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November 14, 2003 - Image 40

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-11-14

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imn online


.IN Digest



from page 39

Selected news and feature stories
from the Detroit Jewish News.


Back In Time

Look for Alexis P. Rubin's
"This Month in Jewish History"
for November.


What's Eating
Harry Kirsbaum?



) The Cooking Party
Jewish.com columnist .
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Despite the worsening
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Rothstein also advises parents never
to smack or spank their children. If
you do so, "this becomes their under-
standing of how things are done: If
something doesn't work out, you hit."
Time outs, though, get thumbs up
from Rothstein. These give children
"just enough time so that the anger
passes" and they can then deal with
the situation.
And skip the lectures, she adds.
"Lectures don't work. I don't like being
lectured to, and children just tune
There is nothing wrong, though,




who never spanks, the mom whose
lectures are short and sweet, may just
reach his or her breaking point when
their son comes in two hours past cur-
If you find yourself ready to tear out
all your hair (or you actually are tear-
ing it out already), Rothstein suggests
asking your child, "Do you have any
idea how worried I was?" (Chances are
good your child really doesn't know.)
Another approach: "I am so upset
right now that I don't know how to
react. What should we do?"
Finally, if you do find yourself

Mercy And Justice

The truth about spanking, lectures and tantrums.


AppleTree Editor


our son's room looks like
something out of a Stephen
King novel. Dirty clothes are
everywhere, books lie in piles
on the floor, papers are thrown haphaz-
ardly over the desk and shelves, and
everything from felt pens to tests with
poor scores to broken toys lurk, terrify-
ingly, at the back of his closet.
The minute he's home, you let him
have it.
"How could you leave your room like
that? It's an absolute pigsty. What were
you thinking? It's just disgusting. You go
off to school and leave me with that
mess. Let me tell you: First you will pick
this up, then you will sit in here for an
hour and just think about what you did
..." and on and on and on.
Is he even listening? Have you made
any difference at all?
Jeffrey Last, Ph.D., a licensed clinical
psychologist in private practice in
Southfield, works with all ages. Dr. Last
gives parents some insight on what
works (note: that long, long lecture
makes no difference whatsoever) when it
comes to discipline:

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with children feeling guilty. Rabbi
Silberberg says it's proper for children
to understand when they have made a
mistake and exhibit a sense of guilt
and contrition. Just make certain that
they're not learning their behavior
from you, the parent.
"The Talmud teaches that before
you correct another person, you
should correct yourself," he says.
Before admonishing a child for being
rude, "consider whether this is some-
thing you need to correct in yourself."
Of course, even the best of parents
is going to lose it sometimes. That dad

Q: What is the goal of discipline?
- Dr. Last A parent does many things
in the process of disciplining a child.
Certainly part of the process is aimed at

stopping the inappropriate behavior and
getting the child's attention thro
some dramatic words or action.
Yet the purpose of the parent's behav-
ior should be directed toward the pri-
mary goal: to educate the child in self-
control and teach responsibility. We
should aim to create the circumstances
where our children will not need anyone
to oversee their behavior, where the
guidance will be internal.
The type of discipline they receive
from us has a lot to do with their even-
tual style of self-control. Our discipli-
nary actions will help to fashion whether
their self-control is reasonable or rigid,
loving or harsh, reliable or full of holes.
Our own consistent involvement, fair-
ness and sensitivity can go a long way in
helping our children develop into
responsible, caring members of the com-

Q: What are the best forms of disci-
pline? Are spanking, timeouts and lec-
tures effective?
Dr. Last: Spanking is a generally inef-
fective technique to achieve the above
goal. It usually breeds resentment and, at
best, short-term compliance. Spanking is
often felt to be very demeaning by the
On the rare occasions spanking does
"work," i.e. promotes self-control and
carries over, it is a function of the fact
that the child knows he did wrong, that

he deserves this punishment and there is
a context of love and respect with the
Spanking is most often a sign of the
parent feeling out of control_and not
knowing what else to do. The informed
parent rarely has to resort to this tech-
The use of timeout, brief firm words,
re-doing the action in the proper way,
loss of privileges, earning extra privileges,
getting extra chores and the like are
much more effective.
With so many alternatives to spank-
ing, this technique can be safely retired
with no loss.

Q: How should a parent respond to
temper tantrums?
Dr. fact Temper tantrums are usilaily
best ignored. Convey to the child that
when he is finished, you will talk to him
about whatever the situation is. Don't
try to reason with or try to threaten the
child out of the tantrum. This usually
only escalates the matter. When it is
over, calmly discuss the precipitant and
alternative methods of dealing with it. It
will be important to diagnosis the pre-
cipitant to clarify that you haven't con-
tributed to this problem.

Q: Why don't children just do what
we ask them to do? Why do they have
to be so rebellious?
Dr. Last: Children clearly have their

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