web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Should Children Voluntarily Help Their Parents?

Respler-082313

Share Button

Dear Dr. Yael:

I loved your answer to Longtime Reader, (Dear Dr. Yael, 7-19) and am anxious to hear your opinion on my situation.

My husband and I raised our two children in a similar way as that of Longtime Reader. But my expectations of them were different, for in my heart I wanted them to help more than they did; I wanted them to offer their assistance and not wait to be asked. I wished for them to anticipate our needs and then make the appropriate offer to help. While I didn’t expect them to act this way when they were little, I hoped this would be the case when they turned bar and bat mitzvah age. At those ages my son and daughter should have developed the sensitivity to be aware when we needed help in a particular situation. However, at ages 20 and 22, this rarely happens.

I am confused because I always heard that children copy what they see. Baruch Hashem, my husband and I have a marriage in which we constantly anticipate each other’s needs and usually try to help the other even before being asked. We, of course, did the same for our children.

When I asked my daughter why she doesn’t usually offer to help us, her answer surprised me. She said that the anticipatory behavior toward our kids and each other was not sufficient to teach her to behave in the way I expected. Even though she witnessed the husband-wife and parent-child relationships, she unfortunately did not get to observe a relationship between an adult child and a parent nor one between her parents and their parents. (One set of grandparents is deceased, while the other grandparents live very far away and we rarely see them.) I was shocked and surprised – how could my behavior not have been a sufficient role model for my daughter?

My daughter continued by saying that she was taught in yeshiva that it is a bigger mitzvah to do something when a parent asks for help than by initially offering it. I countered by stating that I understand the kibud av v’eim concept behind listening to a parent, but what if that’s not what the parent wants? I feel that it is a bigger mitzvah to realize that help is needed – and to offer it before being asked. This is especially relevant in my case since I don’t like asking my kids for help – and usually don’t. But if help were offered, I would gladly accept it. Am I being unrealistic to ever expect this? If my kids don’t offer to help now, what will happen when my husband and I are seniors?

The question of which type of help is the bigger mitzvah is an interesting one that is not often brought up. Please share your expert opinions on both my expectations and my daughter’s answers. I welcome feedback from your readers as well. Thank you very much.

Sincerely,
A Confused Mom

Dear Confused Mom:

While you may feel better when your children anticipate your needs, it is a little unrealistic to expect them to do so. It would certainly be nice if they were very thoughtful and sometimes ask if you need help in certain situations, however, most teenagers and young adults are self-involved and thus may not always anticipate what help you and your husband might need or want. If you feel that your children do not help you enough, it is imperative that you begin to ask them for assistance. Once you get them accustomed to what you need and want, you may not have to ask them as often as it will be easier for them to anticipate your needs.

One of the reasons why it is a bigger mitzvah for children to do something for their parents after the parents requested assistance is because the children are in essence fulfilling the parents’ wish. So by changing your perception about asking your children for help, it may be easier for you to expect them to take the initiative. In that scenario, you are not “bothering” your children but instead giving them an opportunity to do a mitzvah. And even if your daughter did not see you and your husband serve your parents, you can still teach her about the importance of taking care of you and your husband. But remember this: you must ask for what you need! You cannot expect your children to be mind readers.

You are fortunate to have a special marriage in which you and your husband are able to anticipate each other’s needs. This is beautiful and rare. What you may not realize, though, is that at some point in your relationship you probably asked each other for things. If you give your children the opportunity to learn how to better assist both of you, you will be giving them a great gift since people grow and learn by giving of themselves. Additionally, you will be permitting them to earn credit for responding to your “commands” – which, as your daughter pointed out, is a bigger mitzvah than simply serving you on their own. Hatzlachah!

Share Button

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.

No Responses to “Should Children Voluntarily Help Their Parents?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Flyers ordered Jews to appear at a designated location in Ukraine, in Sept., 1941. The next day, the Jews lined up at the Babi Yar Ravine.
‘Jews Must Register’ Flyer in Ukraine an Echo of Babi Yar
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

More Articles from Dr. Yael Respler
Respler-041814

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

Respler-041114

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

By employing this new countermove, the scenario will likely change.

I bring the results of this study to demonstrate that although in a frum world we should rise above the gashmius, unfortunately, we still live in a secular world in which we are affected by that gashmius.

It is a shame that when one sincerely wishes to help another person, he or she often must avoid telling the truth.

Dear Anonymous:

Thank you for your amazing letter. I wish you hatzlachah in your new marriage, and may your letter bring more sensitivity to others regarding this issue.

JetBlue flew an empty aircraft from Boston to JFK to assist us. The care and concern of the flight attendants was amazing. They were astounded by our group, so much so that at the end of the flight, the captain related for all to hear that he was truly impressed by the care that the HASC counselors provided for the special-needs campers – all of whom have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. We did our best to demonstrate a true kiddush Hashem.

I had a great figure and dressed well, but the only thing wrong with me was that I had a very long nose with a huge bump.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/should-children-voluntarily-help-their-parents/2013/08/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: