Just a few days ago, I bumped into a former student in the supermarket. When she saw me, she stepped away from her shopping cart full of fruits and vegetables and warmly hugged me. “Mrs. Schonfeld, I wanted to tell you something that you said to me a few years ago that has stayed with me until today.” We had worked together on social skills to help her feel more comfortable when meeting new people. I tried to jog my memory and remember something specific I had said to bolster her confidence, but nothing particularly stood out. Instead, I smiled and said, “Yes, Sarah, what was it that I said?”
Dear Dr. Yael: I am very happy and successful in my line of work. However, I am having trouble with a coworker and hope you can help me. A few months ago, a new woman began working at my office. We share a workspace and often have to work together on projects. This woman seemed nice, but there have been several awkward situations between us that are really bothering me.
Dear Dr. Yael: For the most part, my husband is a very good husband and father. He loves our children and will often go out of his way to make sure their needs are met. He is also loving and good to me. However, he often comes home with a very negative attitude. When he arrives home from work, he sees nothing good. He criticizes the children for not being in pajamas or for not finishing their homework. Even if he is right on both counts, he does not convey his criticism appropriately or at the right time.
Dear Dr. Yael: I have five children, and am struggling with my oldest son. He can be so good at times, but then he will...
Dear Dr. Yael: My wife, who takes good, loving care of our children and is very generous with her time, has a closed nature. It is not in her character to pay compliments or show appreciation. While she tries valiantly to never raise her voice to the children or me and works hard to always speak with derech eretz, I yearn to hear her tell me that she loves me – although I know that she does.
How do we teach our children to keep themselves safe from the adult predators in our midst? Are our schools teaching them what they need to know? Are parents teaching our youth what they need to know? Does your child feel safe enough to approach you if their personal space is being invaded? How do you know?
Parents often bring children into my office when they are already failing several subjects in school. These students are dejected, frustrated and often depressed. They believe that because of their past performance, they will never succeed in school. It is not strange that constant effort and subsequent failure have taught these students to believe that failure is their only option.
Dear Dr. Respler: When I read your May 25 column, Making Peace With Your Mother-In-Law, I started to cry, as I knew that the letter signer (Heartbroken Daughter-in-Law) was my daughter-in-law. We always discuss your column, and I guess it was her way of delivering a message to me.
Dear Dr. Yael: After 30 years of marriage, some things that bothered me before are now magnified. While my husband was trying to make a...
I once heard a story about a single man struggling to find a spouse. His main challenge was his insistence that a potential mate permanently welcome his widowed mother into their marital home. A friend suggested that he speak with the great authority, Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt’l. The man shared with the Rav his delicate predicament. The Rav validated the man’s approach as acceptable. Sometime later, the man met his bashert, the special woman willing to live with his mom. They returned to Rav Shlomo Zalman for his blessing. Surprisingly, the Rav called the man aside and told him that they cannot live with his mother anymore. The young man was shocked. After all, on the previous visit, the Rav had supported his desire to find a woman who would accept their living with his mother.
Menchlichkeit, good middos, patience and wisdom are the accolades I heard over and over again by stepchildren and stepparents when I asked them to describe the attributes of a good stepparent.
Dear Dr. Yael: I now see why so many children are insecure. I have been a day-care provider for many years. When parents initially consider day care they want a small group so their children will not be neglected. But problems arise when their children turn two, and nursery or playgroup becomes an option. All of a sudden a group of 20-25 children is not a problem because it is much cheaper. I refer to two-two and a half year olds, whose parents feel that they need to exclusively be with children their own age.
Dear Dr. Respler: I have a problem with my mother-in-law. My in-laws and I have always had a good relationship, so this unexpected problem is really...
The alarm clock rings and Chaim pulls his pillow over his head to stifle the screeching noise. Mornings are Chaim’s least favorite part of the day; they always end in someone yelling. In truth, mornings are difficult for most of us, but particularly so for those who struggle with basic skills that are labeled “executive function” skills.
Dear Dr. Yael, I gave birth a little over a year ago and, even though it was not my first child, I felt differently this time around. I have always been a happy-go-lucky person, but after having this baby I could not seem to return to my previous self. I was moody, short-tempered and gloomy. While some of these symptoms could have been chalked up to normal baby blues, they persisted and I was becoming scared.
Rav Ezriel Tauber says that a husband and wife are like two rough diamonds. A rough diamond can become a priceless, pure jewel, but only if another diamond is used to remove the impurities. So HaKadosh Boruch Hu puts together two perfectly matched rough diamonds. He makes sure that they have their little differences. The friction from these differences scrapes away at their impurities so they gradually become multi-faceted, pure, shining jewels.
Frailty and differences in other people often scare us. Why? They scare us because we see a reflection of what we fear in ourselves or because we just don’t know how to respond. Since we can’t live with this discomfort for too long, we make assumptions about and apply labels to those we fear.