web analytics
December 23, 2014 / 1 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Parental Paradox


Marriage-Relationship-logo

One of the reasons that parenting is so difficult is because parents are caught in a paradoxical situation. What every child wants most is to be loved as he is. However, the parent (horeh) is also a teacher (moreh), which comes from the word hora’ah – instruction. A teacher’s job is to civilize the child, instill values, shape attitudes and correct negative behavior. We can’t let our children go out into the world as pampered slobs or short-tempered bullies. We want them to be hard working, reliable, thrifty, considerate, patient and organized.

We know that they need these traits in order to be happy and survive in a tough world. If her room is a mess and she has tantrums over her split ends, what will happen when she has to juggle work and kids and a husband who is less than perfect? If he slams doors when he’s upset or torments his little sister, how will he behave when his wife irritates him in any one of the thousands of ways that people can irritate each other?

Inevitably, the parents’ drive to improve him is often interpreted by the child as rejection. This is why many children complain bitterly about their parents, “No matter what I do, it’s never good enough for them. They’re never satisfied. They care about my grades, not about me.” Because we see their faults so clearly, they hear a double message, i.e., “I love you − but there’s always room for improvement!” Children are exquisitely aware of whether we are acting out of love or for our own vain ego needs and will run to their friends’ homes, where they feel happier and freer, knowing that no one is trying to change them.

Parents must be like orthodontists, patiently, with love, exerting just enough pressure to straighten the child, but not so much that we break his spirits. Growth happens very slowly, almost imperceptibly. Either extreme − excessive pressure or pampering and lack of discipline − communicate a lack of true caring. It’s hard to get the right balance. While one child might thrive with strict limits and high expectations, another may feel unloved and stifled, as if his needs don’t really count.

Overly controlling parents push their child to fit a fantasy, i.e., a brilliant talmid chacham (or a tireless balabusta/teacher), often to satisfy their own ego needs. To achieve this goal, they keep up constant pressure, convinced that, “If I don’t wake him up, force him to learn and harp on every little fault, he won’t wake up, will be a slob, will eat only junk food and will leave the religion, God forbid.” They constantly spank, criticize and punish to make him shape up. During the early years, force may seem effective. But the over-controlled child may turn into mindless automaton, incapable of independent thought or action. He always looks to outside sources to determine what to think, wear or say, always anxious that he is not living up to the ideal. Or, the child rebels, scorning all authority. He feels, “Since they don’t love me, I will hurt them by doing the opposite. I cannot live a lie and pretend to love what I hate.” Either way, the child never develops an authentic personality, but simply responds blindly to external forces, overly obedient or overly antagonistic.

It’s hard to be patient. But just as a toddler will not walk until some inner force tells him it is time to do so, it is impossible to speed the develop of certain traits, especially if they are against a child’s inherent personality (to distinguish between middos and inborn traits, see my book Awareness.) Our goal is to arouse his own inner desire to want what is best for him, not due to external coercion.

If he is forced to daven, then when the parents or teachers are not present, he may simply not daven and then lie about it, because he has always prayed only to please others or to avoid being punished. When davening does not arise from an inner desire to connect to Hashem, it is empty and meaningless. If a child is forced to learn when he feels stupid and unsuccessful, the parents may believe this will eventually make him better, but will ignore the signs that he is becoming more bitter.

The only method that helps instill good values in children is the “Victory Method.” This means showing enthusiasm for the small victories that the child is already manifesting in the areas we want to see improvement. Then he is more likely to do more of what we want, because he sees that he can be successful. If we criticize him for eating too much, he will eat more, because criticism makes people feel unloved. And they often cope with that pain by eating even more. But if we praise him for his “victories,” like eating only two cookies instead of 10, he is more likely to be proud of having self-control.

The key to growth – including our own − is to be happy with the smallest victories. Like the orthodontist, we know we cannot speed things up or change the whole structure of the head. Try to make a new or difficult task fun. A child who hates to clean can clean to music. He can be given a three-minute egg timer and asked to do so for just three minutes at a time.

If we feel scornful when talking to the child or our advice is met with resentment and resistance, back off. Remember, the child is an individual, not a lump of clay that can be molded to fit our dreams. Each parent must tread the fine line between respect for the child as he is, and the gentle push, which will help him move forward. Do not think that this is an easy task – for any parent!

To learn the VICTORY METHOD, you can order my new series of 8 one-hour DVD sessions on childrearing from my website, www.adahan-online.com. My new survival guide for people struggling with abusive relationships is called From Victim To Victor. It can be purchased for $15 from the ADAHAN FUND, 2700 W. Chase, Chicago, Il. 60645 or in Israel, 13/5 Uzrad, Jerusalem, 97277. All proceeds go to impoverished people in Israel. For private sessions, I can be reached at emett@netvision.net.il or 011-972-2-5868201.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Parental Paradox”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
What happened to the Internet access? (illustrative)
Plot Thickens in Sony Pictures North Korea Hack Attack Saga
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

When someone with a fixed mindset has a negative interaction with a friend or loved one, he or she immediately projects that rejection onto him or herself saying: “I’m unlovable.”

Respler-121914

How many potential shidduchim are not coming about because we, the mothers, are not allowing them to go through?

Kupfer-121914

Is the Torah offering nechama by subtly hinting that death brings reunion with loved ones who preceded you?

She approached Holofernes and, with a sword concealed under her robe, severed his head.

Here are examples of games that need to be played by more than one person and an added bonus: they’re all Shabbos-friendly.

The incident was completely unforeseeable. The only term to describe the set of circumstances surrounding it is “freak occurrence.”

The first Chabad Center in Broward County, Chabad of South Broward, now runs nearly fifty programs and agencies. T

The NHS was also honored to have Bob Diener as keynote speaker.

Written with flowing language and engaging style, Attar weaves a spell that combines mystery, humor, adventure and Kabbalah in the most magical place in the world, the Old City of erusalem.

There are those who highlight the diversity of these different teachings, seeing each rebbe as teaching a separate path.

Rav Dynovisz will be speaking in Hebrew on Wednesday, January 7, at 7:30 p.m.

Rabbi Simeon Schreiber, senior chaplain at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, saw a small room in the hospital that was dark and dismal but could be used for Sabbath guests.

“The secret to a good donut is using quality ingredients and the ability to be patient and give them time to proof.”

More Articles from Dr. Miriam Adahan

Chaim* was admired in yeshiva for his incredible diligence. His days were consumed with learning and he could be found in the Beis Midrash almost 24/7. For him, sleep was a waste of time. Great things were forecast for his future until neighbors found him lying in the middle of the street in Geula, hallucinating that he was Moshiach. Medications stopped his racing mind but made him feel like a zombie. He became depressed and shell of his former self. His parents thought they were acting responsibly when they had him hospitalized and then put in a hostel.

Lessons-logo

Since suffering from colitis as a teen, I finally adopted a strict diet in my 30s that ended my torment. It wasn’t easy to forgo white flour, white sugar and all chemical additives, but it meant that I spend the last 40 years pretty much free of doctors, medications and illness, thank God. Thus, I was surprised when two weeks before Rosh Hashanah, I began to experience increasingly severe stomach discomfort – until I was barely able to move. Despite what I was soon to endure, it helped greatly to focus on the moment-to-moment miracles.

As a teenager, I suffered from occasional panic attacks, social anxiety, and more than the usual amount of teenage angst. In today’s drug-obsessed society, I would certainly have been given psych meds; thankfully, back then, it was expected that maturity would bring greater resilience and awareness. And so it was.

Psychologist David Richo defines love in terms of five A’s: appreciation, affection, attentiveness (listening), acceptance and allowing (as in allowing others the freedom to fulfill their own dreams). Love is the opposite of control.

The couple had barely completed their brief intake papers, which included a small handwriting sample, when, her eyes blazing with fury, the wife pounded on the small table between us and yelled, “He has to grow up! I need a husband who is a real partner, not a lazy good-for-nothing who won’t take responsibility and is totally clueless about my needs!” Her husband sat hunched in his chair, looking like a hapless cat which had somehow survived the spin cycle in a washing machine.

Kindness is such an essential Jewish trait that we are told to suspect that a cruel person is not really Jewish. The media constantly uplifts us with inspirational stories about saintly people who radiated love to their fellowman and did their utmost to avoid hurting others. Yet we are also told, “Those who are kind to the cruel will eventually be cruel to the kind” (Koheles Raba 7:16). It is not a kindness to allow ourselves to be abused, exploited or manipulated. By not taking protective action when possible, we encourage destructive behavior. The following stories are examples of naïve and trusting people who paid a heavy price for being overly “nice.”

In a paper greeted enthusiastically at the May conference of the American Psychiatric Association, in San Francisco, a new name was given to a common problem, Post Traumatic Embitterment Disorder. My initial response: another excuse to drug people. However, upon thinking it over, I think that the word embittered does describe the essence of a serious problem. Many of us suffer from some degree of jealousy and bitterness about the injustices in our lives. But does that make us embittered? I would hope not. So, what characterizes embittered people? Here are some actual examples (the names have been changed):

Like medical doctors, every therapist is tormented at times with the question of the hopelessness or hopefulness of a marriage or any other relationship. Everyone is anxious to know if the “broken” spouse/child/parent/sibling can be fixed. With desperation in their voices, they ask, “Can medication, therapy or other interventions turn him/her around and stop him/her from being so depressed, anxious, addicted or angry?” How can a therapist say, “There is no hope.”?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/parental-paradox/2008/12/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: