web analytics
April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » Sections » Family »

When A Bully Becomes A Tzaddik


Respler-121611

Share Button

Note to readers: In the spirit of Chanukah, here’s a letter representing a personal miracle.

Dear Dr. Yael:

After reading your columns about bullying, I wanted to share with you a wonderful story about how our son went from being a bully to becoming a tzaddik.

At age two our son was a cute, chubby little kid who was sometimes teased by other children. So even at two, he would bully the teasers in order to get what he wanted, and would do anything to get his way. Instead of the adults in his life understanding that he was having a challenging time due to the teasing about his weight, and was therefore responding by bullying those who bothered him, the teachers would hit him, thinking that this would teach him how it feels to be hit and thus prevent him from hitting others. But being hit or punished by his teachers made him even angrier, as he lost respect for the adults and thought that he had the right to do whatever he wanted.

As he grew older he respected his rebbeim less. For example, if the rebbe would take away his watch he would scream at the rebbe in front of the entire class. “That is not yours, and you have no right to take it away.” As a result the situation spiraled downward. He was punished more often, became disconnected from authority, and stopped caring about other people’s feelings. This led him to become a bully. He knew how to learn, making him an excellent talmid. To some extent, this secured his self-esteem. Additionally, as loving parents, we built his confidence. So he had self-respect – but did not respect his peers. For example, when he was about nine, a number of boys were playing in the yeshiva’s backyard. When the ball they were playing with landed on the roof, he grabbed somebody else’s shoe and threw it on the roof. When the mashgiach asked him why he did that, he answered, “What is the difference between a ball and a shoe?” In other words, if you are not angry about the ball going on the roof, why are you angry about the shoe? However, he had done this to hurt the boy, because he had been left out of the game.

At the time, our son did not really comprehend the difference between a ball and a shoe. He claimed that his action was not meant to hurt the other boy, but rather to have fun and get extra attention. We choose to take him for anger management therapy. The biggest positive result of this therapy was that he learned the importance of respecting authority, and who is in charge in life.

Once he understood the importance of respecting authority, he began to listen more appropriately to his rebbeim, teachers and the menahel. He realized that ultimately, they are seeking to help him succeed in life. And as he began to succeed in his learning and in his respect for authority, he channeled his feelings toward helping others. He began trying to aid his chavrusahs in their learning, in the long run gaining their respect the proper way. In due course, as he became more caring and helpful to others, he totally stopped bullying and became a caring person and a true middos-driven tzaddik.

His new and improved behavior shocked the menahel and rebbeim in the yeshiva and this dramatic change, garnered him the respect of his peers and of the yeshiva’s authority figures. His peers come to him for help, and in addition to augmenting his self-confidence it leads him to be the tzaddik he is.

Despite how things had been, we had continuously worked on building his self-esteem, because we believed in him. This was the magic tool in changing our son from a bully to a tzaddik. Our goal in sharing this story with your readers is to help the parents of children who use bully tactics when they feel badly about themselves. We believe that by seeking proper help and offering our constant understanding and support to our son, we helped him develop the tools to change from being a bully to becoming a caring and giving human being.

We are so proud to be his parents, as he continues to grow in his learning and practice of middos as a teenager. We believe that with proper help and positive reinforcement one can turn around their children’s lives. We hope our story helps other parents who face these kinds of challenges with their children.

Happy, Loving Parents

Dear Happy, Loving Parents:

Thank you for sharing your story with my readers. You inspire others to rise to the challenges of raising children who are sometimes difficult. It is the consistent love and constant reassurance that you gave your son that enabled him to change from being a bully to becoming a tzaddik. You continued to believe in his ability to change, and you sought proper help in dealing with his anger issues. And you also continued to love him unconditionally. By constantly building his self-esteem, he was allowed to dramatically change his middos.

If other parents learn from your challenge and get early help for their child when they experience a problem, and they nurture their children with love and positive reinforcement, we will have less children going off the derech, less problems with our children, and even less divorce in our community. In essence, the skyrocketing divorce rate is a reflection of parenting that does not breed self-esteem. Too often, people who end up in a poor marriage or in a divorce report that they grew up with poor parenting. Sometimes it is only one of the partners that had a traumatic or dysfunctional childhood, and even if they marry a person from an emotionally healthy home, the healthy partner at times cannot bear the pain of living with a dysfunctional mate.

Not only did you save your son, but you hopefully also protected him so that he can engage in a healthy marriage in the future and raise beautiful, confident children of his own. Thank you again for your wonderful letter. Hatzlachah!

Share Button

About the Author:


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.

No Responses to “When A Bully Becomes A Tzaddik”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden
Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

More Articles from Dr. Yael Respler
Respler-041814

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

Respler-041114

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

By employing this new countermove, the scenario will likely change.

I bring the results of this study to demonstrate that although in a frum world we should rise above the gashmius, unfortunately, we still live in a secular world in which we are affected by that gashmius.

It is a shame that when one sincerely wishes to help another person, he or she often must avoid telling the truth.

Dear Anonymous:

Thank you for your amazing letter. I wish you hatzlachah in your new marriage, and may your letter bring more sensitivity to others regarding this issue.

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.

I had a great figure and dressed well, but the only thing wrong with me was that I had a very long nose with a huge bump.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/when-a-bully-becomes-a-tzaddik/2011/12/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: