web analytics
July 22, 2014 / 24 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Investing In Your Relationship


Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

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?

The answer lies in a parent’s ability to create a supportive emotional environment that reduces tension, opens new lines of communication, and enhances a teen’s self-esteem.  Unfortunately, parents often get bogged down in trying to win every battle and lose sight of a much greater picture. But have no fear.  In a few years, adolescence will pass and parents will have the opportunity to share a life-long relationship with their teenager. In the meantime, the challenge is getting through these few years.

Jill Eikenberry, writing in Parade magazine, once beautifully encapsulated the dynamics that perhaps all parents raising a teenager experience: “You have a wonderful child. Then, when he’s thirteen, gremlins carry him away and leave in his place a stranger who gives you not a moment’s peace. You have to hang in there, because two or three years later, the gremlins will return your child, and he will be wonderful again.”

Indeed gremlins have taken the children away, but who or what are the gremlins? A groundbreaking study quoted by Dr. Michael J Bradley in his book Yes, Your Teen is Crazy – Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind, sheds light on the development of the adolescent brain and gave us a clue as to the source and identity of the gremlin.

In 1991, Dr. Jay Giedd of the National Institute of Mental Health took pictures of one hundred teenage brains over nine years at intervals ranging from two weeks to four years. What he found provided insight into the teenage mind. Previously it was believed the brain was completely developed by age five or six. Dr. Giedd discovered that throughout the teen years and into the twenties, substantial growth occurs in a brain structure called the corpus callosum, a set of nerves that connects all the parts of the brain that must work together to efficiently make decisions.  This “wiring” is critical for intelligence, consciousness, and self-awareness.

The study also found that “the prefrontal cortex of the brain goes through a wild growth spurt that coincides with the onset of adolescence whereas the bulk of its maturations occur between the ages of twelve and twenty.” The prefrontal cortex is where the most sophisticated human abilities reside, including emotional control, restraint, and rational decision-making.

The good news is that parents still have time during adolescence to wire in good qualities like responsibility, learning, achievement, music, and sports. The bad news is that this is a time that may be filled with rage and alienation. Unpredictable thought pathways can outrace judgment capabilities just as they did in early childhood.

The remainder of this chapter describes some of the issues your teenager might be dealing with during this time of rapid change.

 

Physical and Psychological Changes

Sandy is fifteen years old and doesn’t like her body.  Her acne drives her crazy. Her body is changing and she feels overweight.  Sandy doesn’t know why she gets moody.  Some days she feels happy and other days she feels down. Sometimes she feels great while other times she feels overwhelmed and unable to cope with the pressures of school and fitting in with her peers.  To the outside world, her concerns may seem petty, but to Sandy they are very real and are constantly on her mind.

 

Relationships and Pre-Marital Sex

Jack, age seventeen, loves watching videos, especially the ones about male-female relationships.  His parents and rabbis keep saying that he shouldn’t date girls, but the movies and magazines he sees all support dating and view sexual abstinence as something old fashioned.  All of Jack’s friends say that dating a girl and engaging in physical contact is okay before marriage.

 

Conflicting Religious Values

Sam, age fourteen, is in conflict with his parents’ values. All his life, he and his parents have been active synagogue members and he always felt he knew the right thing to do. But now some of his friends are pressuring him to come along on Friday nights and party. He wants to be with his friends, but somehow he doesn’t feel right about breaking the Sabbath. The difficulty is that he’s not sure why. He knows he’s not able to be like his parents, but he also doesn’t feel good about what his friends do. The real problem is that he doesn’t know what he wants!

 

Learning Disabilities

Fifteen-year-old Steve is in tenth grade and has trouble reading and comprehending books on a seventh grade level.  Steve has a learning disability that makes his life more difficult than most other teenagers his age.

A learning disorder is defined as difficulty in an academic area (reading, mathematics or written expression). The child’s ability to achieve in the specific academic area is below what is expected for the child’s age, educational level, and level of intelligence. The difficulty experienced by the child is severe enough to interfere with academic achievement or age-appropriate activities of daily living.

 

Types of learning disabilities include

  • Dyslexia
  • Disorder of written expression
  • Mathematics disorder

 

With dyslexia a child has difficulty learning to read and understand written language. Even children with average or above-average intelligence, plenty of motivation, and ample opportunities to read can have dyslexia. Because children with dyslexia have trouble making the connection between letters and their sounds, they often also have difficulty with spelling, writing, and speaking.

Disorder of written expression is characterized by poor writing skills. And mathematics disorder is a condition characterized by mathematical ability substantially below expectation given a child’s age, general intelligence, and education.

An estimated “ten to 30 percent of children have learning disorders. Mathematics disorder is estimated to affect 1 percent of school-aged children. Reading disorders are more common in children of parents who experienced a learning disorder. Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with a reading disorder than girls.”

Although the exact reasons for learning disorders are not known, they are believed to involve an abnormality in the nervous system, either in the structure of the brain or in the functioning of brain chemicals. This difference in the nervous system causes the child with a learning disorder to receive, process, or communicate information differently than other children.

Children with learning disorders have an even harder time in schools where students are required to read and translate at least two languages.  For those with a learning disability – especially a reading or language disorder – learning may be a very difficult and unpleasant task.  Boys, for example, who can’t learn Talmud often feel alienated from religious society and drop out of the religious system altogether.

A large percentage of the teens at risk that I see in my practice have some type of learning disorder, and over the course of their development they have felt progressively alienated from their schools and communities.

 

Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, is the Executive Director of Shalom Task Force and author of “At Risk – Never Beyond Reach” and “First Aid for Jewish Marriages.” To order a copy, visit www.JewishMarriageSupport.com. For more information about Shalom Task Force, please visit www.shalomtaskforce.org. You can e-mail questions to him at rabbischonbuch@yahoo.com.

About the Author: Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, Marriage and Family Therapy, is an expert in marriage counseling, pre-marital education, and helping teens in crisis with offices in Flatbush, Cedarhurst, and Crown Heights. He is a certified PAIRS instructor, and trained as a Level 1, Emotionally Focused Therapist at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, and is a member of AASECT. He is the author of At Risk – Never Beyond Reach and First Aid For Jewish Marriages. To watch his free videos on marriage and parenting and for appointments visit: www.JewishMarriageSupport.com or call 646-428-4723


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Investing In Your Relationship”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Newly completed control tower at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. June 2, 2014
US and European Flights to Israel Cancelled Due to Rockets
Latest Sections Stories
book-Family-Frayda

Written entirely through Frayda’s eyes, the reader is drawn by her unassuming personality.

book-I-Kings

Adopting an ancient exegetical approach that is based on midrashic readings of the text, thematic connections that span between various books of the Bible are revealed.

book-Unify-A-Nation

While Lipman comes from an ultra-Orthodox background and is an Orthodox rabbi, he offers a breath of fresh air when he suggests that “polarization caused by extremism and isolationism in the religious community may be the greatest internal threat to the future of the Jewish people”

Schonfeld-logo1

The Joys of Yiddish, Leo Rosten defines a mentch as “someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character.”

Certainly today’s communication via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and the like, including the ubiquitous Whatsapp, has reduced the need to talk with people and communicate at length.

These two special women utilized their incredibly painful experience as an opportunity to assist others.

Maybe we don’t have to lose that growth and unity that we have achieved, especially with the situation in Eretz Yisrael right now.

Sleepily, I watched him kissing Mai’s chubby thighs.

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

My teachers like me and they tell my parents that I am a great girl with good middos.

The chicken and waffle nuggets were fabulous and were like chicken in a dessert form.

“Have you forgotten your dreams?” The Hope Merchant asks a defeated and hopeless Lily when she “happens” upon his shop.

The universe was created by God out of nothing; it has not always existed.

He combined intellectual achievement with deep spirituality and religious devotion.

More Articles from Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch
Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

Separation anxiety disorder is a condition in which a child becomes fearful and nervous when away from home or separated from a loved one – usually a parent or other caregiver – to whom the child is attached.

Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

I try to focus on the parents in a way that is not often addressed. As soon as the child gets anxious, the parent gets anxious;

Most people are not aware that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population).

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.

When parents come to talk to me about a troubled child or teenager, I often find it helpful to explore whether or not their marriage is causing their teenager to be at risk.

Active listening is only one part of the marriage equation; learning what to say and what not to say is the other half. And, it’s not just about expressing your feelings, but doing it in a way that avoids hurting the other person.

Control may be the most destructive force influencing a marriage. Let me illustrate this point with the following story. About two years ago a woman named Bracha, 47, came to speak to me about her husband’s controlling behavior. This is how she described her precarious situation:

Controlling behavior may be the number one reason that your marriage needs first aid.

If you are unfamiliar with the topic of control, it’s no surprise. Most people are unaware that control is a major issue for counselors, therapists and psychologists-at-large.

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/investing-in-your-relationship/2009/12/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: