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November 14, 2003 - Image 41

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

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


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screaming at the end of one long,
exhausting, harrowing day, perhaps
something along the lines of, "This is
the 10th time I've told you to get into
bed! You're driving me nuts! Just do
what I say!" instead of beating yourself
up or forgetting about the whole inci-
dent, consider it another opportunity
to guide your children.
"Tell your child, 'I'm really sorry. It
wasn't the right thing to do,"'
Rothstein advises.
And if you think that won't truly
mean anything to a child, consider

The other day one of Rothstein's
students, a 3-year-old, developmen-
tally disabled girl, knocked a num-
ber of items off the teacher aide's
desk, breaking the aide's favorite
Rothstein reacted; she was angry.
Quickly, however, she apologized.
"I'm really sorry," she told the girl.
"Speaking like that wasn't the right
thing to do. I was just feeling so sad
about it [the broken frame]. I'm so
sorry that I yelled at you."
The little girl promptly hugged
her. ❑

own agendas. Much of what is labeled
rebellion is simply a child expressing
We all struggle to achieve that balance
between "being ourselves" and adapt-
ing to our social environment. Parents
spend so much time disciplining
because, on the one hand, it is part
of our job to educate our children in
self-control and they continue to
struggle with impulsive, self-cen-
tered behavior for many years.
Yet, on the other hand, we have to
look at our own contribution. Part
of the need for continual discipline
comes from faulty messages we may
have inadvertently given our chil-
dren through poor examples of relat-
ing to others, including them, or in
how we manage our own impulses.
Our children are sometimes just
giving back to us an exaggerated ver-
sion of what we are already doing.

careful not to demean the child.
Q: What in Judaism gives us
guidance on how best to discipline
our children?
Dr. Last. The Torah gives us exam-
ples of the full range of parent disci-
plining techniques. Our sages make
reference to the use of the right
hand and the left hand, the former
to draw close, support and nurture,
and the other to set limits and
impose unpleasant consequences.
Each one works only in the con-
text of the other. It also appears that
the right hand takes precedence and
therefore should be the more preva-
lent approach.
It is said that God created the
world with both the divine attribute
of mercy and the divine attribute of
strict justice. So, too, must we, as
parents, conduct ourselves in a simi-
lar manner.

Q: Do children ever really listen
when we are talking to them about
their behavior?
Dr. Last. We have to know how to
talk so our children will listen.
When children are being told
something they don't want to hear,
we need to be brief. We need to first
secure their attention, usually by
some type of positive communica-
tion: "I know you are often careful
not to hurt others feelings, so I'm
puzzled why you called your sister
that name."
A child's desire to listen to us is,
in large part, a function of the
nature of the relationship. If there is
love, respect and caring, then the
child is more likely to listen. If there
are more positive interactions, then
it is easier to listen to the negatives.
In general, we need to be brief as
possible, try not to generalize to
character traits of the child and be

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GREAT Chanukah gifts for kids


Last week's puzzle challenged you to
figure out how Rachel could get out
of a locked room using only the fol-
lowing objects: a piano, a table, a
saw and a baseball bat.
Here are the answers:
#1) She used the saw to cut the
table in half. Since two halves make a
hole, she climbed out through the
#2) She swung the baseball bat
three times and missed. Three strikes
and she was out.
#3) She played the piano until she
found the right key, which she used to
unlock the door.
#4) She ran around and around the
room until at last she wore herself

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If Only Moses Knew...'








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