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Raising Jewish Children: 10 Things to Keep in Mind


There are no shortcuts to good parenting! Today, many forces are at work which make raising good children difficult. In our open society, children are exposed to a multitude of mixed messages. Hard work, love and a little bit of "mazal" (luck) ought to increase the chances of creating a nurturing, sound foundation for your children. Although there are no pat answers or formulas for raising children of whom you will be proud and whose Jewishness will be more than just "skin deep," there are some things to keep in mind. Here is a list of ten suggestions culled from various sources on parenting:

  1. The most common complaint that psychologists hear from children is that their parents are too busy to listen to them and don't find time to spend with them.
  2. You cannot be a good role model for your children if you fear them.
  3. Being a good parent requires as much time, talent, energy and thought as any full-time job.
  4. Good parents get to know their children by becoming actively involved in their interests.
  5. A child's first and most important teachers are his parents. Note that the Hebrew word for parents, "horim" and for teachers, "morim" are very similar. Both words mean to teach and to instruct.
  6. The more time we spend with our children, the greater the possibility that we will be together when important moments in life occur.
  7. "How-to" books on parenting by experts can help to some extent, but parenting is too important a responsibility to hand over to experts.
  8. Raising children requires "activist" parenting. Parents must learn to praise their children and show them kindness, to say no when required, to set limits, to have respect for them, to teach them responsibility, to be realistic and to teach them through their own role modelling.
  9. Goodness is not an innate or natural disposition. People are not born good. Rather, they become good human beings by learning from role models who are good.
  10. Plan ahead and set goals for your child in terms of the kinds of values you want your child to have, and the type of person you would like your child to be.

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