Injury Becomes Identity

/
A child is angrily scolded into submission. Out of fear, he complies, he corrects his behavior, the authority figure is satisfied. And there is a cost. "Injury Becomes Identity" The initial cost is the unseen wound of rejection wrought by the trusted elder's anger (children inherently initially trust adults). And that cost festers. It festers into the child's self perception that he…

Anything But Loneliness

/
I often have parents come in sharing about how disturbing their child has become: "He constantly teases his sister" "She talks to me like I am a nothing" "He fights me on every decision" "She wears things that make her look like a..." And I remind them what I am constantly reminding myself with our own children: "Strife is better than loneliness" Creating noise in all of its…

Acting Out?

/
Focus on a child's BEHAVIOR and soon find yourself in a punish/reward feedback loop that while initially efficient, ultimately leaves the child insecure, emotionally unsafe and disconnected. Focus on the child's NEEDS that give rise to the behavior and find yourself tuned in his emotions and his world, creating a safe haven, fertile ground for healthy sustained growth and development. Ask…

Can My Child Be My Friend?

/
Can My Child Be My Friend? There are often 2 schools of thought on this: Authority - No, a child needs a parent, not a friend. Connection - Yes, being friends with your child creates a close relationship which is a good thing! Truth - Your child should NOT be your friend. That is an unhealthy burden placed on his shoulders. Your need for friendship should be met elsewhere. But, YOU…

Still (and always) a Child

/
My recent experience of the beautiful picture below brought this home in a real way. Witnessing my parents pre-yom kippur blessing and embrace, the joy was indescribable. Here I am a 45 year old, with a family of my own still deeply impacted by the safety and connection of my parents. More than ever, I am convinced that the greatest gift parents can give their children is the health and security…

Good Morning!

/
Walking to synagogue this past Shabbat with my 5 year old daughter Shevy. Me to a man riding a bike:"Good Morning" No response. "Good Morning!" (louder). No response. "GOOD MORNING"! Still nothing. Sensing my frustration, Shevy says: "It's ok tatty, he is probably listening to music and can't hear you". "Yeah, you're right.." (slightly smiling now and feeling a bit better)…

Nurtured to Thrive

/
When father's day comes around, It's natural to wonder how you are doing in that role. The cards feel good but you know the kids are forced to make those by well-meaning teachers and/or mothers. So how do you "check your ratings" (borrowed from a favorite Calvin and Hobbes)?   I'm not sure, but a line that resonated with me is that a parent's primary role is to help his child feel that…

I Love You (especially) Here

/
When he was very young, at times, our oldest son would hit me. I remember how hard this was as a new parent. I did not take it well and responded poorly, often with anger; driven by the fear of "what's wrong with him?", worse, "what's wrong with ME?" My experience is that the single most challenging aspect of being a parent is noticing a child's pain (beneath whatever confusing outwardly expression…

Two of the Most Dangerous Words to Say to Your Child

/
Two of the most dangerous words you can say to your child: "You're Special" They are dangerous not because they are a lie. They are dangerous because they can be about YOUR need to have a "special child". The burden the child then bears is one of "not enough". The fear that being his normal, imperfect, human self is not impressive enough. This costs him. Because against the burden…

Stop Blaming Your Parents

/
Stop Blaming Your Parents. כִּי־אָבִ֣י וְאִמִּ֣י עֲזָב֑וּנִי וַֽיהוָ֣ה יַֽאַסְפֵֽנִי׃ Though my father and mother abandon me, God will take me in. During this month, Jews have a custom to read chapter 27 of Psalms where the above verse is found. I believe that on one level, King David is speaking of a moment that every human…