Dear Rabbi Horowitz: Our eldest child is in 10th grade at a local Bais Yaakov. She is doing well in school and is generally well behaved at home. However, over the past year or so, everything we tell her or ask her becomes a full-scale negotiating session. It doesn't make a difference what the issue is - curfew, when to do her homework, when to clean her room, etc. It is draining our energy and eroding our relationship with her. Here are our questions: 1. Is this normal? 2. Isn't it disrespectful for children to challenge their parents like this? Neither of us thinks we did this to our parents. 3. Do you have any practical suggestions for us? Names Withheld
One of the techniques I have found most helpful when mediating disputes between rebellious adolescents and their parents is to give the teenager six or eight index cards, and ask him or her to jot down a request or concession that he or she would like his parents to grant.
Rabbi Horowitz: We have very different views on the issue of having guests over for Shabbat meals.
Dear Moishe, I am writing to you because frankly, I just don't know where else to turn at this point. I know that statement makes it sound as if I have been married for years, but the truth is I have only been married for six months, and the changes that are taking place are scary.
Rabbi Horowitz: My daughter has confided in me that one of her friends is cutting herself, and she is concerned that her friend may really hurt herself - or worse, chas v'shalom. She made me promise not to tell anyone.
This column usually focuses on the issue of teens at risk and finding ways families can become closer to their children. This week, I turn my attention to one of the most important stages before parenthood: the critical period when couples are engaged.
Dear Mommy and Daddy: Imagine how you would feel if you were told that, two years from today, our entire family would need to relocate to a different part of the country.
Had I been told a year ago that in a short amount of time my husband and I would have all of our children living with us under one roof, I would have thought it was a joke. Although my husband and I had been working toward this goal for all the years of our marriage, with each passing year it seemed less and less of a possibility.
You see a small plastic bottle of Visine or other brands of eye drops in the room of your teen son or daughter. He/she seems to have lingering colds and reddish eyes. You must have misplaced some cash in the house (several times, in fact) over the past few months. Your adolescent son or daughter begs off family simchahs, and his/her last report card was a disaster. Obviously, any one or two of these factors could be completely harmless. But in the aggregate, they are often signs of impending substance abuse issues. Parents of at-risk adolescents need to become more knowledgeable about these symptoms.
Imagine going for a walk one winter morning and finding your neighbor sitting in his car vigorously turning the steering wheel while the engine is shut off. When you ask him why he doesn't start the car, he responds that his battery died, and he will soon get jumper cables to give it a boost. However, before he does that, he would like to turn the front wheels away from the curb so that he can instantly be able to pull out of the parking space once his automobile starts.
Recently, my two children from my first marriage visited with their father after three and-a-half years of not seeing him. Even though I was faced with some opposition from friends and relatives that lived through my divorce and its aftermath with me, I actually supported the idea.