I sometimes encourage the people I work with to keep a record of their progress. But when one client told me that she had actually started a journal shortly before she began seeing me, I was very pleased. I asked her to allow me to publish the entries that pertain to ADD, so that people in the community can identify themselves and learn from the coping techniques that helped her.
Kindness is such an essential Jewish trait that we are told to suspect that a cruel person is not really Jewish. The media constantly uplifts us with inspirational stories about saintly people who radiated love to their fellowman and did their utmost to avoid hurting others. Yet we are also told, "Those who are kind to the cruel will eventually be cruel to the kind" (Koheles Raba 7:16). It is not a kindness to allow ourselves to be abused, exploited or manipulated. By not taking protective action when possible, we encourage destructive behavior. The following stories are examples of naïve and trusting people who paid a heavy price for being overly "nice."
A few years ago, a couple, Sarah and Joseph, came to see me about their son Moshe, sixteen, who was experiencing extreme difficulty in school. Moshe did not have any serious learning problems. In fact, he was exceptionally bright and capable of succeeding in school. His problem was that he was frequently missing class. Recently he had started leaving school and spending time in an unknown location. Moshe's parents were naturally concerned for his future.
Ever since I become a stepmother I have not been able to stop this nagging feeling that there just may be more to the story of Cinderella. The well-known fairy tale of the forlorn, young, beautiful girl stuck in an oppressive home as the maidservant to her stepmother and stepsisters after her father's death somehow left me yearning for more details. There must be missing chapters somewhere or perhaps the story has only been told from the perspective of Cinderella and her perceptions during a grief stricken time in her life.
Lately, Yocheved has been waking up at night worrying about her daughter, Shevi. Shevi is pursuing a degree in speech therapy. Yocheved knows that Shevi has always been an A student and that she will succeed in all academic areas. She is already doing great work with stroke victims as they attempt to gain back their speech. Shevi's teachers report to Yocheved that all of the people she works with immediately take to her, pushing themselves to work harder because they want to impress her. So, why does Shevi have so much trouble going on dates?
In today's world of mounting pressures and continuous change, we need to take a few minutes to reset our perspectives and figure out what matters most.
Toxic Language Tishrei -- and the yom tov pattern returns! Of which pattern am I speaking, you ask? If we were to identify the main aspects...
From Ecclesiastes we learn the expression "there is nothing new under the sun" and when you read history you see how true this is. From cults to politics it seems as if nothing is really ever new. That also includes technology. While a certain invention or discovery can be classified as new, we often find it in nature much earlier. Arctic fish used anti-freeze in their bloodstreams long before people put it in their cars. There are airplanes, but birds flew much earlier; there are satellites, but the moon was there earlier. Whales are better than submarines and as for nuclear fusion; the sun and stars had that worked out long before we did.
When parents come to talk to me about a troubled teenager, I often find it helpful to explore whether or not their marriage is causing their teenager to be at risk.
"I can't take it anymore!" "What happened? Is the baby teething again? You're exhausted." my husband asked, trying to read my thoughts, over the phone.
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.
For both parents and teenagers alike, adolescence can be a very hard time. Unfortunately, when family life gets rough, communication tends to break down. And when it does, parents need to restore their ability to relate to their teenagers by learning about the rules of communication.
In a bustling fifth grade class Moshe is listening to a tape-recorded reading of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, while Shmuel is writing a poem about a fight between brothers. Next to Moshe and Shmuel, Yerucham is reading an account of a former African-American slave.
Many parents admit they yell too much, but do not know how to avoid exploding when irritated. It takes effort and discipline to defeat any addiction, whether it's overeating or cigarette smoking and the screaming addiction is no different. Thankfully, when we really want to grow spiritually, we are given Heavenly guidance.
Recently, I asked a family friend, a financial advisor, to share with me his perspective on the importance of rapport in the world of sales. In a general way, I knew that successful salespeople maintain good rapport with their clients. And so I was curious. Was the need for developing rapport in business any different than doing so in a parent-child relationship? To that end, I posed the following questions: "How do you establish rapport with a new client? And what do you believe is a key issue to creating rapport?
Kaboom! That's what we experience when there is an explosion. And that's exactly what we feel like when we are dealing with an "explosive" child. For those of you who don't understand what I'm talking about, consider yourselves blessed. But those who know exactly what it means for a child to "explode" for no apparent reason understand what a tremendous challenge this is. It's like living inside a simmering volcano. As one frustrated mother put it, "We are in a perpetual state of crisis."
If you have a learning disabled child I don't have to tell you about the myriad direct and indirect related challenges and associated frustrations. No doubt, you know them all too well.
Francine has been coming to therapy for about a month. Her parents brought her due to problems and conflicts she was experiencing boat home, school and in the community. Like many teens, Francine did not see the value of therapy and felt the problems were only her parents' issues. Besides, if she needed to talk to anyone, she would speak with her friends.
Every summer, all across America, parents put their children on buses bound for sleepaway camp. They wave good-bye, hoping their kids will have a wonderful time, make friends, learn new skills and come home happy and healthy. Hoping, sometimes, that the tears they see as the bus pulls away are just a fleeting show of regret at leaving home.
Let's look at an example of how mentoring improved the life of a teenager who had given up observing Jewish tradition.