Converting to Judaism through an Orthodox rabbi is an excruciatingly difficult process, not for the faint of heart. It’s a very lonely road and nothing short of a true commitment to Torah can provide the resilience, bravery and fortitude to go through this process. Although some converts are indeed blessed with supportive, understanding families, many aren’t as lucky. And the isolation is part of the many sacrifices made to be closer to Hashem.
Most people are not aware that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population).
Tell her that you know how much effort she puts into raising her children and that you never meant to criticize her.
Dear Dr. Yael: Unfortunately, for the last several years our beloved son (we will call him Shmuel) has become estranged from us. This occurred immediately after his wedding in Israel.
The therapeutic alliance has always been about a firm connection between patient and counselor. There has always been one primary standard - physically meeting in an office setting. There might be some phone calls in between sessions or to bridge some vacation gap. But therapy has always been about a feeling of connectivity and there is no better way to do this than face-to-face.
Dear Dr. Yael: How do I express my opinion in an appropriate way? There are some aspects of my sister’s parenting that I do not agree with, and feel that her methods in these areas are harming her children. I do not claim to be the best parent in the world, but I am confident that my instincts in my sister’s situation are correct.
If all of us recognize that any oversights or unintended slights are just that, a huge step toward practicing ahavas Yisrael would be taken.
Cindy is 43, successful, attractive, a dedicated mom, extremely caring... and she hates herself. She doesn't readily admit this, but spend a minute inside her head and you’ll discover the resounding messages revolving around negative rants – everything from "I failed" to "I should've done better." You wouldn't know it from her behavior. She's a high functioning, regular member of society.
Parental conflict affects children in varying ways, depending on their age. For example, teenagers around the age of fifteen or sixteen are most likely to involve themselves in their parents’ battles. Younger children may keep their feelings hidden inside and may only show signs of depression in late childhood or early adolescence.
Dear Dr Yael: I loved your answer to Confused Mom (“Should Children Voluntarily Help Their Parents,” August 23). It was a bit unrealistic of the writer to expect her children to do things voluntarily for her and her husband. Even my husband, a good and loving man, does not do anything unless I ask him to, several times. I have spoken to my friends, and this seems to be the norm. This woman is blessed with an amazing marriage, but her daughter is correct: al pi halacha a child gets more sechar if he or she is asked by a parent to do something and then fulfills the request.
Dear Dr. Yael: I am sending my oldest son to a Pre-1A this year and am very anxious about inappropriate touching. I do not know if I should speak to my son about this and, if I choose to, I do not know what I should say. I want to protect my son from any kind of inappropriate situation, but I also do not want to scare him. My goal is for my son to have a warm and loving relationship with his rebbe. How do I balance my wish to protect him with the desire to provide him with a successful school year? An Anxious Mother
When parents come to talk to me about a troubled child or teenager, I often find it helpful to explore whether or not their marriage is causing their teenager to be at risk.
Baruch Hashem, my husband and I have a marriage in which we constantly anticipate each other's needs and usually try to help the other even before being asked. We, of course, did the same for our children.
As adults who were children of divorce know, healing does not occur through time alone. In fact, my research found that only 46% said they had a positive relationship with their fathers as adults.
Dear Dr. Yael: Like the seven-year-old daughter of A Heartbroken Mother, last week’s letter writer, my somewhat socially awkward nine-year-old son is also being bullied.
There is a huge difference between standing up for oneself and retaliating against others.
Caring gestures like a homemade, baked item, a small gift, or a card are very appreciated and leave an extra-special warm feeling - that someone with whom you are not particularly close is thinking of you. It also takes away the lonely feeling of being "failures" or "ones who are different."
Be careful to avoid arrogance by not extensively discussing the virtues of your family members to those who are prone to jealousy. This can only fuel more envy.
Active listening is only one part of the marriage equation; learning what to say and what not to say is the other half. And, it’s not just about expressing your feelings, but doing it in a way that avoids hurting the other person.
Dear Dr Yael: My husband and I have seven children; three are married, and our 19-year-old son is currently looking for a shidduch. We are chassidish, so we check out every girl very thoroughly before our son meets her.