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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.
Sometimes a few sessions of marital therapy can solve problems that were festering for years. The married couple have often locked themselves into such a struggle; they need help to simply untangle the knot. This has a lot to do with the high level of emotion they are feeling - just think of the expression "I am so angry I can't think straight. The husband and wife often cannot think logically or clearly. Every issue between them is filled with layers of anger, hurt, betrayal and fear that has built up over the years due to miscommunication.
Shame wells up in me as I thread my way through the cluster of young wives standing near my home, animatedly talking with one another as their children play at their feet. Four shopping bags dangle from one arm, five from another, and I shift them uncomfortably as I carry them from my car, practically bent over from their weight.
An easy-to-hold hardcover with colorful illustrations, We Can Do Mitzvos from Aleph to Tav explains basic mitzvot in rhyme and alphabetical order. Easy on the eyes and a pleasant text for introducing toddlers to the world of shmirat halacha, the book teaches the aleph bet with charm.
Over the past two weeks I have shared letters from a therapist and a well spouse. Both of the letters gave personal insights into the process of losing hope, how we react when that happens and some ways of coping when test scores, diagnosis and just simple repetitive behavior indicate that change for the better is impossible.
This lap-sized hardcover is something for parents and children to read to each other. Rhyming verses tell the adorable story of Sam McKay, a little boy convinced that his parents are partying when he's under his bedtime blanket. He routinely fights off bedtime with a yawn as he envisions how much fun the adults might be having downstairs.
Over the last two weeks we have been discussing one way in which well spouses can determine whether behavior displayed by their ill partners is caused by their illness or is a way they have chosen to act. We have focused on Psycho-Neurological testing, what it can tell us, as well as its pros and cons.
Last week I discussed a question that haunts many well spouses: not knowing if the difficult and often inappropriate behavior frequently displayed by their partners are caused by the disease and therefore not-controllable, or if the behavior is a choice the spouse makes and can therefore be changed. This doubt can be the source of much frustration and many marital disagreements. One way of alleviating this doubt is by having a psycho- neurological work up done. But that path is not so simple.
Many well spouses have written to say that their partners' behaviors has changed drastically, making life very difficult for the entire family. "What in my spouse's behavior is choice and what is a result of the illness and beyond my partner's control?" It is a question that tortures many spouses of the chronically ill.
While once it may have seemed possible to shelter our children from inappropriate exposure to sexuality, today it seems to be an impossible goal. While some families have been successful in insulating their children from the Internet, movies, and other harmful aspects of secular culture, many families have not been as successful. And, even those parents have made every effort to appropriately safeguard their children may find themselves unhappily surprised at what they have been exposed to by their friends. In addition, outdoor secular media such as billboards, bus ads and newspaper covers portray disturbingly graphic images that force us to confront the fact that our children are being exposed to ideas and ways of life we may consider to be harmful to their souls and their mental health.
After returning from a year of studying in seminary in Eretz Yisrael, Feigi was ready to join the "real world." Seminary had been a wonderful, spiritually uplifting experience, but now it was time to settle down, find a job, and think about what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. Feigi started job hunting. She had excellent credentials and was perfectly qualified to start a career in any of a variety of fields. Yet despite her intelligence and willingness to work, she was unable to focus on a clear sense of direction.
At different points in their lives, many people will attempt to make behavioral changes. Whether the changes are temporary or lasting will depend greatly upon several factors. For example: Does the person want to change? Does the individual have the resources and knowledge to successfully make a lasting change? Is there anything preventing the person from changing? Then there is always the expected relapse. What factors will trigger a person's return to a former behavior?
In last week's column I responded to the mother/grandmother who wrote about the escalation of chutzpah on the part of the young vis-à-vis their parents. In my answer I suggested that we have adopted some 21st century attitudes that not only countenance this obstreperous behavior but actually endorse it. I also mentioned that while we may take certain consolation in knowing that our sages predicted what we are experiencing today, nevertheless, it does not mean that we of the Torah community should countenance it. Chutzpah toward parents/grandparents, teachers and elders in any shape or form is unacceptable.
In my last two columns I published a letter from a mother/grandmother who felt very saddened and discouraged at the shameless chutzpah that marks today's parent-child relationship. In the first segment of her letter, she cited the disrespectful conduct of children, and in the second, she gave examples of the deplorable behavior of young adults - even married couples.
In last week's column I published the first part of a letter written by one of our readers who related that this past year, circumstances had compelled her and her family to go away for Yom Tov, but she was terribly embarrassed by the behavior of many of the people in her group.
Controlling behavior may be the #1 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 topic for counselors, therapists and psychologists-at-large, which until recently has not entered into the public’s attention.
Dear Mom and Dad, Yes, I am addressing you both in the same sentence, because even though you are divorced, to me you are still Mom and Dad. I just want you both to know how much I love you. Things have been really crazy and I need to get a few things off my chest. You being divorced has really been hard on me. I remember how you argued so much that most of the time I parented myself. I was so scared ... When you fought, I felt so invisible.