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Post  Sat, Jan 25 2020, 10:07 pm
Mishpacha - Letter to Editor - Issue 795 - Page 16
[Reprinted here without permission, sorry.]
Quote:
HOW TO BE A PERFECT PARENT
[Inbox / Issue 793]

Last week's letter to the editor raised the issue of therapists rushing to "rescue" young adults from imperfect parenting by alienating children from their parents, thus leaving children bereft of the people who care for them the most in the world.

The good news is that I've written up a list of parenting rules to ensure your child never ends up being told by her smug social worker, "Your parents did their best. That doesn't mean that you got what you needed."

1. Never, ever use the phrases "Because I told you so," "I'm disappointed in you," "Calm down," or "Hurry up." These are demeaning and ineffective.

2. Never say, "Don't make me turn this car around," which is clearly an empty threat. Also, don't use threats even if they are not empty.

3. A good parent knows where her child is at night, but don't ask him where he is going because it shows you don't trust him.

4. Don't ever say, "You give me so much nachas." What is he... a nachas machine? Similarly, don't say, "Brush your hair." It's obvious you care about your own image more than you care about your child.

5. If your child is overweight, serve a lot of salad, buy a treadmill, and take her to a nutritionist... but don't ever imply that you noticed that she needs to lose weight.

6.If your child has difficulty fitting in, make sure she has cool clothing, a cool briefcase, etc. Also, teach her that possessions and impressing other people are not important. And don't let her see that you feel she needs cool clothing as a crutch, or she will absorb the message that she is powerless.

7. If she whines, don't give her whatever she wants, That's enabling. Still don't want her to be the only one who can't go to sleepaway camp or seminary, so work hard and save a lot of money. Only make sure you are home from work before the kids come home and never be too tired to listen to them all. Never let them see you on the phone with a client. Preferably your kids should not even be aware that you work.

8. Give each of your seven kids 20 minutes of individual time each evening... But start early because it's really important for them to go to sleep on time. Don't you dare go out with friends or to a wedding, because your kids come first at this stage... but if you have daughters, remember to model self-care, so go out at least once a week.

9. Chores teach children responsibility, but don't ever say, "Wow, I couldn't have done it without you." That can be frightening for children. After all, you are the adult. Let them be children.

10. You are a parent, not a friend, but at the same time make sure your child knows you are his friend.

11. Refrain from offering advice even when you see your child making a mistake. Let them learn from their own mistakes (or not). Also, be parental. Children feel best when they know their parents are confident and in control.

12. Children should be taught it's okay to make mistakes, but never tell them to apologize. That would be demeaning and ineffective.

13. Teach children the reality about finances. If you are rich, feel free to tell your child, "That coat is too expensive." If you are middle class, say, "I really don't like that coat, so therefore we won't buy it." If you are poor, just buy it. That way your child won't feel insecure. Ultimately three years of therapy costs more than the coat.

14. Don't shield children from reality and never, ever lie to them. They will sense it. So tell them all about terrorism, divorce, substance abuse...

15. Praising a child too much or the wrong way creates neediness and maybe narcissism. Also, a child who is not praised enough will develop personality disorder, and it's all your fault.

16. Whatever you do, don't trust your intuition when it comes to raising children.

17. Don't even think about becoming a parent without two years of therapy first. And then if you have any more questions, just remember that Google knows best.
Now tell me... How does that make you feel?

Name Withheld
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allthingsblue




 
 
 
 

Post  Sat, Jan 25 2020, 10:11 pm
I've been reading an abundance of letters to Jewish magazines complaining of children who alienate their parents with the guidance of a Rav or therapist. The parents are writing in, complaining they did nothing to deserve it, and the letter you posted seems to agree, satirically stating that it's impossible to be a perfect parent (which happens to be true).
But.
No kid in their right mind chooses to alienate parents for no reason. If they cut off contact, either the parent has major issues or the child does ( in which case, parents should sympathize with their children instead of complaining). There's no way a child would choose to forgo a parent's love and support (emotional, physical and financial) in a normal situation.
The abundance of letters of recent really nauseate me.
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lilies




 
 
 
 

Post  Sat, Jan 25 2020, 10:14 pm
I love number 13.
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amother




Pumpkin
 

Post  Sat, Jan 25 2020, 10:22 pm
allthingsblue wrote:
I've been reading an abundance of letters to Jewish magazines complaining of children who alienate their parents with the guidance of a Rav or therapist. The parents are writing in, complaining they did nothing to deserve it, and the letter you posted seems to agree, satirically stating that it's impossible to be a perfect parent (which happens to be true).
But.
No kid in their right mind chooses to alienate parents for no reason. If they cut off contact, either the parent has major issues or the child does ( in which case, parents should sympathize with their children instead of complaining). There's no way a child would choose to forgo a parent's love and support (emotional, physical and financial) in a normal situation.
The abundance of letters of recent really nauseate me.


I don't read the magazine but from personal experiance I don't think rabbis are so fast to recommend alianation. My dh wanted to uninvite his father to our wedding. They have plenty of "history" shall we say. He was advised not to because it's the type of thing you can't undo. He listened. His father walked him down the aisle.... and now 10 years later they are currently sitting and shmoozing in my living room. Things are far from peachy and we don't see them very often (we moved away) but my dh didn't cut off contact. He's thought about it but didn't do it. his father has a good relationship with our kids.
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Mama Bear




 
 
 
 

Post  Sat, Jan 25 2020, 11:31 pm
This letter irked me.
Some of the things she says are true and satire.
Others were almost painful to read.
Like, #1. I almost had PTSD flashbacks to my mother saying these things to me.
no, I didnt cut off with her, I didnt alienate her.
But I AM SO CAREFUL TO NEVER EVER TELL MY KIDS "Because I told you so " or "I'm disappointed in you."
The little girl inside of me almost started crying when I read that. It really hurt my self esteem and my self-worth when I told things like that.
The women writing these letters don't realize how much of their behavior to their kids was damaging.
HOWEVER!!
NO ONE cuts off their parents bc of how they were raised; most adults realize that their parents did the best they could with the tools they had.
Adults cut off their parents if they CONTINUE treating them the same way as adults. If they still havent learned to act differently to their kids when theyre already independent adults and still treat them like a piece of garbage and trample all over them.
If you read the letter again you can see so much abusive language and thoughts that this mother probably still has towards her kid. It made me pretty upset.
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amother




Green
 

Post  Sat, Jan 25 2020, 11:42 pm
I thought this letter was very belittling. And way too know it all.
I did not care for it.
Couldn't tell if it was written by a man or woman, but my gut feeling is it was written by a man. Something about the tone.
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amother




Linen
 

Post  Sat, Jan 25 2020, 11:50 pm
I guess I'm the awful parent that's being referenced here.

In the context of a generally positive relationship, what is the problem with saying "I am disappointed in you" (when a child needs to know that you expect better from them in regards to a specific issue)?

And why is it bad to periodically say "because I told you so"? To teach some basic Kibud Av Va'eim and Kabolas Ol?

If that is the ONLY response to misbehavior, yes I see that it could be a problem (child begins to see that they are a disappointment to their parents whenever they are imperfect), and if that is the ONLY response to "why" it could also be a problem (child does not get their questions or concerns taken seriously).

Whenever I see the word "never" included in a sentence about parenting, I am very, very wary.
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amother




Tangerine
 

Post  Sat, Jan 25 2020, 11:57 pm
amother [ Linen ] wrote:
I guess I'm the awful parent that's being referenced here.

In the context of a generally positive relationship, what is the problem with saying "I am disappointed in you" (when a child needs to know that you expect better from them in regards to a specific issue)?

And why is it bad to periodically say "because I told you so"? To teach some basic Kibud Av Va'eim and Kabolas Ol?

If that is the ONLY response to misbehavior, yes I see that it could be a problem (child begins to see that they are a disappointment to their parents whenever they are imperfect), and if that is the ONLY response to "why" it could also be a problem (child does not get their questions or concerns taken seriously).

Whenever I see the word "never" included in a sentence about parenting, I am very, very wary.


The letter was satire, in response to the hot topic of children alienating their parents. The letter seemed to be saying that no parent is perfect and there are contradictory parenting method out there and therefore all parents are at threat of their kids cutting them out of their lives for no/minor reason. I strongly disagree - I think children usually have valid reasons.
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amother




Linen
 

Post  Sun, Jan 26 2020, 12:38 am
amother [ Tangerine ] wrote:
The letter was satire, in response to the hot topic of children alienating their parents. The letter seemed to be saying that no parent is perfect and there are contradictory parenting method out there and therefore all parents are at threat of their kids cutting them out of their lives for no/minor reason. I strongly disagree - I think children usually have valid reasons.

I was responding more to mama bear.

It's a continuum, and I'm in general inclined to side with you, that no one minor issue is causing kids to alienate their parents.
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forgetit




 
 
 
 

Post  Sun, Jan 26 2020, 12:45 am
I also see nothing wrong with saying "I'm disappointed". I don't know if I say it or not, but I could see myself saying it. I actually thinks its a healthy way to express disappointed and start a discussion on what went wrong.
Maybe yelling I'm SO DISAPPOINTED, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, without letting the kid respond is pointless, but I like the sound of it when said calmly. (Though I do like the sound of I'm SO SO proud of you much more, but gotta be realistic that sometimes we are disappointed.)
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Mama Bear




 
 
 
 

Post  Sun, Jan 26 2020, 1:03 am
"I'm disappointed in you" makes you feel like you can never be good enough and can never measure up to expectations.
"I'm disappointed that you didn't do such and such" is a different way of expressing it. If you're disappointed in your child you've just stepped all over his or her self esteem. your child needs to know you love and accept them no matter what.
Also, it depends in what context you're saying it.... If your child has done something EGREGIOUS then yes, you can say whatever you want. But in my memory, it was said for really minor things.
as for "Because I said so" - that is so beyond frustrating. I wanted to SCREAM when it was said to me. I make sure to explain to my children WHY I want them to do or not do something. "Because I said so" makes it feel like a military house and a power struggle.
Like I said, I wouldn't alienate my mother of stuff like that. But the whole tone of that letter showed me that this mother kept on ripping into her children and makeing them feel like 2 cents. and then she wonders why they won't talk to her.
If a child is alienating a parent she must have a VERY VERY good reason. And unless the parent is willing to hear out the child, and is instead in defensive mode and in blame mode, like this letter writer is -- she can forget about reconciliation. Someone who alienates a parent is usually hurting very badly.
Or there is something wrong with them / their spouse that they are cutting everyone out of their lives, in which case, serious intervention is warranted.
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seeker




 
 
 
 

Post  Sun, Jan 26 2020, 1:05 am
lilies wrote:
I love number 13.

I also especially appreciated that one. More original than most of the "darned if you do, darned if you don't."
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amother




Brown
 

Post  Sun, Jan 26 2020, 3:36 am
allthingsblue wrote:
I've been reading an abundance of letters to Jewish magazines complaining of children who alienate their parents with the guidance of a Rav or therapist. The parents are writing in, complaining they did nothing to deserve it, and the letter you posted seems to agree, satirically stating that it's impossible to be a perfect parent (which happens to be true).
But.
No kid in their right mind chooses to alienate parents for no reason. If they cut off contact, either the parent has major issues or the child does ( in which case, parents should sympathize with their children instead of complaining). There's no way a child would choose to forgo a parent's love and support (emotional, physical and financial) in a normal situation.
The abundance of letters of recent really nauseate me.


All the letters really upset me also. We had to go limited contact with my inlaws at one point and my mother in law could have written one of those letters.
Im sure all her friends here about how she did nothing wrong and she tried her best and we just stopped talking to them for NO REASON and we are just entitled young people who run at the first disagreement.
Of course none of that is true but she still believes that to be true
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Ruchel




 
 
 
 

Post  Sun, Jan 26 2020, 6:22 am
sooooo disagree.
hurry up is ok, is nothing weird

5 made me crack up - and they say kids see everything so don't lie, but they won't notice this

also do not tell them ALL about horrors ever, heck even adults dont need

"Teach children the reality about finances. If you are rich, feel free to tell your child, "That coat is too expensive." If you are middle class, say, "I really don't like that coat, so therefore we won't buy it." If you are poor, just buy it." wt...... oh the classisim and the irony of not knowing what poor is, also this is not reality

"never be too tired to listen to them all. Never let them see you on the phone with a client. Preferably your kids should not even be aware that you work." rofl that's some crazy

I keep reading - it is a crack right? not real? because it is INSANE
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amother




Aquamarine
 

Post  Sun, Jan 26 2020, 6:29 am
Mama Bear wrote:

NO ONE cuts off their parents bc of how they were raised; most adults realize that their parents did the best they could with the tools they had.


No one?
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ectomorph




 
 
 
 

Post  Sun, Jan 26 2020, 7:22 am
Know lots of people who claim their parents are "toxic" and it's almost in style to cut off your parents nowadays. I've never seen it from a rabbi it seems like a therapist thing.

There are extremely rare situations where a parent is severely abusive and hates the child. 99% of these stories are not these types of situations. It's very sad.

These kids will have kids. Let's hope their kids don't cut them off for perceived slights. As has been modeled for them.
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allthingsblue




 
 
 
 

Post  Sun, Jan 26 2020, 7:36 am
ectomorph wrote:
Know lots of people who claim their parents are "toxic" and it's almost in style to cut off your parents nowadays. I've never seen it from a rabbi it seems like a therapist thing.

There are extremely rare situations where a parent is severely abusive and hates the child. 99% of these stories are not these types of situations. It's very sad.

These kids will have kids. Let's hope their kids don't cut them off for perceived slights. As has been modeled for them.


This is exactly the sort of thing that bothers me. I have heard of rabbis who recommended limited no contact after parents showed they could not respect boundaries. Toxic parents abound, sadly. I don't know who gave you the right to decide what is or is not toxic, but parents who consistently cause shalom Bayis issues between married couples, or who spent the child raising years raising their children with complete criticism orcontrol and destroying self esteem (and have not changed since), etc- these are toxic people indeed and if you didn't live there 24/7 you just don't know what transpired and how it affected the children.
There's a difference between imperfect parents vs toxic (aka emotionally or physically abusive) parents.

Why on earth would a normal person decide to cut off contact? Either the person is not normal (so parents should pray for them and hope/help them get the help they need) OR the situation got so bad that they felt they needed to remove themselves despite the many consequences (loneliness, embarrassment when being the only one making yom tov at home at such a young age, limited contact with single siblings, no grandparents to shower love on their children, no babysitting help, no one to share in nachas phone calls...) it's a painful choice. Don't minimize it.

Eta: most of these parents actually do love their children in their own way, but if they have a mental illness (borderline, narcissism, anxiety, you name it) that they refuse to treat, and therefore they treat their kids terribly, it's going to be impossible to deal with them in a healthy way.
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amother




Lawngreen
 

Post  Sun, Jan 26 2020, 7:53 am
My parents are very difficult to deal with. But I'm with ectomorph. My siblings and I would never dream of cutting them off especially now that that they're older and frail. This is our nisayon, our a kibbud av VaEm. We make mental boundaries in our head, a sort of armor to let their negativity roll off of us go in one ear and out the other. It's not easy and took me a while to get there, but I don't see it as a choice. Hashem is in charge and if I abandon this challenge He can chas veshalom give me a new one. No thanks . And I try my best so my kids won't feel this way about me.
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allthingsblue




 
 
 
 

Post  Sun, Jan 26 2020, 8:14 am
amother [ Lawngreen ] wrote:
My parents are very difficult to deal with. But I'm with ectomorph. My siblings and I would never dream of cutting them off especially now that that they're older and frail. This is our nisayon, our a kibbud av VaEm. We make mental boundaries in our head, a sort of armor to let their negativity roll off of us go in one ear and out the other. It's not easy and took me a while to get there, but I don't see it as a choice. Hashem is in charge and if I abandon this challenge He can chas veshalom give me a new one. No thanks . And I try my best so my kids won't feel this way about me.

Why do you think it would be abandoning the challenge? It's just exchanging it for a different set of circumstances.
I don't know your parents or how challenging they are but challenging parents present themselves in all sorts of ways. If a Rav or therapist feels this is necessary for someone, they shouldn't be blamed. Their parents are the ones who caused this and have the ability to change it through changing their behavior.
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amother




Lawngreen
 

Post  Sun, Jan 26 2020, 8:24 am
allthingsblue wrote:
Why do you think it would be abandoning the challenge? It's just exchanging it for a different set of circumstances.


Because it's in the Aseres Hadibros. And also a straight out pasuk in the Torah. And a different set of circumstances could be worse.
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