Please enable JavaScript in your browser to experience all the custom features of our site.

Mr. Harry Skydell, Chairman
Mr. Mark Karasick, Vice Chairman
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Director
Rabbi Avrohom M. Gluck, Director of Operations
The first 1000 members will have a chance to win a
16 GB
with Rabbi Horowitz audio

Membership Benefits:

  • Save articles to your favorites folder.
  • Save and print selected articles in a PDF journal.
  • Receive emails containing the latest comments on your favorite articles.
  • Mark articles as "READ".
  • More member features coming soon...

Raffle Rules:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, complete the signup form and join as a member. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries shall become the property of CJFL. CJFL is not responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed entries.

The contest is open to the general public. Members need to be at least 18 years old. Identification must be produced on request. Employees of CJFL, its raffle sponsor, advertising and promotional agencies and their respective affiliates and associates and such employees' immediate family members and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are excluded from this raffle. ALL PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED MEMBERS WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THIS RAFFLE. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Decisions of the raffle judges are final - no substitutions will be available. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness (first initial and last name) and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the internet and picture date storage) which CJFL may deem appropriate. In accepting the prize, the winner, acknowledges that CJFL may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with accepting or using this prize. CJFL retains the rights, in its absolute and sole discretion, to make substitutions of equivalent kind or approximate value in the event of the unavailability of any prize or component of the prize for any reason whatsoever. This contest is subject to all federal, provincial and municipal laws. CJFL reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this raffle at any time without prior notice. One entry per person.

The Most Awful, Stupid Parenting Advice
by Dr. Debby Schwartz Hirschhorn
This article orignally appeared in

  Rated by 13 users   |   Viewed 12304 times since 2/9/09   |   18 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend


Picture the scene:

Several 5 year olds are playing in the park. One of them thinks a toy/ball/whatever of his/hers has been unfairly taken by another. He/she starts to hit/attack the would-be thief. The parents are clustered at the edge of the play area, talking and laughing. The noise level from the group of children elevates and one parent looks around at the children screaming at each other. Her eyebrow goes up and she remarks that the kids are going at each other. Another parent, puffed up with his brand of wisdom says, "Let the kids work it out."

So, I decided that this parent, we'll call him Jim, needs to learn a lesson. He needs to be the victim of his own "wisdom." Let's go back to last night, to scene two: It's 3 A.M. and Jim and his wife are sleeping. The doorbell rings. The police are at the door and they walk in right past him. They ignore his requests for information and proceed to search his house. He is pretty upset, frightened, and confused at this point. Next, they arrest him. He gets to the police station where his plea, "I want to speak to a lawyer," is met with, "No, sir. You have to work it out."

Not the same situation?

Wrong! It most certainly IS the same situation: Two people who don't have a clue how to resolve a difficulty are left helpless, with no assistance, no advice, no TOOLS. One is 5 and needs adult guidance and one is 50 and needs legal guidance. No difference at all! Now, if the 50 year old were arguing with his friend about his video game and the two were rather angry at each other, then I agree, his wife would not be appropriate to interfere. That would be a good case of, "let them work it out." Two adults who ought to know how to resolve a simple dispute. The difference in that scenario and the two that I describe above is that in the playground case and the arrest case, the people involved, one 5 and one 50 were in over their heads. That's why they needed guidance. That's what parenting really is. It seems apparent to me and for the life of me, I can't figure out why the adults don't see that.

Maybe a good parenting question is: When to help and when to leave them alone? A better formulation would be: How do you know when the child/person should know what to do so you should leave him/her alone and how do you know when that person is in over his or her head? Here is an answer in five parts:

1. You, the parent, are responsible for teaching all social behavior the first time.

2. You then are responsible to coach the child on future occurrences of that kind of behavior as a way to prod his memory as to the original coaching idea.

3. As the child grows older and occurrences of this situation come up again, it is your job to wean yourself of helping/coaching so as to give more and more responsibility to the child for (a)recognizing the problem; (b)remembering that he once did have answers to it from the initial teaching and subsequent coaching; (c)correctly applying what he learned in the past to the present situation.

4. A point comes when it is actually good for the child to experience the (painful) outcome of his choices because he has already been coached numerous times and sometimes he must experience Life directly in order to learn.

5. It is always possible for you, the parent, to re-evaluate the rate at which you are either jumping in with the coaching too quickly or not quickly enough and change the level of help you are giving at any one time. As long as you re-evaluate this regularly, you are in a win-win situation. Even screwing up leads to a win, because the re-evaluation teaches you something and it allows your child to learn from the situation—and from your re-evaluation itself.

Let's make the above rules concrete. Go back to the playground. The mother who cocked an eyebrow at the mess, let's call her Amanda, turns to Jim and says, "That's ridiculous. They don't know how to work it out themselves—other than fighting, and that's not a smart choice in my book." She proceeds over to the children, gets down at eye level, speaks quietly, and addresses the group with, "What's going on here?" Her voice is not blaming, just fact-finding. Little Nicole's arms are crossed and her chest is puffed out. Pointing at Jennifer, she says aggressively, "I had the ball and she took it! She just took it out of my arms! Make her give it back!"

Looking at Jennifer, Amanda (Nicole's mom) asks: "Is that your version of things?" Heaving with righteous indignation, Jennifer replies: "That's how they do it on tv! That's the way to play football! They knock each other down for the ball! Or they take it somehow." Amanda was a little stumped here, because, like me, she knows nothing about football. Sometimes parents have to be creative. "Is that what you were playing, Jennifer, football?" "Yes!" came the reply. Turning to Nicole, she asks, "Did you know you were playing football?" "Well..." Apparently, Nicole is not sure. To Jennifer, she asks, "Did you gals agree on the RULES before you started?" Now, Jennifer is looking at the ground. She is confused. She thought she did. To Nicole: "What are the rules for football?" Nicole shrugs. "Well, girls," Amanda concludes, "when you play a sport, you have to agree on the rules before you start. Okay?"

Click here for the rest of this article on Jewish World Review

To sign up for Rabbi Horowitz’s weekly emails, please click here.

Reader's Comments:      Rating & Comments Policy      Rate & Write a Comment!
 Average Rating:              Rated by 13 users    (18 comments)
Subscribe to this Article
(by subscribing you will receive email notification
when new comments are posted)
There are no comments yet. Click above to write the first comment.
Dear Readers:

Please visit our Parenting Resource listing to learn about agencies and services that you can make use of. If you know of an agency that can be of assistance to others, kindly drop an email to our site administrator at and pass along the information to him.

I ask that you please consider supporting the work we are doing to improve the lives of our children. Click on these links to learn more about our teen and parent mentoring program that serves hundreds of teens and their families, or our KESHER program, now in 20 schools in 4 states. Your financial support can allow us to expand these services and help more children.

If you believe in the governing principles of this website – to help effect positive change through the candid discussions of the real issues we collectively face, please consider becoming a daily, weekly or monthly sponsor of this website and help defray the costs of it’s maintenance.

Working with Families and Educators on Behalf of our Children

This site is managed by The Center for Jewish Family Life, Inc., 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952
Project Y.E.S. was founded by Agudath Israel of America
The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES - 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952 (845) 352-7100 ext. 114 Fax: (845) 352-9593