Some divorces happen because the husband or wife, or both, did not make the necessary effort needed to create a successful marriage. Thus, I absolutely agree with you that we must “encourage our kids to mature and gain the skills necessary for marriage before they begin to date.”
The most important thing we can give our kids is a strong base, namely a positive sense of self. We need to give our children much love while complimenting them, and at the same time help shape them into independent young adults. These traits will give them the confidence to be successful in their marriages.
One way to help our children is to encourage them to reach certain expectations. This can begin at an early age. Even a two- or three-year-old can help by throwing something out for you, helping you pick up toys, or pouring a pre-measured ingredient into a bowl to help you cook. While many mothers think that they can get things done more quickly and more efficiently without the child hanging around to help, they are making a mistake. Allowing children to help can raise their self-esteem and feeling of competence. And complimenting them for the help they’ve provided makes them feel special, as it is a reward that will go a long way in helping each of them develop a positive sense of self. This is how children learn to become independent and successful young adults.
Everything must be done in moderation and our children should not be overwhelmed. The key is for parents to create the opportunities for their child’s growth – and then praising them for their achievement.
Most frum couples spend a lot of time together and success in their marriages depends on the couple’s ability to communicate. Additionally, any responsible young man will not do “nothing” while his wife does everything. Even if a man is learning, he should still help out at home or work nights to help support his family.
To avoid more divorces, children need to feel more secure – leading to greater confidence as adults. Self-esteem is integral to a solid relationship, and especially important in a marriage. Confident people often make healthier spouses and are better able to handle various issues and challenges in life.
Thanks for taking the time to address this important issue. Hatzlachah!Dr. Yael Respler
About the Author: Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at www.jewishpress.com and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at www.dryaelrespler.com.
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