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When Siblings Fight
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
When siblings fight, both the children and the parents feel the tension, stress and hurt feelings. By understanding the reasons why siblings fight, Rabbi Shmuley says parents can begin to address the problem and help their children effectively resolve their differences.

He shares the four most common causes for sibling strife and the four best ways to teach your children to get along.



Four Reasons Why Children Fight:
  1. Children are selfish. Rabbi Shmuley says children are naturally selfish, which leads to many sibling rivalries. "They need to be taught how to share—it doesn't come naturally to them," he says.
  2. Children have a "scarcity" mentality. Children hear adults talk about scarcity—whether it's a lack of family finances or global oil shortages—which leads them to focus on what they don't have as opposed to what they do have.
  3. Children are naturally envious. "It's part of human nature; it's part of the survival instinct," Rabbi Shmuley says. As a result, kids often want what other people have.
  4. Children often treat their siblings as a competitor. Parents can alter this perception for the better, Rabbi Shmuley says.


Four Ways to Teach Siblings to Get Along:
  1. There must be a punishment. Rabbi Shmuley says a parent's first reaction must always be to deliver consequences when their kids fight. If, for example, siblings are fighting over a toy, remove the toy from their possession immediately, he says.
  2. Stop showing your children a "scarcity" mentality. Don't tell them the world is running out of oil or that people in other countries are starving or that you don't have money to pay the bills, Rabbi Shmuley says.
  3. Teach children the difference between jealousy and envy. According to Rabbi Shmuley, jealousy is the legitimate desire to protect that which is yours. Envy is the desire to have that which belongs to somebody else. Teach children to share and be happy with what they have, he says.
  4. Teach children the beauty of family. Tell children how lucky they are to have a brother or sister, instilling the notion that a sibling is one of the greatest gifts they can have in life, he says.

Today's Shmuleyism
"Let your children always see that the other is their brother."
The opinions expressed by the hosts, guests and callers to Oprah Radio are strictly their own.

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    Parenting Pressures
    Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
    Are you constantly comparing yourself to other parents? Do you always wonder if you've done something wrong? Rabbi Shmuley says we live in a society that invites constant comparison and, in a desire to be perfect, people actually become imperfect.

    What happens when you try to be the perfect parent is that you bring an unrealistic standard into your home that no one can live up to, Rabbi Shmuley says. Nothing is ever good enough and, as a result, you raise your children to feel stressed, under pressure and unable to forgive themselves for being human, Rabbi Shmuley says. "The healthy parents are the ones who show their humanity. Humanity is found in the struggle and hard work," he says.

    Rabbi Shmuley shares advice on how to be a better, more human parent.
    • Understand that your humanity is a blessing. "You being fallible means that you're empathetic," he says. "When people make mistakes—especially your kids—be understanding of that."
    • Be there for your children when they make mistakes. Guide them and help them learn from those mistakes, Rabbi Shmuley says.
    • Accept the fact that you're going to make errors as a parent. "You can't succeed all of the time," he says. "Just do the best you can."
    • Be aware of what people really admire about each other—humanity. We still love people when they get frustrated and make mistakes and, likewise, people will still love you when you trip up too, Rabbi Shmuley says.
    Today's Shmuleyism
    "Imperfection is overrated. It creates false standards, and it's an outright rejection of our humanity. It's never good to make our kids feel like failures. Remember, it is far better to have a human household filled with light and laughter than one filled with so-called 'perfect people.'"

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      Mean Children
      Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
      What makes some children act like little angels, while other children behave in exactly the opposite manner? According to Rabbi Shmuley, parents play the biggest role in determining whether a child will be "good" or "bad." He offers the following parenting guidelines to ensure your child turns out to be a good egg:






      • Never model bad behavior to your children. Don't swear, lose your temper or gossip in front of them, Rabbi Shmuley says. Also, don't use aggressive, bullying behavior in their presence, he says.
      • Present a positive view of the world to your children. "Let them go into the world with optimism at their core, instead of brokenness at their core," Rabbi Shmuley says.
      • Talk to your kids. Ask them questions about school, their friends and their classmates, Rabbi Shmuley says.

      Today's Shmuleyism
      "Some theories believe children are born innocent, good and meek. Others believe that children are born narcissistic, mean-spirited and competitive. Both are wrong. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. Children are born neither good nor bad, but neutral. Children will emulate our behavior. If we scream at home, they will scream at school. If we show a sense of woundedness toward the world, they will become victims. If we show love and model generosity, they will have large hearts. We must be conscious of the fact that our children are always listening and watching."
      The opinions expressed by the hosts, guests and callers to Oprah Radio are strictly their own.

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        The Truth About Men
        Rabbi Shmuley
        Just because women today date more often than women in previous generations did, doesn't mean they know more about men, Rabbi Shmuley says. In fact, he says the truth about men may shock most women. Rabbi Shmuley shares the truth about men:







        • To be a man is to live with a lot of pain. "From virtually the moment you're born, you're judged not for your being, but your doing," Rabbi Shmuley says.
        • Men are looking to be rescued from their pain. "They believe a woman's tenderness can make them feel better about themselves and often fall head over heals in love almost instantly," he says. "But, when the pain still remains, they lose interest just as quickly."
        • Men are punished for showing emotion. "Hence, they learn to keep it all bottled up, but are bursting with a desire to release emotion," Rabbi Shmuley says.
        • Their parents, especially dads, teach them to be tough. Rabbi Shmuley says this is why many men are successful in their professions, but they are also aloof, distant and unattached.
        • A man's greatest fear is failure. "If he fails, that proves his gnawing self-doubt that he is utterly ordinary was correct from the beginning," he says.

        There are five things women can do to reach men and teach them important life lessons, Rabbi Shmuley says.

        1. Emphasize intimacy over womanizing.
        2. Promote love for children over a love of money.
        3. Encourage discussing problems rather than bottling them up.
        4. Make relationships more valuable than objects.
        5. Stop comparing yourself to your friends and be comfortable with yourself.

        Today's Shmuleyism
        "Men always say that women are impossible to fathom, but men are at times even more mysterious to women because of their reluctance to talk and share their feelings. As a woman, therefore, make an effort to understand your man by gently having him open up and revealing his deepest essence to you, his loving soul mate."
        The opinions expressed by the hosts, guests and callers to Oprah Radio are strictly their own.

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          10 Values Your Children Should Bring to School
          Rabbi Shmuley
          Books and school supplies aren't the most important things your children need to bring to school this year—solid values are. Rabbi Shmuley says it's important to discuss with your children the 10 most important values they should exhibit and encourage them to use this year:







          1. Character. "More than just getting As and Bs, first and foremost, do teachers say your kids are polite? Are they courteous to their friends and other students?" Rabbi Shmuley asks. He says children need to be good people first and good students second.

          2. A thirst for knowledge. Rabbi Shmuley says it's important to see your children wanting to learn. "Grades are important, but they're just a barometer as to the state of a child's mind," he says. "Parents should want to see their kids read at night, bring up interesting conversations at dinner and be a well-rounded individual."

          3. Dignity. Do your kids make everyone feel important—from their math teacher to the bus driver? Do they let others know that they are special? "Maybe there are kids in your child's class who need help with a subject that your child is good at. If there is a new kid in class who just moved to town and doesn't know anybody, encourage your child to reach out to them," Rabbi Shmuley says.

          4. Passion. Your children don't have to love every single subject in school, but whatever tasks they "get," encourage them to tackle those tasks with enthusiasm, Rabbi Shmuley says.

          5. Patience. Education is a lifelong experience, and good things come to students who can see in the long term, rather than just the next test, Rabbi Shmuley says. "Ask your kids to think about practicing patience at school—from the way they raise their hand to the way they line up for dodgeball," he says. "Patience is a lifelong skill and a rare quality in today's hectic society. Help your kids develop it early."

          6. Being. Help your kids learn how to just "be" and let them know that no matter their successes in school, as long as they can be themselves, their potential is limitless. "Don't think that anything you do at school will define you," Rabbi Shmuley says. "Whether you're a great soccer player or head of student council, you have to feel comfortable with yourself."

          7. Purpose. "A child's purpose is not to be a great test taker, but to find the thing they're good at," Rabbi Shmuley says. "Tell your kids that 'it's not about you,' and help them find something larger than themselves."

          8. Friendship. Make friendship a gift that your children give without expecting anything in return, Rabbi Shmuley says. "Tell them it's a truly good person who is nice to the 'uncool kids' at school," he says. "Being there for their inner circle of friends is important, but it is the truly honorable child who extends friendship to others without expecting anything in return."

          9. A Sense of Wonder. Schoolchildren are learning new subjects and expanding their horizons every day. Rabbi Shmuley says you should help them feel inspired by learning new things. "Cynicism is what destroys the wonder in our lives," Rabbi Shmuley says. "Children should maintain that important sense of wonder and curiosity."

          10. Family. No matter how busy your children are and how many teams and clubs they belong to, Rabbi Shmuley says they have to remember that they're part of another really important team—a family. "Tell your kids to make an effort to spend time with their poor, neglected parents, and even eat dinner with them once in a while too!" Rabbi Shmuley says.

          Today's Shmuleyism
          "Education today is too narrowly defined as what happens in class. However, the principle education a child receives is a moral education that determines their character. Giving your kids character-building ingredients are the principle form of educating our children, so they can serve as a light and blessing to others."
          The opinions expressed by the hosts, guests and callers to Oprah Radio are strictly their own.

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            The Power of Saying No
            Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
            After a long and busy day, it can often be much easier to give in to your child's requests rather than to say no and get into an argument. Rabbi Shmuley talks about the reasons behind why parents can't say no to their children.

            Why Parents Can't Say No:

            • They feel guilty. When parents feel like they are neglecting their children, they're often inclined to say yes to their children's requests. "Out of a spirit of guilt, we give them things to compensate for not giving them the greatest gift of all—the gift of ourselves," Rabbi Shmuley says. "We think we can compensate by buying them things."
            • They're reliant on our children's affection. When parents are in a bad marriage, they're often not getting their principle affection and validation from their spouse. This causes the parent to become dependant on getting affection from the children. "A lot of parents can't say no to their kids because their child is the only source of affection," Rabbi Shmuley says. "So you find yourself buying it and purchasing it."
            • They're just too tired. Parents can get so burnt out from working so hard that when they come home, they're too tired to deal with confrontation. It can be easier to say yes than to get in an argument, Rabbi Shmuley says. "That's why you are saying yes to your kids—because you've come home with no reserves."
            • They're insecure. When people can't say no, it is really out of insecurity, Rabbi Shmuley says. "Strength gives you the power to say no, so believe in yourself." Don't be afraid that saying no is going to mean rejection, he says.

            Today's Shmuleyism
            "We find it challenging to say no to our kids because we parent out of fear—fear of rejection, fear of not being loved—rather than out of strength, but when it comes to parenting, the 'no' of discipline is yet another form of love."
            The opinions expressed by the hosts, guests and callers to Oprah Radio are strictly their own.

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