Forum Replies Created
a mamin- Thanks! Chag Sameach to you too!
There’s no way to know if they’ll come back easier if they left the derech when they were younger vs older. There are success stories for any age. But if you don’t know why they left, then you don’t know what will bring them back. I think that’s the main indicator…
a mamin and mom12- can’t believe you’re still ‘with’ me, after all this time..! How is your son doing mom12?
Thanks for your tefillah and thinking of me….
May we all see only nachas from our children…
Golfer, chanasara, smc- thank-you for your blessings and kind words…
I was about to say that it’s quite unfortunate that this thread was being used for something that has nothing to do with the original topic.
For anyone who’s been following my saga, I will give a short update.
My son is now 20, and is in the army. He is still OTD. I have learned many things the past few years, and was given lots of advice from lots of people. Often, conflicting advice. It’s an extremely painful and difficult test when a child goes off the derech. It challenges our faith, our marriage and our identity. I don’t think there is a theory or therapy that will work in all situations, given that there are usually many variables. But I do think that certain attitudes must be included, even though they may contradict, and it is up to each parent to find that balance that works for both them and their child. There’s no guarantee! But most critical is to make sure your child knows you love them. It sounds so simple, but this itself is a huge challenge bc you are not happy with anything they are doing…and they know it. If you can convey this love, then I also believe you must set limits. But it has to be done with love, not with the need to take control and exert authority. Our husbands have to be very careful that they don’t get into power struggles with the OTD child. They will not win! And I believe it will be an obstacle for the child to come back. We learn how to respect and love Hashem based on the relationship we have with our parents. If we keep this in mind at all times, then I think it will help us in our interactions with our OTD child and all our children.
Perhaps the most important thing is Tefillah and keeping our emunah strong. It is a test for our child as much as it is for ourselves. We don’t see the bigger picture, but Hashem is directing everything for the ultimate good. My role is to be a loving mother, available and dedicated, praying that my son overcome his challenges and return to the family that awaits him…..and Hashem. Hatzlacha to all…
MsPrincess- my son is still OTD, unfortunately. Thanks for asking.
Usually if someone is OTD, there are deep issues that caused him to leave his family and the familiar upbringing in which he was raised. It is no simple matter! Your concern is honorable, but you can’t expect to bring him back to his religion by doing something you’re not allowed to do, even if in your circles you are ‘allowed’ to talk to boys.
When you say you don’t think he would try to convince you to go OTD, I’m sorry, but you sound young and naive. Of course he won’t try to convince you with words, but what if he ‘starts’ with you? You’re not only not allowed to give yourself this test, but you’re not allowed to put a stumbling block before the blind. And I’m not quite sure who the blind one would be, him or you…
If your intentions are pure and you really want to help him, find a Rav or Kiruv Organization that can pick up where you’ve left off…
MsPrincess- Although you may have noble reasons for wanting to talk to this boy, you should not be connecting to any boy for any reason! If you want to help him, contact kiruv organizations and give the information to his sisters. Hatzlacha!
Imma613-sorry I didn’t see your post until now! Thanks for your well wishes and may you and your family have a very happy and healthy New Year with much Yiddishe nachas!
Speaker-my husband has too many friends advising him differently. And even though TP has shown amazing results, it goes against every fiber of my husband’s being to support my son’s ‘ways’. Anyway, I think at this point, my son might be a bit too old for TP to be effective. I do wish we had been able to fully embrace TP when this all got started.
Speaker-I will try to discuss this again with my husband and see if he’s receptive. How much time do you think we’d need to be with Avi?
Speaker-thanks for your offer. My husband can’t embrace Avi’s approach. He can periodically, but when my son “tests” us, he gives in to his gut reaction. But if things change, I will let you know.
I hope you are right. So much time has passed already, but we are still praying and hoping…
a mamin- Ani lo maamina that you still think of me!! Truly, we are Am echad!
adams-thanks for your post. I really do hope that my story will end up happy like yours did. I’m not sure my son has a love of Hashem, which was probably key in bringing you back. Your mother sounds very special, as it is very difficult to be tested like this. My son is mechalel Shabbos without any regard to our feelings, and would never apologize for it. We are still ambivalent as to how to deal with it. If it was a one time thing, we might be able to look away. But it isn’t.
smc-We had a nice Pesach, but unfortunately my son didn’t spend it with us. We hardly saw him. Still hoping and praying for nissim and niflaot! Thanks for asking.
owl-I’m not sure I agree with you. There are many wonderful frum therapists out there. Anyway, my son would never go to a frum therapist.
SaysMe-Sparks are good! Never give up hoping and praying. Pesach is a special time, who knows what can happen? I hope that things work out for you and your family!
stam a deya-thanks for sharing your story and the happy ending, of course! It makes sense that when someone is far from the pressure, they can think more clearly and make a more honest decision. I am hoping that my son will be able to do this as well.
deepblue-I agree with you.
smc-what dedication! I know I haven’t posted in a while, maybe bc I am hoping for a good ending….a grand finale!
Some things have improved, my son is making a concerted effort to make a change for the better. Unfortunately, he is still so wounded emotionally and won’t seek out any emotional help. Our relationship is better, but he won’t take my advice on getting help. I think that if it doesn’t come through some “round about way”, then he wouldn’t accept it anyway. Hashem is going to have to send him some shaliach who he can connect with and will be receptive to listening to on his own inititative. He is very resistant to the idea of “prearranged” or organized counseling. I somehow wish he could just bump into Rav Shimon Russell in the street, and voila! He still struggles and has deep pain, even as he is mechalel Shabbos….bc he believes he is doing something wrong! Believe me, I just don’t know how to help him. I can only love him and pray and beg the Borei Olam to save him..
MDG-Maybe you missed some of the details in this thread, or maybe I didn’t reveal everything. Unfortunately my son didn’t tell us about the bullying in the beginning. But as soon as we found out, we went to the school where they were very supportive. And they followed through on their threat to expel any kid who continued. But this was only temporary, bc over the years, it still continued in a more modified way. My son could have gone to a different school, and we tried to put him somewhere else, but he wouldn’t go.
As far as what the neighbors say, that was never my priority and it still isn’t. It’s true that we suffered alienation to a certain degree bc of his deviation from black and white, but knowing there was an underlying reason to this change concerned me more.
What’s there to do? Of course we have apologized dozens of times for all of our imperfections. If we had known he would suffer in this school, of course we never would have put him there. We have backed down 100%! We bought him his jeans, his t-shirts and his jewelry. We drive him and his friends places, and my husband often speaks to them when he sees them in the neighborhood.
But if you ask him the reason he rebelled, he would tell you it has nothing to do with us nor the school….it’s just the way he wants to be.
Observer 36- Since my son went OTD, I was sure something traumatic must have happened to him. And sometimes I still think so, however he won’t go for counseling more than a couple of times, so how will we ever know? He is connected to various organizations for high risk teens and goes to some of the groups, where the other kids tend to behave similarly to him. My son admits being angry with us, but blames it on us having moved to Israel when he was young. I know he was bullied in school here many years ago, which must have been a trauma for him. (Have often wondered if this was the trauma?) He still hates this boy who teased him, and will probably never forgive him. But I don’t think he forgives us either, since we put him in the school where this occurred. I think in his mind, he feels betrayed by everyone, his school, his friends and his parents. And since we are all religious, he has concluded unfortunately that religion itself has betrayed him.
OURTorah-I really appreciated your post, interesting to see the dynamic between parents and teens from a different perspective. It took a lot of courage from you I’m sure. And I’m not offended in the least. I actually think that there is a similarity between you and my son in that you both felt you needed to go your own way, which was different from the parent. I do respect that my son wants to find his own path, but the parent in me is afraid that he will get lost and might not find his way back, chas v’Shalom. The challenge is compounded by the fact that my son does things that are so incompatible with our lifestyle…in our home! Maybe I’m wrong, but I think if the child becomes stronger than the parent, it doesn’t impact as much on the parents’ life per se. But when the child is smoking on Shabbos and listening to music, it takes away the Shabbos for the rest of the family.
I liked the response you got from your Rav. If my emunah is as strong as it should be, then I should believe that it holds true for all children, that Hashem gave each child the Chochma to find their derech, to find emet and not just to inherit it from their parents, whatever their level is. It’s just very painful watching the detour, and not knowing if the child will come out unscathed. Or if he will come out at all…
smc- You might be right that things will improve after he works through this depression, but I’m not sure something traumatic always has to precipitate going OTD. It could be a combination of the strictness of the yeshiva system, a few insensitive Rebbes (an oxymoron, right?) and the child’s sensitivity or personality. We unfortunately keep them in that system bc we may not know that our child is suffering. Also, we can’t leave out the hand of Hashem. I have seen my son make some significant moves to improve his life, putting in tremendous effort…and then getting knocked down by things beyond our control. It has become more clear to me that Hashem has hand picked these scenarios in order to guide my son through a journey meant specifically for him. Although they are disappointing and painful, I believe that after all my tefilla, (and even without it) hakol l’tova. B’ezrat Hashem, we hope to see better days….and nachas.
oyyoyyoy, hindy caplan,chanasara-amen, may Hashem answer all our tefilos and bring yeshuos to all of klal Yisrael.
Thank-you all for your concern and advice regarding my son. Hard to believe that people are still following this painful saga of my life after all this time. What can I say? I am still hopeful that there will be a happy ending to this story. Yes, I heard of Rabbi Fishoff. He was recommended to me by one of the posters and we did speak a number of times. My husband and I were divided on how to deal with my son, so it didn’t work out for us. For Twisted Parenting to work, both parents have to be on board.
At this point, as much as I am hoping my son will be religious one day, the goal for us has changed. We want to see him healthy and successful in his life. Some things have improved, and some things have stayed the same. Overcoming the initial shock of all this was the most difficult. Now we have come to accept certain things and have adapted accordingly. We have ‘good’ days and ‘bad’ days which are mostly determined by his mood. He has still refused help, although he has accepted sporadic intervention.
Believe it or not, it’s still unclear to me as to why all this happened. Your points Observer 36 are pretty perceptive. You are right about certain things being unacceptable in the yeshivish world, and perhaps that is why my son won’t forgive anyone…including his parents for putting him there. Being that he is legally an adult, he needs to choose his direction in life. This is still pretty difficult for him, although he has made some great strides lately. We are cautiously optimistic.
Keep davening for him. Hashem can do anything.
a mamin- What dedication! Thanks for thinking of me.
My son’s levush does not resemble anything religious and he would never go near a yeshiva of any kind at this point. He is still very ‘anti’. Not that he doesn’t maamin! He says he does, but he goes by his own interpretation of the Torah and anything organized or preachy just turns him off.
MyTurnAtBat-thanks for all the great advice. We are definitely not the same parents we were 2 years ago when this whole thing got started, and we definitely have different expectations at this point. B’ezrat Hashem, we are still hoping and praying that we’ll merit a yeshua.
sm29-you are right!
Satmer101-So glad to hear your story had a happy ending! I see that in addition to all your hishtadlus, you had a lot of Siyata D’shmaya. I will keep your suggestions in mind, and B’Ezrat Hashem, I pray we too will see a yeshua.
Satmer101-thanks so much for your inspiring story! You are a role model in chinuch. Can I ask you what age he was when he went OTD? And did you ever find the ‘reason(s)’ he went OTD? What would you say was the most important ingredient that prompted his return (ie was it something that you did, or something else?) And once he got the car, what do you think helped him to continue to improve? May you continue to reap only nachas! Thank-you for sharing.
MyTurnAtBat-I try not to bring up the subject bc I don’t want to take a chance at unleashing his defenses, since even without me voicing my opinion, he knows what it is. But I think he believes in G-d and that the Torah is emet! Not sure what he wants to do with his life.
The Goq-No matter what, he’ll always be my son, and I’ll always love him.
a mamin- I think all of Israel is affected at this point. The sirens have gone off in my neighborhood and in most of the neighborhoods I know. Keep davening!
Nothing new on my son, pretty much status quo, although I do seem to see some tiny sparks of maturity beginning to shine…
crgo-Thanks for your thoughts. It’s still a struggle, I have more boys that need to be placed in yeshiva and it’s a constant battle. Mashiach hasn’t come yet, so people are oftentimes very judgemental. The only thing I can say is I’m not shocked anymore, but it does still hurt. The only way to live with it is to know that everything is from Hashem, the seemingly bad and the good. I just pray that I will one day see that it was all l’tova…
mom12-Oy the pain! I can relate. We never know when all that tefillah will just kick in. We pray that it will be soon, but we don’t know Hashem’s timetable. We also don’t know the tikkun of our children. We just have to do our part and daven for them, the rest is out of our hands…
May you see reward for your tears!
dial427436-thanks for your well wishes
dial427436-how long is a long time??
MachaaMaker-You’re right, but it’s a vicious circle. We try to get him small jobs and focus a lot on his talents, which are many! Maybe as he sees his friends ‘move on’ with their life, he will be motivated as well. Today’s the day to daven for it……
Yeshivahack-he has some interests, but he doesn’t have the confidence to pursue them.
dial427436- he would only go if his friends went with him, and that’s highly unlikely. He is connected with an organization that offers some activities periodically
Zahavasdad-it’s not like he didn’t try to get a job…and it’s a bit more extreme than just jeans and t-shirt with long hair, but I get your point. The bottom line is, I don’t think he is capable right now of doing anything responsible, like getting up on time or to be at a job on time until he gets counseling.
Yeshiahack- I did that a long time ago (uncontrollably) and it did not have the desired effect. He will just disconnect. We do get him small jobs periodically with some of my husband’s friends, but it doesn’t heal him. If he had something steady that he enjoys and wants, then maybe he’d be more motivated to stick with it, and go to counseling to work out any issues that are blocking him from continuing.
MachaaMaker-you are right, but he is not interested in doing anything like learning a trade. He might consider working if someone would hire him , but it’s kind of unlikely given the way he looks.
SaysMe-Hope you are right.
smc-I don’t really have anything new to say. My son seems to be lingering in his situation without making any healthy changes. I believe he really isn’t capable of making any changes on his own and needs someone to help him. He’s still so involved with his friends. We make suggestions and have offered tons of help, but he rejects everything. I know that the yeshua is not going to come from me and my husband. I just pray that Hashem will send the right shaliach, and am wondering…what is taking the shaliach so long to arrive?????
Thanks for asking…
Speaker- Mazel Tov, I’m so happy for you!! May you reap much nachas!!
Hudi, smc, shirafirst, Syag Lchochma, SaysMe: Thanks to all of you who are still thinking of me and my son. Every time I come to the coffee room and see that it says I started this post a year ago, I know that in about a month, it will suddenly say ‘2 years ago’. It was 2 years ago around Pesach time that this painful saga began. I actually can’t believe that I am still in this parasha, and was certain that things were going to resolve itself a few months after it all began. Boy was I wrong!
My son is now 18, and still very much OTD. He is connected with various agencies, although he is not committed to counseling in any serious sort of way. He is trying to finish school, although he is inconsistent in his efforts, and continues to hang out with an undesirable crowd. As for me and my husband, the only progress I think we’ve made, is that we are past the shock of all this, although we have been tested many times over with various new things my son does. My husband and I are in counseling, but I can’t say that my husband and I are in perfect agreement in how to deal with this situation. This is still a struggle for us. We continue to suffer ostracism from various people in our community, not to mention the terrible time we’ve had trying to get our other boys into yeshiva. I am almost reluctant to say this, since it is not a compliment to our Torah community that we judge a boy’s potential by his OTD brother. To refuse to interview a boy bc his brother is OTD is unforgiveable! But I mention this in the hope that, if there are any RY’s reading this post, they should make sure they are not guilty of this shameful crime.
I thank all of you in the coffee room who gave me your time and sage advice, and helped me to survive the most painful period of my life. May we never know of any more pain, and may we all merit to receive our yeshua and be blessed with good health and nachas from all of our children…
Miri Topez/a mamin:
Thanks for thinking of me and for your prayers. We still need them! I really wish I could have said that things are better. And I never could have imagined when I started this, that we would still be in this parsha, all this time. But unfortunately, things have not turned around.
Keep davening, not just for me, but for all the many, many families who are going through this terrible nisayon.
smc- maybe you’re right in a way, but he’s so closed. And even though he’s had options to get help, he only minimally follows through with them. You’d think he wants help with his pain, but he’s set up so many barriers at this point that it’s very hard to reach him.
hudi-I certainly hope you’re right!
Syag Lchochma-I think just being a teenager instills a rebellious nature! Just hope it isn’t permanent.
smc- Yes, unfortunately, some of his ‘friends’ also go to this school. So if it’s a rebellious phase, then he’ll eventually get past it. But if he has a rebellious nature, then….what?
smc-funny you should ask, you must have Ruach Hakodesh. My son went back to school (not yeshiva) although we are happy that he is taking some steps to improve his life. He has a goal now to finish HS and get his diploma, and G-d willing we hope he will continue to pick up the pieces of his life. He still hangs out with the wrong crowd, but the truth is, unfortunately, they are the only ‘crowd’ who accepts him in our neighborhood. On the other hand, there have been many shlichim along the way who made contact with our son and still do, and we are hopeful that he will eventually see that the religious are not ‘so bad’ after all. He is still pretty far from religion, with only sporadic sparks of connection. I pray that we will see more but we still have a long road ahead of us…
Thanks for asking.
a mamin-Thanks, that’s so nice of you! We still need a lot of tefillos!
Wallflower-I’m not so sure that’s true. I live in a Charedi community, and unfortunately, I could name at least 20 kids off the top of my head who are OTD, wearing jeans…and worse. None of their parents are sitting shiva.
There should be a distinction between being “off the derech” and being “off my derech”. They are not the same.
I think OTD clearly means mechallel Shabbos, since that is the covenant that unites us uniquely with Hashem. The other mitsvos are also important bc if we transgress them, we put ourselves at risk for eventually transgressing Shabbos, and ultimately straying from Hashem completely. If my son were observing Shabbos, yet still doing all the other nonsense, at least I would have a semblance of hope that he is still connected to Hashem and His Torah. I think it is harder to return once one has abandoned Shabbos, yet I am still hoping…
Shanifirst-No he hasn’t. I’ve learned that his going OTD was not a religious choice, but a response to trauma. He needs to heal first, and then maybe one day, b’ezras Hashem, he will come back. Still davening, hoping, crying.
Thanks for asking..
longing4israel-thanks, but I don’t think the mods would give me your email. Maybe she could write to me here!
a mamin- Thank-you so much! You too should have a Happy and Healthy New Year, and a Gmar Chatima Tova!
May we all see yeshuos in the new year and may there be an end to all the suffering for all Am Yisrael!
zahavasdad-don’t stop praying. People also come back.
smc-I don’t think my son is enjoying going to counseling, but he is trying to help himself. The indicator will be when the counseling ‘gets tough’, will he stick it out? I hope so.
Vogue-we are trying to be warm and supportive, but he does still have a lot of anger and isn’t easy to live with. Taking it one day at a time…
zahvasdad- sorry to hear about your friend’s spouse. I’m not familiar with anti-kiruv organizations, but I do know that there are a number of marriages that are just falling apart over here from various nisayonos that people just aren’t passing. There are terrible tests these days, not just for teenagers, but also for grown adults. I pray we all pass our tests, so that we’ll have the z’chus to greet Mashiach. Your friend should go speak to a Rav for chizuk and advice. Maybe someone close to her can reach her before things get worse…
smc-you are right, it was a big step for him to see someone, and I’m hoping it will help. If you were a victim of abuse, I hope you are getting some counseling to deal with the trauma. Otherwise the trauma just festers and causes other types of suffering both for you and for those who love you.
Mom12-nice to hear from you! I understand what you’re going through, and I sincerely hope and pray that your younger son will hear you, and not follow in the painful footsteps of his brother. Maybe he is just testing you. Be strong, I am praying for you!
zahavasdad-it’s really almost impossible to protect our children from those kind of scenarios that you described. Even if parents ‘get it right’, we can’t control what happens outside our homes. You really just need siyata d’Shmaya and a lot of tefillah