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Need advice about keeping at risk ds from going fully otd
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amother




OP
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 6:08 am
*Please only give advice if you have personal experience with this type of situation. Thanks.*

My ds is 16 and in yeshiva. He’s had major learning difficulties his whole life (that we got him tutors for) and has always had a difficult personality (easily angered, overreacts, hates being told what to do, impulsive, aggressive) and got suspended both in elementary and in mesivta. We’ve tried therapy but he refuses to talk with anyone and the therapists have told us they can’t work with him since he refuses to participate. He’s on adhd medication to help with focusing and impulse control.

Since he was younger I sensed he might go otd but now things are getting much worse. His clothes, his attitude, his “friends,” are all changing. And I found out he was mechallel Shabbos at least 2 times in the last month.

He’s a good sweet boy underneath. We b”H have a good, loving relationship. I think most of why he’s still in yeshiva is because he doesn’t want to disappoint me.

What can I do to pull my precious ds back from the brink? Of course I’m davening hard. What else can I do? I’m fully aware that I don’t have any control over this, and that he’s going to make his own choices. But I’d like to do whatever I can to try and keep him. Advice greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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imasinger




 
 
 
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 6:20 am
I'm sorry you're all going through this.

Here's my suggestion list.

1. Make an appointment ASAP for a neuropsych test. It will take a while to get in. Sometimes, there's more at play than ADHD, and it's worth the process, even if you've done it before (as long as it was more than a couple of years ago).

2. He may be in the wrong school for him. Consider carefully, with guidance from someone who knows him really well, and with DS's input, too. If yeshiva isn't right for him, and he's there only to please you, eventually, that could damage things further than sending him somewhere he isn't resenting. Ask around in your community -- which rav or rebbe has dealt with OTD boys? That person will be good to consult for eitza.

3. Spend as much quality time with him as possible, and find healthy (non screen) things he enjoys for when you're not available. Find out what's troubling him, without attempting to fix it yet. Just listen and validate. Maybe he's not good at making friends, feels awkward with the yeshivish classmates, and is looking for acceptance?

4. Keep davening. Daven for him, personally and specifically, every day.

Hatzlacha!
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amother




OP
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 6:31 am
He’s had a neuropsych eval but that was when he was younger. What kind of issues could it pick up now that it wouldn’t have picked up earlier?

I’ve talked with the people in my community who work with otd boys. Their advice didn’t sit well with me. I have no interest in sending my ds to the local “problem kid” yeshiva where the chevra is r”l dealing with drug and alcohol addiction and some of the boys are suicidal. The yeshiva he’s in now is the lowest tier of “normal” yeshiva, if we sent him to the non-regular yeshivos we’d basically be sealing his fate ch”v since the boys are not normal at all and are doing a lot of bad stuff. I know firsthand because of friends having sent boys to these places.
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amother




Aster
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 6:36 am
Just love him and let him feel that.
He’s hanging out with people who make him feel accepted. He needs to feel valued and important. Don’t criticize anything for now. Let him dress however he wants and don’t say anything. For now, only compliments even if you don’t feel like complimenting.
If the rebbeim in the yeshiva he’s in can’t give over that feeling then he might need a different environment.
Is Waterbury an option? Belle harbor? Englewood? Look into other yeshiva options that stress things other than learning.
Let him know that you want him to have a good experience in yeshiva that’s why it might be good for him to switch.
Speak to his Rebbi or someone else who has a good track record dealing with boys who are not strong in learning. Don’t be ashamed. You need guidance now. His life is on the line.
Daven for him. Daven that he should have yiras shamayim. He should have menuchas hanefesh. He should be influenced by good people who do good things. He should give you torah’dik nachas.
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 6:44 am
If he ever tries to push your buttons and get a reaction out of you by being defiant, breaking Shabbos, or whatever, just stay calm (on the outside at least.)

Look at him with love and say "You're past bar mitzva now, and you know right from wrong. Whatever you do now is between you and Hashem." Repeat as often as needed.

Know deep down that you've given him a strong foundation in Yiddishkeit. He may drift away for awhile, but at least he knows what to come back to when he's ready.

Hashem has a plan for everybody. Not knowing what that plan is can be the hardest part of being a parent.

In the meantime, focus as much energy as you can in appreciating all the good things about him, and of course, daven your heart out.
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amother




Hawthorn
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 7:38 am
Serious question from a mother who's btdt:
Does he want to be in this current yeshiva?
Does he have any input into which yeshiva he attends?
Would he want to go to trade school?
Or college?
At his age, I'd include him in decisions that involve him.

As for your question, how to keep him from going otd- I think the question I would ask instead is, "how to love myself when my child is otd"
It's a question that's not generally asked. My experience with an otd child has been an eye opening time of my life.
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NotInNJMommy




 
 
 
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 7:47 am
There's great specifics in advice here.

Most importantly: Stay connected--and make that your focus. To keep him connected to the family and to yiddishkeit, rather than to ensure he's compliant or fits in.

Keep the connections, and keep them peaceful, loving, and with him having a sense of autonomy and ownership over his choices.

If handled well, this can be a time in his life and a "phase" that actually solidifies his relationship in a lasting way with Hashem and with his famiy/klal yisroel--even if some of the trappings are more liberal or unconventional for your community/family.

Hatzlochah.
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amother




OP
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 7:48 am
Yes he wanted to be in this yeshiva. Yes he was fully involved in the decision and actively chose this yeshiva. No he has no interest in trade school or college. He plans to make it big in business with zero real world experience and lots of difficulties with impulse control, executive functioning, and perseverance.
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amother




OP
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 7:50 am
We’re b”H very connected and have a warm family life. I don’t pressure about yiddishkeit (mostly).
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NotInNJMommy




 
 
 
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 7:57 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Yes he wanted to be in this yeshiva. Yes he was fully involved in the decision and actively chose this yeshiva. No he has no interest in trade school or college. He plans to make it big in business with zero real world experience and lots of difficulties with impulse control, executive functioning, and perseverance.


I wonder if he has undiagnosed ADHD (which can effect the impulse control, executive functioning, and perseverance)....

It probably impacts his ideas about how he will make a living, but there are non ADHD related delusions/pressures imho in the (frum) world that lead to those unrealistic ideas too. Everyone pays their dues and gets their training one way or another--trade school, college, work experience, or some combination. He won't be any different. Is there a businessperson in the community he could start working for in some capacity?
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amother




Arcticblue
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 8:03 am
How about a mentor or "big brother?"
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amother




Taupe
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 9:28 am
I have an ADHD kid who last year kept telling me he wants to go off the derech. He was 10. He has ADHD and wasn't yet on meds. Since going on meds he hasn't said anything. More important than his yiddishkeit right now is "is he happy" "how can we help him best right now" when you're failing all the time in this environment of course you want to run.
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amother




NeonGreen
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 9:37 am
Check out Avi fishoff approach
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Zehava




 
 
 
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 9:43 am
Get therapy for yourself. Don’t take what he does as a reflection on who you are. Love him. Accept him. Don’t guilt-trip him with your disappointment. Ultimately it won’t keep him anywhere for long.
Your worth and success as a parent lies in your actions, not his. The only person you can control is yourself.
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amother




DarkRed
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 9:48 am
[quote="amother [ Hawthorn ]As for your question, how to keep him from going otd- I think the question I would ask instead is, "how to love myself when my child is otd"
It's a question that's not generally asked. My experience with an otd child has been an eye opening time of my life.[/quote]

I have an OTD child myself.
Can you elaborate on "loving myself"? Do you mean by stopping to blame yourself?
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amother




DarkCyan
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 11:12 am
We paid for a phone consultation with Rabbi Brezak who gave us very helpful advice. Definitely worth the money. And get him a mentor asap but it has to be done the right way. Hatzlocha.
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amother




Plum
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 11:36 am
If he has a father, a close relationship with his father is very important. Maybe his father can take him to shul some mornings and for breakfast instead of him davening in yeshiva.
Also, it might be good for his father to discuss with him any problems he may have had in connecting to Hashem and then have him listen patiently if your son talks . Praise him and tell him he has a strong personality and can overcome challenges
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LeeR




 
 
 
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 12:36 pm
Zehava wrote:
Get therapy for yourself. Don’t take what he does as a reflection on who you are. Love him. Accept him. Don’t guilt-trip him with your disappointment. Ultimately it won’t keep him anywhere for long.
Your worth and success as a parent lies in your actions, not his. The only person you can control is yourself.


I want to print this out and hang it on my mirror
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naturalmom5




 
 
 
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 4:42 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
We’re b”H very connected and have a warm family life. I don’t pressure about yiddishkeit (mostly).


As someone , whose son went to yeshiva with at risk and OTD boys and lots of exposure to the parsha

Many OTD girls feel comfortable around me for some reason and open up, I can speculate
Maybe its helpful

As a random anonymous poster I feel the gaiva loud and clear
If I was your son I might be totally turned off as well
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amother




Aquamarine
 

Post Fri, Sep 17 2021, 6:33 pm
naturalmom5 wrote:
As someone , whose son went to yeshiva with at risk and OTD boys and lots of exposure to the parsha

Many OTD girls feel comfortable around me for some reason and open up, I can speculate
Maybe its helpful

As a random anonymous poster I feel the gaiva loud and clear
If I was your son I might be totally turned off as well

Surprised wow! Just wow! Way to be Dan lekav zechus for a mother who's asking for advice!
(One day after yom kippur...)
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