Matzav Inbox: Who Are You To Judge Me or My Struggling Child?

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Dear [email protected],

I am writing to express my frustration and disappointment with neighbors of mine who have repeatedly made insensitive and hurtful comments about my daughter. My daughter, who is off-the-derech, has been struggling to find acceptance and support in her life, and these negative comments from our neighbors – about who she hangs out with, how she dresses, or whatever – have only made it harder for her – and us.

It is not appropriate for anyone to judge or comment on another person’s situation, ever, especially when those comments are made in a rude or disrespectful manner. We have a right to try to steer our daughter back on track without fear of judgment from others. We are trying out best. If you don’t have this nisayon, you have no idea what it’s like.

People have repeatedly made insensitive and hurtful comments about the way I am educating my child. That is cruel.

I can’t go to simchos anymore.

I can’t go to shul anymore.

I can feel the stares boring a hole through through my heart.

As a community, we must strive to be more accepting and understanding of those who may not fit into the mold of what we consider to be “normal.” We must remember that everyone has their own unique path and journey, and it is not our place to judge or marginalize those who are different.

Not every girl is cookie-cutter or fits in a box. Our schools have to get it through their heads. Stop trying to fit everyone into that sick, cruel, narrow box.

And I urge my neighbors, and even family, to consider their words and actions before making negative judgments about others.

Because what goes around comes around.

Today it’s my family dealing with this. Tomorrow…

Sincerely,

A Parent in Pain

 {Matzav.com}


25 COMMENTS

  1. Please just ignore all of the haters.I had a daughter who was off the derech and her own grandmother (my mother in law)told her at a wedding “you should be an underwear model” in a very sarcastic and mean way.She was so hurt by that comment.Baruch Hashem we were able to continue to love her,and support her,and to believe in her,and right now she is a frum girl going to an excellent seminary in Eretz Yisrael.Continue to love your daughter and ignore everyone else and you will see wonderful things from your beautiful daughter.

  2. I feel your pain,because I had the same experience.May Hashem give you and your entire family the strength to over come this very challenging time.

  3. Please join KESHERNAFSHI.org for struggling children. You will get a different perspective as I did!

    There are unhealthy people all over. One group of those have a negative view on anyone and everyone that doesn’t meet their skirt length.

    THE PROBLEM IS THEIRS NOT YOURS.

    You’re a great Mom / Dad. Keep it up and keep your chin up!

  4. I feel sorry for the writer, but he/she is totally off.

    Our schools are far from narrow, there is a way a Jewish daughter should be dressed. It is not acceptable that someone inappropriate should be seen by our small kids while we try to teach them how to behave they can’t process this.

    Although you struggle with your daughter, that does not give you the right to complain, there is a way we should behave and none of our rules should be breached.

    If your daughter is not dressed properly she should know you are still accepting her the way she is, but she is still doing something wrong.

    Stop this inappropriate behavior in our glouring community.

    • Oh where to start? As a mother of a struggling child, I am trying very hard not to wish this pain upon you. It is people like you who make our hardship so much harder. I tell people the same Hashem who gave me this nisoyon put my child near you for you to learn from her as well.

      As one of the commentators wrote. Go watch some of the speeches from Kesher Nafshi. Learn to accept those who are struggling. Love them and make them feel proud of who they are… maybe then we stand a chance to bring them back to Torah and mitzvah.

      As for the letter writer, hold your head up high! I know it’s hard to go out and feel judged. But if they see you holding your head hig and proud, they are less likely to judge. It took my neighbors two years to accept and then they came to tell us how amazed they were with how we were dealing with our child!

    • I would say , let’s see how you feel when it’s your kid but I don’t wish this agony on any yid…no matter the level of stupidity

    • Hashem should help you should only have yiddishe nachas from your children. However if G-D forbid someone you know is going through this nisoyon I will give you some advice. First get in touch with a frum therapist how to deal with your child and yourself. When I saw my son was slipping and skipping school I tried getting him to go to a therapist recommended by the school. My child refused to go. At first my husband and I were trying to fight a war without any knowledge of how to fight this battle. So my husband and I went for over a year to a frum therapist who taught us how to talk, react, respond to each new nisoyon my child went through. Two things I learned 1) If you decide to fight your child you may win the battle but you will definitely lose the war and probably your child. 2) No matter what your child does remember YOU aren’t doing anything wrong. When I internalized this, I was able to walk in the streets of Boro Park with a son wearing short pants and the same if a daughter wears pants or doesn’t dress tzniyusdik. it’s them not you but you’re still the parent and you have to give them their space. My son finally did go to therapy. I’m still waiting for the happy ending. With Hashem’s help we will get there. Keep davening

      • A son wearing short pants is not against halacha. It might be uncomfortable in a chasidic community, I’m not denying that. ….

    • Hi YR. You may not have consciously intended this, but there’s a major difference between “someone inappropriate” to “behaving inappropriately”. To me that is where your growth is hidden – hopefully you’ll find it soon, as many of us do!

  5. Painful to read! Sadly this is a part of us! When Hatzoloh tends to a patient, we all feel the to stand around to look. Why is it always our business!? In this story, why can’t we think of nice things to say? Encouraging things?

  6. Please, you are mistaken, no one is judging you. We are crying for you, we are davening for you and your child. No one is immune to this tragedy. It is happening in the best families, Rebbes, Roshei HaYeshivah are also suffering from children that are… nebach. We are davening, and you should daven, and together our Tifilos will break this gezarah

  7. I am sorry to hear of your struggle, and I am certainly sorry to hear that you are being made to feel this way about what is beyond your control.
    I would ask that you consider these comments from your neighbors, friends, and relatives as one part ignorance, two parts seeking relevance, and one part classless advice, with a dash of unprocessed empathy. Considering it that way will at least ease the stress, if not actually help you to cope with the situation (which is a terribly difficult situation for any parent to be in).
    I am sure that you are already speaking with Mechanhim, Rabonim, and mental health professionals, so I will not bother to tell you to do so, however, anyone in a similar situation should be aware of how beneficial the support from them is.

  8. Just ignore them. It is none of their business!! You do what is right for YOUR daughter!! Do NOT worry what others think.

    I understand in the Frum world this is easier said then done with community peer pressure etc… But you got to do what you got to do even if it’s not popular. Usually a understanding Rav would advise what you are doing is correct.

    • As I wrote above to AR the best thing my husband and I did when our son started slipping was going to a frum therapist once a week, (plus the phone calls) for over a year to learn how to talk and react to our son. I would say it was a blessing in disguise that my son refused to go to therapy at first. This forced us to go ourselves to a therapist. My husband and I had no idea how to react to each new nisoyon my son went through. So for over a year we went to therapy and literally learned a new way of talking. He taught us what to say, what not to say, how to say it, when to say it. To someone who didn’t go through this nisoyon you think I’m overacting but I will tell you from experience most people will say the wrong things at the wrong time and make matters worse.

  9. Maybe it is those people who have negative feelings and make negative statements of these youth with challenges are off the derech!
    These youth with challenges are children of the KB”H and need to be treated as such.
    Be welcoming, help them in their journey. Create the environment , schools and other venues that will help them.

    Your negativity is a reflection of your own inner being. This negative behavior against these challenged youth simply put is “Retzicha”

  10. To YR you should be ashamed of yourself! You are talking this way because BH you are not in this sugya, but if you where your eyes would open and your wouldn’t be so narrow minded and talk the way you are right now. I give you a bracha that you should never know from this, and please open your mind to see the real picture.

  11. As a parent of such a child (who is much better now B’H) are you sure you are correctly understanding the situation?

    Yes people (mostly from the older generation who raised their children at a time this wasn’t such an issue) made comments that indicated they do not understand the situation (they didn’t mean to be insensitive) and yes it is embarrassing to have such obvious lack of control over your child but there are limits.

    Why can’t you go to shul or simchas? Is everyone there so obsessed about your daughter ? Do they feel so strongly about her that they go out of their way to make you feel uncomfortable?

    With all the pain you are in, you need to continue living your life. It’s safe to say that more people in shul are crying and davening for you than judging you.

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