Going off the Derech

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  • #1181295

    apushatayid
    Participant

    “for a teenager its a day they cant listen to the Radio, Cant Use the Computer, Cant Drive to their friends house, Cant Talk to their friends on the Phone or computer and basically a day of NO , Cant do this, Cant do that. In fact all they can do is Eat Sleep and Learn a Sefer which they find unpleasant.”

    If this is as common as is it being made out to be, we can stamp FAILURE across our entire system of chinuch (as parents, teachers, rabbonim and community) and look for a new approach.

    #1181296

    Bless You
    Participant

    “Anybody have suggestions as to how to handle Shabbos..”

    I find that the shabbos table alone has a tremendous power to bring happiness to people, frum and not frum. Therefore, don’t under-estimate how effective the shabbos table can be in helping your child feel happy and loved.

    Some possibilities to make the shabbos table more fulfilling could be as follows:

    -allow your son (and other members of the family) to place a request for a certain types of food they like.

    -possibly start each meal with an interesting story (jewish or not jewish), about a person was faced with hardship, and how they dealt with it. Then invite the family to provide their own opinion about the story or any other lesson they wish to add.

    -also, singing is a powerful tool which brings happiness. Encourage your husband (and children who wish to sing) to do so. Though it should not be forced.

    I hope that your son and all other children who are thirsting for the beauty of a jewish life find it soon.

    #1181297

    Baal Boose
    Participant

    W/O/W,

    3)Shabbos; Do something to get his attention. Ask him what his favorite dish is. Even something not on a usual Shabbos menu. Sushi/McNuggets/Chinese. If all fails, make/buy him a cheesecake for next to his cereal. (If you want to really blow him over, set a place for him for his milk and cereal, and leave a smiley note) Pack him a lunch! (Check with your rov re helping him carry outside) Why do I say this, because any connection is healthy.

    4) When he leaves at night, there is no reason you cant say; Please be safe; I need you.

    Hatzllocha to you and to “imaofthree”.

    #1181298

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    If this is as common as is it being made out to be, we can stamp FAILURE across our entire system of chinuch (as parents, teachers, rabbonim and community) and look for a new approach.

    Why do you think Texting and “half Shabbos” is a problem. I dont think its a Majority, but I do think its a significant minority that feel this way (Otherwise it wouldnt be mentioned many places)

    The reason I dont give solutions, is real solutions require thinkng outside the box. Telling some NO YOU CANT is not always the best solutions, the best solutions is give them something ELSE to do hopefully more or at least as appealing.

    #1181299

    soliek
    Member

    This thread seems to have been started with the purpose of helping one individual person. With that in mind, try to keep the theoretical arguments someplace else. Derailing this thread would not be like derailing other threads.

    #1181300

    write or wrong
    Participant

    Shavua Tov!

    adams- There is no way my son is interested in reading or listening to any Torah shiur. And as far as girls go, I don’t think this is a major topic for him at this point, although he may be paying attention more to stuff like that. He’s still kind of shy and insecure.

    Mikehall12382- Of course I’ve discussed it with him, but he’s not receptive to anything except hanging out with his friends. You make a good point about Yeshivas offering courses for kids who don’t see themselves continuing in Kollel. In retrospect, perhaps I should have put him in a more modern Yeshiva in the first place.

    apushatayid- I don’t think it’s so much a failure in our system of chinuch as it is the inevitable consequence of a technologically advanced society. In a generation where almost everything is computerized, the one thing that can’t be is Shabbos. What can we do about that? The truth is, if it weren’t for Shabbos, I’m afraid the next generation would turn into a bunch of vegetable-like automatons. Shabbos gives us a chance to feel life instead of escaping from it, to connect with the spiritual instead of the electric. The problem is, no matter how beautiful the Shabbos table is, we can’t compete equally with the stimulation and excitement kids get from computer games and videos. A really good dvar Torah is no match unless the child is thrilled learning Torah to begin with.

    Bless You- those are nice suggestions, but my son won’t even come to the Shabbos table.

    Baal Boose- thanks, I liked your suggestions. But regarding #7, it’s very hard to get him to open up. He doesn’t dwell on emotional things, and if I tried to pry, he’d just end the conversation.

    zahavasdad- What can we give our kids on Shabbos that will give them the same thrill, and capture their attention the same way as video games and movies? I put out deserts they like on the table, I try to play games with my kids, go with them to the park, visit friends sometimes, but it’s not always enough.

    This Shabbos, my son was invited by his Yeshiva to a Shabbaton. And he went! That was last night, but today he was back to his routine of sleeping late, missing tefillah and not coming to the Shabbos table. Then he spent the whole day out with his chevra again. I don’t know what to make of all this.

    On the one hand, he now says maybe he will go back to Yeshiva to finish, but on the other, he says he hates learning, and won’t continue to Yeshiva Gedola. I suggested he consider learning a trade instead, but he doesn’t feel he will fit in there either. I really think he should talk to someone, and my husband has someone in mind, but we can’t get my son to go. The therapist even agreed to come to the house, but how to arrange it so that my son will meet him, let alone talk to him?

    As happy as I was to hear that he might go back to Yeshiva, I know it means a tug of war with him in the morning to get up and go on time. His heart is not in it, and I don’t know how to change that, or even if I’m the person who can. Should I bribe him to go to counseling?

    #1181301

    soliek
    Member

    Depends on the bribe…what do you have in mind?

    #1181302

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I dont have answers. All I can tell you I am a realist and see the problem and totally get it.

    Until people totally get the problem that shabbos is just not as fun for some as texting, video games, Ipods, Ipads etc there will be no solution.

    And comments that people make and act only make it worse. People do not understand that some teens just dont like sitting at the table with the family singing Zemiros and saying Dvar torahs.

    I am not opposed to the computer, but it should be given with conditions, like he must go to School and earn it maybe pay for part of it himself

    #1181303

    happytobehere
    Participant

    WOW, I am very sorry for you and all the others who are going through similar experiences. I don’t have any answers for you about how to bring your son back; I think different solutions work for different situations, and Hashem decides when the correct solution/yeshuo will come. You have to do your hishtadlus and daven. Professional help under the guidance of a Rav is certainly indicated.

    Your son is 16; if you forbid the internet, he will very likely at some point access it without your consent. Don’t make it a red line.

    I was a troubled teen a few years ago, I had reached a similar place as your son, and B”H am very involved in learning now.

    “Back then” I wanted to buy my own computer. My father told me if I bring a DVD player or internet into the house, I could “sleep in the yard with my computer” because he wouldn’t allow either of those into the house. I did buy a computer and spent hours every night watching movies and browsing online, and was never asked to leave the house. I knew my parents didn’t like what I was doing and I knew they weren’t going to kick me out for those particular offenses.

    I believe there is a spark of good in everyone, and an FFB kid who is rebelling has more than just a spark. The neshomo inside him can bring him back. It may take a while, but try not to escalate the situation, and then maybe he will allow the tenuous connection to grow into something more permanent. It happened for me. Also, focusing on the good in him will A) make your validation and acceptance of him more genuine, and B) help you to be more hopeful and thereby enable you to react with logic rather than emotion. You can use your recognition of his good points for yourself to give yourself hope that “me’at or docheh harbeh choshech”. With hope, you may find it eaiser to validate him and accept him.

    If anything I wrote caused you pain, please forgive me; I am writing with ignorance of you, your son and your relationship with him.

    We should all keep davening that Hashem should bless you and all of us with ????? ????? ???? ???? ???? ?????? ????? ???????

    #1181304

    happytobehere
    Participant

    On a practical note, there is an organization that provides free assistance with keeping your home PC kosher. It sounds like they may be able to assist you, and, speaking from personal experienece, they are very good, both techinically and in understanding people’s needs. If you want their number, let me know.

    #1181305

    write or wrong
    Participant

    Soliek- I don’t know, any suggestions? I was thinking about the computer, maybe giving him more computer time.

    zahavasdad-I agree with you. Shabbos, for kids, isn’t as much ‘fun’ as those things. Shabbos used to be a release from school and work, now it’s a break from having fun. I think it just goes to show how ‘off’ the focus is in our daily lives in this generation. Technology has really pulled us in. That’s one of the reasons I never wanted to bring all that technology into my home, but it seeps in anyway.

    happtytobehere-thanks for your advice and sharing your experience. May I ask what helped you to come back? My guess is that perhaps you never really hated to learn and were able to come back to it (?). My son, for some reason, really hates learning, even though he’s bright. He never liked the idea of haviing to study so many hours a day, he always felt like he was missing out. Now he wants out.

    #1181306

    soliek
    Member

    “Soliek- I don’t know, any suggestions? I was thinking about the computer, maybe giving him more computer time.”

    I still think that giving him his own computer is a bad idea for a number of reasons. More time on the computer maybe…is there anything else more innocuous that he wants?

    #1181307

    computer777
    Member

    Computer777-even without internet??

    First of all, movies can also be bad. Not all, but some can be terrible.

    Second, it is very easy to carry a small stick in the pocket that nobody will know about, and insert it into the computer in order to have the internet.

    #1181308

    write or wrong
    Participant

    Soliek-the only other thing he would want is money…in order to buy his own computer!

    Is it possible he could come out of this without counseling? The more I think about it, the more I think that he will never open up to someone, and even if he goes back today to Yeshiva, I know we will be walking on eggshells until the year finishes.

    #1181309

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Have you ever though of inviting your sons chevra over shabbos afternoon and letting them hang out at your house (NOT for a meal)?

    I know there are people around here who let teens hang around there house (especially in the summer when they can hang outside)

    The people who do it are actually doing everyone a favor, they realize that some teens need a safe place to go and at the atmosphere and activities can be contained a little bit

    #1181310

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Ive seen the poem around the internet and I think its very appropriate here

    The idea of teenage rebellion and return is very clear

    At 3 yrs “Mommy, I love you”. At 10, “Mom whatever”. At 16, “My Mom is so annoying”. At 18, “I wanna leave this house”. At 25,”Mom, you were right”. At 30, “I wanna go to Mom’s house”. At 50, “I don’t wanna lose my Mom”. At 70, “I would give up EVERYTHING for my Mom to be here with me”.

    #1181312

    write or wrong
    Participant

    zahavasdad-I wouldn’t consider inviting them over for a number of reasons. One, is that my children would probably misread it as an approval of their behavior. Also, my son would absolutely forbid it bc he doesn’t want us anywhere near his chevra. I also wouldn’t be able to do kiruv with kids who are helping my son to go off the derech. I do, however, pray for all of them to do teshuva.

    Liked the poem.

    #1181313

    soliek
    Member

    “Is it possible he could come out of this without counseling? The more I think about it, the more I think that he will never open up to someone, and even if he goes back today to Yeshiva, I know we will be walking on eggshells until the year finishes.”

    That’s an interesting question, and it doesn’t have an absolute answer. The discussion came up at our place one night about why some people seem to be able to take what life gives them and keep moving on, and some people fall apart. The only reason we could come up with is that hashem made some people more resilient than others, and that it’s not a universal assumption that just because A powered through his problems that B can power through his. Some people are naturally resilient, some people need others to enable their resilience. So can he recover on his own without therapy, etc?

    Depends on what you mean by recover. There are two issues here, one is the fact that he’s moving further off the derech, and the other is that he clearly has some emotional stuff that he needs to work through and sort out. That creates many possible outcomes. He may stay frum, but be constantly resentful; he may abandon yahadus and channel his frustrations and anger into that pursuit; he may stay frum and recover on his own and live as though he never had the problem. Anything is possible if he’s left to his own devices.

    What he needs is someone he can trust, someone he can tell anything to. Apparently you’re not that person, which shouldn’t offend you or make you feel guilty, it’s not for lack of trying on your part. Everyone needs their own friend, or mentor, or whatever to talk to and confide in, and that doesn’t have to be a parent necessarily. I had issues, and they were only resolved once I found that someone I could trust and confide in. That can sometimes even obviate the need for therapy. Obviously therapy is highly recommended though.

    About yeshiva. I’ll share a bit of my experience. Without going into details because my situation was nothing like you and your son’s, I missed most of twelfth grade. In the beginning of the year I missed once a week, but by the end of the year I only came once a week and even then I came late and cut out early. I didn’t enjoy learning very much, and my priorities had shifted from learning and studying to working and doing my own thing. But I couldn’t officially be employed since I was really in school, so I would hang out at a driving school and the owner would throw me odd jobs here and there.

    That was for about two hours a day, and the rest of the time was my own. Through the internet, I ended up getting myself a nice, non-jewish Irish girl to spend time with. I didn’t have anyone else in this world at the time, and she was like a breath of fresh air. We never did anything, but it did come close (we video chatted but never met, but I was supposed to fly over to her several times, and somehow managed to control myself and didn’t go) . So we went strong for around six months, staying up all night talking, texting, calling, until a year later when I got a regular job. I didn’t have as much time for her anymore, but we still talked and texted when we could, hardly video chatted, but we managed.

    Then I got a second job, which made me a 9-5 stiff. We stopped actually talking altogether, no more video chatting, and still occasionally texted, but even that tapered off. We haven’t communicated in a long while and I intend to keep it that way. But the only reason I would say I stopped was because I had something else to do. Once I stopped talking to her, I was able to get my priorities in order. Learning, davening, etc, and eventually I landed in Our Place as a volunteer. But the only reason any of this happened with me and her is because I had waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much time on my hands because I wasn’t in Yeshiva, I had my own computer and unfiltered internet, and I was unemployed.

    So that should answer both your questions about Yeshiva and the computer. If he doesn’t feel like going, there’s not much you can do about it. But the alternative can’t be staying out all day and hanging out, or lounging around the house doing nothing. IF he doesn’t feel like going to yeshiva then he should have to get a job to keep him busy. Batala mevia lidei shiamum. And the computer is not a good idea. I know that if I didn’t have a computer with unfiltered, unmonitored internet access I never would have gotten involved with that girl.

    #1181314

    yossi z.
    Member

    Coming from someone who is “working his way back”, I would like to give my input as I feel all of you should hear from a current person on what you would call the other side. Calling kiruv coming back or any other term that creates a separation between the parent and the child’s choice of lifestyle, can actually be a lot more damaging than anybody can imagine (trust me, I know). Whether or not you actually call it that to the child’s face does not change one’s attitude and can still be told by the way you react or talk in general. Kiruv means to bring close not bring back. Being that this thread is for a specific child and not general kiruv, I will only say one general thing. I have personally found that the biggest matters when it comes to kiruv, is acceptance and attitude-of the caregiver and it has to be true and real, you can’t fake it because it won’t work.

    #1181315

    daniela
    Member

    I am so sorry w.o.w. to hear of your troubles and your family’s.

    I think you need someone to help, someone who can see things from outside and put them in perspective. But first of all, it is crucial to know more.

    What is happening and why? I understand he is changing his lifestyle, but he is not even mechalel shabbat, not in public at least anyway. So what is going on? Perhaps the problem simply is that he would like to change his lifestyle (to some undetermined western teenager type, because he does not have anything that passionates him at this time? or does he?) and feels that the lifestyle he desires would be incompatible with observance. Then he needs someone who says that he does not ever have to do something he does not want to, including being mechalel shabbos, and who can give practical ideas and solutions. Is there something else, such as he does not believe in G-d? If so he needs to hear different things, such as that what he does is way more important than what he thinks. I think the most important point, and you should definitely have a rabbi he respects say this, is that – no matter what – he should never feel like a second-class jew. You can have the rabbi show up with some excuse, and if you think it’s better, he can say something like that about an imaginary person, rather than address him directly.

    I believe it is very important that you protect your other children, not from his “bad influence” and stupid movies (which are available everytwhere nowadays), but from wrong ideas, such as this attitude being a good way to increase attention and love. Imagine in the future trying that with a spouse. Please, talk to someone who knows your family.

    #1181316

    happytobehere
    Participant

    WOW, you asked what brought me back. I think I never wanted to be where I was and I never totally gave up hope that I would find a way back. I had a good support system: from my mashgiach with whom I maintained a very close relationship throughout everything, and from my parents; their house was always “Home”. I held on to my (very) hidden goals even as I was working against them, until Hashem sent me my personal yeshuah.

    That being said, the emotional turmoil that create these issues and are created by these issues need to be dealt with.

    Did I hate learning? Probably not, but it may have looked like it to some people at some points.

    You wrote: “Shabbos, for kids, isn’t as much ‘fun’ as those things. Shabbos used to be a release from school and work, now it’s a break from having fun. I think it just goes to show how ‘off’ the focus is in our daily lives in this generation. Technology has really pulled us in. That’s one of the reasons I never wanted to bring all that technology into my home, but it seeps in anyway.”

    This is a perfect summation of our times! I think this should be required contemplation material for every parent and educator.

    I recommend again reaching out to TAG, who can help you with filters, monitoring software if you all agree to it, etc. to prevent more “seepage”.

    #1181317

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    zahavasdad-I wouldn’t consider inviting them over for a number of reasons. One, is that my children would probably misread it as an approval of their behavior. Also, my son would absolutely forbid it bc he doesn’t want us anywhere near his chevra. I also wouldn’t be able to do kiruv with kids who are helping my son to go off the derech. I do, however, pray for all of them to do teshuva.

    Its NOT Approval. Its Harm reduction. Lets say they are hanging out at the Local McDonalds. Would you rather him hang out there or in your back yard. You would NOT interfer. You would NOT tell them what to do. Its not about Kiruv at all. Its about minimizing the harm done.

    #1181318

    write or wrong
    Participant

    soliek-thanks for sharing your story, it shows how having too much time on your hands, and being unsure of the future are a risky combination.

    “So that should answer both your questions about Yeshiva and the computer. If he doesn’t feel like going, there’s not much you can do about it. But the alternative can’t be staying out all day and hanging out, or lounging around the house doing nothing. IF he doesn’t feel like going to yeshiva then he should have to get a job to keep him busy”

    I agree with you 100%, but I can only encourage he consider learning a trade or working, if he doesn’t want to learn in Yeshiva. He’s really calling the shots. After reading your story, however, I’m more determined to get him involved in one of those 2 choices. I do think he has some emotional stuff to work out, but since he’s such a private person, I’m not sure he ever will confide in someone. Today I really tried to get him to consider talking to someone, and he blatantly refused. I’m just wondering if there are other kids like this who seem to go through the motions of Yeshiva, yet escape into the secular world of movies and Lady Gaga. What becomes of them? Of their Yiddishkeit?

    yossiz- You are right, acceptance has to be genuine.

    daniela-you make an interesting point, and it may be part of the problem. I think my son does feel that our lifestyle is a bit restrictive, and would prefer a less stringent lifestyle. He became lax with some of the mitzvot, saying he doesn’t care, sort of creating his own ‘halachos”. At the same time, he does believe in Hashem, and often times will tell me that when something goes awry when he’s with his ‘chevra’, he thinks it’s bc Hashem is listening to my tefillah. As far as being a second class Jew, I don’t think he feels that message from us, but I can’t control the messages he may be getting from the neighbors.

    happytobehere-did your mashgiach know what you were going through? I know that my son doesn’t feel he can open up to his Mashgiach or Rosh Yeshiva. Unfortunately, they are not strong supports for my son.

    zahavasdad-Perhaps it’s wrong, but I wouldn’t want them hanging out in my backyard. There are about 10 kids, loud, smoking, some off the derech. I don’t see it as harm reduction, in fact I see it as quite the opposite…causing potential harm to my other children, not to mention making myself a pariah in my own neighborhood.

    #1181319

    soliek
    Member

    “I’m just wondering if there are other kids like this who seem to go through the motions of Yeshiva, yet escape into the secular world of movies and Lady Gaga. What becomes of them? Of their Yiddishkeit?”

    Depends on their foundation. Some kids get hooked by secular society and its culture and want a taste of it, but underneath it all they still have a strong foundation in yahadus. Others don’t and the secular world engulfs them.

    #1181320

    soliek
    Member

    Also, a person he can be friends with and confide doesn’t have to be a rav or therapist or even someone older or in a position of authority. It can be anyone. That’s what I was looking for when I started talking to that girl…just someone to talk to who I knew would listen. Does he have any good friends outside of that chevra?

    #1181321

    write or wrong
    Participant

    He did have one friend in the Yeshiva, but something happened (I don’t know what), and unfortunately he broke off all kesher with him. When I tried to inquire what happened between them, he just said the boy is a liar and he can’t be friends with a liar. He was the strongest friend he had, and had a good influence on him, so this was quite unfortunate. He has a more superficial kesher with the other kids in his class.

    My son is very sensitive and private, so it’s hard to reach him, let alone help him.

    It seems that the girl you started talking to filled a need, and once that need was met, you were able to tap into your own strengths and let it go, making you free to pursue more appropriate supports.

    There was a time, way back when I used to beg my son not to start listening to all the secular music. I told him it will be hard to let it go. But he insisted that it will have no affect on him. But it’s so obvious that he’s not the same kid, and now he cannot only not let it go, but doesn’t want to let it go. Someone posted a while back about surprising him and perhaps making a positive comment about the music instead of putting it down or forbidding it. But the music today is really horrible, with curses, that I was truly shocked to hear what he’s listening to

    #1181322

    soliek
    Member

    “It seems that the girl you started talking to filled a need, and once that need was met, you were able to tap into your own strengths and let it go, making you free to pursue more appropriate supports.”

    That sums it up nicely.

    Also about the music, you don’t necessarily have to say anything at all, be it encouragement or criticism. You can just ignore it and not say anything. But you’re right, it is bad, and of course it has an influence. Everything we see, hear, and do influences us.

    #1181323

    apushatayid
    Participant

    “The problem is, no matter how beautiful the Shabbos table is, we can’t compete equally with the stimulation and excitement kids get from computer games and videos.”

    If you look at it this way yes, I agree. However, I dont agree that computer games and videos should be the primary source of enjoyment and stimulation for children of any age. When they dont have these available, they will be miserable and bored, not just on shabbos and yom tov. I believe it is a complete abdication of parental responsibilities to relegate stimulation and enjoyment to computer games and videos, especially when the parents are unable to replace computer games and videos when they are unavailable (shabbos for example).

    “A really good dvar Torah is no match unless the child is thrilled learning Torah to begin with.”

    I disagree. I child who is used to being stimulated by using his or her brain will be perfectly happy to be asked a question at the shabbos table and be quite happy to get involved.

    Children of all ages who are used to being entertained, expect the same at the shabbos table or in shul, or will grow bored. Jumping around like a frog explaining the makkos might help for a 6 year old. Your 13 year old will yawn and walk away. If it happens often enough, they wont want to come altogether.

    I believe I wrote this earlier in the thread, generally speaking, kids dont go off a derech they are happy with. They either leave because they are unhappy with the path they are currently traveling on, or because the path is so boring, confusing or filled with hypocrites they seek another.

    I dont know you or your son and will obviously not comment on what, how or why in your particular situation, but I am willing to bet that if your son saw you enjoying yiddishkeit it will have an impact on him sooner or later. Perhaps have your husband arrange to have a chavrusah with someone at 3am so that when your son comes home from wherever, he sees him learning enthusiasticly. Perhaps he needs to see the rest of the family eagerly anticipate going to shul or eating a shabbos seudah. If he sees the rest of the family eagerly anticipating something, he might eventually be tempted to join the excitement.

    #1181324

    write or wrong
    Participant

    apushatayid-I’m not saying that computer games and videos are the primary source of enjoyment, but when they are used, even periodically, they are extremely potent. Even Rebbes have told me that they (generally) know which kids play video games/watch videos at home by the lack of interest these kids show in the classroom. A Rebbe typically doesn’t jump up and down, with flashing lights and bells like a Mario game. It’s not that the kid is living on Mario, it’s just that the Rebbe needs a different approach to grab the attention of the child. Would you go back to watching black and white TV now that there’s color? (even if you don’t watch a lot of TV?)

    “A child who is used to being stimulated by using his or her brain will be perfectly happy to be asked a question at the shabbos table and be quite happy to get involved.”

    I don’t agree. Some kids want a break from the 9 hour stimulation of their brains that they get in school, and don’t want to hear/talk any Torah when they are home. And then there are other kids who like to talk Torah while food shopping.

    I agree that kids tend not to go off a derech they are happy with, however I’m sure other factors play a role as well. I just think that it is a huge and difficult task to entice children these days to see the truth and beauty of the Torah, and to care about that truth and beauty. (Especially bc these are not the values reflected in our society). We can model our love of yiddishkeit in our homes, but sometimes, it just isn’t enough.

    #1181325

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    “A really good dvar Torah is no match unless the child is thrilled learning Torah to begin with.”

    I disagree. I child who is used to being stimulated by using his or her brain will be perfectly happy to be asked a question at the shabbos table and be quite happy to get involved.

    NOT True, I spent the Sedar with Charedi relatives

    They have large family with Kids ages from 23 to 3.

    I noticed the younger kids were asking alot of questions and then found out they were BRIBED with tickets to ask questions at the sedar, the more tickets the better the prize, then the kids started asking me what questions to ask so they could get more tickets, they couldnt care less about the questions, they just wanted the Candy (Tickets meant purchase of candy) and one of the kids involved in this was a 13 year old girl who is fairly mature

    #1181326

    apushatayid
    Participant

    “I agree that kids tend not to go off a derech they are happy with, however I’m sure other factors play a role as well”

    I’m not sure what the “however” is in your sentence.

    I am not advocating that kids use their brain all the time with no break. I was responding to what I originally understood was being written.

    The point I guess I am trying to make if summed up in 3 sentences is simply; Rejecting the path one grew up with is an extreme action. Sometimes, an extreme action, requires just an extreme a reaction. Perhaps the rest of the family displaying the exact opposite reaction (by going out of their way to show the satisfaction with torah and mitzvos in the examples I gave) might have some merit and have a positive effect.

    #1181327

    apushatayid
    Participant

    So, the parents gave out tickets. The shulchan Aruch says to give them candy and nuts to get them involved. The parents did what the SA said to do, and it worked. It even got a bored 13 year old involved. Nobody ever suggested sitting 5 hours or more at a seder table was easy for anyone, let alone a child.

    Adults get bribed too. Manufacturers offers sales spiffs to sales people. Retailers employ all sorts of gimmicks and giveaways to get people to shop. Many large employers offer employees perks as a means of retaining their services. Some offer performance bonuses. Want to call it an incentive instead of a bribe, go ahead. It is just a matter of semantics. Candy speaks to kids, aat least those of your relatives.

    #1181328

    apushatayid
    Participant

    “This Shabbos, my son was invited by his Yeshiva to a Shabbaton. And he went!”

    How did he spend shabbos? Did he sleep all day? Did he join his classmates for davening, the meals or learning?

    “On the one hand, he now says maybe he will go back to Yeshiva to finish, but on the other, he says he hates learning, and won’t continue to Yeshiva Gedola.”

    Perhaps he needs a different Yeshiva, specifically, a different type of program. Perhaps an hr in the morning of a shiur of some sort, or learning one on one with someone to keep an anchor to torah and then he can pursue other things.

    “I suggested he consider learning a trade instead, but he doesn’t feel he will fit in there either.”

    Dare I say it. College?

    #1181329

    write or wrong
    Participant

    “I agree that kids tend not to go off a derech they are happy with, however I’m sure other factors play a role as well”

    I stand by this statement. How else could you explain all the baalei teshuva? Are all the baalei teshuva unhappy with their childhood? And how many girls are ‘happy’ with the halachas of tsnius, yet are they all breaking the rules when they get older? Are we required to be happy with what’s right vs what’s wrong? There are some kids who will do ‘right’ easily bc that’s their nature. And some kids, by their very nature, are more defiant.

    “However” means, than is spite of not being unhappy with their childhood, there could be a host of other reasons that a child leaves a derech. Perhaps a role model disappointed them, maybe they are emotionally weak and can’t resist temptation, maybe they were bullied by kids,maybe he has a learning disability or ADD and couldn’t learn as expected of him. It could be that a child made friendships with kids who live a different lifstyle, and they want to fit in. Maybe he just didn’t pass the test Hashem gave him. Maybe, maybe maybe… It’s just not as cut and dry as you make it sound.

    The Shabbaton was only Friday night. Saturday he was home, and back to the usual…sleeping late, went to his chevra.

    Why do you think I am against college? I am only against his hanging out all day, watching who knows what on a computer with this chevra of kids who are off the derech.

    #1181330

    write or wrong
    Participant

    apushatayid-I’ll give you a perfect example. This week in Israel is Yom Ha-atzmaut. My charedi friend’s children want to go to the Park to see the fireworks. By itself, this may be no big deal. But there will be pritzut, music (which is forbidden now)etc etc. Should her kids go? How will they feel if she says no? How will they feel (in the long run) if she says yes?

    In my opinion, she can lose either way. If she says no, they may feel they are losing out. After all, not everyone in their community is machmeer charedi, and her kids know some kids who are going. But if they do go, what will they see/hear? A bunch of other kids who are having fun, listening to music when they’re not supposed to, some girls not dressed properly. It puts safek and temptation into their observance, in my opinion. Unless a person is so insulated, both by having a large extended religious family, living in a community that is exactly like you, not to mention that they all have good self esteem, you have no guarantees that your kids will never be tempted to go off the derech. And even with those “guarantees”, it sometimes happens.

    I suggested she make plans to get together with friends, if she can.

    #1181331

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Those “factors” are what make them not happy. They may see something as hypocritical, restricting, boring or simply not self fulfilling.

    I am not suggesting you are against college. Why not consider it as an option? It will surely keep him busy. Perhaps it will keep him out of trouble. What about a job? Something constructive, anything, is better than sleeping away the day. He might feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment and try to do everything to be as productive as he can (which might mean a better nights sleep for example). It might not be the dream or aspirations you had for him as a youngster, but it might be the best thing for him, where he is now.

    I dont know why people become baalei teshuva, I have not conducted any studies (heck, I dont know why they go “off” to begin with if they are ffbs), but surely they feel some draw which is advantageous to the path they are on.

    #1181332

    apushatayid
    Participant

    How would her kids feel if they wanted to go to a treif restaurant with the chiloni neighbors and she said no? Surely her kids know the family has standards vis a vis pritzus (if not, it would be hypocritical if she waved the pritzus flag and said no). Surely her kids know that not everyone does everything that they are supposed to, this is parenting 101. I’m sure your friend can handle it. If not, she surely has a mentor she can speak with.

    #1181333

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    What I dont understand why you cant force him to either go to School or get a Job?

    It is still your house and you have the right to tell him that he cant just hang out all day

    You are being soft IMO, Dont force him to go to Yeshiva Gedolah, but force him to do SOMETHING productive. You can even give him a choice, College, Yeshiva or a Job that way he wont feel trapped

    #1181334

    msseeker
    Member

    IMHO your first priority is to save your other kids. They need you now, emotionally, spiritually, and physically, more – not less – than before. Saying that something is unacceptable and then accepting it is gornisht verd. Find out what the law is about taking care of a 16-yo truant. If you provide a place for him to stay and pay for it, did you do anything illegal? Don’t give him leverage to threaten you with. If he wants to stay home (which shows that you’re doing something right) use it as leverage against him! If he doesn’t find a school or a job, or his behavior affects his siblings, out he goes.

    My heart breaks giving you this advice, but I feel achrayus to mention it because someone told my husband he has an OTD son and everyone told him to keep him home, and it had a terrible affect on his other kids. May you have only nachas from all of your kids, ????? ?? ???? ?? ???? ??? ???? ?? ?????.

    #1181335

    soliek
    Member

    msseeker: I once dealt with a parent who chucked his kid out by using the legal system…not a good idea. That is seriously a last resort, and shouldn’t be on the table. That’s very dangerous advice and I don’t think you quite understand its implications.

    #1181336

    Imaofthree
    Participant

    write or wrong- having been through what you are going through, I can really relate, and although it’s good that you have reached out and gotten support through the coffee room, you need to ask your own shailos and make your own decisions.

    We kept our daughter home as long as possible, until we realized that she was miserable and we were miserable. So we decided together (my daughter plus us) that she should find an apartment for herself. I cried long and hard when we made that decision, I had really tried everything and anything but it just was not working! At that point she was twenty.

    Did this whole parsha affect my other children? Yes. It made them stronger in their yiddishkiet and kind and compassionate people. They saw that even though we had an OTD kid we didn’t boot her out of the house like a used tissue. One of my other children mentored kids at risk or siblings of kids at risk.

    Tell me msseeker, if someone chas v’shalom has a child with cancer, do they kick the child out or put them away in an institution? A kid who is OTD is suffering and in pain and is acting out. By kicking a sixteen year old boy out of the house, you are teaching the rest of the children that unless you are perfect and fit the “mold”, we will not love you and you are persona non grata in our home.

    Anyways, the main thing is to be very patient, he’s going through a rough time. Try to focus on the things he does rather than the things he does not. It would be great if you could find a big brother for him to hang out with, someone he could make a connection to. Also,daven and cry to Hashem to help you and help your son.

    I would be happy to help you if you have any other questions. I have gone through this and I know how awful it is. Above all, do not be ashamed as so many of us have been through this. Hang on!

    #1181337

    EzratHashem
    Member

    It’s not so pashut with the siblings. They sometimes have a multilevel kesher to the OTD sibling , and if the parent ostracizes or enforces separation with the OTD, the others can come to resent the parents. Sometimes they resent the OTD for the stress on the whole family. On the other hand sometimes there can be no calm atmosphere unless the rebellious kid moves out. I think it’s very important to connect individually with each sib and find out how they are thinking about the situation, then deal with each of them according to their needs, to give them chizuk in being empathetic and davening for their sibling, but also realizing the need to distance themselves from OTD behavior.

    #1181338

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    @ Imaofthree

    May I ask if you still have a relationship with this daughter or have you shunned her since she moved out

    #1181339

    write or wrong
    Participant

    apushatayid/zahavasdad – College or working are both acceptable options for me, but I guess my son is stuck, or unable to take the step for some reason. How should I force him to go to school or get a job? I gave him exactly those 3 options, Yeshiva, school/college or work? But if he doesn’t pick one of them, should I throw him out of the house?

    As it stands now, he has agreed to finish this year if I give him my computer (without internet) to use when he comes home. Only problem is: his heart is not in the learning, he’s watching secular videos, and I feel completely helpless bc he’s calling all the shots. Also, he’s still with the chevra on Shabbos and in between computer time.

    msseeker-in theory, I agree with you. But it’s very hard to follow through on it, especially bc he has agreed to finish Yeshiva this year, which was a big thing. Even though I don’t know what that really means exactly, bc he hasn’t really chosen a direction. We’re just buying time and putting off the inevitable confrontation for next year. You’re right, I am concernced for my other kids, and from your words, I will try to pay more attention to them and their perspective of things.

    #1181340

    AZOI.IS
    Participant

    What percentage of OTD kids come back? Is the parents’ approach to the child while going OTD, connected to which children come back?

    Do experts feel certain approaches by parents yield a greater percentage of return?

    #1181341

    write or wrong
    Participant

    Imaofthree-thank you so much for your support. It’s good to hear that there can be a good outcome on the other children when keeping a troubled child at home. The natural reaction is to think that all the other kids will follow the OTD child, but your other children saw your heart, and that must have been the louder message. I really wish my son would be receptive to a ‘big brother’, or a counselor. But he adamantly refuses to talk to anyone. You are right, that an OTD child is suffering and in pain. It’s just frustrating as the mother, to have to sit back and not be able to take away that pain. I can only show patience, love and validation (while davening for him, of course) while he somehow finds himself and his own cure.

    EzratHashem-you are right that there are issues with the siblings as a result of the OTD child. One of the biggest problems is the anger and its affect on the family. My kids become fearful and tend not to see their brother in a good light when that happens. On the other hand, they feel that he gets special treatment bc I “let” him do things that I don’t let them do, like use the computer every day. It’s so very hard, especially bc of the diverse ages of my children, they all probably see things very differently. My younger children always looked up to their big brother, and they must be confused now. I will try to make it a point to connect with each child separately about this to assess their understanding and to support them

    #1181342

    write or wrong
    Participant

    AZOLIS-those are good questions. Is there any research in this area?

    #1181343

    soliek
    Member

    “As it stands now, he has agreed to finish this year if I give him my computer (without internet) to use when he comes home. Only problem is: his heart is not in the learning, he’s watching secular videos, and I feel completely helpless bc he’s calling all the shots.”

    The computer shouldn’t even be a topic of discussion. If he’s miserable in yeshiva, then make that the incentive. He can leave yeshiva, only if he does something else with his day. a GED program, a job, an apprenticeship, college…something. If he really doesn’t want to be in yeshiva, why torture him? The chances of him turning around because he’s being forced into going are minimal. He should need to justify the computer. If he would be in college, he would be able to justify it.

    On the other hand, when you say that your son is stuck I completely understand that. It’s why I’m not in college now. True, I work and volunteer, but I never went to college primarily because I’m thoroughly sick of the concept of school. So saying that that should be the other option is easier said than done. Still, it’s worth a shot…I mean why bribe him with something detrimental for something detrimental, when you can have him do something that is constructive, and thereby earn the privilege for what would no longer really be a bribe?

    “What percentage of OTD kids come back? Is the parents’ approach to the child while going OTD, connected to which children come back?

    Do experts feel certain approaches by parents yield a greater percentage of return?”

    Percentages are unknown…but the experts DO feel that it matters how the parents approach the situation. I mean, forget religion entirely and focus on the common sense of it. Assume that you have a completely secular kid in a completely secular family who starts hanging out late with the wrong crowd, and doing poorly in school. Think through all the possibilities of what the parents might do. Or the negative influences on other siblings. It’s really not that different. Religion is just another variable in an already messy equation.

    We have parents occasionally walk into or call our place absolutely at wits end because their son just won’t keep shabbos, or won’t come home on time, or smokes, or hangs out with girls etc., and to hear them on the phone they sound like they’re ready to kill their son. “HOW DARE HE NOT LISTEN TO WHAT I SAY, IM HIS PARENT! I GAVE BIRTH TO HIM! AND NOW HE DOESNT EVEN WANT TO KEEP SHABBOS?! HE CAN AND PROBABLY WILL GO TO HELL!!!” And then there’s the “I GAVE HIM EVERYTHING AND THIS IS HOW HE REPAYS ME, BY EMBARRASSING THE FAMILY!!!” Which is a completely invalid thing to say because giving objects and possessions is nothing compared to giving unconditional love, and everyone needs, wants, and appreciates unconditional love.

    The problem is that most people don’t quite understand what unconditional love means. It means kind of like what Pirkei avos says ??? ??? ?????? ??????? ?? ???, ?? ??? ??? ???? ??? which I know is an odd way of putting it, but that’s what it is. Unconditional love means that I will love you with no conceivable expectation of reciprocity. If you feel like giving me something in return that’s your business, but I in no way expect it. And that is how a parent must love a child, with no expectation of reciprocity. I can only imagine how hard it is in practice, but even naturally a person feels a strong love toward children that should transcend everything.

    So when a parent stops loving a kid because the kid isn’t frum, that means that the parent only loved the child as long as the child did as was told, and stayed frum. That’s an expectation of reciprocity and that makes the love unconditional. If a kid gets arrested in front of the neighbours and the entire community is pointing and whispering, and the parent stopws loving the kid it means that the love was on condition that the kid uphold the family’s good name. A parent’s love should never have any caveats or requirements. It should never be contingent on a specific set of circumstances.

    That being said, unconditional love does not preclude chinuch. After all, it is a parent’s job, religious or not, to teach a child right from wrong, but that’s all it is–a job. It is a parental obligation, it is simply something that must be done. But that can never preclude love, even if the child doesn’t follow the path set by the parent.

    #1181344

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    wow

    Very simple to enforce at least some rules

    You are not his Chef, Maid , Laundress or Banker (I assume he needs some money to hang out with his friends)

    If he wants some of those priviliges he has to earn them by yeshiva, College or working

    #1181345

    AZOI.IS
    Participant

    Ive heard Dr Meir Wikler say that if you treat an OTD child with warmth and acceptance, you have a chance of having a relationship with your child, whether frum or not. If you dont treat the child with warm and acceptance, you lose the child either way.

    Id love to hear what he’d say about giving liberties to a demanding OTD child if there are other children in the house.

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