March 24, 2013 6:32 am at 6:32 am #1183095
Well, I can’t say things are going smoothly, but I do hope that we all get to Leil HaSeder in one piece. Especially bc I am desperately hoping for my own geula….
Wishing everyone a Pesach Kasher v’Sameach!March 24, 2013 7:49 am at 7:49 am #1183096
Wow: I will try to have you in mind…Wishing you a BEAUTIFUL Yom Tov with true peace and tranquility!!March 24, 2013 8:12 am at 8:12 am #1183097
How on G-d’s green earth is anyone supposed to follow a thread of 1,805 posts?March 24, 2013 2:25 pm at 2:25 pm #1183098
Talmud:Obviously they were following the whole time.March 29, 2013 4:13 pm at 4:13 pm #1183099
WOW – I heard something I’d like to share.
We say in the Haggadah ??? ??? ???? ?? ????? – a complicated, far reaching, scary task to attempt in today’s times. Tools of the trade have somewhat changed, what may have worked in the past now give different results.
I heard in the name of some Gadol – “bang out his teeth” means to take away his bite. Soften him up – try to take away his bitterness. ???? ??? ?? ?? ??? ???? – long ago it was each for his own, he wouldn’t have been let out. Nowadays however we’re all in it together – we’ll stick it out – together.March 31, 2013 9:08 am at 9:08 am #1183100
Oh Shreck-Thanks for the chiddush.
I hope everyone had a nice Seder. My son only came for Shulchan Orech, then he left.
With so many people still suffering their own personal ‘bondage’, I found it hard to feel the spirit of Pesach, especially since we’re all still waiting for geula….March 31, 2013 4:30 pm at 4:30 pm #1183101
Write or Wrong, on yom tov I had a chance to look at our local Jewish paper and I was reading about the young couple who were killed in a terrible car accident after Purim. A sweet young couple who were expecting their oldest son (he also nebach didn’t make it). How terrible their parents must have felt this Pesach sedar not to have the young couple with them, knowing that they will never be with them in this world.
My child was not with us for the sedarim. Am I happy about it? No, but I know that he/she is well and I do get a visit now and then.
Write or wrong, I know your heart is breaking but you must work on yourself to keep things in perspective and be there for your husband and other children and show your son who is OTD that you will always love him and he is always welcome in your home.April 1, 2013 9:53 pm at 9:53 pm #1183102
Imaofthree-you are right that there are worse tragedies in the Jewish world. But my life is a gehennom. Besides my son embarrassing us terribly on the Yom Tov by parading his ‘unorthodox’ behavior in front of our friends and neighbors, he is also doing it in front of our children, threatening to bring them all down. My husband has reached his limit with him, and the fighting/arguing between them was just too much for me this week. I feel sick from all the anger that pervades my home. And though I know other people may have things worse than me, I’m very afraid that things here could also get worse. I can’t tolerate my situation anymore, and am evaluating my options at this point…April 3, 2013 6:47 am at 6:47 am #1183103
OK, WOW, lets review your options.
You can choose to NOT worry what others think and not be embarrassed by your son.
You can choose to teach your other children that he is going through his own nisyonos and that they should daven for him because he is NOT davening for himself, and the worst thing in the world is to lose your emunah and bitachon, because when you lose that you feel like a lost soul just like their brother who has no direction, who feels like he has no place in this world, who feels unloved no matter how much we all love him. Do you know why? Because he doesn’t feel he deserves to be loved. He knows what he is doing is wrong and therefore he doesn’t feel he deserves to be loved. His neshoma is sick, and therefor we have to daven that he has a refuah sheleimah.
What are your other options? Can you stop being his mother? Can you turn your back on him? Can you slam the door in his face? No I don’t think so. But you can stop arguing with him. You can choose to let go of the rope and let him go. Sometimes when you give them the freedom they think they want, they realize they never wanted it in the first place, they just don’t want the tug of war.
So honestly who cares if he is mechalel Shabbos in front of your friends? Seriously, who cares? He is still your son no matter what? Think for a minute, if it was there son who was mechalel Shabbos in front of you, how would you feel? Would that make them less in your eyes? Or would you choose to say “B”H, at least you know where he is, and you can see with your own two eyes that he is alive and well.”
So the next time he is mechalel Shabbos in front of you and your friends why don’t you try it “B”H, at least I know where he is and I can see with my own two eyes that he is alive and well. The only other thing I can do is daven. Maybe you can daven for him too.”April 3, 2013 9:16 am at 9:16 am #1183105
My mother always says that she heard a speech about raising children by the Torah Umesorah Convention a handful of years ago that was a tremendous eye opener for her. I wish I knew the name of the speaker who said, “We don’t raise children for our own gayva. Raising children is not about what they can do for our self-image.” About myself, I remember the arguments before then when I would yell at my parents telling them that I felt that they only cared about me if I was able to show the world what good mechanchim they were, and I remember feeling the difference when I felt my parents were no longer ashamed of me but were willing to accept me even though they might have felt judged by their friends.
Although I am no longer a teenager, I was one recently enough to understand the mindset. The more you view him as a major disappointment instead of a nisayon from Hashem, the more there will be fighting and the less he will care about your cause (i.e.-playing it smart in front of the neighbors). The more you yell at him, the more he feels he has to be rebellious; it’s possible he even feels hated. If he wouldn’t feel the tension coming from his parents, he wouldn’t feel the need to fight against it.
It is a primal instinct to want to feel pride from one’s parents but all he feels is rejection. Even buying him cigarettes won’t do anything if he feels that you hate who he is as a person. He is going through way too much pain right now to care about religion, and he for sure has negative interest in having the neighbors admire his level of observance. The longer he feels like you view him as an embarrassment, the longer he will reject anything you represent. Furthermore, the more he feels like you view him as a failure and are embarrassed of him, the more he will feel that he has to do actions that justify your feelings toward him. To explain, he knows that your feelings won’t change as long as he doesn’t xyz (things that are way beyond him right now), and he knows that even if he made limited strides in that direction you would still feel embarrassed. Therefore, it would be too painful for him to do that effort (which you would view as a little and for him would be mountains) and still be rejected, so it’s much easier for him to do things that will make him deserve your feelings rather than attempt the impossible.
Btw this is a really good video if the mods will allow it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tx-XpZDdyjwApril 3, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am #1183106
aries2756-While it’s true my son continues to embarrass us in front of everyone, that’s not the reason I can’t tolerate my situation anymore. It’s the fighting between him and my husband that is the unbearable part.
And while the whole package is difficult, if it was only an issue of being mechalel Shabbos in front of friends/neighbors, I could live with it. It’s the ‘mixed mingling’ in front of his siblings where I draw the line. Any suggestions?April 3, 2013 3:13 pm at 3:13 pm #1183107
Also I hope I didn’t come across as accusatory. You sound like an amazing mom but I was trying to explain it from the standpoint of teenagers who tend to exacerbate everything to the point where they feel they are the ultimate victim.April 3, 2013 4:14 pm at 4:14 pm #1183110
in this coffee room, you won’t get censored for a lack of wisdom, but you will for a lack of civility. warning.April 3, 2013 5:21 pm at 5:21 pm #1183113
posts deleted on requestApril 3, 2013 5:32 pm at 5:32 pm #1183114
WOW, We are first human beings. What he is doing is NORMAL for a human being. What he is doing is NORMAL for his age and what he is doing is NORMAL for a kid going through his nisayon.
This is really something you need to let go of. YOU are probably making a bigger deal of this than your other children are. WE frum people separate our children from the time they are young because we don’t want them to mingle. WE don’t want them to get involved too early and let nature take its course. WE wait till they are marriageable age and then encourage them to date for the purpose of marriage. That is what WE do. But that is OUR NORMAL because we choose it to be. We choose to follow OUR rules for OUR reasons.
YOUR son is not following ANY of OUR rules. It is foolish to expect him to follow this one. It is foolish to expect that your other children will NOT find out about this or that they have NOT seen other children who are OTD, modern or secular in mixed company. They are NOT living in a bubble. The best you can do for your family and your sanity and that of your husband is to understand what your son is going through and where his path is leading him and to explain it to the rest of the family. You need to explain it in such a way that they understand the pain you are going through and that you need their help to daven for their brother. To have him in mind when they daven, say Tehillim and even make brochos. Because it is only through the tefillos of others that and even the extra mitzvos of those who love him that will bring him home.
Answer their questions and also say that you are NOT angry at him because he is still your son, but you are very, very hurt. You are very hurt because he is your son and when he is in pain you are in pain, and you are very hurt because every time he performs an aveirah it hurts you deeply as his mother. As a parent you want only the best for your children, and that is why you are mechanech them the way you are. You are teaching them that Hashem loves them. You are teaching them the love of Torah and mitzvos. You are teaching them the love of Yiddishkeit and to live a healthy life filled with joy and simcha. What he is doing is not healthy and is harmful and you are frightened for his safety and welfare. The mitzva of Kibud Av v’Em is a huge one. The fact that he has forgotten that just shows how sick his neshoma is right now.April 3, 2013 5:58 pm at 5:58 pm #1183115
Aries: I was waiting to hear your reply for this one. I have a question though, How can a mother not be angry with her son at this point? There are so many emotions involved here. Your answers are extremely bright and informative, but I just keep thinking of what this poor woman must be going through….it is very easy for us as outsiders to give advice but she is living with this 24/7. How can one be as strong as you say when it is her own?April 3, 2013 6:51 pm at 6:51 pm #1183116
Write or Wrong, I am so sorry that it is so hard for you. 🙁 Holidays are hard when you have a kid who is OTD that is making life miserable for everyone else. Hoping that once he goes back to school you will have some relief.
So what are your options? And what are your son’s plans (if he shares those with you?)
I also feel bad for your other children especially those who share a room with him. I hope things will get better very soon.
Maybe your family could go away for a shabbos and he could go to one of his friends that shabbos. It might be good for all of you!April 3, 2013 7:44 pm at 7:44 pm #1183117
A mamin, we all have to realize that a child who is OTD, especially a child that we know has been hurt and that is why he is OTD, is NOT a rebellious child. He is a child who is in pain and has a a neshoma that is ill. Just like a child that has any other illness. Would you be angry at a child that had diabetes or tourettes or any other disease or illness? How does being angry help him or you?
Will it heal him? Will it turn the situation around? Will it stop your pain or help your other children? How is being angry productive?
Obviously anger is NOT an option, so how else can you channel your emotions? Well you can definitely think about it. “My child is in pain, real pain. I might not understand his pain, and I might not understand why he is doing what he is doing, but it is coming from a place of pain and maybe even anger. Is there something I can do to change that? Is it something in MY control? Well then what IS in MY control? Can I control HIS feelings or HIS actions? NO! But I can control my own feelings and my own actions. So what are they? What are my feelings?
Am I am angry at my son or am I angry at his actions? OK, let me think about that and try to separate the two. If I am angry at my son, then I have to know why I am angry at him for being hurt and being in pain. Does he have the right to feel pain and to be hurt? Is he entitled to his feelings? Is he human? Did Hashem give him the ability to feel pain and be hurt? Is he acting within the confines of human emotion? Even though I would like to stop his pain or shield him from ever having pain is that possible? Is that in my control? NO! Could I have shielded him from the experience that happened to him, was that in my control? NO! Can I control his feelings, emotions or the reaction he is having to his experience? NO! Is it my job to control that? NO! Is he feeling emotions that Hashem has allowed him to feel? Yes. Am I greater than Hashem that I can stop him from feeling emotions that Hashem has allowed him to feel? NO! Should I be angry at him for feeling emotions that Hashem has allowed him to feel? NO! So should I be angry at my son? NO!
Am I angry at my son’s actions? Do I like what he is doing? NO! Do I approve of what he is doing? NO! Am I hurt by what he is doing? Yes! Is he doing this purposely to hurt ME? NO! Is any of this about me? NO! Am I in control of my son’s actions? NO! Am I responsible for my son’s actions? NO! Do I love him any different because of his actions? NO! Does my heart break for him? Yes! Is he still my son no matter what? Yes! Do I love him no matter what? Yes! Is there anything that I can do to stop him from going through this nisayon? NO! Is there something I can do from stopping myself from going through this nisayon? NO! Is there something I can do to help me go through this nisayon? Yes! You can do what you do when you are faced with any other nisayon, challenge or illness. You daven, you have compassion and you search for your inner strength to keep going. A mother’s tears have so much meaning and carry so much tefillah with them. A mother’s love has no boundaries and can heal unimaginable and unbearable wounds. But like with all illnesses and all wounds, healing takes time. And each illness and each nisayon has its own timeframe. Some heal faster than others and some illnesses and nisyonos has a much longer time frame.
So A Mammin, no one said it is easy, which nisayon is? But Hashem will help us through each nisayon he gives us. But we need to understand what the challenge is and we need to understand the path we each have to take in order to overcome the challenge. Those who don’t get it, will not succeed. Those who turn their backs on their children do not master the challenge. Does Hashem turn his backs on HIS children? Does he slap us around as one poster had mentioned earlier about some peoples response to the OTD issue? Or does he show us rachmonus upon rachmonus and give us chance after chance to do teshuva? Does he throw illness upon us and just let us die, or does he send us shelichim and refuos to make us well? OTD is NOT a death sentence, and nothing that a child does in the parsha is a death sentence nor is it a door closing on teshuva. There is always hope for return. However, if parents, family or friends slam doors in the process, push them further away with more criticism, more anger and more animosity do you think they will be running back to their unloving less than compassionate and critical arms?
Why do we Frum Yidden have such little faith, emunah and bitachon in our own wonderful religion that we are so sure that our children will turn their backs on us and find happiness outside of our heiligeh Yiddishkeit? Why is it that we have so little faith in our own beautiful way of life that we are so sure that if we let go even a little they will wander off so far they will not return. Why should WE be so confident that they won’t find their answers out there and that they will see the shmutz and hypocrisy that we tried to shield them from and that the only truth they will ever find is in the Torah. Where is our true emunah and bitachon? We should not be so afraid of letting go, we should be more sure of ourselves. What is out there in the goyish world that is better than the world Hashem gave us? Why are there more Baalei Teshuva today than at any other time ever? Why are those unaffiliated finding their peace and happiness back in the arms of the Torah and Yiddishkeit. What answers have they found that we are so afraid our own children will not recognize?
When our kids are little and threaten to run away from home, we are not scared because we know they won’t go past the front door. They will be too afraid as soon as they get past it. So let us find our confidence again, love our children unconditionally, and teach them that Yiddishkeit is something to be proud of, and to be joyful about. That there is nothing better out there. If they go out and look, they will be happy to come home. If they start tugging at that rope in such a situation as WOW is in, we have to learn to give them slack so they test the dirty waters out there. If we tug at the rope they only tug harder. If we slacken the rope they can wander off a bit and get scared enough to come home.April 3, 2013 7:54 pm at 7:54 pm #1183118
interjection/aries2756-I really appreciate your posts. I agree with everything interjection said, and that is the reason I don’t fight with my son. I accept who he is right now, knowing that he is hurt and going through a difficult time/transition. I buy him his jeans, his t-shirts and his cigarettes. I gave him a necklace, an earring and a bracelet. I openly walk with him in the neighborhood, and am happy to be with him. The bottom line is that, of course I love him no matter what. I am not forcing any mitzvos on him at all. My only request is that he not play his music at home out loud on Shabbos, which he’s been doing. And while I’d prefer he not hang out all night in front of our building/in our neighborhood, it would be easier to accept if he wasn’t also with girls. And I don’t think I am making a bigger deal of this than my kids. My daughters know some of these girls from school, and some of the boys were friends with my other boys. I shouldn’t worry? It’s not an issue of not ‘accepting’ my son. If I acted inappropriately or chutzpadik outside, wouldn’t my husband be appropriately embarrassed? Does my son get a complete heter on everything he does? I bombard this kid with love and affection, and go out of my way to give what I can, to take him where he wants to go. But does having parameters have to mean I don’t accept him? Nobody has a free reign to do anything they want without limit.
Yet, I hear what you are saying interjection, and I am worried about the disagreements between my son and my husband. I never yell at my son, but when my son is especially chutzpadik to my husband, then my husband may yell back in response. I am hoping, that if I can get my husband to the same level of acceptance as me, then perhaps there’s a chance that things will improve.
Aries2756, regarding what you said about my kids having seen other kids OTD in mixed crowds, I don’t think it has the same impact as them seeing their big brother doing something blatantly wrong. It challenges their mindset and makes it acceptable behavior. I don’t want them to have safek. And it’s one thing to think about about your brother hanging out with girls, and another to see it.April 3, 2013 8:16 pm at 8:16 pm #1183119
Imaofthree-it was a really difficult holiday, and now I’m worried about how I will survive the summer when he will be on vacation break. I’m kind of afraid to go away for a Shabbos, thinking that he may be tempted to bring his chevra over to our house while we’re away.
When I wrote the post about exploring my options, I was actually thinking of running away…..April 3, 2013 8:29 pm at 8:29 pm #1183120
I dont know your financial situation, but can you send him on some sort of trip for teens, they take most of the summer and they go to exciting places.
It might not be the Hashgafa you are used to, but they are religious and he will be somewhat watchedApril 3, 2013 8:43 pm at 8:43 pm #1183121
aries2756-when you said, “If we tug at the rope they only tug harder. If we slacken the rope they can wander off a bit and get scared enough to come home.”, you’re referring to specifically religious things, right? So, for example, I shouldn’t force Shabbos on him. But I should be able to expect my son to come home at night, or call if he’s going to be late, bc these are not religious issues, right?
But if I dare to enforce any of these expectations, it appears as though I don’t ‘accept’ him, and then we get the brunt of his anger since we are not allowed to ‘tell him what to do with his life’. So in the end, the suffering is magnified to issues beyond religion, and we are embarrassed not so much by his smoking on Shabbos and hippie-like appearance, but by his self centeredness, his apathy, his disrespect, as well as his apparent ‘control’ over his parents…April 3, 2013 8:47 pm at 8:47 pm #1183122
zahavasdad-he would never allow us to send him anywhere, the decision to go anywhere will be his, and unless his chevra is planning a trip, I don’t see him going anywhere.April 3, 2013 8:58 pm at 8:58 pm #1183123
Never say that..I am sure he might agree if the trip sounded intersting.
for example Ive seen these teen tours of Europe. Do you really thing he’s rather be with his chevra than visit Europe (This is jsut and example) , there are other choices alot cheaper and would probably do the trickApril 3, 2013 9:03 pm at 9:03 pm #1183124
That’s exactly like we used to feel, write or wrong. Almost like we didn’t have a home any more.
Maybe he will want to make plans for himself this summer, he is certainly not happy at home.April 3, 2013 9:04 pm at 9:04 pm #1183125
Aries: Your reply to me was totally awesome. I cried and cried because I truly feel for this mother.We all go through challenges or nisyonos as you put it, you really have the capacity to give unbelievable chizuck! May Hashem repay you …….April 4, 2013 4:17 am at 4:17 am #1183126
WOW, I believe in unconditional love. I also believe in accountability and responsibility. I don’t believe in rewarding bad behavior or supplying things to children that we don’t approve of especially if they haven’t earned the privilege.
I don’t know much about TP, Avi and I do things differently and we have had successes with our clients by following different methods. So if you are following TP and you run into a snag don’t give up and don’t dispair. Call Avi and discuss the issues you are having. You are NOT the first parents to run into these snags. He has loads of experience with all sorts of these snags and he is the one you should go to for help instead of internalizing the pain and just suffering and making yourselves miserable. Let him help you through this and learn from the experiences of his other clients. The issues that you are experiencing is very common in so many families and he has guided so many families through what you are going through. Let him help you and your family through the latest bump in the road.
I can give you chizuk and I can guide you through the methods that I know, but since you have given him these things, as you said the cigarettes, the earrings, the bracelet, etc. you are following a method I have no experience with. It is beyond my scope. In my methods he would have had to “earn” those things by showing respect, by doing chores, etc. so I am not familiar what the consequence would be for the shouting match, or if there are consequences.
As far as the other children are concerned, I have mentioned this before and I have guided clients through this before. It is important to have family meetings and talk to the siblings and let them talk to you and discuss their questions and concerns. He is their sibling and there has to be concern for him. That doesn’t mean that they have to accept what he does, absolutely not. They just have to accept him. “Dovid, I love you because you are my brother and you always will be. But I am not happy about what you are doing or the life you have chosen. It breaks my heart and I just can’t accept that. I am sorry you chose that for yourself, I really am, but it is your choice and I can’t do anything about that right now but love you and daven for you.”
You need to explain to your children that you and your husband are the role models in the family. That you work hard to be good parents, good role models and most of all good Jews. You need to explain WHY Yiddishkeit, Hashem, Torah and Mitzvos are important to YOU. YOU need to explain WHY you are raising them b’derech Hatorah. YOU need to explain to them why being a Jew is a privilege and why serving Hashem is a privilege. If they understand why it is an honor to be a Jew, and to be a Frum Jew who reveres Hashem, who enjoys doing mitzvos and serving Hashem, then you are raising children who are secure in their Yiddishkeit no matter what happens to them outside of your home. If being Jewish and serving Hashem b’Simcha is the core of your home and essence of your being, then nothing your OTD son does, and nothing that any of their friends, teachers, Rebbeim or anyone else says or does will have a negative effect on them.
If the only reason they do what they do is because you do it, or because you tell them to, then it is NOT your OTD son that will tip the scales on them, anyone can influence them for the good or the bad. So don’t worry so much about what he is doing, think about what YOU need to do because there might be another bully or hypocrite out there that will have a worse effect on one of them and hurt them or turn them around just like that one bully and that Rosh Yeshiva did to your oldest. Infuse your home with the Joy of Yiddishkeit, make simcha your goal. Doing mitzvos is a privilege. Serving Hashem is a privilege. WE are the chosen people. WE are special. WE greet others B’sever Panim Yafot. WE don’t show our tzoros on our countenance. We forgive easily, we give over our worries to Hashem.
Are you getting my message?April 4, 2013 5:48 am at 5:48 am #1183127
aries2756-expecting a child to be accountable and responsible when he’s absolutely not, may feel to the child that you don’t accept him for who he is. It is a fine line, and a very hard message to give over to someone who’s in pain and extremely sensitive. He may not be able to hear the message, “I accept you” when I am expecting certain behaviors from him (ie responsibility) that he can’t or won’t provide. And then if I were to compound the issue by making certain ‘rewards’ contingent on that behavior, he would end up never getting that reward, reinforcing his opinion that we actually hate him. I don’t think he would ‘rise up to the occasion’ and become responsible, bc it is too emotionally-laden an issue for him, especially at this weak moment of his life where he feels depressed, and is not able to tap into his own strengths to help himself.
As far as TP goes, we are actually not working with Avi bc my husband is not able to fully embrace TP hashgafa and do the things expected of him.April 4, 2013 5:53 am at 5:53 am #1183128
zahavasdad-my son doesn’t have the self confidence to do anything alone, besides the fact that he has no interests other than ‘hanging out’ with his chevra. He doesn’t even go on the tiyulim with his school.
Imaofthree-I’m guessing that he may end up working, which would be ok tooApril 4, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am #1183129
When does your son go to the army? I think it would be very good for him, to get away from this bad bunch of kids he hangs out with. And hopefully give him self esteem.
Is there any organization in Israel that helps kids who are off the derech and their siblings? In america, Project Yes used to have a mentoring program for siblings. They would go out once a week to do something fun and talk.
Aries 2756, I very much like what you have to say. Unfortunately it is probably hard for write or wrong to follow your good advice, as her son is trying very hard to make everyone miserable.April 4, 2013 2:46 pm at 2:46 pm #1183130
WOW, I don’t buy that! I am a Life Coach and that doesn’t make any sense to me. In order to build one’s self esteem and self-confidence they need to be productive and feel part of a group. The reason he is NOT feeling loved is because he is NOT a contributing member of the group. HE is NOT being productive, not expected to be and is NOT doing anything for anyone else that would make him feel good about himself. When one gives to another it makes them feel good. When one is productive it makes them feel good about themselves. Your son’s mitzva bank is empty!
When you earn something it is worth having. When it is given to you so you don’t cry, it is worthless, you can get more where that came from, you just have to cry some more. If you are NOT working with Avi and blindly following some of the TP program, you are going to find yourself lost.
If your son wants things from you that you do not approve of I would tell him “Look I know this is what you want, but it is NOT easy for me to do that for you. What are you willing to do to earn that? You are an adult, and you want to make your own choices. You are now living in the real adult world where things are NOT handed to you, on the contrary you have to work for what you want. There is a lot one can do to contribute to a family and help out in order to gain privileges that are out of the box, or there is always the option of getting a job.”
What you have created here is a situation where your son “rules” or “roars”. He wanted to make his own choices. OK. Who said that YOU have to pay for his choices?
In addition, unconditional love is just that unconditional love. “I love you no matter what. I don’t have to like you right now, or like what you are doing, after all I am also a human being with feelings and emotions, but my love for you is unwavering.”
WOW understand this. YOUR sons friends did NOT approve of his white shirt, his kippah, etc. HE changed to be just like them, act like them, and do what they were doing. They did NOT accept him for WHO HE WAS until he turned in to one of them. GET IT? WE love them period. We don’t have to accept their choices, just their right to make their choices. “No matter what choice you make, I still love you. I might not approve of your choice. I might feel your choices are inappropriate, foolish, stupid and risky at times, but that doesn’t change how I feel about you. You are in control of your choices and it is YOU not I who will have to deal with the consequences of your choices. I worry about that because I am your mother and I love you. I also understand that you have NOT reached your full level of maturity and wisdom even though you believe you are very smart and very mature. There will be a time not too long from now when you will look back at this time and you might not be so proud of the choices you are currently making. It might help if you would speak to twenty somethings who have been through what you are going through and have grown out of it. They are the only ones who can explain to you what they wish they should have or could have done differently when they were in your shoes.”
The more control he has over you the more he will be in your face to test you. He might very well be begging for boundaries. Some kids equate boundaries with “love”. “If they loved me they wouldn’t let me do this.” So you have to know your kid. “Listen, you can raise your voice and make a fuss, that is not going to get you what you claim you want. You sound like a two year old. If you want to rant and rave and have a tantrum that’s your choice. I have choices to and I choose not to listen so I am leaving this room. When you choose to act as a respectful adult, you can come and find me.” “I choose not to engage in a shouting match with you, this conversation is over. When you choose to have mutually respectful conversation come find me”.
You said in an earlier post that you were going to look into your options. So lets revisit something I had asked you before. Is there a way to move the kids around and give him the smallest room, to separate him from the other kids? Discuss this with the other kids. Even if it means putting a bunk bed in his current room and doubling up other kids. I am just saying this as a means to help the siblings out. This is something you should speak to the entire family about and see if you can all come up with a mutually agreed upon solution. This way he always has a bed to come home to, but he doesn’t have the same opportunity to bother his siblings nor control them. This is a way for you to start taking some control back of the situation. You won’t have to be afraid of his music, his magazines, etc. His room should be off-limits to the other kids, and you will know that the rest of the house is kosher by your standards. I am saying this because you have the right to run your home the way you choose to run it.April 4, 2013 2:52 pm at 2:52 pm #1183131
Sorry to butt in, with what might read as a callous comment, but I keep reading the same thing in many of your posts.
It looks like not only is your son a problem, but your husband as well. He’s constantly worries about hashkafah, but your son is doing much worse than wearing a srugie. Somebody needs to sit down and speak with him.April 4, 2013 4:10 pm at 4:10 pm #1183132
I was going to wait and see what others much smarter than me reply, but I do want to add that we have heard many times throughout this thread of the issues with the father. You must understand no two people are alike, and we may very often hear that both parents need to be on the same page. That is not always possible especially when there is difficulties at home, as with this case.A mother has a different “gefil” to her children then a father and vice versa. I am sure that WOW is doing whatever she can and more to bring her husband on the same page as her! You cant pass any judgement on him or her , they are going through enough without it……April 4, 2013 5:47 pm at 5:47 pm #1183133
That would be great if write or wrong’s son could have his own room. I agree with you Aries.
Sometimes I think that these OTD kids just need to mature and grow up a little! Doesn’t matter what you do, or who gives you advice, nothing helps, except time.April 4, 2013 7:02 pm at 7:02 pm #1183134
Io3, I agree it is also a good idea to get into the habit of not feeling forced into agreeing to anything but getting into the habit of saying “I will give that some thought and get back to you” because sometimes when feeling pressured we can agree to things that we would not ordinarily agree to but then feel that if we negate we cause more harm than good. So by not saying yes or no, but actually saying you will think about it and then get back to them about it and not just forgetting about it, you actually maintain control over the situation. You also get the time and space to choose your battles wisely and not just because you are giving in to pressure and shouting.
So if you are pressured for something that you don’t want to do, and you have the time to think about it, you might come back with “I gave it some thought and I don’t feel comfortable just getting that for you because you know how I feel about that, but I don’t have a problem respecting you enough to allow you to earn the privilege to get that for yourself, so what do you think you could do to earn that?”
In that way you are showing him that you respect him enough to allow him to make his own choice, and that you feel he is responsible enough to earn a privilege. But that since you love HIM and not his choices, you will allow him to earn that privilege for himself. So if he can earn that privilege, it definitely shows love and acceptance of HIM, without negating his right to make choices for himself even if you don’t approve of them. It also will build his self-esteem and confidence because it allows him to be productive.April 4, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm #1183135
aries2756-I don’t agree with you that the reason he is not feeling loved is bc he is ‘not a contributing member of the group’. ‘Not being productive’ may exacerbate the problem, but I don’t believe it is the cause. My son was damaged emotionally, to the extent that he cannot pick himself up. He doesn’t ‘give’ anything to anyone right now, and if that’s what has to happen for him to develop self esteem, then we’re in trouble. He has to heal his inner pain, and needs to re-connect with his inner strengths in order to see that he has the tools to help himself. Then he has the opportunity to become part of a group, and to give to others. The things you mentioned seem to be for a healthier person, someone who is in a slump, and needs a push. My son is not making good choices right now, bc he is doing it from a place of pain. Once the pain is healed, he would be in a much better position to rise up to the occasion, and do the things you mentioned.
truthsharer-my husband is not worrying about hashkafa. The philosophy behind TP requires certain behaviors from us that my husband found too difficult to do. In theory, however, my husband did agree with Avi’s perspective.
Imaofthree-we are looking into the idea of giving him his own room. And I agree with you, that I think time is an essential healer.April 4, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm #1183136
aries2756-I did, however, really like your point about stressing to my other kids the zechus in being Jewish etc, and how that’s the real factor that will strengthen them to resist the negative influences out there. Maybe I do need to ‘upgrade’ the simcha in my home these days…April 5, 2013 5:02 am at 5:02 am #1183137
Dear wow, I find you to be truly amazing!You are doing an exceptional job under the circumstances, having to deal with all that is going on around you.I just want to reiterate you and your family are constantly on my mind and in my tefilos!May the Rebonei Shel Olam grant you and your family, inner peace to be able to see the light at the end of this long tunnel!April 5, 2013 6:16 am at 6:16 am #1183138
WOW, I get that he was damaged by the bullies and the Rosh Yeshiva who did nothing about it. I got that and I understand his pain. But you can’t keep saying your son can’t pick himself up. He has picked himself up and done things he would never have dreamed he could possibly do, however they are NOT beneficial to him nor are they wise choices, but he has picked himself up and done them. He has picked himself up and stood up to you and his father. He has gone against everyone who loves him and believes in him because he chooses to do so.
Yes out of pain but it is still a choice whether he wants to blame everyone, ALL frum Jews and all the beliefs and the Torah that tie us together or whether he wishes to believe that each one is a human being making his own choices between good and bad, and that each one of us has bechira and has the ability to make mistakes, and sometimes the mistakes we make effect others big time. He also has the ability to take some responsibility on himself because YOU did provide him with the option to back him up and switch schools but he chose against that. So who is he really angry at himself or everyone else?
Is he doing all this to punish himself for NOT standing up for himself, not with the bullies and NOT with the Rosh Yeshiva and NOT allowing you to help him by taking you up on your offer to go to another school. Is all this a sense of masochism where he is gaining some kind of sick pleasure from torturing himself? Why am I saying these things? Because you are too close to the situation to take an objective look at it. You are the mother, no matter what is said or brought to your attention, your first instinct is to protect your son and make excuses for him.
When you say “He doesn’t ‘give’ anything to anyone right now, and if that’s what has to happen for him to develop self esteem, then we’re in trouble” then you really need to recognize that you are truly in trouble because YES that is what he really needs to develop self-esteem. Beating himself up as he is doing and looking for steps to enter further into this dark journey is not going to get him the self-esteem or self-confidence he needs. Those are not the building blocks he needs to find success and worthiness. He will only keep finding failure and worthlessness.
How do you expect him to heal his inner pain and find his inner strengths if no one believes he has any? How do you expect him to heal if no one is guiding him to the right healing methods? Believe it or not he IS in a slump and he does need a push. There are people even kids who are much worse off than he is. There are kids not much older than he who has limbs blown off by Arab terrorists. Maybe you should get him to go visit some of those people who have more to cry about than he does. Or kids who were molested by their own family members, or kids who were beaten or starved by the ones who should have cared about them the most?
Yes he his hurting and yes he is scarred but he still can be a productive member of society and he still has a lot to give others less fortunate than he is, and he still can do things that others can’t. And that doesn’t take away from the pain he carries or the right he has to feel that pain. He was wounded and Hashem will make those that hurt him answer for their sins. But every single day that he relives that pain by causing himself more pain and more depression, he is allowing them to beat him again, and again, and again. Every day that he breaks free of their painful control over his thoughts and feelings, is a day that he succeeds against their evil and cruelty. But every day that he suffers and goes off further and further into the darkness of this journey he proves them right about him. If they would see him today they would point their fingers at him and laugh. They would say “you see, we were right, you are a nobody”. On the other hand, as he proves them wrong, and takes control of his life in a good productive manner, he can look down upon them and say “you are like ants beneath my feet because you tried to prevent me from meeting my own potential, but you did NOT succeed. I succeeded in life “despite” your attempts to cut me down!”
Everyone who walks through the life of a child has an achrius to him. They can either make him or break him. They can either build him up or cut him off by the knees. That is our bechira, that is our choice. What choice does the child have? Well as a young child the only choice they have is to come to their parents. As they get older, the choice they have is whether to allow what happened to them defeat them or strengthen them. As parents and others who care about our children, it is our job to help strengthen them and show them that by making the appropriate choices they will defeat those who tried to cut them down. Success is the best revenge.
I don’t say this to you c”v to be harsh to you. I say this to you because I feel your pain deeply, internally, and I wish I could take it away, or at least help you. But if you don’t stay strong for your son and not allow him to suck you into his control and his pity, you will NOT be able to help him at all. You have to remain more clear and more level headed. You can’t be pulled into this stinking thinking or sinking thinking because it won’t help him. You are giving up on him to easily and you are giving him an out too easily. Expect a little more of him and maybe he will meet the challenge. But don’t expect too much too soon. Ease into it with baby steps. If he is 16, expect of him what a 16 year old is capable of. Don’t make a woos or a sissy out of him. If someone has a cut don’t treat him like he has a broken leg.
You have to remove religion from the picture, we all recognize that. But who said you have to remove mentchlichkeit or respect from the picture? Which post did I miss that you abdicated your thrown to your son? And as I said before, if you are going to follow TP, then work it as it is supposed to be done. Speak to Avi’ and follow the guidelines. But don’t just let the chips fall where they may because you might just be mixing parts from different puzzles, confusing yourselves and your son and not get the results you are looking for.April 5, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm #1183139
aries2756-I can’t respond right now to everything in your post bc Shabbos is coming. But I do want to say one thing. You said,
“He has picked himself up and done things he would never have dreamed he could possibly do, however they are NOT beneficial to him nor are they wise choices, but he has picked himself up and done them. He has picked himself up and stood up to you and his father. He has gone against everyone who loves him and believes in him because he chooses to do so.”
It’s funny, we are both looking at the same thing and seeing it completely differently. I don’t interpret my son’s collapse as picking himself up. I see it as him breaking emotionally and falling apart, losing himself, becoming lost and confused. In a sense, he became “sick”, manifesting many symptoms of some underlying problem that we didn’t know was brewing. When a child becomes sick chas v’Shalom, is that seen as a rebellion against the parents? I don’t see it as an informed choice at all. He is weak and insecure, and perhaps by not feeling able to make good choices, that in itself is a kind of choice. However, not the kind you are talking about.
Will write more after Shabbos
Wishing everyone a Good Shabbos….April 5, 2013 3:54 pm at 3:54 pm #1183140
WOW, again I am not saying any of this to sound harsh. Your son has a neshama that is very ill. It keeps him from doing anything good and healthy according to the Torah. Other things are Normal for kids in his age group, not all kids, but many kids. Had he been in a secular school he would still be doing many of the things he is doing, but still be in school. Of course if he had been bullied in school, he might have dropped out as well. But the fact that there is a religious aspect to it makes it all the more painful and hurtful.
You are NOT seeing what I am seeing. He is NOT rebelling against his parents because his neshoma is ill. He is rebelling against his parents because he is angry and he refuses to discuss with you what exactly he is angry about! Is he angry that you gave him a choice about switching schools? Does he blame you that you did NOT make the choice for him? Does he blame you for putting him in that Religious school to begin with? Is he angry at you for something unreasonable that his new friends planted in his head because they wish to put a wedge between you and him?
Where is all this anger coming from? Is he angry at you because his friends are angry at their parents? Is that the trend he needs to follow in order to be in their group? Maybe some of those kids have a very good reason to be angry at their parents. Maybe they are the ones that caused their pain. What does that have to do with you and your relationship with your son? Do you fall into that category by default? YOU DON’T KNOW and he won’t tell you, why is that? Is there a real reason for him to be angry at you or is it part of the code of the cult? Did he take on this persona because that is the way to be accepted by his friends? Little girls ALL love Hello Kitty and American Girl dolls even if they don’t because EVERYONE just loves them, don’t they? They would never be accepted if they didn’t.
I don’t know your son, you do. But how well do you know him right now? You only know your son’s history. You only know what went on in the past between the two of you. Is there any reason for him to be angry at you? Is there any reason for him to even perceive a basis to be angry at you? If not, then you have to look at another theory. By being angry and agressive at you he gets everything he wants. His friends have taught him very well.
There is a huge difference between Pity and Compassion. Pity is a useless emotion, it is a non motivating emotion. Climbing on the Pity Pot with your son will get you and him absolutely no where quickly. Compassion on the other hand is a productive emotion. It encourages and motivates one to do something productive because it allows one to feel another’s pain and sadness. It puts one in a mode of “what can I do to help?”. Being a compassionate parent one can recognize a child’s pain and validate it. One can offer support and compassion and guide a child through their journey. One can respect their right to make choices while not approving of those choices. One can appreciate one’s child while not appreciating their choices. The child is a human being who is a part of us their parent and who deserves unconditional love. Their actions and choices do not have to be loved and admired unless they are worthy of love and admiration.
In coaching we use the terms appreciate, admire and respect. “I respect you for making that choice”, “I appreciate your help”, “I admire your confidence or your determination.” Those type of comments promote self-esteem and self-confidence. WE bury the term “proud”. We never use the term “I am proud of you” because that is a fulfillment of our own need and not a reflection of our child’s need to be admired, respected and appreciated.
So if your son decided to only join you for the dinner part of your sedorim I would say “Dovid, I really appreciate that you came for dinner, Yom Tov is just not the same if you are not a part of it in some way”. That makes him feel appreciated. Always look at the positive and not the negative. There are many people in this parsha that stare at an empty seat all of Yom Tov year after year.
There are many ways to make our children feel loved, respected, appreciated and admired without having them blackmail us into giving them things they think they need or want. Some only for the high of seeing how much they can get from their parents. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one of his chevra dared him to do it. “Hey Dave, why don’t you get your parents to buy you that bracelet. Even if you don’t want it. I dare you to make them get it for you.” Yeah WOW, that happens too.
Do you think it was easy for him to shed his kipah and tzisis? Or to be mechalel Shabbos, he friends pushed him into it. HE didn’t do that out of pain, he did that to conform to the group. That is something you need to realize and maybe the fact that he is broken is because he chooses to stay with a group that doesn’t make him feel good about himself. Maybe he feels guilty for giving up the things that he really didn’t want to give up in the first place. And maybe he is angry about that too, but doesn’t realize it and doesn’t know or understand in his immature mind WHO to blame for that.April 7, 2013 8:12 am at 8:12 am #1183141
aries2756-I don’t agree with everything you wrote. First of all, I don’t ‘pity’ my son like you said, I do have compassion for his struggle and his pain. He is not controling me like you think. I’ve tried all the normal routes of giving him the message that I value him, appreciate him and respect him. He is not hearing those messages! If all the normal, typical ways don’t work, then I have to try something else. This is one of the reasons I contacted Avi. I agree completely with the way Avi sees these kids. Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t agree with the way Avi thinks we should deal with my son. And Avi’s approach is a bit extreme (or ‘twisted’, as he calls it), even if you do agree with his hashgafa.
I do know why my son is angry. He is angry at all the people who mistreated him…some more severely than others. And it just so happens, that they are all Haredim. So now, he made the incorrect conclusion that if ‘the sun gives me a burn, and the sun is yellow, then anything yellow gives me a burn’. My son now hates the Haredim and wants to be secular. As bad as I feel about his chevra pulling him in, he could only end up there if he wanted to be there. They didn’t force him to grow his hair long and break Shabbos. Some of them are shomer Shabbos, and most have short hair. Some even wear a kipa. Maybe in the very beginning, they did influence him to change his clothes, bc the ‘black and white’ was probably making them feel uncomfortable. But that was his window of opportunity to leave the Haredi world entirely.
I see him as very fragile right now. He doesn’t know where he belongs, and he’s trying on different ‘hats’, looking to see which one fits, which one feels good. He doesn’t spend enough time at home for me to help build his self esteem. There are no long conversations like in the past. Now the conversations consist of me asking some questions, with him barely answering any of them. He doesn’t initiate conversation, and lives inside his music. I have to create opportunities to ‘give’ to him, and some of them he rejects. I hate buying him cigarettes! But I don’t see him all week long, then he comes home and doesn’t come to the Shabbos table, doesn’t eat what I cook, and goes back to school. Where’s our connection? If I talk too much, he tunes me out. So I buy him cigarettes once in a while to show him that even though I don’t think it’s good for him, I care about what he thinks he needs. The bottom line is that he really needs an outside person to help him organize his thoughts and vent his pain, in order to let go of the hurt and make rational, healthy decisions for himself…
a mamin-forgot to thank you for your nice words and your blessings!April 7, 2013 2:07 pm at 2:07 pm #1183144
WOW, you are absolutely right on all counts. Everything you said is absolutely true and is the root of the problem. But you see it as a problem and he doesn’t. You are hurting over something that HE is not hurting over. The saying goes “time heals all wounds”. This is not the type of wound that heals in a year or two especially because it didn’t happen over that type of time frame. It was an accumulative pain in progress, it is an accumulative yeridah, and it will be a work in progress for an Aliyah. Most especially because he does not have the maturity and mental ability to understand what he needs to understand at his age. And these kids never accept help from their own parents to return, only their love whether they show it or not.
You are in pain and very frustrated because your hands are tied and there is not much you can do. Well that is part of the parsha. You and every other mother in it. The only thing you can do is love him unconditionally and teach yourself this is NOT about you. It isn’t personal and keep the rest of your life and family on an even keel. Make your home a happy one. Make it a place that is full of simcha and a pleasant place to visit. Maybe if there was less tension when he walks in he might give the family a little more time. Obviously he is not starving. Stop looking at what he is not eating don’t let it bother you. And if you do give him his own room don’t be afraid to set some rules.
“Dovid, we realize that you and your brother are not on the same page, and things can get irritating and frustrating between you. Therefore out of respect to BOTH of you we rearranged everyone and are giving you your own room. With that privilege comes a few responsibilities. Mainly keeping it clean and sanitized. I am choosing here to respect your privacy and allowing you to step up to the plate and care for your room alone so I don’t have to come in. If you take any food or drinks in, it is your responsibility to take the dishes, crumbs and garbage out. You can choose to do your own laundry or bring it to the laundry room where I will do it for you, and that includes the linen. The music has to be confined to the four walls of the room and cannot spill out to the rest of the house. And of course you can’t smoke in your room or anywhere else in the house or bring anything else into your room or house that is dangerous.”April 7, 2013 7:18 pm at 7:18 pm #1183145
I havent followed the whole thread but I did want to mention that my mother just told me about the R’ Arush books (Garden of Gratitude and one on Chinuch that she is reading) and they really help change perspective and acceptance of heart breaking life situations as well as possibly helping change the situation.
My parents have dealt with multiple issues from Yiddeshkeit tzaros to behavioral problems and offensive attitudes and my mother found R’ Arush to be comforting and life altering. Some people may find it simple (she likes the hebrew versions better) but at the end of the day if you internalize what it says you can actually realize why these things happen to us and how to deal with them and be content and give love that will be accepted back to your kids.
Its not magic but what used to be a strained relationship with a few of the kids in the family is now a close tight loving and accepting one from all of them on dif levels. And each one is growing in their own way at their own pace.
Hatzlacha!April 7, 2013 9:20 pm at 9:20 pm #1183146
aries2756- I agree with this:
“The only thing you can do is love him unconditionally and teach yourself this is NOT about you. It isn’t personal and keep the rest of your life and family on an even keel. Make your home a happy one. Make it a place that is full of simcha and a pleasant place to visit. Maybe if there was less tension when he walks in he might give the family a little more time.”
As far as his room goes, we are trying to work out a solution. But I think we’d have to start with a few less rules, and work our way up.
Shkoyach-Thank for the suggestion. I did read Garden of Emunah and found it to be quite helpful. I’m sure the other books are good too.April 7, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm #1183147
WOW, one thing you should realize is that you can’t add rules you can only renegotiate to ease up on them. Once a child especially a teenager accepts a situation as it is, they will NEVER accept authority over it or a consequence over it if it was NOT laid out to begin with. It is much easier to set up the guide lines to begin with at try as best to stick to it and follow through with it and ease up on it if it is not working out for you, or even ease up on it if it is because you can always renegotiate and say “I admire you persistence at following the rules respectfully, is there anything you wish to renegotiate or anything that you would like to discuss?”April 8, 2013 5:10 am at 5:10 am #1183148
aries2756-I can see your point. Taken.April 8, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am #1183149
I heard a story of someone who from the age of 5 wanted to be a violin player. They spent all their free time practicing the violin. Everyone who knew this person said they were the best violin player they heard. At 16 this teen auditioned for the Juliard School. They did not make it and they were devestated and fell into the wrong crowd. Her mother found her and told her, Yes it was hard for her not to realize her dreams, but her mother told her there were lots of other things she could become.
He mother convinced her to go to college and become a accountant and she became a decent accountant, Ok she did not become a classical violinst but her mother realized she could become something else.
In the Charedi world its has become all about torah study. Unfortunatly not everyone has the intellect or the Stamina to learn 14-16 hours a day and of course not everyone can become the Gadol Hador. Classic Chassidism realized this and said you dont have to be a Talmid Chacham to be closer to Hashem.
Unfortunatly Today there is no “acceptable” alternate to torah study. Teens spend their time figuring out what they want to do with their lifes and figuring out things. Its part of growing up.
Wow you are doing the right things by sticking to your son. I know many in the Charedi world would throw him out.
I am against the ciggarettes, but it is keeping the lines of communication open. Hopefully you can explore things for him to do that are good. There is nothing wrong with being an accountant or being a brown noser in an office (like most people are)April 9, 2013 5:23 am at 5:23 am #1183150
zahavasdad-you are right, and unfortunately there are many kids who don’t fit the mold for full time Torah study as a career. What happens to them when they finish school? The pressure on teens today must be enormous. I am hoping that my son will find his way, and I will be right there, ready to help him if and when he needs it…
Thanks for postingApril 9, 2013 3:50 pm at 3:50 pm #1183151
“I know many in the Charedi world would throw him out.”
Do you really?
First of all – until a person is R”L in such a situation they have no idea how they themselves would react so I doubt that anyone could know how somebody else would react.
Secondly – I know an awful lot of Chareidim and if I had to bet, the vast vast majority would “stick by their child” and not “throw him out”.
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