Going off the Derech
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August 30, 2012 8:11 pm at 8:11 pm #1182234
Speaker-nice vort, except why is chinuch equated with controling our children? Chinuch is also about teaching, guiding and loving our children. If a parent wasn’t dominated by ego, and there was no physical abuse (trauma), how do you explain a child who goes OTD? And is TP the right approach to take in those circumstances?August 30, 2012 9:27 pm at 9:27 pm #1182235SpeakerParticipant
write or wrong – The picture is a big one – by the time the kid goes off you need an AVI. You need to catch the problem early. Most people find out too late.
Get my eamil or phone from Avi or the Mod and we can talk.August 31, 2012 1:52 am at 1:52 am #1182236interjectionParticipant
You’re suggesting this omdim tzefufim concept is the universal problem. Did I understand right?August 31, 2012 4:23 am at 4:23 am #1182237
Speaker-I’m not sure the mods will give it to me. Why not tell Avi to email it to me the next time we email eachother.August 31, 2012 8:14 am at 8:14 am #1182238kapustaParticipant
wow, I never commented but I’ve been keeping an eye on this thread and definitely keeping you in mind. You mentioned coming to NY isn’t doable now… I wonder if its possible to implement something similar where you are or if you can do something similar online. I’m sure there are people (from all over) who would be interested in something like that.
Good ShabbosAugust 31, 2012 1:02 pm at 1:02 pm #1182240
kapusta-I actually thought about that. But I’m not sure how many people over here are doing Twisted Parenting. I could ask Avi next time. Thanks for the suggestion, Good Shabbos to you too!August 31, 2012 6:22 pm at 6:22 pm #1182241
W.o.w. part of chinuch is discipline and boundaries. Chinuch does not only mean teaching Torah and mitzvos. It encompasses everything we teach our children in order to raise them in the path of Torah. It also encompasses the means we use in order to accomplish that goal and hopefully that is also according to Torah guidelines and values. But it does include discipline and boundaries which does not suggest being cruel, it just means being smart.
Kids in your sons matzah are shirking all forms of discipline and boundaries. They don’t want to be told what to do and want to make their own choices. Unfortunately at this young age, they are not yet capable of making wise ones, although they think they are. The trick is to guide them in a way that they can choose for themselves correctly. If you “tell” them they “have” to they will do the opposite and pull away. The more you tug on the rope the more they will pull the other direction. You need you give just the right amount of slack to the rope so there is no tug of war. He needs the safety rope and yet he needs the slack to explore his options.
Can you picture it? If you pull back too tightly and he tugs harder he is taking you along for the ride and you don’t like it. If you give him some slack he is still connected to you, he knows you are at the end of his safety line and you are there for him, he can come back to you when he wants to or needs to. You are the constant, the strength and the support while he goes out to test the waters. You are holding the line so he doesn’t drown.
Does that help you? Can you visualize that? Maybe if your husband can visualize that it will help him.September 2, 2012 3:39 am at 3:39 am #1182242
aries2756-All these years that my son was in yeshiva, studying until late hours, I tended to be lenient on him with helping in the house in any way. He basially had a free ride, since I never felt I could ask him to do something after coming home so late at night. Well, now that he’s the first one home in the house, I feel he should be helping. But he is so accustomed to doing nothing, that he can’t seem to switch gears. I’ve had sensible talks with him, but he does not listen to reason and won’t do ANYTHING in the house, still living on his free ride. Any suggestions?September 2, 2012 4:58 pm at 4:58 pm #1182243
W.O.W., if you never expected him to be responsible before then you can’t start with teaching him responsibility towards the entire family and household before you teach him responsibility for his own daled amos first. So it brings us back to the same original theory. He is now sixteen years old, the oldest child in the family and it is time that he learned to be responsible for himself. So start with his own room, his own clothes, etc. Have him help in regard to taking care of himself first. Then you should try and ask him to clean up after himself in the kitchen. You can only expect of him what he is capable of doing. Expecting more is a futile effort. So choose something you know he can do and then show appreciation and encouragement. Don’t be snide like “you see you could do it if you only try”. Try to be more encouraging like “I appreciate your cooperation”.
In coaching we prefer to drop the word “proud” because pride is a need that we need fulfilled and it is not necessarily a feeling that reflects the needs of the subject of the actions. So we try to use more positive words such as “respect, appreciate and admire”. Those words are received much more warmly and openly. Kids want to be respected, appreciated and admired. When they are in this matzav they don’t necessarily care if you are proud of them.September 2, 2012 5:37 pm at 5:37 pm #1182244AZOI.ISParticipant
I havent read this whole thread, but you seem to have experience in dealing with difficult situations with kids, in addition to you having seichel.
Are there any books you’d recommend that teach how to go about taking baby steps in teaching responsibility to irresponsible kids/young adults?September 3, 2012 5:15 am at 5:15 am #1182245
Hi ,I started 2 read ur thread at the beginning but then stopped but wat I understand is that ur sons going off rite???? K I’m a teen girl hos not off but on the border and I have friends ho don’t even keep shabboss and so I no wat makes teens go off now a days ….mby I cld help u if u explain ur sonSeptember 3, 2012 7:23 pm at 7:23 pm #1182246
aries2756-thanks for the suggestions.
S1-You say you are not OTD, but on the border. What do you think would help you to NOT go OTD? And what do you think would help someone to come back if they already went OTD?September 3, 2012 8:25 pm at 8:25 pm #1182247
AZOI.IS, I ask all my clients to read “Choice Theory” by Dr. William Glaser, before anything else so that they understand the basics. It is a very important book and most people have to read it twice to really understand it.September 3, 2012 8:56 pm at 8:56 pm #1182248
Truthfully every ones different so I don’t no wat would work 4 ur son. I no that wat kept me going until now was that my mothers very open -minded w/ a lot of things and that really helps if ur open -minded w/ him. Wat wld help me now is getting inspired and recognizing G -d. There’s a lot if days that I do and I become stronger. If he believes then he’s better then a lot of kids now a daysSeptember 3, 2012 8:58 pm at 8:58 pm #1182249
Truthfully every ones different so I don’t no wat would work 4 ur son. I no that wat kept me going until now was that my mothers very open -minded w/ a lot of things and that really helps if ur open -minded w/ him. Wat wld help me now is getting inspired and recognizing G -d. There’s a lot of days that I do and I become stronger. If he believes then he’s better then a lot of kids now a daysSeptember 3, 2012 9:27 pm at 9:27 pm #1182250
Wat could help someone come bak on is first of all 2 relize the beauty of being Jewish. Also the Jewish society now a days is very strict. There not open -minded at all and I think that that’s y ppl. Go off cuz there pressurized. We’re living in gulus rite now and every ones affected by the outside world. But because the rebbetzins and rabbi.s r very close -minded ppl. Fall under the pressure. Teens start believing that it’s either very frummy or off. Another problem is that if ur not perfect ur going 2 be labeled as going off even if u r a good person ho believes in G -d ,but if u watch movies or even look at a boy then ur off. So they don’t feel accepted by the frum ppl. Jst because there not perfect but the off world is always accepting. The frummy ppl. Look down at u if ur not like them but the OTD ppl. Are always way more accepting. Do help someone come bak on is 2 make them relize that no ones perfect and the only thing he has 2 do is believe in G -d. And then they will come 2 the realization that Jewish is beautifull. I personally have a lot of friends ho went off cuz of the society telling them that they’re not a good person because they watch movies and look at boys.September 3, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm #1182251
My case y I started 2 go off was a little bit different then most ….I started cuz my sis. Went off and I was mad at G -d and that’s how I dealt w/ it. If he started 2 go off cuz of s/t that happened 2 him then it’s more that he has a problem w/ G -d ,theres nothing u cld really do about it but most teens r hoping 4 someone 2 make them relize the beauty. If u talk about the beauty hell go more off ,he needs 2 hear it from someone like him.September 3, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm #1182252
Sry I ment cuz my sis. Was sickSeptember 4, 2012 3:53 pm at 3:53 pm #1182253
S1-I agree with you that it would help if he could see the truth/beauty of Yiddishkeit and that it can’t come from us. But from where will it come if all his friends are angry and OTD? I pray that Hashem will send some shaliach who can bring him back to the truth.September 4, 2012 6:23 pm at 6:23 pm #1182254
Some times ppl. Have 2 relize the beauty on their own and that could only come from him. Every OTD person has something in them that connects them 2 G -d and they know it their Jst trying 2 push it away. U Jst have 2 pray that he will relize it and decide 2 connect w/ G -d agen. I will pray 4 him 2 relize this beauty. Rite now he’s only 16 and he Jst wants 2 party and I get that. If u pressure him or mention it 2 him he will go more off. U can’t be hard on him ,Jst show that u luv him no matter wat ,and hopefully he will relize the beauty. How bad is he???? Does he keep shabboss or wear tzitzis???? I don’t no about ur community but boys in mine ,they cld be frum good boys and they still won’t wear tzitzis and a lot of them don’t keep shabboss u would be surprised. But a lot of those boys relize the beauty they Jst don’t want 2 accept it. Again ,in the end it’s all up 2 him 2 accept it. If he’s only friends w/ OTD boys then that doesnt really help ,but in the end it’s up 2 him 2 decide.September 4, 2012 7:19 pm at 7:19 pm #1182255Shopping613 🌠Participant
Hi! I’m Shopping613’s friend and I borrowed her account for another thread but this one caught my eye also…..you can call me CR QUEEN, the way you know if I am posting is by the big letters and stars on top! Anyway!
I hope your son will come back to you! I know what it is like with the frum/chareidi people not being very accepting if you are on a different level of kedushah, I thought id share a story that happened to my friend:
My friend was on a bus somewhere and noticed a woman….she was a normal woman but my friend recignized her from somewhere, so my friend came up to her and said “I recognize you from somewhere ” and the lady said “maybe from my youtube video from how chareidim/frummies are very horrible and think they can tell everyone what level of kedushah you need to be on ” (Not my opinion) my friend said “oh ya I watched that! ” and then she began crying and crying and told the woman that not all chareidim /frum ppl are like that and there are many people who love her and do not judge her and others like her on your level of kedushah or on how she dresses! The other woman began to cry too…..it was an amazing experience, she told me. She said it felt good to give someone a second perspective on life to keep her going…..
I think that’s what OTD kids need, a chance to see everything from a new perspective! Give them that chance and show them that you’ll accept them no matter what and one day they WILL come back! I ‘m sure of it!
Good Luck!September 4, 2012 8:39 pm at 8:39 pm #1182256ChloqueenMember
I am considered an OTD teen soo I understand what your son is going through…most of the time what we kids r crying out for is for someone to truly care about us..it’s not good enough for it just to be parents because I personally feel my parents don’t understand me. In my school there is someone to talk to but it’s not a personal thing you need to find someone who really cares and will make a good caring relationship with your sonSeptember 5, 2012 3:11 am at 3:11 am #1182257
Chloqueen, i can tell you from my own personal experience, it is not difficult to love and care for someone else’s child. I have done it numerous times while mentoring at risk teens. They all became part of my family and I still keep in touch with many of them as they have grown and started families of their own. I called it co-parenting. Hatzlocha to you and your friends, give people the opportunity to love you and you might be surprised to see the results.September 5, 2012 7:48 am at 7:48 am #1182258
S1- maybe the age itself is rebellious, and like you said, they’ll have to find the beauty themselves. Thanks for your advice.
CR Queen-I hope you are right, that it’s just a matter of giving them their space, and they will come back.
Chloqueen- I agree that he needs other people who care about him, and not just us. We are trying to reach some of his Rebbes from the past, and ask them to keep a kesher with him. Even some of his friends from yeshiva.September 6, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am #1182259
Any suggestions on how to handle Rosh Hashanah? How do I handle everyone’s comments to me in Shul about my son? I am really dreading this.September 6, 2012 2:18 pm at 2:18 pm #1182260hudiParticipant
“My son does not feel that the intense yeshiva environment is beneficial to him right now, so he is taking a break and going to a more relaxed yeshiva.”
if they are more aware of the situation, you can say “We are in constant contact with Rabbanim and therapists, davening hard, and we are hopeful he will be back to his old self again.September 6, 2012 3:21 pm at 3:21 pm #1182261ImaofthreeParticipant
What kind of comments do you anticipate people making to you about your son?
Yesterday I met someone in the store. She asked me specifically about each of my children (by name) and how they were, what they are up to. Didn’t ask me about my child who is OTD. I don’t know what is worse, when they ask or they DON’T ask.
I read an excellent article today in the Mishpacha Magazine about why children go off the derech. Basically it was saying that the common denominator is that the child is made to feel like they don’t fit in or they don’t belong. So I guess your job now is to show love and include as much as you can. Compliment your son if he shows up to shul. Wow, been ages since my kid stepped into a shul.
continued hatzlocha to you and may you and your mishpacha have a good gebenched year and see nachas from your son!September 6, 2012 4:28 pm at 4:28 pm #1182262
W.O.W seriously? We are n shul Rosh Hashanah to beg Hashem not to judge us harshly and you are concerned about what others are going to ask you about your son? Here is the answer “Hashem doesn’t discriminate, he is going through his own nisyonos. Let us all daven that all of Klal Yisroel manage their individual nisyonos with the help of Hashem, become stronger in their emunah because of them and learn something important from their individual journeys.”. How does that sound to you?September 6, 2012 5:31 pm at 5:31 pm #1182263BubbyKParticipant
Been there – done that
How do I handle everyone’s comments to me in Shul about my son?
1. work on your own feelings. Convince yourself and your husband that what people say or think is irrelevant. What matters is your son’s future.
2. prepare some stock phrases, and have your other kids memorize them as well. Example: Yanky is having some issues, and we are dealing with them. period. do not say any more than that.
3. Realize that everyone has an opinion, always! Ignore them. One will tell you that she always knew that you were too strict. Another will say that he is OTD because you did not set limits. Or because you did not provide enough health foods.
4. Embarrassment (which you surely will face) is a Kaporo for many things. Look at it that way. Other people face sickness, loss of parnosso, many tzoros. You are faced with embarrassment.
May Hashem help your child, and all children, to return.
Been There with my child.September 6, 2012 7:43 pm at 7:43 pm #1182264
Imaof3-would love to read that article. That would make sense with my son, since the kids definitely made him feel like he doesn’t belong. But today, I was thinking about my other son. He is 13 years old, and he is learning 10 hours a day! With ADD! Couldn’t this be the reason that kids begin to hate learning? Even without ADD, it is enormous pressure that we are putting on CHILDREN. They may be dressed up like men, with their black hats and suits, but inside, they are still little kids. I hope to G-d we are not the cause of our kids going OTD…September 6, 2012 7:58 pm at 7:58 pm #1182265
aries2756-you are right, but people are curious nonetheless. Your answer sounds pretty good, I’ll try to memorize it 🙂
BubbK-thank you so much for your wise words. Please give more advice.September 7, 2012 5:08 pm at 5:08 pm #1182266zahavasdadParticipant
WOW, I saw you post about too much learning.
I was in the book store this week and I saw a book about “Complicated” Chinuch Questions and I was shocked about the “questions” that were in the book. The questions were like, My Son likes to watch Sports, how do I stop it. My daughter came out from Camp with Goyish songs on her iPod.
I did NOT see any topics about , My Kid is learning too much, My Kid doesnt know anything about secular topics.
My kids Rebbe hit my kid and now my kid is scared to go to school and REAL problems, not made up ones (or minor ones anyway)
When I was ready to go to college, I got tons of catalogs from Colleges asking me to apply and to visit. Even the places I did visit made an effort to encourage me to enroll. It was a buyers market.
In Chinuch it seems its a SELLERS market. The school makes the demands and kids and parents fall in line if they like it or not for fear of a ‘bad Shidduch” or “Being Kicked out”. People are unwilling to question the R’Y for fear of “Kavod” no matter how badly the school is runSeptember 8, 2012 5:19 pm at 5:19 pm #1182267
hudi-forgot to thank you for your suggestions.. I should write these all down on a card and memorize themSeptember 8, 2012 6:26 pm at 6:26 pm #1182268
zahvasdad-you are right. I just heard a shiur by Rav Shimon Russell who is a psychologist who works with kids OTD. You can’t believe some of the sad things he talks about. Although hopefully it is not the norm, he talks about terrible chinuch mistakes that were made in the BY/Yeshiva system that influenced kids to go OTD. Even today, when we should be more educated and aware, these mistakes are still happening. And you’re right, it is a ‘sellers’ market. It’s actually easier to get into college than it is to go to gan.September 10, 2012 1:34 pm at 1:34 pm #1182269
Every time it looks like things might be getting better, we take a turn for the worse. My son told us he is getting an earring, and my husband forgot to act ‘twisted’. He got so upset, and basically ‘forbid’ him from doing it. Now I’m afraid that it’s almost a guarrantee that he WILL do it. The twisted approach is to offer no resistance, and even buy him the earring! But what is the alternative? How can we influence him not to do it? Is it possible?September 10, 2012 6:50 pm at 6:50 pm #1182270OhTeeDeeParticipant
He is using as expression (maybe making up for his previous wardrobe, which prohibited/lacked personal expression).
Anyway, look at the big picture. Its an earring. A piece of jewelry that is completely acceptable in today’s society. Is it even assur? (and i dont buy “begged isha”, since it is prevalent for men nowadays)September 11, 2012 2:18 am at 2:18 am #1182271EzratHashemMember
wow: if it’s not too late, try an approach that makes him think about the permanence of the piercing, that although it seems a good idea to him now, if he changes his mind later and hates it, he can’t undo a piercing.September 11, 2012 3:35 am at 3:35 am #1182272
WOW, now that he is in school, did you try speaking to the RY? Is this common in his school? I know this is painful for you and so does he. Is he just testing you or is this something he feels strongly about. Why not ask him. Why not tell him that you appreciate him coming to speak to you about this before going ahead with it. Then ask him why he really wants to do it? Is he being pressured to? Does he really like the way it looks? It isn’t even as “cool” as it once was, it is just an act of defiance and in years to come, it is something that he might truly regret. Ask him to really think about what he feels he will gain by doing it, and what he might possibly lose and why this would be a “good choice” on his part. Since he wants to make his own choices he should really take the time to determine if he is making choices because it is truly what HE wants to do or he is making choices because it is what others want him to do, or maybe because he wants to “fit in” to a mold that others have created for him. Because when you break free of one mold you should not allow yourself to fit into another.September 11, 2012 8:56 am at 8:56 am #1182273
OhTeeDee-It is beged isha in the civilized world. It’s just that the secular world has adopted uncivilized practices. And in our community, it is a statement of rebellion, not fashion.
Ezrat Hashem-he will tell me it’s not permanent, he can always let it close up by itself.
Aries2756-I don’t know if it’s common/allowed in his school, that’s a good point. But if my husband calls the RY and he says it’s assur, then my son will be furious with us for asking him. He wants to do it bc his friend did it, simple as that. You make good points, but he would never continue a conversation long enough with me so I could get in those points. I will try to catch him during a good moment, and see how far I get.September 11, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am #1182274zahavasdadParticipant
Dont tell him piercing is permanent, because its not. Its important not to lie. (Pierced holes close up if they are not used)September 12, 2012 5:45 am at 5:45 am #1182275🍫Syag LchochmaParticipant
zahavasdad – how I wish that were true. They will only close up if you leave them while they are still unhealed and can rejoin. Once that time passes (about 6 months) it is forever. I have so many friends who would love for their piercing(s) to disappear.September 12, 2012 1:35 pm at 1:35 pm #1182276
Syag Lchochma-Wow, I didn’t really think about that, but it sounds right. Maybe now that argument would work…thanks.September 12, 2012 5:47 pm at 5:47 pm #1182277🍫Syag LchochmaParticipant
write or wrong – Just as an added note, I’m not sure what the word permanent means to a teenager. I don’t mean that derogatorily, I mean it developmentally. Remember your high school friends whom you knew you would NEVER forget or NEVER get used to leaving behind on graduation day? As you well know, what we say, and what it means to the listener are not always the same.September 13, 2012 3:11 am at 3:11 am #1182278
Syag Lchochma-you are right.September 13, 2012 4:39 pm at 4:39 pm #1182279
WOW, I just want to mention that you might want to take some time to sit down with the rest of the family before Shabbos and before Yom Tov to discuss with them the fact that your son might or might not participate this year. There is no way to predict whether or not he will feel the need to, whether or not he will feel the connection. It is important to allow the other children to address their feelings about this in a safe and controlled environment and probably better to be pro-active than reactive.
If you sit down as a family prior to the Yomim Noraim and discuss this allowing each child a turn to vent calmly or ask questions in an orderly fashion, you can take some control of the situation before it becomes an uncontrollable situation. Allowing each to vent their own pain and frustration is important and explaining to them that you are “new” at handling this type of situation with their sibling but you are following the guidance of experts on the subject, might help them to understand that what they think they see and feel as hefkeirus is really not.
Depending on what they ask or say, explain to them that through phone calls and emails you are discussing every issue and incident and are receiving as much support as you can get and as many answers that are available to you. Everything that you do in regard to your son is with the hope and prior experience of others to lay the foundation to turn him around and bring him back. But of course it also takes tremendous love and tefilah on your and on their part coupled with the support of the rest of the family. In addition I would also suggest that you initiate the connection method through writing. The rest of the family should stay connected with him by writing to him and leaving him notes on his bed. It could be notes of chizuk as well as notes of pure emotion and feelings such as “it makes me sad that you don’t spend any time with me or even notice me anymore” or even “why don’t you love me any more, what did I do to you?”
Some times these notes from younger siblings will wake him and shake him to some of the realities of his own behaviors. It also relieves some of the tensions building up inside the other kids and it is important to recognize their needs as well.
Hatzlocha!September 14, 2012 3:23 am at 3:23 am #1182280
aries2756=Thanks for the suggestion. Do you think I have to do this collectively, or should I sit with each kid individually, bc each child has a different level of understanding? We are already a little worried about how his behavior will impact on the chag. He stays out all night, and outwardly defies all our house rules, not to mention he’s mechalel Shabbos. And it’s not like he’s in some unknown location, he’s right here in our own neighborhood. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. In some ways, I prefer that he’s close to the house instead of in some distant city in Israel. However, how should I behave when I pass right by him and 10 or so of his chevra on my way to food shopping? Do I wave hello? ignore him? pretend we don’t know eachother? What if he’ll be outside our shul on RH? And what exactly should I tell the kids, their brother is lost, daven for him?September 14, 2012 4:12 pm at 4:12 pm #1182281
WOW, always, always acknowledge your son and his friends. Wish them a good Shabbos, a gut Yom Tov, a good Day whatever the case may be with a warm and sincere smile. They deserve no less! It is only by acting with the utmost kovod and yiras shamayim toward these children that help them turn around. Others with seichel will also greet them kal vachomer their own parents!
As far as the other children are concerned I would suggest a family meeting. Tell the children that something happened to their brother that caused him to lose his emunah and he is considered a choleh now because he is in a lot of inner pain and turmoil. His neshomas feels lost, nah v’nad almost. His neshomah is very confused and that is why the yetzer horah has more power over him. But he is the same son and brother they always had, he is just in a bad personal place right now and he needs all the love and support the family can give him as well as understanding and rachmanus. And yes everyone should daven for him to keep him safe while he goes through this dark journey.September 16, 2012 5:43 am at 5:43 am #1182282
aries2756-I tried saying hello, but my son looked embarrased.
With a heavy heart I write this, as things seem to spiral downward, even as we approach the new year. I can’t feel any simcha or hope that things will get better. After swallowing my pride many times over, giving when I felt like turning away, forcing a smile when my heart was breaking, my son continues to hate us. We have become the enemy. He stayed out all of Friday night and came home Saturday evening, never telling us that he was leaving, and when he was coming back. We were up almost all night, waiting. He didn’t take a key. When I asked where he slept, he wouldn’t say. He’s now smoking on Shabbos publicly, and being mechalel Shabbos even more, watching movies etc. When he finally came home to shower, he only screamed at me for asking where he slept. I wanted to give him a letter, telling him how much we love him and wishing him a Happy New Year, but he was so full of hate and threats, that I couldn’t get myself to give it to him. He left saying he doesn’t know when he’s coming back. I don’t know where all his anger comes from. Every time he comes home after spending a lot of time with his chevra, he’s full of anger. Friday night, he came to the seuda, and it was pleasant. But he left so quickly! I guess, I don’t know how to get past my own sadness. And he doesn’t even give us a tiny opening so that we can reach out to him. I’m losing hope…
I wish all of you a Happy New Year, may all of your children see the beauty of yiddishkeit and come back to the derech, and may those who lost their way, reach out to Hashem during this auspicious time, and find their way back. May you all have nachas from all your children.
Shana Tovah….September 16, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm #1182283danielaParticipant
Shana Tova to you and your family as well…. sorry I don’t write more, I am in a hurry as usually 😉September 16, 2012 1:33 pm at 1:33 pm #1182284caarpediiemMember
write or wrong- skimmed through a lot of this post and felt compelled to reply, made an account and everything. I have no idea what it is like to be the mother of an OTD boy but I know what it is like to be an OTD boy. I went “off” when I was 13, kicked out of school, started smoking, getting into drugs and drinking, hanging out with girls, etc. Went to all the usual “crisis” rabbis and therapists that the Yeshivish community recommended to my parents. I was unique in my early start but in nothing else. I went down the same dark paths as all OTD’s. When I was 16 I went to Israel to a “crisis” yeshivah and came back with 10 piercings. Walked around my hometown with girlfriends and friends, all of us acting like we didnt have a care in the world. Looking back I really believe Hashem must consider my parents to be very strong in their belief. Or else he would not have put them through the tests of parenting me through those years and the shame of it all. I say the same about you. Every neshomah must take it’s own path.. Years of the same went by and once I started maturing it was time to “make a man” out of me, as I saw one post said. I went to college and worked a full time job. Still no yiddishkeit. A year into stabilizing my life someone suggested I go to Israel for 3 months, Elul Zman, and check out a BT yeshivah. I went and three years later Im still learning and building my Yiddishkeit. Day by day.
So what did it for me? No offense – not my parents. They are great role models, wonderful people (really), productive members of society, I can go on about them for days. But I had nothing to say to them. Because I knew I was hurting them. They found a way to respect me and my decisions, all the while raising other kids, and I knew the respect was genuine and I very rarely, if ever, infringed upon their beliefs. Didnt eat nonkosher in front of them, or bring girls into my bedroom, etc. The year that I was working I spent one fast day reading english literature about it with a girl friend and my mother. I can assure you that she was not picturing that scene in her head when she was starting on the parenting path. If youre interested in how my mother dealt with it I am sure she would speak to you(no idea how to set that up, if you want to tell me how, ill do it). No rabbis did it for me either, cant say that talking to one wont work for others. What did it for me was being”adopted” by a family near my community (found them through Areivim btw). I lived by them for awhile off and on. Was able to call them for emergencies in the middle of the night. Stuff that I was too embarassed to involve my parents in. I saw another post that called it “co-parenting” – a large part of the reason Im religous today. From a pure logic perspective, if one way is not working you try another way. Being at home didnt work for me so I tried something else. Why it didnt work is unimportant to me. Why doesnt matter in a time of crisis. We can reflect on our deathbeds. What is all that matters. How is all that matters. How you can take your son out of his current situation. Not why he is in it. One possibility is Areivim. Highly recommend them.
So the co-parenting brought me to a stable point emotionally after years of being with them. The next step was becoming religous again and that came about by going to the most non-threatening yeshivah possible. A place that explained the rationale of Judaism. When someone goes off, they rationalize why. Only makes sense to rationalize your way back into it. The emotional attachment I am building towards G-D came through learning in-depth. But all of this is way down the road for your son. My parents and support network through those teen years never said anything about tzitzis, yarmulke, tefillin. Once one is OTD – thats what defines them. So my parents accepted it and me. My co-parents had more room to criticize, and they did. It sounds like youre a caring and loving parent. Stick it out for a few long years. Once your son realizes their is a bigger picture in life his face will no longer be able to mask the craving for truth. Show him the way home then. Now he needs to get lost on the dark paths, then find his way back. Always be supportive even when he is at the opposite end of your value system. He knows he is, trust me. And it hurts him too. But now he needs to hurt. If you can find one moment to go over to him quietly and just hug him for a second or two, and then give him a smile masking all sadness, I promise you he will think to that moment when he cannot take it anymore and starts the journey back.
This was long-winded and I dont know if it was helpful.. Sure hope it was. Happy and healthy New Year to you and yours.
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