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January 21, 2017 / 23 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Dear Frustrated Mother’

Improving A Child’s Derech Eretz

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Dear Dr. Yael:

I have five children, and am struggling with my oldest son. He can be so good at times, but then he will talk to me with such chutzpah. I want to have a good relationship with him, but I worry when he speaks to me this way – and therefore, I end up reacting badly. This creates a vicious cycle, as he speaks back to me with even more chutzpah. I know I should react differently, but how can I respond kindly when he is speaking to me in such a disrespectful way? Wouldn’t that set a bad precedent?

My other children are beginning to follow his behavior, and I feel like the situation is spiraling out of control. What can I do to stop my other children from speaking to me in the same wrongful manner as their brother? And how can I get my son to speak to me more respectfully?

A Frustrated Mother

Dear Frustrated Mother:

Thank you for your letter. I do not know your son’s age, but if he’s age-appropriate he should view my DVD, “Chutzpah is Muktzah2” (available in Judaica sefarim stores). If he’s past the age of eight, making him too old to get much out of this DVD, perhaps you should purchase it for your toddlers and younger children. The DVD teaches them how to behave with derech eretz (e.g. saying please, thank you, don’t wake Mommy, I’ll do it with pleasure, I am sorry, etc.) and features great musical interludes with famous Jewish singers.

The issue you raise is, unfortunately, very widespread. But you are already one step ahead of the game, as you recognize that your son’s behavior is inappropriate and are properly taking steps to rectify the situation. It is important to speak to your son when he is calm, explain to him that you love him, but it is hurtful when he speaks to you disrespectfully. Tell him of your desire to have a good relationship with him, and that you want his input into how this can happen. Try to come up with a joint plan focusing on how each of you treats the other. Explain to your son that as his mother, he must speak to you with derech eretz – but that you will change your tone with him as well, speaking towards him with greater derech eretz.

To give the plan an improved chance of success, devise ways to ask each other to do things while explaining the reasons why at times those things cannot be done immediately. A good way for your son to speak to you (and for faster results for you to speak to him) is to say “I’ll do it with pleasure” when you ask him to do something. Another thing to say if he can’t fulfill your request right away: “Is it possible for me to do it in one minute?” If he does not seem amenable to these scripts, develop your own verbal thoughts that work for both of you. (Remember that a prepared script is likely to make it easier for your son to speak more appropriately to you, as he will have a better idea of what you are looking for.)

Make sure to heap praise on him when he speaks with derech eretz. Similarly, if he reverts back to speaking disrespectfully, calmly say, “Can you please say that again with derech eretz?”

It is not a good time to attempt to change your son’s behavior if he is extremely tired or hungry. In those situations, it would be better to have him get some rest or eat something. Then you can quietly and calmly tell him that although you know he was tired and/or hungry, you still expect more from your special son than to speak with you in an unsuitable way. By staying calm, you are telling your son – without engendering more disrespect – that his actions are unacceptable.

Once the tone with your oldest son improves, your other children will likely follow suit in the way they speak with you. But you should speak with each of them as well. You and your husband should also converse in the same mode, setting a good example for your children to emulate. Children generally learn and act through the examples set by their parents. Additionally, it’s a good idea to role-play with them on ways to speak more respectfully, as this will ready them when the real situations arise.

Dr. Yael Respler

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 4/18/08

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.

To all women, men or children who feel that they are at the end of their ropes, please consider joining a support group, or forming one.

Anyone wishing to make a contribution to help agunot, please send your tax deductible contribution to The Jewish Press Foundation.

Checks must be clearly specified to help agunot. Please make sure to include that information if that is the purpose of your contribution, because this is just one of the many worthwhile causes helped by this foundation.

* * * * * * * * * *

Dear Rachel,

I had written to vent my frustration (Chronicles 12-14) with all those well-intentioned people who would suggest a shidduch and then not follow through with it, leaving the single in limbo. I pointed out that it’s not enough to come up with an idea, that the pain and frustration to the single is horrific.

The responses from several readers (Chronicles 2-1) was comforting, especially the one from the single who pointed out that the “shadchan” may not realize that singles wait on tip-toe to hear from the shadchan about what the dates’ impressions were or whether there will even be a date after weeks of looking into a person.

My daughter presently in her mid-20s has been dating for several years and is all but burnt out from this process. Let me tell you that she is a very social, well-groomed and accomplished young lady, but that she is fed up with all the protocol and shtick involved in the dating scene. The really sad part about this is that she has all but shut me out (as well as her father and siblings) and won’t even tell us when she has a date coming up.

I admit that perhaps we have all questioned her a bit too much about dates that she has been on. However, I think that we have basically just tried to be supportive and helpful. The pain in her eyes every time she hears of another engagement is more than I can bear.

I would like to appeal once again to all friends, families, neighbors and even acquaintances of any singles: Please try and get involved. Everybody knows somebody from the block, shul, workplace, etc. Please make that call if you think you might have an idea for a shidduch, and of course follow up on it in its entirety. It takes five minutes to make a call while you are relaxing in the evening, or even on line at the supermarket. (I can’t tell you how many calls I make for people while grocery shopping.)

The singles that you know are experts at looking nonchalant and pretending that they don’t care. Believe me, behind closed doors it is a very different picture.

I invite other mothers or shadchanim to write and comment on this and maybe motivate others to open their hearts a little more to the singles situation.

More from a Frustrated Mother

Dear Frustrated Mother,

Naturally you hurt when you perceive your children’s pain. You vehemently protest against the callous indifference some shadchanim display once a shidduch is proposed, not to mention the lack of concern on the part of the general public that doesn’t bother getting involved at all.

From my vantage point of “observer,” I gather that your daughter has not only her own frustration to deal with but carries the burden of her mother’s pain as well.

It becomes apparent that this is one of the reasons your daughter has shut you out. Your obvious disappointment makes your daughter’s more acute. Even when she might be fine with a proposed shidduch coming to naught, your letdown becomes her emotional burden. Though you mean well, your outlook and your reactions can be oppressive; your daughter needs to deal with her situation in her own way, unhindered by heavy interference from family members.

Your daughters are adults who need space, as in privacy and breathing room. In your own words, you admit to questioning her “a bit too much”, albeit out of a desire to be “supportive and helpful”. But your utterances of frustration only serve to drag your children down with you.

Your daughter’s nonchalance is a façade to some extent but is far preferable over giving the impression of being a bitter, worn-out single (which she may not be, even if you imagine that she is). Place your trust in Hashem and let emunah calm your jangled nerves. Optimism is catchy, not to mention healthy.

While I am aware that making and taking (cell) calls just about anytime anywhere has become common practice, attending to your personal matters while “on line at the supermarket” or “grocery shopping” is inappropriate, Confidential exchanges within hearing range of other shoppers may leave you feeling accomplished, but your satisfaction is achieved at the expense of others who have the right to expect not to be distracted, disturbed, or forced to listen in on you personal goings-on.

Read on…

Dear Rachel,

I am writing regarding the mother of single daughters who had written to complain about the attitudes of shadchanim. As a layperson (just looking to do my part to help in this area), I must state my grievance at the attitude of singles.

Not only do they not return calls for weeks after saying they will “sleep on it” and get back in touch, they act like they are doing us the biggest favor by listening to begin with. The ridiculous excuses of “it doesn’t sound right” or “I don’t get good vibes about it” may demonstrate why these older singles are older and still single.

How can a single in good conscience pass on a 50/50 chance at finding her bashert?

The singles thus inclined also seem to have no appreciation of the emotional investment that often goes into the matchmaker’s effort.

I recently overheard an eligible “older” male remark to a shadchan that he had no desire to be set up with girls 30 and up because of their lack of enthusiasm and attitude of just “wanting to get the date over with.”

Wake up, singles!

Dear Wake,

Please do not lose the faith. If you succeed in effectuating just one match, it will all have been worth every bit of your input!

Let’s not forget that Krias Yam Suf occurred not a moment sooner or later than was predetermined by Hashem − a profound lesson in bashert and faith in a Higher Power that orchestrates how, when and where.

Wishing all readers an uplifting and inspirational Pesach holiday!

(Please note that the next Chronicles column will appear May 2.)


Chonicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 12/14/07

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.

To all women, men or children who feel that they are at the end of their ropes, please consider joining a support group, or forming one.

Anyone wishing to make a contribution to help agunot, please send your tax deductible contribution to The Jewish Press Foundation.

Checks must be clearly specified to help agunot. Please make sure to include that information if that is the purpose of your contribution, because this is just one of the many worthwhile causes helped by this foundation.

* * * * * * * * * *

Dear Rachel,

I am sitting in the parking lot of a local shopping center in my community, and it’s all I can do not to break down in tears. I have just seen yet another young mother with a baby in tow, and another young couple shopping together for their groceries, and it tears me apart.

You see, I am the mother of young single daughters who are two of the many caught up in the so-called “shidduch crisis.”

I know very well that I am far from the first person to write a letter venting about the agony I feel as a mother of girls (and I am certain of boys as well) in their mid-20s who somehow missed the boat when their younger counterparts were fortunate enough to find their basherts early on.

So I guess that the main focus of my letter is to appeal to all those involved trying to be instrumental in making a shidduch to follow up a lot more than I feel they have been doing.

When I say this, I am referring to everyone, from professional shadchanim to those involved in local synagogue committees, to even well intentioned friends. Please understand that it is not enough to say, “Oh, I have an idea for a shidduch,” or even to make the initial telephone call proposing it. The single girl cannot or should not have to make the follow-up or check-in calls to see if the boy is still “busy.”

Obviously everyone is caught up with the obligations of their own daily lives. But please remember that every day is another day these singles are left without hope and in limbo, and a potential shidduch may not be made.

If it is not your intent to follow the process through in its entirety, and that includes making whatever phone calls are necessary, don’t suggest the shidduch in the first place. It’s not fair to say, “I didn’t have time to make the call,” or “things were too hectic.” How long does a call take anyway? Especially when it’s just a follow-up to find out if the boy had a chance to look into the girl yet, or if he is still “busy,” or if he is at all interested?

This is an issue I have had the need to get off my chest, and I can only hope the message will reach everyone it applies to.

Please remember, you have the opportunity to do a huge mitzvah or really hurt someone’s neshamah.

Frustrated Mother

Dear Frustrated Mother,

Unfortunately, there will always be good-intentioned individuals who are not on the ball. The truth is that many of these “forgetful” souls are disorganized in their own lives and just can’t get it “together.” Though this ends up hurting you, you should not take it personally.

Your focus should instead be concentrated inward – to reinforce your trust and belief in a Higher Power capable of delivering your daughters’ zivugim to your doorstep in a heartbeat. This does not translate to your sitting back and waiting for that fateful knock on the door. But once you have done your part (unreasonable or unrealistic expectations aside), the rest should be left to the Master Matchmaker.

The stronger your faith in your Creator, the quicker your yeshuah will be orchestrated above – for we are taught that Hashem awaits us to rely on Him, to depend on Him, to beseech Him for all our needs, and to not fool ourselves into believing that “man” is in charge.

Frankly, I must submit that I was quite taken aback in reading that your daughters, who you bemoan as having “missed the boat,” are in their twenties. Already obsessing over their “still single” status is only serving to stress you out mentally and physically and is likely to impact negatively on the harmony and peace in your home.

Consider, if you will, that many girls (and boys) have found their mates in their late 20s and even 30s, some discovering that they simply had to wait for their intended to become “of age” or for the time to be right. Take, for instance, the wedding I recently attended, where the bride was 10 years older than the groom! Baruch Hashem this couple is deliriously happy, but the reality is that when she was 25 and on the lookout for Mr. Right, he was a mere 15!!

Hopefully, the habitual procrastinators who claim to be working for your benefit will heed your message. In the meanwhile, I humbly suggest that you lighten up and encourage your girls to make the most of their unencumbered single-hood. Plenty of young wives/mothers (whom you envy – a dangerous waste of emotional energy) are feeling overwhelmed and bogged down by their myriad responsibilities and can only fantasize of the freedom they once had and may not have taken advantage of.

In due time, you will wonder how you could have driven yourself to be ridden with such needless anxiety. Remember that each new day brings new hope and is a step closer to fulfillment of your heart’s desire.

We have just concluded celebrating the miracle of Chanukah. For eight consecutive days, we sang the praises of the One Who performs miracles for us Bayamim Haheim B’zman Hazeh – in those days and in these times.

Praying for guidance, believing in yourself and in the worthiness of your children, and most of all in G-d, will take you much further than all this futile hand-wringing.

May you and your family merit to dance at your own simchas very soon.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chonicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-2/2007/12/12/

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