Going off the Derech
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July 22, 2012 7:23 pm at 7:23 pm #1181927
Hmom-what about sending your daughter to Israel, or going with her to Israel in order to get her away from the goyishe influence?July 22, 2012 8:10 pm at 8:10 pm #1181928HmomMember
Write or wrong- I have done already the things you mentioned, and sadly nothing seems to help. I give her love and I am always there for her, I pray a lot for things to change for the better but nothing seems to help. It hurts me so much to see her this way, I feel she is in a bubble, in her own world, and that she doesn’t even get what she is doing wrong, she claims we are narrow minded and that we don’t understand her and that we should accept her as she is. I don’t know anybody who can give her good advice and influence her in a positive way. I can feel your pain for what you are going through and I wish I could give you some advice, but I am clueless myself on what to do…. Thank you for being there and for giving me advice and support.July 22, 2012 8:37 pm at 8:37 pm #1181929
unfortunately I can’t offer you any guarantees; what I will say is that in most of the cases I’ve been involved with (a lot more than just one)the parents have all been faced with the same situation,(“extremely smart, controlling and manipulative” among other things) the details may differ slightly but the overall situation is the same; And in the overwhelming majority of cases the parent/child relationship has significantly improved in a relatively short amount of time. I’m not saying all these kids end up becoming frum, some do some don’t. My son for example is not frum at all…(yet). But the atmosphere in the house and the relationship is 1000 percent better than it was.
What is really needed from you right now is to tender your resignation of being a CONTROLLING PARENT and to take up a new role: BEING HIS BIGGEST FAN!July 22, 2012 8:44 pm at 8:44 pm #1181930
BTW, keep in mind I have not yet begun to give you the practical tools needed to succeed at this. I will however, ask you at this point to review all my previous posts, internalize the ideas presented and let me know when and if you are ready to proceed.July 22, 2012 9:46 pm at 9:46 pm #1181931
here to help-what if, I can accept everything you say, but my husband, every once in a while, digresses? What if only one parent can be the person you’re describing, will it still work? I thought my husband and I were together on this, but my son is really pressing all his buttons, and I’m afraid my husband might not be able to give up control completely. Is this common? Sometimes when my husband gets into these ‘moods’, I try to remind him that it’s not about ‘us’, it’s about our son, but in these moments, it’s hard to bring him back to the goal. Any advice? I really want to do this…July 22, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm #1181932
Hmom-you said, she told you that you don’t understand her, so ask her, what does she get by going out with goyim that a Jewish boy can’t give her? Try to understand what she’s looking for. Did you try reality testing her choice, ie, how would she feel marrying a goy who wants his kids baptized? Or if her kids decided to have no connection to judaism? Does she have a limit, or a line that she wouldn’t cross, ie going to church? Does she feel any connection to yiddishkeit? I knew someone a while back, who was very secular, but Jewish. One day, she came crying to me that her daughter wants to marry a goy. I asked her why she was so surprised, when her daughter never grew up with the feeling of what it means to be Jewish? Her chinuch was to teach her kids that they should be ‘good’ people, and they should marry a ‘good’ person, well this goy was the ‘good’ person her daughter found. That was this woman’s limit, she may have wanted to live a secular life, but she didn’t want her daughter to marry a goy. Your daughter may be thinking it’s not a big deal, but perhaps, gently suggest that she think things through, way past the ‘now’, into her future. She may think it’s okay to go out with goyim, but what if her kids want to go to church, would that be okay?
I think you should consider sending her to Israel..July 22, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm #1181933nossondMember
Some pointers on this issue:
1) Don’t expect too much. Do your best and accept whatever was decreed from above.
2) It’s not about you. Take the anger of your lost dreams out of the picture. Sharing your hurt in a non threatening way, occasionally, may be ok, but be careful about that too, and don’t pour it on.
3) On the practical side, keep religion out of it. You don’t see eye to eye on this, and you need to accept that.
4) The goal of your interactions with him should be 99% about responsibility. Turned off from religion is one thing. Being an idiot is another.
5) You should try to inspire him about religion in a non threatening way.
6) If you love your child unconditionally, that is fine. If you don’t, that is also fine. Do not fake what you feel for what you don’t feel. It does not work. Your feelings are what they are. It is how you express them and deal with them that is more important.
Hope this helps.July 22, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm #1181934
welome hmom- unfortunately/fortunately you are not alone.
here to help- I wanted to ask the same question. What if there is only one parent that is trying to straighten things out- the other is well.. just angry..July 22, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm #1181935
nossond-thanks for the pointers!July 22, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm #1181936ImaofthreeParticipant
Write or Wrong, I feel badly that you are going through such a rough time. I am also very touched by all the people who have written in trying to help you.
Could it be that your son has ODD (oppositional defiance disorder) and/or ADD? Was he ever tested for this?
I hope you are hanging in there, I know how tough it is for you.July 22, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm #1181937
Agree 101% with nossond
Hope the following does not offend anyone’s sensibilities
You are telling me that he grew up in a normal home and now he has gone haywire. That he grew up in a normal home implies that he is normal, if so, why has he gone haywire?
A possible suggestion is that every person in every stage of their lives knows what they are working towards and has an image in their mind of what they want to be, soldier, sailor, tinker, married, single, wealthy, poor, rosh yeshiva etc.
The above is why kids – go to university, hang out with friends with similar lifeplans, etc., birds of a feather flock together.
If it is not possible to comprehend what he is doing it sounds like it may actually be incompregensible, i.e. he has no inner logical plan of where his life is headingJuly 22, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm #1181938July 23, 2012 5:22 am at 5:22 am #1181939
Imaof3-it’s true that my son is defiant, but it is specifically to us, not auhority in general. He is not argumentative nor disobedient with adults, on the contrary, he always behaved great in school. So I don’t think he has ODD, and he doesn’t have ADD. But probably, he has some features of both..,as does most of this generation.
pcoz-I don’t think he just went haywire. After thinking things through many times over, it does seem that having low self esteem played a part in his choice to go off. Just bc a person grows up in a normal home, doesn’t mean the child feels normal. Like I said before, my son went through a lot of emotional bullying in school at a time when he so desperately wanted to fit in. Probably a part of him never integrated bc of it, and now when he is expected to take the next step and go to yeshiva gedola, without the necessary self esteem, he just collapsed. There were other circumstances that led to it also, such as a bad chevra that constantly tried to pull him in (over years!), a yeshiva friend that betrayed him, a very strict RY who never gave him a good feeling, imperfect parents, etc Not to mention, an immature, extremely sensitive personality with a strong bend toward curiosity.July 23, 2012 5:39 am at 5:39 am #1181940
here to help- I agree that infusing our kids with healthy self esteem works better than trying to control our kids. But how does this method give them self esteem? I see it as giving them artificial victory, not genuine self esteem. Self esteem comes from feeling worthy, valuable and important. And I’m afraid that this method may devalue us as parents in the eyes of the other children.
Also, how do we handle the fact that he sleeps all day, and stays out all night/plays with computer/watches movies in his room until dawn, perpetuating this cycle that is becoming almost impossible to break? And is it okay to bring anything he wants into the home against our wishes ie android, computer, dog?July 23, 2012 7:11 am at 7:11 am #1181941
funny.. my son is talkng about gettng dog as well..OMG
You allowed it?
I can’t, my place is too small.. He settled for a cat, I told him he will have to take care 100%.. like vets- clean-up lettng it out.. whatever (never had a pet..)
smartphone- internet is a part of his life a long time already..
little by little he is giving up ALL past hashkafos.. I asked him why he stopped doing certain things. He simply answered me, anything to do with chassidus he is not intersted.. its all shtussim and chumros. so, included in the ‘shtussim’ is no showers in 9 days.. no laundry in 9 days. Like it dont exist…I thought he was Jewish.. –so far I don’t know about trip plans, but then again there’s still a whole week to go..
Hashem yishmor!July 23, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am #1181942
Frankly I am hopeful for WOW’s son, They do live in Israel and I do belive the army will straighten him out, He will likley marry a Jewish girl and WOW will have beautiful jewish grandchildren. While it might not be the life she wants, even the worst case scenerio wont be as bad as it could be.
However I am NOT hopeful on HMOM’s daughter, this is more serious and there are issues that I am not sure she even thought of, Wow’s son is 16, still a child (At least here in the states) Hmom’s daughter is 19 and she has no legal control over her (Yes she could legally throw her out, but I dont recommend it)
Hmom said her daughter wants nothing to do with jews and only hangs with goyim, you should not be concerned with frumkite at this time. If she hangs with goyim especially goyish guys she might be doing things that nobody approves us. Things that can lead to unwanted diseases and unwanted grandchildrenJuly 23, 2012 1:51 pm at 1:51 pm #1181943Sam2Participant
WoW: Maybe let him get a dog. Tell him it’s entirely his though and he has to take care of it. You’ll help pay for food for a few months but then it’s all on him. Being responsible for it will force him to stay at home and learn some responsibility.July 23, 2012 1:52 pm at 1:52 pm #1181944
so, included in the ‘shtussim’ is no showers in 9 days
There are plenty of opinions where this is allowed, Perhaps under your haskafa its not, but you can find those who permit it, If the purpose is to be clean (as opposed showers for pleasure)July 23, 2012 1:53 pm at 1:53 pm #1181945interjectionParticipant
mom12: Do you try to make Judaism appealing instead of just a list of restrictions? If he thought it made sense he’d most probably keep it…July 23, 2012 2:06 pm at 2:06 pm #1181946crisisoftheweekMember
Speaking from the perspective of your son @writeorwrong
There is very very little you can do that will have a positive effect on his religious observance.
The decision he made to leave Yeshiva was a very liberating one and trying to get him to go back is like telling a recently released inmate that he should go back to prision because all of his inmate friends miss him.
As someone who went through what your son did I can tell you that it is more than likely he will not go back into the cage of religious life.
The baby has been thrown out with the bath water because he has realized it is all bathwater. By having this wide divide between religious jews even, parents and schools have subconciously implanted the idea that if you arent “exactly what we are” you might as well be a non jew. Even though you will protest to the contrary and talk about that “one modern orthodox family that you know” you know it is true.
We’ve taken this divide and conquer attitude and deemed which ever group we belong to as the “gatekeepers of the mesorah” and it’s a sad and sick joke.
All you can do at this point is be his mother and not someone trying to cheerlead him back into a life that he doesnt find fuffilling and worthwhile to him at this point in his life.
That being said, there is still a chance to help him develop into a healthy and functioning adult. Offer to help get him into a decent college or trade school (one that isnt attached to a yeshiva) and tell him you want to see him succeed and fufill his full potential.
The street life can do some serious damage but from what it sounds like he remains on the fringes of some of the really nasty charachters. Try to show him that being aimless is frowned upon even in non religious society.
There are very few reasons kids who leave will “go back into the cage” but one of them is missing a close relationship with family.
Sometimes they can come back to the fold but not with a full heart, you need to ask yourself if you want him to come back if it’s just to make you and your husband happy.July 23, 2012 2:28 pm at 2:28 pm #1181947
Firstly, don’t worry about the other children we, will eventually get to how to deal with that aspect. We haven’t really gotten to the crux of the method, it does involve building self esteem. A key factor though is that it not be “artificial”. Your child is REALLY sick, right? and you REALLY want him to get better. By providing him with his needs, no matter what they are, number one, you will be eliminating his need to get what he wants ELSEWHERE, and most of all you will be showing him beyond a shadow of a doubt that his parents (the most important people in his world) love him and accept him; that alone is a HUGE self esteem builder. While it is true this method lets him win all the battles (which he was winning anyway) the idea is that we WIN THE WAR. If you even try win any battles you will almost surely lose the war, and this is one war we cannot afford to lose.July 23, 2012 3:28 pm at 3:28 pm #1181948
mom12-I think there are probably common threads to these kids, like wanting pets, escaping etc. Rejecting everything as ‘nonsense’ is so common, my son says the same thing.
I said no to the dog, but my son has been asking for all kinds of pets for years, saying it will help him to ‘learn better’. Originally, I didn’t want anything, and said no to everything (I cringe at the thought of having pets, truthfully). But, he convinced me (or tricked me) into believing it would help him learn. So we have had all the types of animals over the years, that are popular here in Israel (in the yard, of course), like gerbils, guinea pigs, rabbits, turtles, fish, birds and even a chicken! But I finally had my limits with these animals, with them dying and no one wanting to take responsibility for them, so I said ‘no dog’. And guess what, when I questioned my son why he quit learning after I gave in and got him all these animals to help him learn, he said, ‘Bc you said no to a dog, and that’s what I REALLY wanted”. Can you believe it? Anyway, he said, he did learn better when he had the animals (not sure it’s true), but he’s not obligated to keep on learning just bc he had them.July 23, 2012 3:44 pm at 3:44 pm #1181949
Sam2-it wouldn’t work, his chevra loves animals and he’d take the dog with him and be the ‘center of attention’, connecting even more to these kids. Anyway, we can’ have dogs in my building.
interjection-I think kids today are generally more rebellious and lazy, and that’s why they reject everything as being shtussim. Everything feels like pressure to them, including putting on a shirt when coming to the table. So you can imagine how it feels for them having to do mitsvos, no matter how enjoyable you make it. My son would rather stay in bed with his android, than go to friends, family, or on a vacation. They don’t do anything they don’t feel like doing, especially when they can play hi-tech video games/watch movies for hours on end without getting up from their bed. Technology has created a lazy generation…July 23, 2012 4:16 pm at 4:16 pm #1181950
crisisoftheweek-you make some interesting points. But my son doesn’t want college nor a trade school. He wants nothing. The kids he’s with have taught him that you can do whatever you want (ie hang out all night, watch movies, play games, sleep etc), and your parents will take care of you. His lack of motivation is the real problem.July 23, 2012 9:29 pm at 9:29 pm #1181951
as wow explained anything that is not appealing or comfortable to do is ‘extra’ to yiddishkeit.
9 days, as we all know, is mourning the beis hamikdash and someone that grew up in a frum home is aware of this. what and why do I have to do to make this appealing??
and about the showers, I am aware there are heteirim. but daily?
He is not a construction worker.. doesnt meet with people on a daily basis.. just his bed and the phone.
interjection- my home is not such a restrictive home.
judaism is not only about restriction but it is only about comfort?July 23, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm #1181952
here to help-you said, that by providing my son’s needs, no matter what they are, I am eliminating his need to get it elsewhere. But one of his needs is a peer group, and friends. How do you address this, since this seems to be his crucial need right now? If you tell me that by doing the other things, it will lessen his dependence on the chevra, that’s fine. But he has no one to replace them, since he is disconnected (or never was connected) to the yeshiva kids.July 23, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm #1181953
You and your husband will be his best friends.July 23, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm #1181954
WOW, you make very good points. So where ARE the good Jews who should be reaching out to your son? Why isn’t anyone making an effort to be friends with him? Isn’t there anyone in the neighborhood that has experience with this issue that can stop by, or catch him on the way out the door and say hello to him?
At this point I would find modern orthodox or even secular Jews who are just interested in making a mentch out of your child and keeping him from falling into a really scary black hole. If you have soldiers who are neighbors, they could be a really great influence on him. The point is anyone who can help him build his self-esteem in a healthy way, anyone who can motivate him towards education, setting and meeting goals, staying healthy and safe, staying away from dangerous and damaging situations, etc. Being religious is not as important right now as being safe and being a mentch.
You can’t control him nor change him, he can only change himself. He is hurting inside and he wants to make his own choices. This whole issue is about “choices”. He wants you to respect his right to make his own choices. It is NOT about controlling you or making choices for you. He can only control you if you let him. The same way that he feels he has the right to make his own choices he recognizes that you to have the right to make your own choices. He just won’t admit it or say it to you, that is up to you. Just as you said “no” to the dog, that is your choice. You don’t have to say it in a demeaning way, or in a way that would put him down “You can’t have a dog because I don’t believe you would take care of it”. “I respect the fact that you love animals, but the building has a restriction on pets, and even if I would agree, it is just against the rules of the building.”
When we find ourselves in such a difficult position with our children we need to change our vocabulary to include “respect, admire and appreciate”. We naturally use the word “proud”. We are proud of our kids for one reason or another, but “pride” is a feeling that fulfills our own need. The other words reflect on the other person’s needs and actions. These are “key” words that work to build a new relationship. In addition it is important to say “I hear what you are saying”. It is important to validate their thoughts and feelings. So when a parents says “I value or respect your opinion”. That means a lot to the child. It helps to build their self-esteem and self-confidence.
The child is home doing nothing all day. If you ask him to help you with something will he do it? Try to engage him with something that won’t take more than 10 minutes and see how it goes. Make sure to tell him “Thanks, I APPRECIATE your help”. Try something like, my friend repainted her apartment, I really value your opinion. If we were to repaint our apartment what do you think we should do in the living room? What about your room? Thanks, I appreciate your input.
Small conversations that plant these new concepts is great for your new relationship. Don’t use it only for him, try to change your vocabulary for the entire family. Make it a conscious change so that it sticks. If he sees that you only use it for him, he will see hypocrisy and phoniness. So what do you do with a kid that is home all day? He loves animals and you guys need to make a connection. Why not ask him if he wants to accompany you to the zoo? He can take his phone along and actually take pictures, even of you. Let your guard down and have a good time with your child.July 23, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm #1181955
lack of motivation – normally kids become what they have been brought up to be expected to become as part of their heritage – as Dr J Sacks says – they want to be anothert letter in the scroll.
So they may be expected to become a doctor, an athlete, jet-fghter pilot etc. It can happen that parents decide against their own heritage in which case they suppress the subtle messages that express their expectations about their children becoming what their grandparents / great-grandparents are or were.
Even in a teenage rebellion where the child is developing their sense of ‘I’ (which when they grow older will again become part of the ‘we’ (we jews, we robinsons, we french..) they will still be aware of their destiny. But if they have none there is no regulatorJuly 24, 2012 2:00 am at 2:00 am #1181956
There are definatly opinions that allow daily showers for the 9 days for Non-contruction workers..
But it does show a bigger point, there is a different between Hashkafa and Halacha, and both you and WOW seem to want to make a stink over Hashkafa (Not to say hashkafa isnt important , it is, but sometimes you have to pick your battles)
Pick the battles over actual Halacha, not Hashkafa (at least for now)
if your son wants to take a shower daily, there is definatly room to allow it (Probably more than you realize)July 24, 2012 3:01 am at 3:01 am #1181957
The issues of whether a child should or shouldn’t take a shower during the nine days when his heart is broken and he is going OTD is mute. It is not a decision or a choice a parent makes for the child, it is a choice that child is making for themselves and therefore it has nothing to do with the parent. Hashem does not judge the actions of the choleh in such a case and therefore neither the parents, nor those peeking in on this situation should either judge nor discuss whether he is permitted to do so. The achrius is on the child alone and not the rest of the family. If the child was ill in any other way there would be no question, if he had a fever he needed to break, if he was sweaty and felt his bones were aching, etc. there would be no question and there is no question here. He is doing what he is choosing to do under the pain and weight he is burdened with and the parent has no control right now over his choices.
There is no point in picking apart his choices and what he is doing, it will continue to go against the norm and against the grain. What one needs to concentrate on is their own actions, their own tefillos and their own histadlus. In order to get through this most difficult nisayon one truly needs to strengthen their emunah and bitachon and one does that by saying “Hashem I know that you are listening and I know that you are watching over my child why he is going through this nisayon, please keep him safe and let him know that you love him and that you are by his side and will never leave him.” That is the most important part of this whole journey.July 24, 2012 5:20 am at 5:20 am #1181958
aries2756-everything you said sounds so smart, and I will try to incorporate your suggestions. The people in my neighborhood don’t really have experience with this issue, although a number of my husband’s friends/aquaintances have tried to reach out to my son, but to no avail. My son doesn’t help out with anything in the house, and would say no when asked. But, perhaps if something were broken (he’s very good at fixing things), I might be able to catch him in a decent mood and ask him to fix it…
Even the zoo idea, he would say no to. He’s really not motivated to do anything. I’ve offered to take him out to lunch, for ice cream etc, but he always says no. He doesn’t even eat any of the meals I prepare. He’ll eat something like cornflakes instead. It’s as if he won’t let himself feel ‘taken care of’. But I appreciate everything you said, and I will try to remember your points and look for/create opportunities to put it all into practice.
pcoz-if it’s true what you say, that kids will become what they have been brought up to be expected to become, then I shouldn’t be worried in the least.July 24, 2012 5:43 am at 5:43 am #1181959
What has he heard about his family / grandparents whose footsteps he might follow?July 24, 2012 6:11 am at 6:11 am #1181960
pcoz-since day one, our kids have all been given the message that they are great, and should follow in the footsteps of the Avos. The subtle messages we may have given, are that we would love for them to become Rebbes! But, they will choose when they get older what they want to be/do. They don’t have to learn my profession, nor their father’s, nor be a Rebbe. My son did say once, when we were talking about why he doesn’t feel good about himself when I always gave him the message of how great he is, that it’s dafka the reason why he doesn’t feel good about himself, bc I saw him as ‘better’ than he ‘really was’, and he could never live up to my image of him.July 24, 2012 7:06 am at 7:06 am #1181961
zd- I never said a word about the showers. my son does as he pleases when he pleases cuz it’s agreeable to him.. It’s just that it bothers me that his hashkafos are on the way down..
I cant/dont even mention anything he is doing halachacly wrong.
I just look and daven that someday he will see the light and beauty of yiddishkeit.July 24, 2012 1:34 pm at 1:34 pm #1181962thehockMember
WOW – would you try cooking together? You mentioned he doesn’t like the food, so I’m just thinking maybe planning a menu and/or shopping and/or cooking together would be something of interest? Just a thought.
I continue to hope for the best for you and your family.July 24, 2012 2:19 pm at 2:19 pm #1181963
It not about the Shower or the jeans. There are many things that are protrayed as Halacha , when they are actually Hashkafa, Chumoros etc.
Alot of things that he is “Breaking Halacha” might even have some Heters (maybe WEAK Heters, but they have them and you can rely on them)
the problem is some kids are told some things are Halacha and when they find out its a chumra or Hashkafa its starts to break the whole system down, The kid finds out the Shower is a Chumra it doesnt take much of a Kal-Vchomer to say maybe Shabbos is a Chumra as well.
One must be careful with Chumras, Ive seen many people here say Chumras are how people show how much they love Hashem, but it says somewhere , What was Adom Harishons sin, It was he made an unnessasry Chumra, Hashem told him not to EAT the Fruit, But he told Chava his Chumra , not to TOUCH the three, Once the Snake threw Chava against the tree and she touched the tree and saw that nothing happend, everything else broke down.
This is not for or against Chumras and Hashkafa, One must be careful about these things, If a Chumra creates a positive then its a good thing, but if it creates a negative feeling, then its a terrible thing. It is a fine line sometimesJuly 24, 2012 3:04 pm at 3:04 pm #1181964ImaofthreeParticipant
Write or Wrong, that is great that he likes to fix things, maybe he can work with an electrician or plumber? Do you have any friends that would take this on as a huge chesed, ask your son if he has time to help him with a job?
Your son is going through a hard time right now. Hang in there. Make sure he knows how much you love him. I think after a while he will get sick of doing nothing. The weather will turn cooler and it won’t be so much fun to hang out at night when it’s cold out.July 24, 2012 4:11 pm at 4:11 pm #1181965
WOW, one more thing I would like to relay to you. Although you don’t feel that what your son is doing is “normal”, because it is not normal for you and what you know. It is quite normal for what he is going through and for what most children in his situation goes through even down to the cereal for meals. He isolates himself from the family, not because he doesn’t like the family or he doesn’t enjoy doing things with the family. He doesn’t WANT to like it or enjoy it. He is working on convincing himself that he doesn’t and that he doesn’t want to be a part of it.
If you ignore him, you are only helping him to isolate himself and get the job done. If you create opportunities or tempt him with ways to stay involved you may be able to get his guard down and make a connection. So when you ask him if he wants to go out for ice cream find a way to get him to go. “I’m going to go for some ice cream, I could really use some company, I would really appreciate it if you would join me” even if you have to offer to take along a friend. “would you like to bring a friend along?” or if he declines say “well maybe next time, would you like me to bring something back for you?”July 24, 2012 5:21 pm at 5:21 pm #1181966
the hock-He wouldn’t be interested in cooking either, but thanks for the suggestion.
Imaof3-it’s a good idea, and I have asked my husband to ask around if someone might want to do this chesed.
aries2756-I think you are right. Today I didn’t ask if he wanted to eat something, I just gave him a plate of food and said I made extra by mistake. He took it!July 24, 2012 5:31 pm at 5:31 pm #1181967
WOW, I dont know you son, but I dont think he’d be intersted in COOKING, He would likely be interested in GUY stuff.
Perhaps your husband could take him somewhere that is PAREVEJuly 24, 2012 5:33 pm at 5:33 pm #1181968
Here to help-It’s nice to think that we will be my son’s best friends, (we already are he just doesn’t know/feel it yet). But at this age, peer acceptance is the most important thing to a teenager.
How successful is this technique with kids OTD? How long does it take for things to kick in? Today I had tiny progress in getting my son to connect to me, I told him that I miss him, and he actually let me give him a hug (I got one back 🙂July 24, 2012 5:50 pm at 5:50 pm #1181969
WOW, it sounds like you felt like a mother again today, b”h. Write that down in your own personal journal so you can remember it when times get tough. It will help you to remember that he is still in there somewhere and what you see is just the outer shell. He does love you and he is not doing this against you, he is working hard to NOT CARE. Or better yet, to show he doesn’t care but really on the inside he does. He if doesn’t care then he can’t get hurt. So remember it is all a defense mechanism.July 24, 2012 6:00 pm at 6:00 pm #1181970
WOW, Be careful you dont convert him into a Mama’s BoyJuly 24, 2012 7:09 pm at 7:09 pm #1181971
aries2756-So true!! I should write it down, bc I felt exactly like you said…like he is there, deep down inside, somewhere… But he’s got such a tough exterior. (I hope it’s just the exterior, bc he doesn’t talk, act, walk, or look the same anymore.)
zahvasdad-thanks..you made me laugh!July 25, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am #1181972
WOW, that’s is just exactly the point. No matter how he talks, acts, walks or looks, he is still your son. The same son you conceived, the same son you carried for nine months and labored with, the same son you delivered and believed the sun rose and set on, the same son that was brilliant when he smiled, burped or even pooped. He is the same son that thrilled the masses when he got his first tooth, said his first word or took his first step. He is the same son that made you so proud when he got his first haircut, put on his first pair of tzizis and got his first siddur. He is still the same neshoma that you traveled that road with, but now he is taking you on a different ride. A ride you never expected to be on and one he probably didn’t expect to be on either. He has no idea where he is going, he is driving blindly. You know what to fear but he has no clue. He is as fearless as he has ever been before. He is blinded by pain and he does not know how to handle it. And you are the same mother that loves him with all your heart and soul.
Mommy cannot fix his “booboo” like she did in the past with a kiss and a bandaid. It is not that simple at this point. It is not a visible pain and it is not something that he can explain. It grew too big and is bursting out of his brain and his heart. His neshoma has not changed at all, it is still there and it will still carry him through the crisis, but his heart and mind are not in sync right now with his neshoma. They are exploding with pain and thoughts of who wronged him and why they did. Small hurts and pains when cared for and handled on the spot can be cured and may disappear. Those same hurts and pains when not addressed can grow and escalate till they become huge and unmanageable. He is fighting demons who don’t even have faces at this point and he has know idea how to rid himself of them. He doesn’t want to be in the position he is in, he just doesn’t trust anyone of authority to help him out at this point. He has no frame of reference where there was anyone in his life that he trusted and they came through for him. So it is as if every relationship has to be rebuilt and tested. Every slate has to be wiped clean and started anew, on a different scale one of complete honesty and truth as far as he can see. He needs to learn to trust you all over again and not feel judged.
He feels accepted by the street kids because as long as they do what he wants they don’t care who he is or where he comes from. What he doesn’t get is “as long as he does what they want”. He has to conform to their rules, their style. He doesn’t realize that he is still conforming to someone else’s way and not really being his own person. He is just conforming to another set of rules, not the ones he is used to. If he hung out with them with his “black and white uniform” with his kippah on his head they would make fun of him. So he conforms to their uniform to be cool like them. He dresses like them, acts like them, talks like them and does what they do. Why is that different than conforming to our rules? That is the part they don’t get. They are exchanging one set of rules and guidelines for another. They never realize that they are changing themselves to conform to another group and not even choosing to just be themselves. Go figure.July 25, 2012 2:39 am at 2:39 am #1181973
“should follow in the footsteps of the Avos” – “it’s dafka the reason why he doesn’t feel good about himself, bc I saw him as ‘better’ than he ‘really was’, and he could never live up to my image of him”
Here I go again.. 🙂
It is impossible for a person to be like the avos. We say in davening every morning, ribbon kol ha’olamim – lo al tzidkaseinu anachnu mapilim tachanunei lephanechah – aval anachnu benei Avraham, Yitzchak ve’Yaakov
The Vilna Gaon and Rash said this. Their deeds were like nothing compared to the deeds of the avos.
The gemara says ‘chayav kol adam lomar masai yagiu maasai lemaasei avosai Avraham Yitzchak ve’Yaakov’ – a person is obligated to say to themselves – when will my actions reach the actions of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov.
Rb Yitzchak Blazer z”l in Kochvei Ohr explains the gemara means that you have to shoot for a star, becuase that will always keep you going, but it does not mean that you will be perfect like the avos.
You cannot tell your child he is the star or is like the star becuase then you have doomed them to failure. They can never be like the avos, that is impossible for them. The avos are a picture of perfection for the Jewish people, we cannot form our self image by judging ourselves against their madregah becuase that would destroy our self-belief.
We have to raise our children to be proud of us, of their grandparents and their personal family heritage. Rb Binyamin Zilber z”l said that the obligation to be samech be’chelko does not only apply to material acquisition – it applies to who we are and to our station in life. If my father is a baal tzedakah, then I am proud that he is a baal tzedakah! I don’t say, oh no, but he wasn’t Reb Chaim Ozer Grodzenski or Reb Yisroel Salanter or the Baba Sali!
Reb Chaim Schmuelevitz said that the obligation of kibbud av ve’em means that you should understand the point in your parents in which your parents are the greatest people in the world, becuase every person in the world is the greatest in one sweet point which is the core of their competency in this world.
Of course he could never live up to the expectation, it is an impossible expectation!
BTW did he ever meet his grandparents?July 25, 2012 4:53 am at 4:53 am #1181974interjectionParticipant
aries2756: “He doesn’t realize that he is still conforming to someone else’s way and not really being his own person. He is just conforming to another set of rules, not the ones he is used to.”
Everything you say is brilliant. Just this statement, based on experience, I have to disagree with. For two reasons: First, he’s partially setting the tone so it’s not that he’s conforming to them, but in a way they are conforming to him so for once he can feel in control. Second, these kids need love and acceptance and if a kid with a yarmulka knows how to ‘chill’ and give a good laugh, they won’t look at him much different than they do now. They sniff out bad intentions in a second, but when someone comes to them openly, not intending to judge, (even if neither intending to join) they will accept them as a brother.July 25, 2012 6:00 am at 6:00 am #1181975
Interjection, yes they are accepting at first, but they don’t want to be reminded either of the past they left behind and encourage the change. They ask why he is still wearing a “kippah” does he really believe in it? They ask why he is still wearing the “oreo uniform” his is no longer in yeshiva so why is he being so stiff? They tell him that they will teach him how to dress and chill. Lets be real here. They tease and cajole until they are all on the same page. At that young stage in life they are all scared and don’t know how to be an individual, they all have to be a part of something, they have a “need” to belong. If he were the leader of the gang then he would be the one influencing the others and the one in control. But that is not the case here, he joined their group and changed his appearance, attitude, personality to be just like the others. The more time he spends with them, the more his personality changes to be part of that group.
I am not saying that any of those boys are bad. Personally I never met a bad kid, just kids with bad problems and I am sure each and every kid in that group is carrying their own heavy “pekel”. They are not trying to hurt him or harm him in any way. They are not trying to cause machlokes with him and his family, they are not trying to do anything other than be in the moment and not worry about the next one. I truly believe that each and every kid on the street has been badly hurt in one way or another. Each one is licking their wounds and looking for ways to heal. Each one feels rejected in one way or another. No child should ever feel that way. Every child has the right to feel loved and wanted in every area of their lives. They should feel that the adults in their lives care about them and will protect them from harm and will never let them down. They should be able to count on adults to keep them safe, to be honest and truthful, and to be the best role models for them to follow.
A kid’s job is to be a kid, and that comes with mistakes and successes. But that’s just how a child is designed to learn and to stumble and then learn from their mistakes and move on. An adult’s job is to recognize that kids make mistakes and those mistakes should not follow them into adulthood or ruin the rest of their lives. Kids are kids and adults need to stop expecting them to behave like adults and be punished like adults. Adults put way too much pressure and way too much responsibility on kids, we involve them in too many adult issues and when they want to be treated like adults we just laugh at them and disrespect them.
We don’t watch what we speak about in front of them. They are pulled into our financial situations and are not shielded from our worries. They are pulled into our personal relationships and are not shielded from our arguments and breakups. In many instances they are subjected to mechanchim that should never have a place in the classroom. They come home to an empty house or a home where there is a housekeeper who doesn’t even speak the same language. Many children are left to basically raise themselves with no parents at home when they leave for school, no parents at home when they come home, and in many instances no one home to help with their homework or tuck them in at night. And then you have the issue of bullying where the hanhallah refuses to get involved. What is wrong with this picture???
Just about everything. What can we do about it? That is a whole other thread altogether.July 25, 2012 6:38 am at 6:38 am #1181976
aries2756-so why can’t he see then, that he just exchanged one set of rules for another, and he’s still not free from rules, which seems to be his goal? Maybe that awareness would help bring him back.
pcoz-nobody said we have to be like the Avos, obviously they were on a different madrega. But we should follow in their footsteps, just like we should emulate Hashem…right? Obviously, we can’t be like Hashem either. I gave my kids the message they’re great simply bc they are mine and I love them. They also come from a holy source, which makes them objectively great (in case they thought my opinion was too subjective). Of course he met his grandparents, and is proud of his family heritage too.
interjection-not sure it’s true. My son was pulled into this chevra, they were always seeking him out. And they made him feel ridiculous that he’s in black and white. None of them are in black and white, wear tsitsis, or go to yeshiva. Within a short time, my son gave up the tsitsis, quit yeshiva, and wants different clothes. These kids didn’t want a reminder of their past standing in front of them. I don’t think it’s bc my son was judgmental of their lifestyle, he’s not that kind of a person. It’s that they don’t want to feel they should be living differently.
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