Hi, I was just your typical 19 year old Seminary girl in South Jersey (if you don't know where I mean, you are probably on the wrong blog). We all have nisoynos, challenges, and experiences, both positive and negative. Here is where I have decided to share some of them.

Location: Lakewood, New Jersey, United States

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Advice Needed

I have wanted to write this for many, many weeks, but so much is going on in my life that I keep getting sidetracked.

A month or two ago I was approached in a local parking lot of a shopping center by a high school girl asking me for a ride.While I was driving her home, we got to talking, and I saw so much of myself at that age, that we ended up talking for about 3 hours. In outward appearances, and atitude, she looked pretty much like me in high school, denim skirt, nude tights with work-boots, sweat shirt and garrish necklaces.

However, Malky (obviously, not her real name), has some serious issues. For starters, she is planning on dropping out of high school, because she is failing all her classes.She claimed that this a result of severe ADD, but after an hour or so of talking, I said you seem to be able to focus on what I am saying, to which she conceded that she only does well in a one on one setting.

It is very possible that Malky and girls like her would suceed in a close peer-peer setting as opposed to large classes that are very common in all the girls high schools. Even by adult women, I have always noticed that by ladies's shiurim there is a Rebbitzen or Rabbi lecturing, and all the women just sit passively, with effect being that all but the most dedicated women tend to space out. Whereas, by mens shiurim, the Rov sits in the middle of a group of men and its very interactive.

Getting back to the subject of high schools, this resulys in a tremendous lack of self-esteem. and depression which exacerbates the situation.

Tznius is discussed in these high schools, strictly in terms of 'dont machshil boys'. Aside, from the fact that is blatantly distorting the truth, it has the effect of driving girls, specifically the ones who arent successful in school, to first rebel.When I said, you arent a hispanic girl, your a bas Yisroel, your special, dont cheapen yourself.Just like a sefer Torah is covered in a beautful mantle and hidden in an Aron HaKodesh, a Bas Yisroel is covered in a dignified way. Malka liked that approach and said she never heard it presented that way before. Then she shared with me that she and her friends occassionally spend the night with some Israeli guys. I tried to impress upon her how potentially dangerous that is. She said she knows, but her friend doesnt care.

I was somewhat shocked when she rolled up her sleeve to show me that she sometimes cuts her self. Fortunately, she claims to have stopped, because the bleeding really scared her.

It pains me greatly that I wasnt able to do more then just be an ear to listen as I dont have professional training for this sort of thing, but I would appreciate advice on dealing with situations like this.


Blogger Scraps said...

First and formost, in this instance, I think Malky should be going for professional help. Obviously she needs hashkafic guidance as well, but if her issues run so deep that she's hurting herself, it's past the point of just needing a caring adult to talk to.

That aside, what can be done for all of the Malkys and potential Malkys getting shunted through the school system? I guess my thought would be, is there any way to approach any of the local schools and see if there would be any interest in setting up a sort of mentoring program? Not necessarily a professional thing (I think girls might be wary of it if it was too formalized), but with small chaburahs and one-on-one time with women from the community, teachers, whoever was interested? After all, I think it's a valid point to make that not everyone learns so well in a group lecture setting, and it's not a chisaron in the schools themselves because the fact is that they serve a large population, but in such a depersonalized setting some people are going to fall through the cracks. (Regardless of whether it's your opinion or not it's a chisaron in the schools, you can say it that way to make it less threatening to them.) If they would agree to such a program, that might be a way to work on the issues at hand in a more positive, personal way.

12/16/2007 12:11 AM  
Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

She needs professional help. This has nothing to do with tznius or how the men teach vs. women teach. It's a psychological issue. If a girl caught a serious virus, would you talk about her untznius clothing or would you advise her to see a doctor?

How can I help a friend who self-injures?

If you have a friend who self-injures there are steps you can take to help them stop, and help them recover.

First, suggest to your friend that they talk to an adult they trust, like a parent, school counselor, or their health care provider. Second, support your friend by listening to them, and letting them know you care about them. Lastly, print out this guide, or some other information on self-injury, and give it to them. They can read it when they feel ready.

If your friend won't talk to an adult, and refuses help, you should find a trusted adult who knows your friend, and talk to that person. Tell an adult even if your friend asked you to keep their self-injury a secret! Your friend might get angry at you, but in this situation, it's more important to get help. Self-injury is very serious and can be deadly, and your friend's safety is more important than privacy right now. Your friend might be mad at you for a while, but you can apologize and talk about it later, after you know they're safe.

12/16/2007 1:06 AM  
Blogger Rafi G said...

you should be there for her. A good friend, or even if not a good friend but just someone they feel comfortable taking to, can be a lifesaver. Let her know you are there for her (if you want to be), and if she already opened up to you, chances are she will continue to do so, so let her feel comfortable talkign to you.

That being said, she needs professional help. You cannot solver her problems, though you can help ease her burden. She needs to see a professional.

12/16/2007 2:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh my!
I wish you hatzlocha in guiding her for professional help with her hurting herself.

with regards with her and friends sleeping around. forget tznius frumkeit etc. she needs to know the dangers of std's wich are certainly not learned about "formally" in frummie schools.

a very close friend of mine who is a chasidishe yungerman who is as tmimusdik as they come confided in me that two frum looking girls prpositioned him while he was walking down the street recenntly!

letting these girls remain naive about so many realities of life can lead them to really self destruct without even realizing till its way too late.

worse then getting kicked out of school is asking your mother where to get an abortion. r"l

12/16/2007 11:02 AM  
Blogger D'varim P'shutim said...

sem girl - as rafi g said if you can,keep in touch ! even a phone call just to see how she is doing can do wonders. We know nothing is by chance - hkb"h sent you to give her a ride for a reason. I don't mean to say that she doesn't need professional help - but that is not always so fast in coming for various reasons. Till then and even then i'm sure it will mean alot to her to have a someone non-judgemental to talk to - I don't know who in your area deals with girls in this situation but I believe there is a R' Greenwald in monsey who might be able to help if you want I can try to get his #. b'hatzlacha

12/16/2007 3:33 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

I agree with scrpas..
Anyone that cuts hersef should be going for professional help.

It's a shame that girls that dont feel like they fit in have nowhere to go.
These soon as girl show even the slightest desire to do something "secular" like listen to non jewish music..or even talk/flirt with boys a little they're labeled "bad" which only propels them fith into the new label given them..

12/18/2007 8:57 PM  
Blogger Lion of Zion said...

"When I said, you arent a hispanic girl, your a bas Yisroel, your special, dont cheapen yourself."

is this what they teach you in seminary?

but i hope you got through to her i any case

12/23/2007 3:47 AM  
Blogger flatbush gal said...

That whole scenario is really odd. She needs major counceling and a big reality check.

12/23/2007 10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SG I used to like your blog way back when, but I just can't take it seriosuly anymore.

When every problem under the sun, from spoiled milk to kids with serious medical issues is all blamed on your same pet peeves over and over and over ad nauseum, come on, you gotta be kidding.

There is more to life than talking about men learning in better and more exciting ways than ladies, and tznius being rammed down girl's throats. Obviously you had a bad experience, and I feel for you. But you have to know that every problem in the world is not the fault of these same issues just because you are traumatized by them.

I say get help, see things in perspective, and move on. You have lots to say. Let us hear you say it!

12/27/2007 12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how's that girl doing?

12/30/2007 6:49 PM  
Blogger Man of Reason said...

1) You should have given her a giant hug!

2) Can you contact her again and either learn with her once a week or find someone to learn with her once a week? Even if you can just find time to speak to her it may help.

3) Yes, she does need professional assistance. Is there an organization in your community that can offer her same in a discreet manner?

12/31/2007 9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes just Listening and showing that u care, can save such a troubled soul.

many times they are looking for a shoulder to cry on, or a friend to guide them, and that can make or break their future as a ehrlicher yid...

1/08/2008 6:17 PM  
Blogger Reasonably Nuts Frummy said...

Hi Semgirl, remember me? I'm reasonably nuts
I used to come by your sight once in awhile but that was about a year and a half ago. I've been well....busy. Anyways, I guess I should mention that I probably have severe ADD myself although I was never diagnosed, but I don't think that that would have had much to do with why this girl is dropping out. True, more one on one would have helped me with my grades but if a teacher said something that made sense and hit home, I could listen. I got my tznius hashgafos, including the one you mentioned mostly from my High School teachers, and they got through to me just fine. What this girl needs sounds like it runs a lot deeper than ADD.
Professional help, obviously is one part but I think there is something else you may be able to do: She needs to see success.
The worst thing school does for her is probably not Tznius blabs, it's big red 'F's and 'looks' and 'cues' that say your worthless. You need to help her find things she can succeed in to concentrate on. Is she good with children? Is she creative?
Finishing school (aka getting to the age where no one took it for granted that that is where I belong.) was like the biggest lift of bricks taken off my shoulders. Instead of turning my self upside down trying to do things I couldn't no matter what, I started searching for things I can do right. Albeit a few wrong turns, I found many of them an emerged finally feeling like a capable, productive, and functioning person.

One on one tutoring may have helped me but I also could have used recognition for the things I could do. While I stared in camp plays and had the most solos, in school it was different. I disqualilfied for these tasks because....because of nothing but the fact that the hanhala thought it would make my grades even worse by making me focus on other things, and because I was not a role model they wanted to show off. While they may have been right you would agree that they were also insanely wrong.

1/26/2008 10:35 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

i would say that both bnot yisrael and bnot sefarad are equally btselem elokim. why build up one person's self-esteem by putting another person or group down?

1/28/2008 3:29 PM  
Blogger Ehav Ever said...

This is kind of a difficult one to tackle if Malky's parents are not involved. Especially with ADD it is difficult when a person doesn't have a support group. The most you can do in some situations is to be there for them at that moment, or if possible when you can.

I know someone with ADD and their family doesn't give them much support. It is difficult to give them advice on what to do. The most I have been able to do is be there for them when I can.

2/15/2008 8:44 AM  
Blogger FrumSatire2 said...

Professional help indeed. I do have one question why did you write such a hurtful thing as this

"When I said, you arent a hispanic girl, your a bas Yisroel, your special, dont cheapen yourself."

That is completely uncalled for. The whole point is to teach acceptance just like this girl cannot find acceptance and wants to rebel- you are teaching to judge based on what you view as cheap.

Racism- although Hispanic is hardly a race- is totally ridiculous.

2/15/2008 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2 months since your last post shpuld have given you enough time to think of a new post...

2/15/2008 12:52 PM  

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