Dear Rabbi Horowitz: Our 10-year-old son, the oldest of our six children, has a very strong-willed personality and is very energetic. He has a very hard time sitting in school all day. (He attends school from 8:30 a.m.-4:45 p.m.) At home, he is frustrated with having to sit and do his homework. He often has temper tantrums when asked to do his work. My husband says that he is lazy and self-centered. I agree, in part, but isn't this what all children are like? Don't we have to teach them how to act properly? Thanks, Rachel
Most people don't think much about their socks, but for eight-year-old Suri W., they are all-important today. The seams at her toes are terribly irritating. Suri spent an inordinate amount of time this morning getting them into a perfect position. But now, three hours later, they apparently shifted. The teacher's voice has receded into the background; a friend's request for a pencil has gone unheeded. The itch has taken over.
In the first two parts of this four-part series, we discussed the need to validate someone who is mourning the loss of a loved one. Utilizing a Rabbinic illustration, we presented the story of Rav Yochanan ben Zakai when he sat shivah for his son. The focus was on his receiving consolation: why he received comfort from his one student, Rav Elazer ben Aruch, and not from his other four students. Now let us move to a Biblical backdrop as we continue.
Why is it that one youth involved in a trauma or difficult situation seems to bounce right back with little effect on his daily functioning while another youth seems to take forever to get back to his usual self?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Mark, sixteen years old, has trouble sitting still in class. His mind wanders; he's anxious and is failing many of his...
How does one comfort an individual mourning the loss of a loved one? What does one say so that the grieving person will feel consoled?
As many parents discover, building a good relationship with a teenager is not easy. Often teenagers are reluctant to be close to their parents, and at times they look to distance themselves as much as possible. If so, how can parents see beyond the daily power struggles of homework, keeping curfew, staying out of trouble, and succeeding in school?
Her tone of voice was no different than usual: demure; calm; in-control. And then she shared with me a couple of ill-conceived statement expressed to her by some "loving" individuals: "Don't think of her suffering as something bad." If she suffers now then at least she won't suffer in The Next World." And the next one, well, that just went over the top (mind you, this communication took place a couple of months after the High Holidays): "It looks like you didn't daven too well this past Yom Kippur."
One of the goals we all share as parents and educators is to instill an appreciation for the mitzvah of tzedakah (charity giving) in our children. I have found that one of the most effective methods of achieving this is to present young children with hands-on opportunities to participate in charity projects that are child-centered and age appropriate. There are those who take the attitude, especially as far as school-based programs for boys are concerned, that these are a distraction from limudim.
During these difficult financial times, many couples, usually without ever noticing it, start dealing with life as individuals. They begin to recede from each other and allow a distance to develop. They stop talking. They find their feelings to be too intense and too difficult to face, so they don't share them. They don't want to share that they are scared, so each partner says nothing and goes into a deep and lonely place within. They don't fight for their relationship. Instead they fight over money and who's at fault for the situation. They blame each other for not making enough money, for spending too much money, for not saving money, or for not spending enough time doing the things that will bring in more money.
Building a relationship with your children is often one of the most overlooked aspects of parenting teenagers; yet clearly, as the evidence suggests, the relationship is key to managing a teenager’s at-risk behavior and restoring confidence in the family unit.
As we have been discussing, it is essential for parents to take an active role in teaching their children Torah ideas in regards to sexuality and modesty.