more open to little restrictions they placed on the home. No, I did not become religious at that time, but I did decide that they were not such terrible people.July 22, 2012 4:02 pm at 4:02 pm #1181924
w.o.w. – Firstly, you and your husband did the right thing by not locking him out, don’t worry about the result. second, you mentioned in a previous post that “you keep talking, even if you don’t think they’re listening”; that really depends on what you are saying. At this point, the only things you should be saying are words of support and acceptance. Trying to reason with him or show him what he is doing is harmful to him is not going to work; Has it worked so far? so when you say to “keep trying and maybe something will click”, as long as he doesn’t trust you nothing will click. Most people in your situation, including myself, have tried all the regular parenting approaches, the problem is regular parenting usually doesn’t work on broken children. You need to change your game plan completely. You need to be a little “twisted”. I’ll explain with a mashal.
It turns out that when the flimsy cheap cables were made in some third world country, someone twisted the cables and they were backwards.July 22, 2012 6:54 pm at 6:54 pm #1181925
Interjection-Thank-you for all your insight/advice. Probably you are right, if we fight with him to come back earlier, he will come back later. But the alternative is that my son is calling all the shots, he is the one in control, he is the one making all the decisions in the home, and me and my husband are like the rest of the kids in the house, observers and recipients of his ‘chinuch’. How will he ever be able to respect us again? I’m afraid my other kids will lose respect for us, even I don’t feel I can respect myself. Isn’t it possible that his ‘damage’ somehow runs too deep? For instance, you mentioned to leave food out for him. On Shabbos, he doesn’t come to the table anymore. Shabbos morning, after the meal was over, I asked him if he wanted me to save him a plate of food, as I was cleaning up and putting things away. He told me he doesn’t like Shabbos food anymore. For some reason, that really bothered me, not bc he’s rejecting food that I prepared, but bc I felt he must have really changed on the inside to suddenly feel repulsed by food he used to enjoy.
Regarding the incident with your father, I think the reason it worked is bc he challenged the very reason you were put off by your parents in the first place. Maybe I will use this as a paradigm for figuring out what my husband and I need to do, but I have to first figure out what it is he is rebelling against when it comes to us.July 22, 2012 7:19 pm at 7:19 pm #1181926
here to help-I’m not sure its going to work on my son. For one thing, he talks out of both sides of his mouth. He is extremely smart, controling and manipulative even when he’s on the derech. The other thing is, my husband keeps telling me of someone he knows with a son in the same situation, who wanted to stay out all night. The reason he doesn’t, is bc his mother DID lock him out once, and he slept on a park bench. Since then, he’s been coming home on time! I told my husband, maybe it worked in the short run, but they may lose in the long run. But we don’t seem to have any guarantees doing things this way either. My son’s chevra tells my son what to do, ie ‘just scream at your parents, and they’ll give in’; “they can’t force you to do anything, you can do whatever you want”. The only advantage I can see by ‘twisted parenting’ is that the ‘battle’ is removed. But the kid won!! No resistance, no disapproval. Why would he ever come back? Isn’t it just a way of letting him fly further and further away? (I hope I don’t come across as being cynical, I’m really just trying to understand it better so I can do it correctly).
My other question is, are there any parents in my situation who felt like their child would never come back to the derech, and then they did? For some reason, and I hope I’m wrong, I think that once my son takes the final steps to leave the derech (chas v’Shalom), he won’t ever come back. He’s just too stubborn, and would never want to admit that he made a mistake…Hashem forgive me, and I do hope I’m wrong
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