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If you are in a difficult marriage and are considering seeking help, you're probably wondering: what would the counselor make us do during the session? Would my counselor know the appropriate technique to use for our specific case? Is our counselor's style suited to our problem?
Mrs. Sharon Russ, Hotline Director for Shalom Task Force, prays every day that her job will cease to exist. Alas, her prayers have yet to be answered. Over the last fifteen years, thousands of Jewish women have summoned up the courage to reach out and contact the hotline, asking for help. They rely on Shalom Task Force's guarantee of anonymity and privacy and awareness that an Orthodox Jewish wife will often delay efforts to seek advice. This is because she is fearful of embarrassment and the potential negative consequences for her and her children. When she finally gathers the courage to face her dilemma, calling the hotline is her first step towards getting help.
Scenario: your teenager starts smoking and you detect it by smelling it on his or her breath or by finding packs of cigarettes in his or her bedroom. Possible inner issues: control, self-esteem, lack of relationships.
The principles of Relationship Theory (where the greater the relationship, the greater the ability parents have to connect to their teenager) can help address some of the key issues facing teenagers today including: problems concentrating during prayers, difficulty in school, listening to secular music, smoking, rude behavior and alcohol and drug abuse.
When the parent-teen relationship is strained or just needs improvement parents can utilize outside help to bring about a change. When necessary, one of the most effective ways of wielding indirect control is by having the teenager meet with a mentor. As a third person, uninvolved in family conflicts, a mentor is able to interact with a teenager and provide an informal means of solving problems at school, help the teen do homework or simply be a friend.
I once received a call from a forty-seven year old distraught mother whose seventeen-year-old son Moti had changed his style of dress, wearing jeans and refusing to wear a hat. She explained that he had gone through a difficult time in school and was now hanging around the house instead of studying in yeshiva. He was also mixed up with the wrong crowd and was associating with at-risk teenagers late at night on the street. She was very concerned as she had an older son who had gone "off the path" and was worried that Moti was going in the same direction. She believed that Moti could be helped if he would be willing to talk with someone.
Ruth had just recently discovered (from another parent) that Toby had been secretly dating a boy for over a year. When she confronted Toby about her boyfriend, Toby had adamantly refused to admit that she was secretly seeing anyone. Ruth was extremely distraught to realize that her daughter would do something against her wishes and asked if I could help.
The fifth pillar of the inner world is what the eminent psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl called the “Will to Meaning.” This desire for meaning implies wanting to know the whys of life and not just the hows.
As children move from infancy into middle and later childhood, they have a growing need for control over their environment. To meet this need, teenagers must be given reasonable power to make choices about what they eat, whom they play with, and what extracurricular activities they participate in.
We often use the expressions "good self-esteem” or "poor self-esteem” to describe people’s evaluation of their own worth. When people have good self-esteem, they tend to view life from a positive perspective, seeing their potential value. Poor or low self-esteem causes people to feel that everything they do in life is a losing battle and that they always get the short end of the stick.
As many parents discover, building a good relationship with a teenager is not easy. Often teenagers are reluctant to be close to their parents, and at times they look to distance themselves as much as possible. If so, how can parents see beyond the daily power struggles of homework, keeping curfew, staying out of trouble, and succeeding in school?
Building a relationship with your children is often one of the most overlooked aspects of parenting teenagers; yet clearly, as the evidence suggests, the relationship is key to managing a teenager’s at-risk behavior and restoring confidence in the family unit.
Life is full of stories about teenagers having difficulty making it through adolescence. However, parenting teens – even teens who are at risk – doesn’t have to be such a daunting task when parents are willing to focus more on the relationship and less on getting immediate results. Building the relationship is the key to reaching teens who are at risk.
Due to the overwhelming amount of e-mail I have received about domestic abuse, this week's column focuses on the services of Shalom Task Force. (Names...
Can improving your marriage help you live longer? A fascinating study led by researchers at Hebrew University revealed that Bnei Brak, an Israeli city that has one of the highest proportions of ultra-Orthodox Jews, also had the longest life expectancy in Israel. This is what the report found:
One of the leading factors influencing family life is the intellectual and emotional development of the children. In most families, the children grow up healthy, happy and able to fulfill their academic or Torah-based goals. But what happens when a child is perpetually falling behind and is then diagnosed with a learning disability?
The number one factor in resolving problems of acceptance by in-laws is your spouse’s support. As with all close relationships, it’s an art to support your spouse without jumping into the fight or feeding his or her discontent.
You may think you said “I do” to just one person on your wedding day, but the reality of married life is that you actually vowed to honor several people. Marriage comes with new challenges; some of which you had no idea were waiting for you.