When your children make mistakes, should you leave them be so they can learn, or should you intervene so they don't get hurt? Rabbi Shmuley says it depends on the kind of mistake they've made. "Clearly, there are mistakes that our kids should not be making because we are their parents, who are supposed to be protecting them from making such serious mistakes that have lifelong consequences." When it comes to smaller mistakes, such as not studying for an exam, you can and should let your child learn from those kinds of mistakes, Rabbi Shmuley says.
A parent doesn't need to be a child's friend—rather, they should be the person who teaches them right from wrong. "There's no quicker road to the destruction of a child than being their friend and not being their parent," Rabbi Shmuley says. "We, the parents, are the ones who should impose the consequences, rather than police or teachers. Because when we punish our kids, it is constructive. We love our kids and want what's best for them."
"The school of hard knocks is often the best possible teacher, but it leaves just that—very hard knocks. It's much better for parents to employ their own punishments for children who are errant because the parent's knocks are much softer, gentler and not designed to be punitive, but constructive."
Published on July 23, 2008