In recent years, a new expression has become commonplace: “kids at risk.” Considering all of the pressures and stresses involved today in raising children, perhaps we should add another phrase to our lexicon: “parents at risk.”
Parents today, are under-paid, over-worked, under-appreciated and overwhelmed by the challenges of raising healthy, well-adjusted and Torah-true children in the spiritually toxic environment of the larger society. For that reason, Dr. Meir Wikler’s latest book, Partners With Hashem 2, is most welcome and urgently needed.
While this volume appears to be a sequel to Wikler’s earlier work, Partners With Hashem, it deals with subjects that were not addressed in his initial parenting guide and it is not necessary to have read the first volume in order to understand and appreciate the second.
Dr. Wikler’s first parenting book dealt with broad themes, such as self-esteem, discipline and sibling rivalry. In Partners With Hashem 2, however, Dr. Wikler addresses timely but often-taboo topics, e.g. obesity, stealing, eating disorders, Internet addictions and smoking. This book also covers much more common child-rearing challenges such as night fears, bedtimes, bedwetting and bullying, to name a few.
What makes Dr. Wikler’s book stand out from the many other excellent books on parenting available today, is the inclusion of actual clinical case examples from his private therapy and family counseling practice. In these pages, we have the opportunity to sit in with Dr. Wikler as he figures out what is bothering this child or why that child is acting up. We listen in as he counsels and guides parents to greater understanding of their children’s difficulties and increased mastery over their children’s dilemmas.
In addressing each parenting challenge, Dr. Wikler begins with an explanation of what typically causes that particular behavior or reaction in children. Then he cautions the reader to avoid the more common strategies parents often attempt that will not prove helpful. Finally, he concludes with a list of approaches and practical steps that parents can take to help their children overcome the particular hurdle, which that chapter addresses.
The chapters are arranged in three chronological categories: preschool years, elementary, high school and beyond. As a result, there is no parent who will not be able to find at least a few chapters that are immediately relevant to whatever stage of development their children are at currently.
Finally, a subject index at the end enables the reader to find any topic in either of Dr. Wikler’s two volumes on parenting.
This is an easy-to-read book that should come in handy throughout the developmental cycle of any child. As the author writes in his preface, this book can be, “a constant, supportive and encouraging companion and guide to parents as they traverse the winding, tortuous but always noble path of parenthood.”