To what extent should parents shield their children from the negative, harmful and depressing realities of the world? After all, children are vulnerable and need their parents' protection. At the same time, sheltering children can make them even more fearful of the world and less able to cope with the harsh inevitabilities of life. According to Rabbi Shmuley, the key for parents is to strike an appropriate balance between protecting their children and helping them to confront and overcome their fears.
Rabbi Shmuley shares strategies for parents to help their children grow into strong, spirited young adults:
- Do not lie to your children. Lying will only cause children to distrust their parents, Rabbi Shmuley says. This doesn't mean parents need to tell the whole truth or all the gory details of a situation; rather, they should use their better judgment and find the silver lining. "You tell the truth amid the context of hopefulness," he says.
- Convey the message that goodness always wins. Rabbi Shmuley tells his children that life is full of ups and downs, hills and valleys—but that light always follows darkness. "You must convey to them amidst these depressing, sad and unnerving stories that life in the end always triumphs," he says.
- Help your children confront their fears. Most of the things children fear, such as the dark, monsters or even something like war, are largely irrational, Rabbi Shmuley says. Talk with children about the things that scare or upset them, Rabbi Shmuley says. "Teach them to be cautious but not fearful," he says.
"Optimistic parents raise resilient children, but pessimistic parents raise broken offspring. Wherever there is darkness, show your children the light."