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Posts Tagged ‘Hatzlachah Dear Dr’

Improving Your Son’s Behavior

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Dear Dr. Yael:
My five-year-old son is a very difficult child. Most of the time he will not do what I ask of him, and he has a tantrum when he does not get his way. Interestingly enough, he is much more obedient when it is just the two of us, but if the other children are around he is very hard to manage. I know that as he gets older, things will become more difficult. Thus, I want to help him change his middos now.

For the most part he is well behaved in school, so I know that he is capable of behaving when he wants to. However, dealing with his after-school issues takes up most of my time and energy, leaving little left over for my other children. I often yell at my son, as he knows what buttons to push. And even though I tell myself not to yell, I inevitably end up raising my voice. I hate myself when I become this angry and mean mother, and I wish that I could deal with him more effectively. Please help!

Mother Who Needs Help

Note: Dr. Orit Herman, a child psychologist, has written this response.

Dear Mother Who Needs Help,

The dilemma with your son is, unfortunately, very common. Many parents have at least one child who is difficult to raise. I commend you for your honesty and for your bravery to seek help.

Some tricks may be helpful. It seems as if your son is looking for attention, so instead of waiting for him to act out and get negative attention, try to manipulate the situation so that you can give him positive attention – before he acts out. For example, try to set up a routine that allows you to spend positive time with him.

You did not identify the ages and genders of your other children, but is it possible for you to hire a high school student to help the older children with homework or to play with the younger children? If so, you would be able to carve out some time to read and/or play with your son. Even if it is for only 20 minutes or so, you can start your evening with some special time with your son, hopefully setting him up for a positive night. Let your other children know that they will each spend “special time” with you, however, since your five-year-old son seems to be going through a hard time you will start with him. You can greet all of the children warmly and then remind them, with a secret signal, that you will be reading and/or playing with your five-year-old – then spending time with them.

Of course, you would want to try to wean your five-year-old off of this schedule and enable him to be more flexible. (Maybe you would eventually spend 10 minutes of special time with him at bedtime.) He might need this one-on-one time with you in order to help him build his self-confidence.

In addition to your joint special time, institute some kind of behavioral chart with a prize of 10 stickers. During your special time you can talk to your son about how much you love him and how you want to work on your relationship with him. Explain to him that you do not like to yell and that you will work on trying to stop. Then describe the positive behavior you want him to work on (begin by picking the two most important things) and tell him that you want to start a chart with him, consisting of earned stickers every time he does certain positive things. Make sure you are clear about what he needs to do to earn the stickers, and that he can earn a small prize (mention things he would like) when he receives 10 stickers. It is important for you to keep your word and to try hard to work on yelling less.

When you feel that you are going to lose it, tell your son that you need a timeout in order to calm down because you are feeling so upset and you do not want to yell. This will teach him what to do when he is feeling upset, and it will show him how much you care about him. Even taking some calming breaths and thinking of a way to bring up something positive will likely help you calm down and get your son to listen. Try to always find the positive things your son does and make a big deal about them, while attempting to ignore and redirect the negative behavior as much as possible. Thus, if your son is not listening to you but then does something nice for one of his siblings, tell him how proud you are of him as a result of his positive action. Follow up by conveying to him a second time how proud you are of him. If he doesn’t immediately pay attention to you, say it again – for he may surprise you and follow through on a request you have for him. If necessary, remind him about the stickers he would earn if he listens. But do not use the sticker chart in a negative way (e.g., “If you do not get into your pajamas, you will not get a sticker”). Rather, use it in a positive way (e.g., “It’s pajama time! I really want to give you a sticker, so please get into your pajamas right away and I can give you one”).

It’s Never Too Late

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Dear Dr. Yael:

I love your column, but I’ve read enough about the husband who wants to daven vasikin and the in-laws who feel that their married children do not express hakaras hatov to them. What about addressing the singles who love to read your column and want to read something about relationships? But instead of complaining to you, I would like you to answer my question.

I am a single, attractive woman in her late 30s who is in a good profession. I want to get married and have children, but realize that my biological clock is ticking. While I go out with all different types of men, I find that as I get older the men who are suggested to me seem to be even older. Suddenly a 10-year, or greater, difference (with the man being older) does not seem to faze the shadchanim or anyone who knows me. This includes my married friends, family and others.

It appears to me that it is a man’s world. The men can get it all – especially if they are well off and have a good business or career. Only recently I heard that a 58-year-old man, who was never married, got married to a 40-year-old attractive woman. That is an 18-year difference!

Why do the men have it all? I have even heard of men who were married for almost forty years, had great marriages, experienced the passing of their wives – and then marry women much younger than them. I feel so lost in this single world, and look back at so many opportunities that I passed up because I thought the man was not good enough for me. They all seem to be happily married to other women – with families of their own.

People often blame the parents of the single person, but my wonderful, happily married parents have always loved and supported me. In fact, in my case most of the men I have dated do not seem to measure up to my amazing, financially successful father, who is also a ben Torah and great husband and who I love dearly.

Can someone be too picky because she or he has an incredible father, and parents who have a great marriage?  Do you think I missed my zivug because I compared every man to my father and every relationship to my parents’ marriage? I know that, generally speaking, the reason people have problems getting married is because they had problems concerning their family of origin. However, in my situation I come from a loving home and all my siblings have excellent marriages.

I feel so alone, since I am the only one in my family who is not married. Please tell me if you think I missed my zivug.

                                                                                            Desperate Single Woman  

Dear Desperate Single Woman:

I hear your pain, but do not have a simple answer to your complex situation. I will, however, attempt to answer your question as best I can.

I have witnessed situations where a woman or man from an amazing family compares her or his dates to their amazing father or mother, and as a result might often reject a potential shidduch. Since I have no ruach ha’Kadosh, I do not know if in fact you let go of your zivug. However, I would like you to now focus on finding your true zivug b’karov.

Perhaps you should change your list of requirements and look for what is most important in order for a marriage to work. Instead of looking for looks, money, power, career accomplishments, etc. in a husband, maybe you should look for middos and for someone who will be a loving husband and who will help you build a true bayis full of warmth and love. While you may see a man who is not so “cool” as a negative, this man may actually be a great person with solid middos, a humble man with no need to be the center of attention. A quiet, caring person may actually make a better husband than the witty guy (the one with the great jokes and good lines) who always needs to be the center of attention. It would be prudent for you to step outside the box and try to find someone who may not fit all of your criteria, but might possess the characteristics that would make him a great husband and father.

I therefore suggest that you redo your personal list of “musts” in a shidduch, and rethink what your true needs are. You should not make these decisions based on what looks good to your friends and family. Instead, you need to examine what is desired to make you happy and what it will take to build a home full of respect, warmth and love. If you feel that professional help is required to sort out these issues, seek that help. Don’t worry about whether it is a man’s world. You seem to have a lot going for you, so put your best foot forward and try your best to change your approach in finding your zivug. Hatzlachah in your journey, and I hope that you find your true zivug b’karov.

Help! I Am Losing Sleep!

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Dear Dr. Yael: My husband recently started davening in a vasikin (sunrise) minyan. Our problem is that I am a light sleeper, and he sleeps right through his alarm. I realize that while he is not trying to be cruel by intentionally leaving on his radio in the middle of the night just to hear what is going on in the world, my patience is extremely thin at 4 a.m. We have tried a few vibrating alarms, but they have not been enough to wake him. It always comes back to the radio blasting at 4 a.m. Even when sunrise is later, he sets the alarm earlier because he knows it doesn’t wake him right away. Then the alarm wakes me up and I can’t get back to sleep. When I ask him to shut the radio, he tells me he is getting up, hits the snooze and falls right back to sleep. When he finally gets up, he does not move around quietly. I am forced to listen to drawers and cabinets opening and closing. Making matters worse are the nights when his noise wakes the baby!

I have tried to discuss this with him during the day but we always come back to square one. He needs his alarm to wake up, the vibrating alarms don’t work, and he won’t go to a later minyan. When I tell him that he is robbing me of much-needed sleep, it falls on deaf ears. I feel that davening vasikin at the expense of shalom bayis is no mitzvah at all. Many days I walk around with a headache, angry with him for doing this to me. I find myself snapping at the kids when I shouldn’t – but I am just so tired. I simply can’t take it anymore. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. A Sleep-Deprived Wife  

Dear Sleep-Deprived Wife: The easy answer to your tough predicament is to tell your husband that he cannot continue to do this to you, and that he needs to daven in a later minyan. However, I am not a rav and thus cannot give you such a response. Furthermore, your husband seems pretty adamant about davening in a vasikin minyan, so the obvious answer is not so simple.

The first, and most practical, thing to do is to seek advice from your husband’s rav as to what you should do. If he suggests that your husband should continue to daven in the vasikin minyan, you could, in the meantime, change some of the physical constraints that are impeding your sleep. Begin by inquiring whether your husband can get dressed in a different room so that he will not continue to wake you up. He can put all of the things (clothes, shoes, etc.) he needs for the next morning in another room before he goes to sleep, so that you will not hear him moving around. Perhaps he can also purchase an alarm clock that makes enough noise to awaken him, but not something loud and annoying. The Kosher Clock (an alarm clock that is used by many people on Shabbos because it does not require a snooze button) is loud enough to wake one up, but is not as annoying as other alarm clocks.

Maybe you can wear earplugs to sleep, so that you will not hear the alarm clock. And if your husband insists on arising for vasikin – which forces him to get up early anyway – he could get up a bit earlier if he hears the baby or he could let you know if the baby is crying. Another idea is for you to keep the alarm clock farther away from where you sleep so that you will not hear it as loudly as you do now. This will compel your husband to get up to shut it off, making it less likely that he will go back to sleep.

It would be helpful for the two of you to have a calm conversation about this at a time when you are not feeling frustrated or angry (maybe on a Motzaei Shabbos, when you are not as sleep-deprived).

You can tell your husband that you love him very much and do not want to fight about this situation. Then you can raise the idea of asking his rav for guidance, as this is becoming a big tircha for you and is affecting your ability to be a good wife and mother. You can express that while you understand the big zechus of davening vasikin, you would really appreciate his understanding of how hard this is for you and to please make as many accommodations for you as possible. Try not to put your husband on the defensive because that is generally not effective. Use the “I feel…” messages, i.e. “I feel badly that you are not taking my feelings into account” instead of using statements of blame, i.e. “You are being unfair to me.” Also, consider using neutral statements like “I need to sleep so I can be a good mother and wife. I am feeling very frustrated and angry because I am not getting enough sleep.” While both statements may be true, the first will likely lead to an argument while the second gets your point across in a non-judgmental manner.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/help-i-am-losing-sleep/2011/12/22/

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