web analytics
April 24, 2014 / 24 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.



The Perils Of Giving Advice: A Reader Reacts

Respler-Yael

Share Button

Dear Readers:

The letter below is JW’s reaction to Anonymous’s October 11 letter, in which Anonymous complains that her brother and sister-in-law “are too soft with their children.” The children’s aunt sought to “help” the couple, with whom she was very close, raise their children by employing her techniques of complimenting, encouraging respect, and raising expectations. Following what Anonymous felt was a successful strategy, she reports that her brother and his wife became distant and cool. Anonymous asked for advice on how to repair the relationship, and I supplied her with several options.

JW’s letter is followed by my response.

Dear Dr. Yael:

I was surprised by Anonymous’s inability to understand why or how she messed up her relationship with her brother and sister-in-law. As adults and parents, her brother and sister-in-law have every right – unless they are beating, molesting, or torturing their children – to raise their children as they see fit. The question is: Did they seek her advice?

When children go to someone else’s home, they are subject to that home’s rules. In other words, it’s proper that just as Anonymous’s own children must follow the rules of her home, her brother’s children should do likewise.

However, giving unsolicited parenting advice to her brother and sister-in-law was unacceptable. She overstepped her bounds, and she displayed much arrogance by describing their subsequent coolness toward her as an act of immature behavior. How could she not know what caused their sudden distance from her? Her actions and advice told them that they didn’t know how to raise their children and as a child-rearing expert, she was showing them how to do it correctly.

I don’t understand why you suggested that something else might be going on. It’s been said “the road to gehennom is paved with good intentions.” A better saying is: “don’t give advice unless it’s asked for.”

JW

Dear JW:

Thank you for your letter. Individuals are generally very sensitive when it comes to parenting and how others think of them as parents. This sister definitely put herself in a precarious situation when she decided to give her brother and sister-in-law advice on this matter.

While I believe that we must be very careful when dispensing advice, I do not believe that we should never help our loved ones when seeing something we feel may potentially be harmful or negative. Without knowing all the details, you prematurely label this woman as displaying “much arrogance.” Perhaps this woman truly loves her brother and sister-in-law and wants the best for them. Maybe she saw something that she felt might be of future harm to them and their children.

Anonymous expressed her opinion, which could be accepted or rejected. But her simple offer of advice is not a reason to sever a relationship. Maybe it was presumptuous, but if she felt she could be helpful, some might see it as her responsibility to share her view. Please remember that people have disparate takes on the issue of receiving advice from others. While some may feel slighted at first, they may appreciate the advice in the future. Nevertheless, conversing with her brother and sister-in-law may help alleviate the pain they experienced.

You are correct by saying that people should not “give advice unless it’s asked for.” But if done correctly and with the right intentions, this can sometimes lead to a successful outcome. It is all about the manner in which the advice is given.

Your letter, which seems to reflect displeasure at Anonymous’s letter, and my response, is an example of problems I encounter in writing a column of this nature. As a result of dealing with its inevitable challenges, I try to supply many possible solutions. None of us know whether there are other issues going on in this relationship, issues that may have led to the brother and sister-in-law’s reaction. Thus, not knowing all the facts, you cannot be certain that it was the advice that cooled the once close relationship.

I believe that when you see people you love doing things that you can correct, you should mete out advice in a positive fashion if you feel the parties will be amenable. It appears that Anonymous followed this rule with feelings of love. Apparently, though, your take was correct, as the advice was not received positively.

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 “The Perils Of Giving Advice: A Reader Reacts”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
HAS and El Al have ended their long-standing partnership.
Breaking: HAS Visa Points Now Worthless for El Al Flights
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.

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.

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/the-perils-of-giving-advice-a-reader-reacts/2013/11/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: