Chodesh Tov, my friends! Let’s kick off the month of Kislev with a topic that relates to the upcoming Holiday of Chanukah. ¡Educating our kids! Hot topic for some of us, I know. Good. It should be. Educating our kids is a mitzvah of the tallest order and unfortunately (or fortunately?) it’s not one you just look up inside the Code of Jewish Law and come out with a checklist of things to do.
I think it’s a mitzvah that is more about us, the parents, than our kids. We need to constantly educate ourselves as we’re embarking on this parenting thing. We need to learn, review, implement, tweak, adapt, grow and ultimately PRAY! Chanukah is connected to the word chinuch (educating our kids) and thus, I’ve invited family psychologist and parenting experts, Mijal and Jael from TimE Emotional Guidance Center (Remember this post?) to share with us weekly tips on chinuch during this month of Kislev. So let’s get started with Part 1 of educating our kids. Enjoy!
One of the biggest challenges parents experience on a daily basis is how, what, when and where to discipline their children. Lets first understand what the word “discipline” means. According to google dictionary discipline is “the practice of training people to obey rules…”
Do we want to train or teach our children? We say let’s focus on teaching, not so much training. In order to teach we must understand what we want our kids to learn and how to teach it. (It works differently for every child).
Positive discipline focuses on understanding what the child is experiencing, being empathetic (putting yourself in their shoes).
- First, have clear and realistic expectations of your children’s behavior
If a child is presenting a negative behavior, take a moment to understand what is happening. A behavior is a form of communication.
- When we reach our limits, and simply lose it (we are humans and might do so at times) it’s harder for the child to control his or her emotions. Instead, take a deep breath and listen, listen, and listen
- Give attention to the behavior you like, not the behavior you don’t. For example: Instead of “You cannot leave the table until you finish your lunch”, try this “I love when you sit with us at lunch”
- And finally, Redirect, redirect, redirect… Focus the attention towards the desired behavior
Thank you, Mijal and Jael! First, I have to say, that I never thought about the difference between teaching and training. They are right. As parents, G-d entrusted us to mechanech our kids – teach or educate our kids. We don’t want to train humans like robots who are programed to do as we’re told, but rather, we want to educate them so that as adults they have the self confidence and the ability to listen to an inner voice that will guide them to do what is right. Educating children is thus, not a simple endeavor. It is a process and it definitely has to be carried out in the most positive way. So, I love these four Positive Discipline tips to incorporate when educating our kids.
I, for one, know that these are things that both me and my husband try to implement with our kids, but not always succeed at it. So, I definitely need these reminders! Am I always empathetic? I try. But, certainly could do better. Do I always listen? Mh…. Additionally, I find that in order not to “loose it” I have to breathe several times and use a VERY low tone of voice, telling the child, “I listen when children talk to me in the same tone of voice as I’m using now.” My low tone of voice calms ME down, first and foremost, and as I keep repeating this statement like a broken record, not only do I become calmer, but so does the child until he finally the child gets the cue that we will get to a better communication stage as soon as we are both cooperating. ;-)
Do you have any questions on today’s tips, educating kids or general parenting that you would like to ask us? Leave us a comment or send us an email and we will be happy to respond and even cover the topic here if we can, so that others can benefit from the conversation.
Have a Shabbat Shalom!