So often, parents try to force their children to fit a certain mold. They use criticism, guilt, preaching and policing to shape them into the people they think they should be. While it's important to discipline a child and impart your wisdom and values, Rabbi Shmuley says parents must allow their children to be themselves, which he outlines in the first chapter of his book 10 Conversations You Need To Have With Your Children.
The role of parents, he says, is to inspire their children to discover who they are and to give them a vision for who they should want to become—namely, a good, moral human being. "Effective parenting is when you finally give up what you want your child to be, and you get them to finally hear their own voice of who they want to be," Rabbi Shmuley says. "It's when you finally stop superimposing your vision on them and you allow them to hear their own inner voice of conscience."
You can help your children find their inner compasses by:
Engaging them in a conservation surrounding this fundamental question: Who do you want to be? Rabbi Shmuley says there are two possible answers: Either a good person or a person they do not respect (that is, a bad person). Explain how this is different from what they want to do as a job or what career goals they want to achieve.
Telling them that they are indeed good. "We all want to be good and be thought of as good, and you become an inspirational parent when you're able to finally get your child to hear that voice of goodness, to hear that voice of conscience," he says.
"You can never do wrong when you do right."