Remember this WWYD (child stealing) from last year? The same lady wrote to me to update me and to ask another question. Please give her the benefit of your wisdom.
Many months ago I wrote to you for advice about one of my children who had been taking food from her sibling’s private store and then denying everything. Your readers very kindly offered advice which more or less said the same thing – take her for therapy and to go myself.
I took the advice. We went to family therapy and she also had a few meetings alone with a different therapist. The diagnosis was depression but not enough to necessitate a visit to a psychiatrist. To cut things short, some weeks later we did take her to a psychiatrist who put her on Prozac, and a few days later she tried to commit suicide.
Seven months have passed. She is now 16. She has spent this time in a psychiatric hospital (wonderful place with dedicated staff), and will be leaving in a few weeks time. She is very definite about not returning to her old school, and is planning on staying in a therapeutic youth village with every other weekend at home. At the moment she comes homes every Shabbat and here lies the problem. She is no longer shomer Shabbat but we came to a compromise in that she can do what she wants in her bedroom as long as she doesn’t do anything that affects the rest of the house. However, now that the days are long, she says she needs to be able to recharge her ipod on Shabbat afternoon in order to get through the day, and has been changing the Shabbat clock (time switch) in order to do so.
The psychologist treating her has turned to us to find a solution for her while at home on Shabbat. The matter isn’t critical – if she doesn’t use the ipod/internet she won’t try and commit suicide again, but it is a crutch she depends on. The options I have thought of are leaving the electricity on in the house all day, or letting her recharge her ipod in the kitchen where there is always electricity. Or helping her find other occupations (not what she wants). I would be interested in hearing your opinions.
And finally a word of advice. Don’t respect your child’s privacy too much like we did – read their diaries. If we had done that a year or two ago life would have been very different.