Because children are so heavily influenced by what they see and hear, Rabbi Shmuley says parents need to ask themselves what their real responsibilities are to their children. Bedtime stories, family dinners, compliments, a good education, a safe home and warm meals are needed, Rabbi Shmuley says, but guidance and wisdom are also essential. "They deserve to be the most important thing in your life—second only to your relationship with your spouse and God," he says.
And if a friend or family member refuses to take responsibility for his or her child, it's your obligation to speak up. Grandparents need to tell their children too. "If it means that they're upset with you or it's uncomfortable…too bad," Rabbi Shmuley says. Here's his advice about how to confront irresponsible parents:
Tell them that the parent-child relationship is often too close for parents to see the bigger picture.
Be respectful, but tell them it's something they need to fix. Offer to give help and support.
Say something if the child approaches you and shares with you that she's not being taken care of.
"The Bible commands children to honor their parents, but life commands parents to take care of their children. Children deserve a home of unconditional love, guidance and wisdom. If you see a friend or family member not providing those necessities, you have an obligation to tell them. Tell them in a loving way—that they have to do better for their kids."