Please enable JavaScript in your browser to experience all the custom features of our site.

RabbiHorowitz.com
Please Use Our New Website
still under constructions
to purchase safety books and educational materials
https://thebrightbeginnings.com

Mr. Harry Skydell, Chairman
Mr. Mark Karasick, Vice Chairman
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Director
Rabbi Avrohom M. Gluck, Director of Operations
The first 1000 members will have a chance to win a
16 GB
iPod
touch
with Rabbi Horowitz audio

Membership Benefits:

  • Save articles to your favorites folder.
  • Save and print selected articles in a PDF journal.
  • Receive emails containing the latest comments on your favorite articles.
  • Mark articles as "READ".
  • More member features coming soon...

Raffle Rules:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, complete the signup form and join as a member. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries shall become the property of CJFL. CJFL is not responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed entries.

The contest is open to the general public. Members need to be at least 18 years old. Identification must be produced on request. Employees of CJFL, its raffle sponsor, advertising and promotional agencies and their respective affiliates and associates and such employees' immediate family members and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are excluded from this raffle. ALL PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED MEMBERS WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THIS RAFFLE. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Decisions of the raffle judges are final - no substitutions will be available. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness (first initial and last name) and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the internet and picture date storage) which CJFL may deem appropriate. In accepting the prize, the winner, acknowledges that CJFL may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with accepting or using this prize. CJFL retains the rights, in its absolute and sole discretion, to make substitutions of equivalent kind or approximate value in the event of the unavailability of any prize or component of the prize for any reason whatsoever. This contest is subject to all federal, provincial and municipal laws. CJFL reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this raffle at any time without prior notice. One entry per person.


Jumpstarting Your Child’s Life
Parenting an At-Risk Teen
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
Publication: The Jewish Press

  Rated by 15 users   |   Viewed 16211 times since 8/16/07   |   31 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend
   

8/16/07

Dear Readers:

With a heart filled with gratitude to Hashem, it is my pleasure to inform you that my wife Udi and I became grandparents (for the first time) this past Tuesday night when our children Shlomie and Kaila Horowitz had a baby boy. Mazel tov to our mechutanim Ovadiah and Rochel Kranz; to our parents Shlomo and Beile Nutovic and Leibel and Bracha Berger.

Should you wish to share mazel tov wishes with us, please email my wife at udi528@aol.com. She is incredibly gracious and understanding about sharing me with the klal, and I am sure that she will be pleased to hear from you.

May we always share besuros tovos with each other.

Yakov Horowitz

--------------------------------------

Imagine going for a walk one winter morning and finding your neighbor sitting in his car vigorously turning the steering wheel – while the engine is shut off. When you ask him why he doesn’t start the car, he responds that his battery died, and he will soon get jumper cables to ‘give it a boost’. However, before he does that, he would like to

turn the front wheels away from the curb so that he can instantly be able to pull out of the parking space once his automobile starts. You may walk away wondering why he is exerting so much energy turning the wheel of a stalled car, instead of waiting until the engine starts and the power steering kicks in.

This analogy reflects my thinking of how parents can be most helpful in assisting their at-risk teens get back on track. Very often, and understandably so, parents start helping their struggling kids by addressing the antisocial behaviors (partying or drug/alcohol abuse) or the rejection of Torah values (not keeping Shabbos or inappropriate attire). I have found, however, that the most effective thing that parents can do to really help their child is to assist him/her in getting his/her life in order. Once that is accomplished, it is far, far easier to help him/her with the other matters.

You see, as long as your teen is unhappy and/or unproductive, it is as if his/her life is on hold – as the vehicle of his/her life is stalled. The ‘power steering’ that enables positive change to occur and a sense of spirituality to develop can only kick in when the engine of accomplishment is turned on. You can exert a great deal of force turning the wheel while the engine is off, but you will be draining your energy, shredding the tires and digging trenches in your driveway while this is going on. It is much wiser to work on helping him/her achieve success first. The rest will follow, with the help of Hashem.

I often tell parents of at-risk teens to follow the sage advice of the Kotzker Rebbe (Reb Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, 1787-1859) who noted that the Torah informs us (Shmos 22:30) "V'anshei kodesh te'heyu li – people of holiness shall you be to Me.” The rebbi pointed out that the Torah places the word anshei before kodesh, in effect telling us to be a ‘mentch’ before attempting to achieve spirituality (his exact works in Yiddish were, “kodem a mench un nach dem heilig – first [become] a [refined] human being, and only then [strive to become more] holy).

While the rebbi did not express these thoughts in terms of at-risk teens, I feel that this concept represents the most effective way for parents to chart a course for the lives of their at-risk kids. Help them become ‘mentchen’ – functioning, productive young adults who have a reason to wake up in the morning, who feel that each day is a gift that ought to be unwrapped as the treasure that it is – before you work on the at-risk symptoms. For once they become happier and more productive; you will find it so much easier to ‘turn the wheel.’

In a very practical sense, it means to help him/her get a GED, or better yet help him/her resume schooling in a mainstream high school, yeshiva or college setting. Send him/her for career counseling and get him/her a job. Tell your child that you are in this together and you will always love him/her forever (you may get a roll of the eyes, but I can assure you that your child will be eternally grateful for this). Get your child into therapy if there are ‘issues’ that need to be resolved. Show leadership and express your love for your child by going for counseling yourself to help you effectively parent your child through this challenging stage in his/her life.

Please print this line and affix it to your desk or refrigerator. It is one of my favorites and I tell it to parents every time that I lecture on parenting at-risk teens. “No One Ever Changed the Oil in a Rented Car.” That means that the more ownership your teen feels in his/her life, the more likely he/she will be to avoid reckless and life-threatening behaviors. Giving them the keys to their lives will give them the ‘boost’ they need.

I would also suggest that you carefully study the theory of Abraham Maslow on “The Hierarchy of Needs.” (Click here) He suggests that there are five sequential ‘needs’ aligned like a pyramid. Once the more basic needs are met – safety, security, and belonging – a person can begin to work on achieving success and self-actualizing. In plain simple English, that means that if you lecture an unhappy, unfulfilled teenager about his davening or lack thereof, it is unlikely that your efforts will meet with much success. As with all theories, you need not agree with it in its entirety (I don’t), but there are profound lessons to be learned from his thoughts.

I will close this column with a final thought and plea. Please, please ignore your neighbors and societal pressure and l’maan Hashem do what is right for your child. Our patriarch Yaakov Avinu had the wisdom and fortitude to acknowledge the diversity of his children’s natures and abilities in his final blessings to them (see Bereshis 49). He celebrated their individuality, did not try to force one into the other’s shoes – and was rewarded by having all his children follow his path of serving Hashem. Parents who ignore the sage advice of his living example often pay a horrific price. Over the years, I have seen far too many children sacrificed on the altar of “what will the neighbors say?” when out-of-the-box children are forced into settings that do not match their natures. Keep your eye on doing what is right for your child. That’s all that really matters.

© 2007 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved

Next Week: What to do if you suspect that your child is experimenting with drugs or abusing alcohol.



To sign up for Rabbi Horowitz’s weekly emails, please click here.


Reader's Comments:      Rating & Comments Policy      Rate & Write a Comment!
 Average Rating:              Rated by 15 users    (31 comments)
Subscribe to this Article
(by subscribing you will receive email notification
when new comments are posted)
There are no comments yet. Click above to write the first comment.
Dear Readers:

Please visit our Parenting Resource listing to learn about agencies and services that you can make use of. If you know of an agency that can be of assistance to others, kindly drop an email to our site administrator at admin@RabbiHorowitz.com and pass along the information to him.

I ask that you please consider supporting the work we are doing to improve the lives of our children. Click on these links to learn more about our teen and parent mentoring program that serves hundreds of teens and their families, or our KESHER program, now in 20 schools in 4 states. Your financial support can allow us to expand these services and help more children.

If you believe in the governing principles of this website – to help effect positive change through the candid discussions of the real issues we collectively face, please consider becoming a daily, weekly or monthly sponsor of this website and help defray the costs of it’s maintenance.



Working with Families and Educators on Behalf of our Children

This site is managed by The Center for Jewish Family Life, Inc., 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952
Project Y.E.S. was founded by Agudath Israel of America
The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES - 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952 (845) 352-7100 ext. 114 Fax: (845) 352-9593
email: email@kosherjewishparenting.com


Advertisements