Tell her that you know how much effort she puts into raising her children and that you never meant to criticize her.
“Mrs. Schapiro. Hi, this is Mrs. Rosenfeld from XYZ Yeshiva. I am calling you because I noticed that your son’s birthday is September 28. We have recently pushed the cutoff date at our school from January 1 to September 1. Because of that, I am afraid Yaacov won’t be able to apply to kindergarten until next year.”
Special Note: It is an unusual phenomenon that many bereaved parents share. We can almost see our age-adjusted children in our sukkah or running up to us during a family simcha. As quickly as they come, those visions seem to disappear as we go through the life cycle. They are hard moments made harder by the thoughts of not only what could have been, but what should have been.
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.
Gershon got up from the chessboard and walked away slowly, pouting as he headed to the bathroom. His father watched him go and once again wondered if he had made a mistake in playing competitively against his son. Gershon hated to lose, but how could he improve if his father always let him win?
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.
Your son has a big vocabulary test this morning. He’s really anxious and studied with you last night for over an hour. Now, at breakfast, he is talking about how nervous he feels and how he hopes he doesn’t fail. You are trying to think about what is best for him. He has ten minutes before he needs to leave for school. Should you go over the words with him one last time? Should you encourage him to take deep breaths and realize that he knows the material? Or, should you get him to take a run around the living room, ending with jumping jacks and push-ups in the kitchen?
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.
Your mother just knitted a beautiful pink hat for your seven-year-old daughter. The hat, unfortunately, is also extremely itchy. To be honest, you wouldn’t even want to wear it yourself. But you tell your daughter, “Say thank you. Tell your grandmother how much you like the hat.”
The captain teaches a form of Krav Maga that is very simple, effective and easy to remember. The end result is that he creates a very steep learning curve with many students feeling more confident. Many are able to fend off a bully after only one lesson.
I was recently approached by a mother whose daughter had been diagnosed by an audiologist, two years before with auditory processing disorder (APD). Her daughter, let’s call her Basya, had been making progress in her academic environment. Her grades had been rising and her teachers had noticed a significant improvement in her listening skills.
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.
I had to believe that things were going to be ok. They just had to be ok. We had gone through so much, had sacrificed so much and were doing everything the doctors told us to do. I remember speaking to a hesitant professor in my Ph.D. program about getting an incomplete in her class. The conversation stands out in my mind because, looking back, I can see how odd it must have seemed as I matter-of-factly told her I was too busy for coursework because my twins’ amniotic sack was bulging through my wife’s cervix.
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.
Dena was the star of her nursery class. All the kids loved her and the teachers gushed to her mother, “Dena is so kind. She shares with everyone and is so inclusive. When we have circle time, she sits attentively and she is always ready with a detailed and fun answer.”
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
In her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain relays the story of Rosa Park and the Montgomery Bus Strike during the Civil Rights Movement.