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July 26, 2016 / 20 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Yael’

Dear Dr. Yael

Friday, July 15th, 2016

Dear Dr. Yael,

I would like to address the misconception that orphans have a harder time then most getting married. As a girl from an out-of-town family of 7, who lost her mother at the tender age of 13, I can certainly share my perspective and point of view on this matter. In my humble opinion, it is not just young men or women who are orphans who remain single. There are plenty of people fortunate enough to have both parents and even both sets of grandparents who are not married.

My genuine advice to all those who have lost parent(s), especially those who have lost their mothers, is to find someone they can trust and really connect to that person. This is critical for his or her emotional well-being. Whether it’s a family member, close family friend, a teacher, or even a therapist, an orphan needs someone who can provide direction and guidance with warmth and understanding. Orphans need someone whom they can really pour their heart out to, because, regardless of how capable one parent can be, he or she cannot perform the task of two. Hashem gave us two parents for a reason. It is therefore of utmost significance that those who lost parents become close to someone in whom they can confide. Many orphans walk around with an everlasting feeling of guilt which can affect their married years later on. I was one of those individuals and can easily relate to that.

I was “fortunate” to get married and engaged at the age of 18; however, I went into it with a lot of baggage and many insecurities. Throughout my teen years there were many people who tried to get close to me, but I wasn’t able to connect with them. Then, almost 15 years after my mother passed away, I was fortunate to become close with someone who not only understood me, but was also able to offer me the guidance I needed. She helped me become a secure and confident individual.

I know that we tend to be closed and hesitate opening up with others, but it’s a risk we have to learn to take as the right person can help us become a more “well-adjusted” individual. Each one has to identify what his or her specific needs are in a mentor, confidante, and surrogate parent. I needed someone who was old enough to be my mother, who was wise, strong, and very insightful. I was fortunate to find that double-fold. So, if you have lost a parent, remember there is light at the end of the tunnel; you just have to open your eyes and search really hard. I wish everyone in Klal Yisrael an easy and painless time in finding your bashert.

An Orphan Reborn



Dear A.O.R.,

Thank you for this insightful and important letter. I agree with you and believe that every person, not just orphans, can benefit from a mentor. While generally that is a job a parent would hold, unfortunately, not every child can open up to and receive guidance from his or her parents. It is especially important for young children and teens to have an older and mature adult who can guide them in making the right decisions. For those who have lost their parent(s) at a young age, or whose parents are not capable of being role models, it is imperative to find someone that they can trust and emulate. Often when a child lacks this connection they are more likely to get advice from their peers or to follow their own instinct, which can sometimes prove to be very destructive.

As an aside, I will say that sometimes orphans have a harder time making a commitment because they are afraid that they will love someone and then lose them. So what you did was quite courageous.

Thank you for your letter and hatzlocha!

Dr. Yael Respler

Dear Dr. Yael

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Dear Dr. Yael,

I read the letter to the editor about punitive punishments and suppression with surprise, as that is not how I understood the original article.

It seems to me that the parents who took the phone away from their daughter after seeing an inappropriate text on it are thinking parents who do discuss things with their child. They also seem to be slightly more progressive than the school their daughter attends. Yet, they didn’t just ignore the rules when they thought their daughter needed a cell phone, they discussed it with the principal and received permission.

They also knew that their daughter was having difficulty checking voice messages and the mother was simply confirming that she had received the message; they were not purposely snooping on her and invading her privacy. When they took the phone away, it seems to me that it wasn’t so much of a punishment, but more of a “this did not work out.

Of course, their daughter was upset. But I would hope she realizes that her parents went above and beyond to get her the phone with the school’s consent and that she did not handle things appropriately. The phone was clearly a privilege and it’s important for teenagers to learn about consequences, accountability and trust.

Obviously, the issue of the language being used in the text is something that has to be addressed as well; I am not glossing over it, but it is not the focus of my letter.

Our children must know that we look out for them and love them enough to do what is necessary, even when it is difficult. When we do that with love, there will come a time when our children will look back and appreciate our actions. I personally admire how these parents handled the situation. They were open-minded enough not to blindly follow the system, yet not too close-minded to refuse to admit their mistake.

There is one option I would like to share with parents. About five years ago, our youngest had what we decided was a legitimate need for a cell phone. We found a plan called Kajeet. The plan offers parents control. For example, they can set up a list of specific numbers which the phone can call or receive calls from, it can block other numbers and even set times when the phone can’t be used – like not during school or after certain hours. There is also a setting for exceptions – for example, lifting a late night restriction while on a trip.

We discussed this option with our daughter, who was not thrilled, but was happy she was getting a phone and that we heard and understood her needs. After reading the letter from the mother, I asked my daughter how she had felt about using the plan. She said it had been annoying but okay.

Thank you for your column and the ability to air these important issues.



Dear HRL,

I appreciate your letter and its take on the situation. However, in defense of the person who sent the letter to the editor, there are issues relating to privacy and boundaries that we must discuss with our children. They need to know that we respect them and their space so as not to lose their trust and damage our relationships.

Last week we discussed the differences between authoritative parenting and other modalities. The conclusion research has given us is that authoritative is the best method. In it parents maintain a loving, respectful relationship with their child, yet set appropriate boundaries and consequences. Parenting is a very challenging job and balance is so important.

Thank you for the information about the phone plan and your view on parenting. Hatzlocha!

Dr. Yael Respler

Dear Dr. Yael

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Dear Dr. Yael,

My husband works in a kiruv school where most of the kids seem to come from homes with very permissive parenting. Baruch Hashem our children seem to be doing well, but I wonder what, as they get older, is the best way to discipline them. I know that you are against hitting, but what if kids need to know that you are the boss? I am not sure what your stance is on parenting exactly but I know most therapists seem to go for the “permissive way.”

Please respond as I respect you very much and I love your column.


Dear Anonymous,

Any extreme in parenting can create dangerous outcomes. It’s important to make sure that you give your kids a lot of love, but at the same time you must create logical rules and consequences if they are not followed. It’s also imperative to teach your kids boundaries. Kids say they want to do whatever they want, and will often argue when you say “No,” but they truly feel safe with there are rules and boundaries in place at home. Kids who have no rules and boundaries often grow up to be insecure and anxious adults. On the flip side, when parents are too rigid and strict and do not give their children love and positive reinforcement, they also often grow up to be insecure and rebel.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and some kids are resilient and are able to form a positive sense of self regardless of the way in which they were parented. However, for the most part, parenting generally plays a large role in how children will develop.

One of the most well-known research studies on parenting was done by psychologist Diana Baumrind in the early 1960’s.  She conducted a study on more than 100 preschool-age children (Baumrind, 1967). Using naturalistic observation (observation of children in their natural settings), parental interviews, and other research methods, she identified four significant dimensions of parenting: disciplinary strategies, warmth and nurturance, communication styles, and expectations of maturity and control.

Based on these dimensions, Baumrind found that the majority of parents display one of three different parenting styles.  Maccoby and Martin expanded on Baumrind’s research and added a fourth parenting style in 1983. The Four Parenting Styles are Authoritarian Parenting, Authoritative Parenting, Permissive Parenting, and Uninvolved Parenting.

In Authoritarian Parenting, children are expected to follow strict rules that are established by their parents.  If these rules are not followed, the children are punished. No explanations are given and if children ask for one, these parents may say, “Because I said so!” These parents have high demands, but they do not respond to their children’s needs readily and sympathetically.  According to Baumrind, these parents “are obedience- and status-oriented, and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation” (1991). Children of Authoritarian Parenting were generally obedient and proficient, but they ranked lower in happiness, social competence and self-esteem.

In Authoritative Parenting, rules and guidelines are established for children to follow. However, this parenting style is more democratic.  Authoritative parents are more likely to respond to their children’s needs and be sympathetic.  They also allow for questions and try to give reasons for their rules and boundaries.  When children do not meet their expectations, these parents are nurturing and forgiving rather than punishing.

Baumrind suggests that these parents “monitor and impart clear standards for their children’s conduct. They are assertive, but not intrusive and restrictive. Their disciplinary methods are supportive, rather than punitive. They want their children to be assertive as well as socially responsible, and self-regulated as well as cooperative” (1991). Children of Authoritative Parenting tended to be happy, capable, and successful (Macoby, 1992).

Dr. Yael Respler

Dear Dr. Yael

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Dear Dr. Yael,

I was recently asked to redt a shidduch on behalf of a coworker’s son. It had actually been thought of by one of the young man’s friends who had gone out with the young lady. My involvement came about because the young man being redt was more comfortable dealing with an adult than a friend.

I spoke with the young lady’s mother and gave her information about the young man. When she said they were interested, I facilitated the first date. After that, the couple made their own arrangements. Within a few months they were engaged and I was invited to the l’chaim.

I introduced myself to the kallah and her parents and wished them mazal tov. I was surprised when the mother simply said, “Thanks for helping out at the beginning.”

Well, I thought, doesn’t every shidduch have a start? If there’s no beginning, there can be no end! And that is when I realized that she was making it clear that the family did not consider me to be the shadchan. Throughout the engagement period neither side displayed any gratitude, even with a simple a thank-you note.

To make matters worse, I was told by another coworker that a young person suggested the shidduch, but it had been given over to a professional shadchan to facilitate. It seems I got promoted to professional status; only professional shadchanim are usually acknowledged. I was not interested in tooting my horn, so I never mentioned it to them directly. I also felt my presence at the wedding infringed on their simcha, as the kallah‘s mother acted very awkward around me. I can only assume that she knew she had acted improperly and was therefore uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, this behavior is more common than I thought. I recently heard a number of similar shidduch stories. In one case, the shadchan only received the shadchanus money eighteen years after the couple got married. Another woman told me that a couple came five years after the wedding to say thank you. It seems after several years of infertility, a rav asked them if they ever acknowledged their shadchan. After making amends, they had a boy one year later.

I’m not the type of person who makes shidduchim for money or presents. However, I would hope that people who have been helped in any situation would express gratitude.

In addition, while I haven’t found a source, I do believe it is an inyan in halacha as well.



Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for bringing this important issue to our readers’ attention. Let me first address your last comment: paying a shadchan is a halachic obligation. While I am not a rav, the Rama (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 185:10) makes it clear that a shadchan is considered a broker and further (ibid. 87:39) says, “If a matchmaker claims the matchmaking fee and the other denies and says that he was not his matchmaker, or if there is any other dispute between them, the law is the same as any other monetary claim and they take oaths about it.”

Chazal tell us that making a shidduch is like Krias Yam Suf – it’s difficult and it takes a lot of work. I know some very successful shadchanim who are busy day and night on the phones. At the same time, we have a serious shidduch crisis and anyone who spends his or her time trying to alleviate it deserves our thanks.

I can only imagine the pain you felt at the lack of hakaras hatov. You were specifically asked to help set the couple up and, yes, there can’t be an ending without a beginning. Your involvement should have been acknowledged with a gift.

Dr. Yael Respler

Dear Dr. Yael

Friday, June 17th, 2016

Dear Dr. Yael,

I am writing in regards to the letter written by the person who had recently sat shiva for her father (5-27). I sat shiva about 15 years ago, and experienced some of the same insensitivity. People talking among themselves as if I were not sitting on a low chair right in front of them.

In case you think I am exaggerating, three different people called me to apologize for how they acted or what they said when they had come to be menachem avel. There have been insensitive people around for a while. Perhaps the difference is that I received apologies, and today people may not even have the awareness to do so. Another difference is that individual caring has been institutionalized. When I sat shiva, someone went to a chair gamach and bought over the shiva chairs – remember those sawed-off plastic chairs? – another neighbor arranged for the Sefer Torah, while a third made sure there was someone to layn. When we were short for a minyan, a friend made it his business to encourage people by supplying goodies for after davening, and another actually stood outside to gather in those on their way to daven. Nobody picked up the phone and called an organization or sent out a group text or email. We did not have a water cooler, coat rack or mechitza, but we did have caring friends and neighbors. Everybody pitched in using his own ideas and in his own way. This is what we are missing nowadays – the individual approach. People cooked and brought over. Yes, it was chop plop and not so organized, but it was filled with love.

Today, no personal effort is needed or exerted. Recently, someone told me that she goes to a shiva house to fulfill the mitzvah – to go in, give some tzeddakah and say HaMakom. She is not interested in talking to the person sitting shiva.

When the writer mentioned people texting and making calls while sitting in front of the avel, I felt you tried to rationalize their behavior by blaming it on technology, yeridas hadoros and saying that you “don’t think people realize they are being insensitive.” It almost seems as if the onus is on the person sitting shiva to be more understanding!

There is another point I would like to bring up.

A “party” atmosphere has invaded our celebrations. Instead of dignified celebrations of Jewish milestones and yiddish nachas, everything has become a party. Weddings, bar mitzvahs need to have themes, decorations and crazy music. These days you see specially-made hats, t-shirts and other party gizmos – including hip scarves complete with bells and fringes for the kallah and her friends to wear during dancing. A bris must now have balloons and teddy bear centerpieces, plus three types of hot dishes.
As a result, the essence of both simcha and tragedy have been lost and people are slowly forgetting how to behave.

Please Dr. Respler, let’s address this issue and remind people that when a couple gets married a bayis ne’eman is being set up, at a bar mitzvah a boy is accepting upon himself ol malchus Shamayim and when we pay a shiva call it is because someone has experienced a great loss.

Sign me “Tired of Parties”



Dear Tired Of Parties,

Thank you for raising this important issue.

Let me first say that I did not intend to rationalize any inappropriate behavior. Rather, I was hoping to raise awareness and sensitivity among those taking part of an important mitzvah.

There is no excuse for texting while talking with someone who is sitting shiva. Phones should be turned off or placed on vibrate when you walk into a shiva home or, lehavdil, during a chuppah. While many people may feel the need to always be available for elderly parents or young children, we need to be mindful of where we are and act in an appropriate manner.

I also agree with you about the party atmosphere, but I am not sure what can be done except to keep reminding people that the most important thing to do at a simcha is to be misamech the baal simcha.

I appreciate your ideas and insight and thank you for sharing them with our readers.

Dr. Yael Respler

Dear Dr. Yael

Friday, June 10th, 2016

Dear Dr. Yael,

I am so upset and don’t know what to do about it. My son has always been a great boy, never giving us any problems, did well in yeshiva, etc. He got married about eighteen months ago and recently became a father.

Why am I writing to you? My husband and I found something that really shocked us – it seems he has gotten three speeding tickets in a short amount of time. Did he go crazy? I would have thought a person would be more careful after receiving one speeding ticket. Is this immaturity or total lack of responsibility?

My husband spoke with him calmly about points and having his license suspended. I think he was very surprised that we found out about the tickets, but he didn’t apologize and say he’d be more careful.

Dr. Respler, we are concerned that he does not realize his wife and child can also be in danger. Also, this is so out of character for him. He has always been a very cautious person, even a little bit of a scaredy cat. He seems to be happily married and a proud father, and yet…

I’d appreciate your insight on this.

A Concerned Mother


Dear Concerned Mother,

Since I do not know your son or your family’s specific situation, I can only make some suggestions.

Is your son under pressure and feeling in any way stressed? If so, speeding can be a way of feeling free and powerful.

He may have not apologized since he is embarrassed that you know about these tickets. Is it possible that your husband’s inquiry took him by surprise and that is why he did not respond?

Perhaps his wife is very upset and your knowing only added more stress to the situation.

Was your son very young when he got married and became a father?

Did your son know that getting too many moving violations would cause him to accrue points on his license and that it could be suspended? And can facilitate an increase in insurance rates?

Does your son have problems with time management and did the speeding occur when he was late for something? Was he driving from somewhere and needed to get someplace in time for Shabbos or Yom Tov? Did he hit a lot of traffic and then needed to speed in his mind to make up the time?

Having a baby is a huge adjustment and everything just takes longer. New parents need to adjust from being able to just jump into the car and go, to packing up the baby, feeding the baby, changing the baby, etc. We don’t always allow for the time it takes to learn how to do all these things efficiently.

These are just thoughts that come to mind as possible reasons for his behavior. The bigger concern is that he does not impact his young marriage in any negative manner.

There are some people who become different behind the wheel of a car. I have seen the nicest and most polite people assume a different personality when driving. Speeding is a form of adolescent behavior that you may not have realized your son could exhibit. This may be his form of rebellion.

Since you already confronted him about the tickets, perhaps you can just reiterate how much you love and care about him and his family and ask if there is anything you can do to help. I don’t know what your relationship is like, but if you are close he may be willing to share whatever is going on his life that may have precipitated this happening. Even if your son prefers not to open up to you, being warm and loving will help him feel safe in his relationship with you and, in time, he may feel more comfortable speaking with you.

Dr. Yael Respler

Dear Dr. Yael

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

Dear Dr. Yael,

I know that rabbanim are against texting and I always thought it was a bit narrow-minded. However, I recently realized how right they are. You see, I saw the text my daughter wrote to her friend. My daughter is a sweet frum Bais Yaakov-type girl who is a senior in high school. Her cell phone does not have internet access, but it does have texting. While her principal was not thrilled, my husband and I work long hours and she is our youngest. We felt the need to be able to reach her, so we explained to the school that we were getting her a simple phone, not a smart one. It would have no features other than texting. The principal told us that texting was dangerous as well. However, as she has to have her phone off in school and she did not always check her voicemail, we felt that texting was the best way to stay in touch. She could respond when she turned on the phone after school.

To us it sounded like a reasonable plan and though her principal thought we were being naive, she acquiesced to our wishes.

So what is the point of my letter? My daughter forgot her phone one morning and, as I was bringing it to her, checked to see if my husband had texted her a reminder we had discussed. While doing so, I saw a text that shocked me. I would prefer not to share its contents, but I was incredibly disturbed by what I read. There was nothing said that indicated my daughter and her friend were doing something wrong, but the language they were using was highly inappropriate for a frum girl.

Honestly, I have never heard my daughter speak this way, even on the phone to her friends. The more I thought about it, the more I started to remember the lectures I had heard about how people feel free to say things in a text they would never dare say in person. How it creates an atmosphere where inappropriate becomes acceptable. I started to feel that maybe we had been too open and lenient.

This is not even including the horrific stories we have all heard about driving and texting and the accidents that can result.

Dr. Respler, the rabbanim really do know what they are talking about and my daughter’s principal was right. Our young children are facing a most difficult challenge – that of living in a generation where technology can literally kill you physically and emotionally.

We took away our daughter’s cell phone. She is upset right now, but we lovingly explained that we had made a mistake.

I hope people read my letter and realize that even simple technology can be harmful.

A Loving Mother


Dear Loving Mother,

I truly agree with you and understand your need to be sure your daughter has a means of being in touch with you. However, I also know how difficult it is for a teenager to have limits set for him or her; I know how difficult technology makes it for all of us. Couples sit together but spend the time texting others on their cell phone. Often you walk on the street and see mothers walking with their young children and not even paying attention because what is on their phone is more important. It is very sad.

And as you said, texting while driving is incredibly dangerous, as well as illegal. And yet, this knowledge doesn’t seem to stop people.

There are no clear answers to your dilemma. However, for now, it seems like you made the right choice for your family, even though your daughter is having a hard time understanding. Hopefully your daughter will come around, but for now you may have to give her some extra love and patience.  It’s also important for your daughter to understand why you are upset and why you took away her phone. While she may not agree, at least she will see your side of the situation.  I appreciate you writing about this challenging issue and I wish you hatzlocha in raising your family in a generation challenged with technology.

Dr. Yael Respler

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/dear-dr-yael-73/2016/06/03/

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