R’ Uri Zohar On Raising OTD Children: If He Comes Home At 4 AM, Tell Him “I Love You”


Rabbi Uri Zohar spoke to Kikar Shabbos recently about how parents should handle a child who no longer wants to be religious.

Citing R’ Gershon Edelstein shlit”a, R Uri says that it is an issue on lifnei iver to not show the wayward child acceptance.

“If (the child) comes back at 4:00 a.m. after drinking ten beers, leave him two cookies and write a note that says, ‘I love you.'”

He also said teens who become irreligious believe that they are faulty human beings, and therefore Hashem doesn’t love them.

“Tell your son or daughter to talk to Hashem, just speak to Hashem from the depths of your soul,” he said. “Other than that, don’t tell them anything… Love them and accept them warmly. It’s hard, I know. This is our generation’s challenge.”

Read more at Arutz Sheva.




  1. Chana Toby Friedman on Chazak’s Personal Stories (one of the last numbers) has a wonderful method on changing people’s, as well as, children’s attitudes. She also includes children OTD or shaky. Very worthwhile listening to her.

  2. Do you mean this is a one size fits all solution? Certainly not, there is no such solution when dealing with people. חנוך חנוך לנער על פי דרכו

  3. When your kid comes home with a tattoo of a number on his forearm resembling a concentration camp and says he should of been there and blabbers on for 3 hours about it, guess what! No milk and cookies for the idiot.

    • “When your kid comes home with a tattoo of a number on his forearm resembling a concentration camp”, it means he is going through a HOLOCAUST. Guess what – he needs not only milk and cookies but much much more. He needs Mommy and Tatty who understand it, who should be on his side. He should be spoiled, He should be taken for a vacation to sweeten his bitter life. He needs to be treated like a king. It pays. Both ways. Proven.
      Don’t turn your child to an idiot so fast. He his YOUR son and also HASHEM son. So sit on the matter first – thoroughly. and than decide.

      • His friends convinced him. We have a loving relationship and he comes home! I asked him not to listen to these Yeshiva dropouts even if there father is r”Yeshiva. When I told him a tattoo is a life long thing he realized the situation. Yes he is an idiot. But the other ex-Yeshiva-leit has a tattoo on his forehead head. When we spoke with his parents they were adamant that he should always wear a hat. Yes the world is mad and idiotic too.

    • Perhaps the indifference of parents who can’t be bothered to sit, over a midnight snack, and listen to their hurting child unburden himself for three hours is the reason the child is troubled in the first place.
      Instead of being grateful the child still wants to talk to you you would deny him the milk and cookies, love and compassion he needs. What a pathetic excuse for a parent that makes you.

  4. It’s not that simple. It’s like putting a bandaid over ones heart when he needs open heart surgery. Again, simple slogans or expressions is a complete diversion of reality. There’s always more to the story. Every case is unique. This stupidity is as old as the hills.

  5. I am neither a Gadol ba’Torah nor a kiruv professional, nor knowledgeable of the most recent findings of psychology or psychoanalytical research. Therefore, I highly recommend everyone read the book Cords of Love (about which HaRav Matisyahu Solomon said he approves of every word found therein). Unconditional love? Absolutely (after all it says bonim atem laShem E-lokeichem). Unconditional tolerance, acceptance and a presentation that a world and life of no limitations and no uncrossable lines? Absolutely NOT! Such a philosophy only reinforces our youth’s sense that nothing they do really matters. They don’t matter. We don’t really care. All of which is the farthest from the truth and from the Ratzon HaShem.

    • I find it amusing how these experts dish out advice without ever going thru the trials and tribulations. Classic armchair quarterbacks

      Yes, but what about if there was no love there to begin with? If the Parent(s) never showed or expressed any love, and that led to the kid going otd, a silly worthless note stating “I love you” not only means nothing to him, it is absolutely disgusting and counter intuitive. Bumper stickers are good for vehicles. Not for human beings.

  6. It’s not so simple. There is a solution for these off the derech youth. It depends of course what age they are. Not every parent is street wise how to handle these situations. But all the idiotic therapists are baloney. The way to keep your kid on track if he is sliding off is by getting him a mentor. It’s not always easy or cheap. If I had a kid who would hang out with the wrong friends I would get rid of his friends. You warn the parents these kids not to let your son into their home. You threaten to sue them. You must also make sure the class he is in is his speed. If he can’t kee up get him a tutor. Most of all you have to live the lifestyle you want him to live. If you don’t go learn why should he. If you talk during davening then why should he respect davening. And here is the secret that no one realizes. If a parent bad mouths rabboanin then your kids too will hate them. All the hugs and love bombing is useless. If you downgrade and Orthodox Rav you are causing your kids to despise Judaism. That’s the secret.

  7. Dear all people who comment here, before you want to convolute anyones mind or for others to accept your suggestion/critic, please mention how much personal experience (that we can learn from), you or the expert you are quoting have on their resume.
    I don’t have positive experience of my own to report, so I’ll hold off on giving advice.
    R Uri Zohar, isnt giving preventive advice here and does have his own personal experience with many a success story of his own, BH that he can report. Youll be better off giving him the creds he deserves, if you’re dealing with somthing that requires an extreme decision.
    Whips, sticks and cords of love, should be prohibited, based on the vast failures in the communities where these ideas are enforced or of the individuals who’ve tried it.

  8. My friends
    Many years ago I had a child who was Otd almost. I got him two 24 hour mentors and guess what. In six months he straightened out and today is a top Rebbe in eretz yisroel. If you are ready to give up your life so that your child remains a Jew then you will succeed. And never stop hounding him. Once you accept him the way he is with jeans and other rebellious cloths you will lose him or her.

  9. If an older teen is already on serious drugs you may need to break his legs so he stays home. Better a broken leg than a dead child. I don’t believe in this love business. We need to whip these Chaya’s into submission. The easy going parents who look the other way cause their kids they smoke pot.

  10. [R’ Uri Zohar On Raising OTD Children: If He Comes Home At 4 AM, Tell Him “I Love You”]
    Rav Uri,
    Tell that to the Rosh Yeshivas also!


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