9 thoughts on “Sunday’s self-knowledge question

  1. Shmuel

    I don’t know why, but this question sounds very immature.

    I can think of numerous instances where my parents treated me in a manner that I felt was less than my personal preferences would have dictated (although it was more often than not the appropriate response on their part. Hindsight being 20/20 and all that). Why should a subjective childish perspective have such an influence?

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  2. Neil Harris

    I read the question and thought that most “healthy” adult parents have a fairly good idea of how they would like to be treated.

    Examples of ways I would not like to be treated would be: yelling, intimidation, negative-reinforcement.

    The end result is that there has to be an understanding that the child is created b’tzelem Elokeim.
    I othen find myself wondering how will my actions/words affect my kids.

    If you read this question and think, “My parents only let me stay up until 9PM on school night. I am going to let my 12 stay up until 10” then the question is meaningless.

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  3. Morah Betsy

    Well said, Neil. I try to be more respectful of my kids than my parents were of me. Try to allow them more freedom to grow into adults, try to accept them more as they are instead of forcing them to conform to what I think they should be.

    This isn’t about specific curfews or bedtimes. More about doing what’s best for the child and not what’s best for me alone.

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  4. Shmuel

    Disclaimer: none of the following should be read as attacks of any sort, God forbid. I’m just trying to clarify the ideas expressed here.

    >The end result is that there has to be an understanding that the child is created b’tzelem Elokeim.
    I othen find myself wondering how will my actions/words affect my kids.

    But you would agree that this concept is not mutually exclusive with an authoritative approach to parenting.

    >If you read this question and think, “My parents only let me stay up until 9PM on school night. I am going to let my 12 stay up until 10” then the question is meaningless.

    I believe that quite often the above sentiment is what the common approach to parenting boils down to in this generation, unfortunately. We think we’re doing the right thing but we end up harming our children more.

    >Try to allow them more freedom to grow into adults, try to accept them more as they are

    Those two sentiments are not the same thing. Accepting and acknowledging every child’s uniqueness does not directly tie into a “hands off” approach. Contrary to popular belief, children crave structure and need to know that their parent has specific expectations for them; otherwise they may become confused, spoiled, and mediocre. Freedom comes at a price.

    >More about doing what’s best for the child and not what’s best for me alone.
    This last statement can be read as the directly following sentence to the second sentence of your comment, with the paragraph between in parentheses. What is your litmus test, your foundation of what is best for your child? And are you honestly distinguishing between your needs and your child’s needs?

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  5. Morah Betsy

    @Shmuel, as children get older and are within a year or two of moving away to college, teaching independence and allowing them to experiment with making some of their own decisions IS one the the things that’s in their best interest. This is especially true as they act more mature and earn more freedom.

    At this point, when my son can drive and has an after-school job, I have to start letting go. It’s not hands-off so much as practice for the adult world. Practice while I am still here to answer the phone, listen, help when he needs help, etc.

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  6. Morah Betsy

    @Shmuel, I also have a 13-yr-old in the house a lot these days, and I she has a bedtime, a restricted computer account, a responsibility to ask my permission before she goes somewhere and not just tell me where she is after she arrives, and a lot more limits on music and tv. A lot depends on the age and the kid.

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  7. Neil Harris

    Shmuel: Hey. It’s getting late for me, but I’ll quickly reply.

    >But you would agree that this concept is not mutually exclusive with an authoritative approach to parenting.

    Agreed. The trick is for your child to realized that YOU realize they are created in Hashem’s image.

    >I believe that quite often the above sentiment is what the common approach to parenting boils down to in this generation, unfortunately. We think we’re doing the right thing but we end up harming our children more.

    That is the kicker. We really don’t know. You can read the books, listen to the shiurim, surround yourself with good parenting role-models, but when it’s the end of the night and you look in your kid’s backback to get his lunch bag and see a test with a poor grade on it that he tells you, “The teacher hasn’t graded yet” or find out that he has homework that he didn’t tell you about so that he could go to mishmar (these are just examples), then you sort of forget all those parenting tricks. You might get upset, but if there’s a history of comfort, open communication and trust, the it’s easier…. in theory.

    Betsy: Age and peer group are big factors. Restricted online time is key, as is the fact that there is someone reading EVERYONE’S email in the house…including letting children know that the parents are checking each other’s email.

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  8. Morah Betsy

    I am the only parent in the house. No one reads my email except me.

    The kids know I check their email and web history. In fact, I just texted my son (who is at his dad’s tonight) and told him to remove his facebook status because it’s inappropriate.

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