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Experienced moms please advise, son will not respect rebbe
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amother




OP
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 2:07 pm
my nine year old son insists that he does not have to listen to his rebbe, he is just missing this understanding that he and the rebbe are not equals and even if the rebbe says something that doesn't make sense to him it doesn't matter.
for example - they had a bbq siyum at someone's house and there was a ping pong table and my son wanted to play and the rebbe said we are eating now and my son would not listen. His explanation to us is that a siyum is freer than a classroom and the rebbe shouldn't be telling him not to play pingpong during a siyum.
he has an answer for everything and this keeps coming up - I really don't know what to do anymore.
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Sesame




 
 
 
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 5:12 pm
That’s so hard to deal with.
It’s great that you sound to be on the same page as the rebbe and obviously I would keep it that way.
You know your son, so will know what will work.
I’d keep in touch with the rebbe. Consistency and consequences too. I really think that’s the main point. You can’t let it slide, and you don’t want other kids copying him. If you’re keeping in touch with the rebbe then it’s easier to be consistent in your approach and with consequences.
How about showing him or telling him about sources in the Torah for respect, appointing a rav etc. Or stories of big rabbonim who learned from their rebbes etc.
Do you/your husband have a rav or mentor that your son can see how you respect?
Hope you manage to get to the bottom of this
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imasinger




 
 
 
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 5:21 pm
IMO, time for you to put on your detective hat. Before deciding what to do, there are a few questions that it would be good to answer.

- How does he behave when you or DH gives him an instruction he doesn't like? What about other adults? Is this a familiar pattern?

- How does he feel socially? Does he have a lot of friends in the class? Does he perceive himself as more of a leader, or a follower? What was the status of the boy he was trying to play with?

- How has he done in classes in the past? What has he told you about his rebbe before now?
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amother




OP
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 6:57 pm
so at home I don't have a problem with him to that extent - meaning - I know what pushes his buttons and I choose carefully what kind of direct orders I give him, because he is not a naturally obedient kid.

I have taught him that he has to listen to his parents even if he doesn't agree, but I often will take the time to "have it out" with him, hear his complaints and share my thought process with him. (That is something that as his mother I can choose to have the time and patience to do, but not reasonable for a rebbe with a class to do...)

As his mother I know him well and have that big picture to pick and choose battles and also to know how much he can handle as a whole. His rebbe is not being overly demanding of blind obedience, and with 24 kids in the class it is absolutely necessary that a rule for everyone or an expectation for everyone be something that my son should learn to deal with even if it makes no sense to him without arguing.

I spoke with him tonight in a calm fashion about how he has the strength to hold his tongue and control himself even if it feels like the rebbe is being unreasonable and that that is the right thing to do. His response is that I have no idea how much he does control himself over and all he has to do is mess up a little and he gets in trouble, and that he only has so much self control.

I didn't know what to say other than he has to try and have complete self control in these areas while in school and then can relax when he gets home. (And I plan to not make any demands that he would find hard in the home for a bit...)

Really not confident that I am handling this well, and open to continued advice please!

btw - he he has lots of friends, is totally a leader and intelligence wise at the top of the class. Behvior wise he has never been an angel, but he had a real kind heart and a conscience, very self aware, but very stubborn.
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behappy2




 
 
 
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 7:07 pm
What happens if Rebbe punishes him? Cuz let's say he is right but he will get punished for it so it's his choice to make. Very impressed with everything you are doing btw.
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Zehava




 
 
 
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 7:35 pm
Is your son gifted? His thought process seems to indicate that. Or at the very least that he’s an independent thinker and authenticity Is an important value to him. Looks like he has his own moral compass. That is a GOOD thing. It means that when he’s older he will resist groupthink and make his own decisions no matter what everyone else is doing.
It can be challenging to be a child who thinks like that. You see grownups whose decisions and commands don’t always make sense to you. You see hypocrisy. It can make you feel misunderstood and to lose trust in authority.
Op you as his mom have the not-easy job of helping him navigate those years until his intellect catches up with his strong independent streak.
First off EMPATHIZE. You don’t have to agree with him that his rebbe is wrong. But you can and should make him feel seen and empathize with his frustration. LISTEN to what he has to say. And turn the problem over to him. Ask him something like “okay so the problem is that you think rebbe should be allowing you to play ping pong at a siyum but rebbe disagrees. What do you think will happen if you disobey? Do you think it’s worth it to get a consequence”? Truthfully he’s the one who needs to take responsibility for his classroom behavior at the end of the day. If he’s punished, then that would teach him that sometimes in life it’s worth it to obey even if you disagree.
And you as his mom, quit worrying over his character. He will be an awesome young man one day, provided he has your support and belief in his success.
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amother




Gold
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 7:43 pm
OP I have no advice but boy can I relate!!
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amother




Ballota
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 7:45 pm
You have a super fine line to balance here:

1. Listen and validate

2. Be careful re how you talk about his rebbe/authority in general around him. In other words, when validating, don't say things like "oh, you're so right, that's totally unfair," etc.

It's really hard to see this in our kids, but as someone in the field of education, I can tell you that the most important thing to do is to make sure you and your spouse are projecting utmost respect for authority.
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Hashem_Yaazor




 
 
 
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 7:50 pm
As a mother of teen boys that sound very similar in some ways, I'm afraid it's just going to get worse if you don't do something now. As bright kids get older and realize humans that have authority over them are not infallible, it gets harder for them to respect these people who still definitely deserve their respect.

Try working on exercises that work on seeing the good in people, have open conversations about people who are older and wiser still being able to make mistakes, that respect is expected for anyone who has authority over them... Work on seeing the gray in things and not just the black and white. Work on how to interact with authority figures in a way that shows respect and not like they are peers. Emphasize good middos and derech eretz. Daven, daven, and daven more.

I wish there was a simple solution but this seems to be an ongoing process for years.


Last edited by Hashem_Yaazor on Sat, Nov 20 2021, 10:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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amother




NeonPurple
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 7:55 pm
I’m not really understanding why this is your problem? Shouldn’t the Rebbe and the school be dealing with it? Just be careful not to undermine them, and always let your son see you have respect for Rebbeim
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amother




Blush
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 7:58 pm
With my kids I have explained to them the necessity of groups following rules to prevent chaos. We have gone through scenarios like what happens in camp if everyone is doing their own thing, and why that is a problem. It doesn’t matter so much if the rule is logical or not, but that in a group setting cooperation is so much more important.
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Hashem_Yaazor




 
 
 
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 8:00 pm
I think showing at home that the parents expect respect as well shows a united front and considering these kids are usually not 100% respecting those in school speaking to them, parental discussions may go further.

I'm constantly guiding my boys, walking them through their interactions and discussing where it may have veered off from the expected track. I'm showing them the benefit if they changed their response or perspective and gained "nechmad l'matta" status.
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amother




White
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 8:05 pm
Personally, I was a bright kid and often disagreed with my teachers, and was cynical of authority, but I understood that I could think one way and behave another way. You don't have to act on your thought process. You can grumble about it privately.

I now have teen sons and they are generally respectful of authority regardless of what they actually think about these authority figures. They have my independent streak and they often privately comment about what an authority figure said or did. But their behavior is respectful and they are not defiant.

So, yes, you can have an independent streak, think for yourself, and still "play nice".

OP, does your child tend to be impulsive?
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dena613




 
 
 
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 9:19 pm
amother [ NeonPurple ] wrote:
I’m not really understanding why this is your problem? Shouldn’t the Rebbe and the school be dealing with it? Just be careful not to undermine them, and always let your son see you have respect for Rebbeim


Yes, of course this the rebbe and school's problem, and they'll have to figure out a way to deal with it.

It's a parent's problem, too, because it's the parents' child. Parents re responsible for the chinuch and middos development, as much as possible,.of their children.
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imasinger




 
 
 
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 9:21 pm
amother [OP] wrote:

I spoke with him tonight in a calm fashion about how he has the strength to hold his tongue and control himself even if it feels like the rebbe is being unreasonable and that that is the right thing to do. His response is that I have no idea how much he does control himself over and all he has to do is mess up a little and he gets in trouble, and that he only has so much self control.


I wonder if you can help him out here, in two ways.

1. Schedule a talk with rebbe, and tell him that DS is working on self control, and is really trying, and if rebbe can help out by giving him some extra praise for it several times a week.

2. Ask DS whenever possible if he's willing to share some of these little victories, so you can offer praise and positivity.
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octopus




 
 
 
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 9:57 pm
It's definitely a social issue because, everyone, no matter how smart they are, has to learn appropriate boundaries. Those boundaries can change when dealing with different types of people. Boundaries are different dealing with peers than dealing with Rebbie. Boundaries are different dealing with parents. There are nuances in every relationship.
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amother




Banana
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 10:00 pm
Op thanks for your post, I learnt so much about parenting from the information youve given here! I understand the merits of different parenting styles and the repercussions.
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octopus




 
 
 
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 10:01 pm
amother [ NeonPurple ] wrote:
I’m not really understanding why this is your problem? Shouldn’t the Rebbe and the school be dealing with it? Just be careful not to undermine them, and always let your son see you have respect for Rebbeim


Gotta love this attitude from parents. Yup your child's behavior has no bearing on parents if it doesn't happen in front of their faces.
ETA Never, ever, underestimate the power parents have. Yes, discussions with your child can be insightful into a behavior. You have more influence than you think.
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amother




Maize
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 10:21 pm
His chutzpah is horrible. But why don't you just tell him he needs to respect the rebbe, even thoughyou understand it is hard. If he doesn't, he will suffer the consequences and will probably choose to listen.
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shaqued_almond




 
 
 
 

Post Sat, Nov 20 2021, 10:46 pm
I don't have a teen boy but I was that sort of kid who always questioned authority. My son is 5 now but I can already see him heading this way. What made me appreciate it a little better was seeing my teachers as people and understanding the limitations of my knowledge. Ask his Rebbe if your ds can get more responsibilities in the class. This could help him understand the amount of work that goes into lesson planning. Another thing your son needs to learn is that respect is a two way street. If he disrespects someone, they will disrespect him. Also, sit down with your son and go over different scenarios; how did he behave? What would happen if he behaved differently? How would others respond to that? There's a difference between "back-talk" and asking questions to understand. Give him some examples so that he knows what to do.
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