Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
Our 12-year-old son is not doing well in his 7th grade local yeshiva class.
We are considering moving him to another local yeshiva in mid-year, as things are rapidly deteriorating. We are not asking for specific advice, as you do not know him or us. But can you share with us what questions to ask and answers to give when making this difficult decision?
Rabbi Horowitz Responds
We will begin Part III with the following question: How well does our child adjust to change?
A very important component of the school change issue is the social aspect. Attending school is far more than the X’s and O’s of what children learn in their Jewish and General Studies classrooms. It is also about socialization, namely developing friendships and navigating the (what often seems like) minefields of personal relationships. When a child switches schools, it is a very big deal for him or her. I have found that parents often think in adult terms and mistakenly compare a child’s school change to an adult who is faced with the prospect of switching shuls or jobs. This is not the case. It is far more traumatic for a child to change school settings because at that age, peer pressure is so much stronger.
Before you get into fourth gear and speed forward with the school change concept, I very strongly suggest that you think about your child’s adaptation to change in terms of a risk factor. Thus if your child has a difficult time making friends, you should keep in mind that he or she is at a significant risk of not “making it” in the new setting, which can be very painful and might potentially undermine any educational gains realized by the move.
Parents will often observe that their child is unhappy in the current setting and assume that the other children are to blame. That might be the case. Or it might be shortcomings in their own child’s social skills that are causing the friction. If the second scenario is the correct one, changing a socially awkward child to a new setting could prove to be an unmitigated disaster.
Here’s another question to be considered: Are we open to exploring the way we parent our children?
A friend of mine, who is a prominent mental health professional, often says that the vast majority of the people coming to his office do so because they don’t want to change, while only a small percentage of the people come because they really want to transform themselves. Once I digested his sentiments, I found that comment to be profound and powerful.
When we experience difficulty in life – with coworkers, spouses or children – we tend to assume that the “significant others” are always to blame for the discord. Rarely do we have the courage to turn inward and engage in the type of cheshbon hanefesh that will allow us to proactively improve things. That destructive pattern often kicks into overdrive when parents are confronted with significant problems regarding a preteen or teenage child. The result? Parents bring children to mechanchim or therapists with the mindset of people who bring broken appliances to customer service for repair.
My friend was expressing his frustration that most people come to him hoping that he can give them “pain relief” from their difficult teenager – the type that will not require them to change.
That doesn’t exist!
Having dealt with this issue for over 25 years, I believe that the best thing you can do as parents facing a school change for your child (or other variations of parenting challenges) is to take a few steps back and ask yourself, “What can we, as the adults in this equation, do differently to improve the schooling experience and quality of life for our child(ren)?”
In the case of school change, it means exploring some hard questions:
· Are we giving our children enough of our time?
· Should we severely curtail our social obligations for a few years while our kids need us during homework time?
· How are we responding to our child when he/she brings home a poor grade?
· Do we have unrealistic expectations?
· Should we consider going for professional counseling to help us raise this challenging child?
· Would we have the courage to do what may be right for our child even if it is not the “politically correct” thing to do?
Please be open to doing things differently than you have in the past. That does not mean that you are currently doing things “wrong.” But it does mean that you ought to be open to positive change, as that is the best shot you have to improve things.
As the saying goes, “If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you are likely to keep getting what you’ve been getting.”
(To be continued)
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is the founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam of Monsey, and the founder and director of Agudath Israel’s Project Y.E.S. To purchase Rabbi Horowitz’s D’var Torah sefer, Growing With the Parshah, or his popular parenting tapes and CD’s – including his 2-CD set on “Raising your Adolescent Children” – please visit www.rabbihorowitz.com, e-mail email@example.com or call 845-352-7100 x 133.
About the Author: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam and founder and director of Agudath Israel's Project Y.E.S.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Everyone is always looking for cute yet simple and inexpensive ideas to enhance their table at special occasions. Here are some attractive ways to create that festive look. Whether you use china or plastic, your guests will surely be delighted with your charming setup.
Wouldn’t it be great if you had a chavrusa working with you, guiding and helping you in your work environment?
What made an M.I.T. scholarship student, taking time off from his doctorate in medicine, to backpack, and then decide to backtrack, chuck it all… and get a haircut? Perhaps it is easier to understand a Harvard law student becoming enamored with the logic of Gemara and settling down to struggle with the intellectual challenges of Aramaic acrobatics.
JetBlue flew an empty aircraft from Boston to JFK to assist us. The care and concern of the flight attendants was amazing. They were astounded by our group, so much so that at the end of the flight, the captain related for all to hear that he was truly impressed by the care that the HASC counselors provided for the special-needs campers – all of whom have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. We did our best to demonstrate a true kiddush Hashem.
Q: What does twice exceptional or 2e mean?
The battle over partnership minyans is just the latest scuffle in the war over women’s roles in the Orthodox community.
Last month’s column outlined some efforts during the first half of the nineteenth century to establish Jewish agricultural colonies in America. In only one case was a colony actually established.
According to Maimonides, the great medieval Jewish scholar, “Gifts for the poor [matanot l’evyonim] deserve more attention than the seudah and mishloach manot because there is no greater, richer happiness than bringing joy to the hearts of needy people, orphans, widows and proselytes.”
Having everyone home on a snow day can be a lot of fun – the first few times it happens. Once snow day number six hits, perhaps not so much and the real creativity has to come out.
Imich was born in 1903 in Poland, where he later earned his Ph.D. in 1927, despite the best efforts of anti-Semitic professors to sabotage his thesis
Never sacrifice the people who matter for anything of lesser importance…
Hannah believed that one must learn about the evils of the past so that they aren’t repeated.
Those of us familiar with the do’s and don’ts of accepted practice in the mental health profession saw similar blaring warning lights in our minds, as should have occurred when the facts were made public regarding the accusations against Nehemia Weberman. This case may very well be our community’s most important abuse trial during our lifetimes. It is imperative that we have a huge turnout in support of the victim, a courageous young lady who, may she be gezunt andge’bentched, is determined to see this through to the end so others won’t suffer like she did.
These lines are written in loving memory of our dear father, Reb Shlomo Zev ben Reb Baruch Yehudah Nutovic, a”h, whose first yahrzeit is 7 Menachem Av. May the positive lessons learned from this essay be a zechus for his neshamah.
All responsible leaders in our community have roundly condemned the recent violence in Beit Shemesh and Meah Shearim.
A surefire way to gauge the generation in which a person was raised is to have him or her fill in the following sentence: Where were you when ?”
Baby Boomers would ask, “When President Kennedy was shot?” Thirtysomethings would respond, “When the space shuttle exploded?” Today’s teenagers would reply, “On 9/11?”
One week ago on my website I announced my intention to attend the next court appearance of a man who was arrested last year and is now standing trial on 10 felony charges of child abuse.
Dear Rabbi Horowitz:
We were taken aback when our 18-year-old son just called us from Eretz Yisrael (we live in Europe) and told us that he was coming home and wants to immediately go to work. He said that he is wasting his time in yeshiva, and just can’t take it anymore. He said that he will “run away from home” if we don’t allow him to go to work.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/changing-schools-part-iii/2008/01/09/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online:
No related posts.