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March 3, 2015 / 12 Adar , 5775
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Managing the Unmanageable: Oppositional Defiant Disorder


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Here’s what develops:

Yossi: (loud and angry) “It’s not fair! We’re supposed to be going on a trip and we should be leaving already! I’m sick and tired of this Yeshiva!”

Rebbe: (displaying empathy) “Yossi, I know how you feel. It’s really disappointing that we aren’t going on the trip. I’m really sad about it too. I was so much hoping to have a good time.”

Yossi: (still angry, but paying attention) “Yeah, me too.”

Rebbe: (offering solutions) You know what? I’m just wondering if maybe we can do something else instead. Something that will also be fun.”

Yossi: “I don’t know…”

Rebbe: “ Maybe we can order pizza for the class. Or play ball outdoors.”

Yossi: “You think the pizza store is open?”

Rebbe: “Let’s call up and find out, okay?”

Yossi’s attention was successfully diverted into seeking alternate plans. More importantly, Yossi learned that he could resolve a conflict without an explosion. He learned that there’s such a thing as compromise.

If you’re skeptical, I don’t really blame you. I was skeptical myself at first. But I’ve tried this program with my own clients and students many times and I can assure you that it works well. Again, it’s not easy. When you see that explosion about to erupt, the panic inevitably builds up inside of you. You want to climb under a rock and hide. The last thing you want to do is think about implementing Plan B.

That’s why many parents have to be walked through this scenario with a professional before feeling confident enough to pursue it alone. It won’t happen overnight. It won’t be an instant solution. But it certainly has the potential to put you on the right track.

About the Author: An acclaimed educator and education consultant, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation,, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at rifkaschonfeld@verizon.net. Visit her on the web at rifkaschonfeldsos.com.


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