Afraid to Parent

What to tell parents of a two day old girl.

Comments (89)

(86) Annie, September 13, 2011 2:59 PM

Mazal Tov Mazal Tov

so YOU want a little piece of advise to share! ok... I agree there is too much fear of parenting out there which involves countless hours of whiny negotiations from parents to kids who haven't a clue what the world is about! so let's start by advising 'from the get-go, parents:' learn to say things ONCE to let the child know what's going on, only repeat a SECOND time IF necessary (three times is nagging/whining) and then SHUT UP. Learn to shut up. And this can be done lovingly, with smiles, with a firm and good attitude; if the child asks, then YOU ask them to repeat what you said... tell them you totally trust their intelligence to get it and do it. The quality of the results is based on their age, their mental capabilities and your training them without the distraction of too much yip-yap from parents' mouths! Just use the amount of words necessary. And shut up. Start their lives with the knowledge and beauty of shmiras halashon. You will all grow. Together. In Torah. Together together.

(85) Michal Selber, July 19, 2011 1:49 PM

Show them you believe in them

Tell your children, in words and by your actions, that you believe in them--in how capable they are and in their ability to make the right choices in life. Mazal Tov to you, your wife, and the entire mishpocoa.

(84) Anonymous, June 5, 2011 5:43 AM

work with your child as he/she is

Don't try to mold your child into someone they are not. See what their talents, abilities are and lead them toward actualizing themselves. Don't get caught up in trying to make them into 'cookie cutter's of what some in the religious velt would like everyone to be.

(83) Saul Pillai, May 31, 2011 3:49 AM


MAZAL TOV !!!! (a little late but, hey joys must be celebrated and wished) I’m not a parent and am not married… yet but I’ll like to say to parents out there; Listen to your children, hear (pay attention to) what they are saying/telling you and you’ll pick out hidden clues/cues that they actually want to share with you, but find it so difficult… SHALOM

Anonymous, June 2, 2011 1:27 AM

Listen to your children. And you will know their minds.

Not only listen...if I may be so bold....but See what they are interested in , what are they Looking at, what Facinates them, and Help them find their way toward their goal......what ever that may be.....what do you think?

(82) Anonymous, April 26, 2011 2:21 PM

1.Hashem loves you no matter who you are and what you do. Sorry I need to add this second thing because of the times we live in-.2. Teach your child it he/she should get married. Just like you teach shabbat and kashrut. Kids seem to think it is a choice not a command. Not true, Mazel tov on your new little granddaughter and much nachat,

(81) Anonymous, February 28, 2011 3:31 AM

Read "Children; The Challenge" by Rudolph Dreikurs and follow his advice! Read Rav Herscel Weinreb's article in last week's Jewish Press on raising kids. Bottom line: do everything you can not to spoil them, to give them alot of attention for positive behavior,and telling them stories about good people, and don't be afraid of structuring natural and logical consequences for bad behavior a la Dreikurs. It works to make kids kind, considerate, and responsible !

(80) rea, February 25, 2011 8:12 PM

about the spoiling message below

i don't think you can spoil a baby of one year or less. i think i heard that in the first year, your child should always know she's safe and taken care of and loved, and all her needs should be provided quickly and lovingly. she should not feel neglected or stressed out or depressed, which are feelings that babies can experience if they are not looked after very well. there's nothing really to struggle with her about and there's nothing a baby does that is spoiled, selfish, or manipulative, so there's no need to worry that doing for her will lead to a spoiled child. but parents have to work on proper behavior of a child while the child is very young--this is not the same as not doing things for the child so as not to spoil the child, since a parent cannot spoil a baby by providing for her needs and a parent must provide for every single need of a baby and toddler--so they should instill as many normal, unspoiled behaviors into a child as soon as she's ready--probably sometime around year one--definitely well before the second birthday. so give to your child and teach your child. don't teach a child to be unspoiled by refusing to give--that will only lead to an angry, depressed, tense, and very selfish, and very spoiled-seeming child who will most likely grow into a miserable adult. the best people i know either had to overcome deprivation and somehow managed, and people who came from beautiful, loving homes, in which they were treated like real human beings. cared for, nurtured, had all their needs met, while at the same time were taught good manners, proper respect, how to talk, how to behave, and complete decency and respect and responsibility was expected from them, and they delivered on that expectation.

suzzanne nemick, June 2, 2011 1:21 AM

spoiling is not providing needs.

This hit home for me....

rea, September 5, 2011 10:34 PM

this hit home for you

how so? would you mind sharing? are you on the parenting side of this or you were somehow parented like this?

(79) Leah, February 25, 2011 7:47 PM

Mazal tov! YOU are the very best mother and father for your particular child. Follow your instincts and intuition, God gave them to you for a reason!

(78) Annie, February 25, 2011 3:21 PM

And to you R Yaakov Salomon:


(77) Annie, February 25, 2011 3:18 PM

Advise!? shut up & listen, and take it with a grain of salt! Relax and enjoy yourself

the act of listening to others has many merits one of them is that you never know from whom you will learn just that piece of advise that you needed to hear If you like your parents & in-laws, and your Rabbi & Rebetzin listen to them; every one else is the delicious 'cherry on the topping for you cake' - delicious, but you can take it or leave it. Be careful not to get overwhelmed with advise.

(76) Leanne Wasel, February 24, 2011 9:06 PM

Mazel tov!!!!

Mazel tov!!! Wishing you and your wife lots of nachas from all of your children and grandchildren. Mazel tov to your daughter and son-in-law...wishing them lots of naches too! As a parent myself I am always searching for advice. My advice is to enjoy the first 6 - 8 weeks because they say that it's IMPOSSIBLE to spoil a child during that time!! I found it comforting to give everything I could to our little ones knowing that I couldn't possibly spoil them. The tough part for me is getting tough after that!! For example, our two year olds still don't sleep through the night because I just couldn't bring myself to sleep train them. All the best, from one of your Edmonton fans!

(75) Tony, February 24, 2011 4:36 PM

Go with your instincts

Listen to what all your parents, parents in law, doctors friends, aunts, uncles have to say, but go with your own instincts. This obviosuly assumes that the two new parents are of sound mind.

(74) Channie, February 23, 2011 10:58 PM

Mazal tov to both you and the parents. What excellent advice in the 71 comments so far. I'd like to add one that I have not yet seen. While there is no substitute for loving a child, love must include a certain amount of healthy distance to allow the child to grow and develop on her own in the image God bestowed exclusively on her. Don't take everything she does as a reflection of you or an extension of yourselves, and don't take everything personally. If she frets, it's probably nothing you did wrong; if she sings, it's probably because she feels happy in her own right. If as she grows and matures, her choices are different from those you would have made, unless they are harmful, nurture her to follow the path Hashem has chosen for her and appreciate it. Hashem has entrusted this child to you, not given her to you. May you have much naches from her and from all the children and grandchildren Hashen has entrusted to your care.

(73) Judith, February 23, 2011 9:26 PM

Keep in mind your childhood promises

"Do not do unto your kid what you hated you parents did onto you" Simple as that. And another...keep in mind she is the most precious person in the world, never ever run out of patience. Last but not least, read Rabbi Dr. Twersky's " Positive Parenting" (amongst other related books). Mazal Tov to all and kein irvu b'israel :)!!!

(72) Devorah, February 23, 2011 7:32 PM

So many other great recommendations but I'll add a few, Part 2

(2) You as parents may not have it completely figured out yet, nor at any point along the way for the next 20 years even; but SET ASIDE TIME DAILY to talk about your children, and react and make decisions with CONSISTENCY. That means you stick to your rules, and your no's and yes's. And if you disagree, try really hard to wait until you can do so in private, and back up one another's word in front of your child. That is also part of consistency. (3) Build your child up, and always look for the good and communicate to him/her positive feedback in specific ways. Internally, think of your child as someone who is good, and will one day be a very great adult, not an annoying bratty whatever, and you will be able to show such a positive, loving attitude that it will send encouraging messages that your child will want to live up to. (4) Balance the no's with yes's - opportunities to receive approval for good choices as well as having their own tastes and feelings. (3) Defend your child when s/he is unable to do so alone. At the same time, teach and foster tools for independent coping. (4) Get outside help without delay whenever needed or even suspected to be needed, whether it could be tutoring, therapy, or rabbinical advice (same as going to the pediatrician when your kid has a swollen arm and usually - being thrilled when you're told it's not broken). (5) Read and apply all the great principles of parenting in the recommendations of the other commenters here, Plus I would add, for when everyday behavior management comes into the picture, the wonderful and fun and really easy-to-follow books 1-2-3 Magic and "I Never Get Anything" by Phelan. (6) Take care of yourself!!!!! And have nachas!

(71) Devorah, February 23, 2011 7:30 PM

So many other great recommendations but I'll add a few, Part 1

I always like to say it's important to have a welcoming attitude about your child's uniqueness. You cannot "mold" him/her; rather you can "guide", lead and model, so in the end they are their own type of best self. I like to say, every new child is a Surprise Package! You don't know what you're getting, but it's a total gift and blessing. And of course every time you think you've finally got him/her all figured out...surprise! Curveball time! Welcome it all and rise to it with a smile. Your child will one day be an adult IY"H. What kind of an adult in terms of decision-making, relationships, emotional balance and intellectual and practical accomplishments is largely up to the way s/he's raised! Top principle: A child can only function and learn if he feels safe and secure, and -usually -happy. That is for you as parents to prioritize. in your home. I think the following all fit into that framework: (Too many words for one message so I continue in a second message) 1) Always keep in your consciousness that Hashem is the "third parent" in this equation. And if he blessed you with this amazing miraculous bundle of joy (and bundle of exciting trials and tests) then He better well stick around (kavyachol) to help you raise the sweetie! That means keep a constant and daily channel of tefillah open with that All-Powerful Third Partner. Doesn't have to be formal, but something on your lips, something in your thoughts, a certain level of surrender. You are NOT alone! ~~Continued in Part 2…

(70) Isaac, February 23, 2011 4:15 PM

Children are as brothers and sisters to their parents

Dear Yaakov, Firstly, Mazel Tov, Children are given to parents by God, for them to sustain physically and mentally, until they can sustain themselves. And not for parents to power over them to support their ego. The best advice is that what we learn from the Torah. As we learn in Bereishis, chapter 31, verse 46," Yaakov said to his brethren ", and Rashi explains," This refers to his sons who were as brothers to him, standing by him in his troubles and wars ". From these sons ( Brothers ) was born this great nation of the jewish people. A parent with this attitude and understanding never has to worry about being sent to a nursing home. May God bless you together with all of Israel, Amein.

(69) Anonymous, February 23, 2011 1:30 PM

Your job is to love, guide, set limits

Your job is to love, guide and set limits that your child knows and understands.

(68) Sheldon Gottlieb, February 23, 2011 12:10 PM

Be a parent not a friend.

When any of our 4 children used to say to us,whenever we said no, that they will not be our friend anymore or they do not love us etc, I would respond. I am your parent not your friend. Your friends are outside the home. One day we may also be friends,but until that day comes, I have a greater responsibility to you and that is to be your parent.

(67) Nofia, February 23, 2011 8:37 AM

As the Chofetz Chaim taught, discipline yourself first

Parents must be a good example for their children. Make sure you and your spouse have the good traits you want your kids to have. One should have this in mind before getting married. It's very important to have a good Torah environment in the home. If a child wakes up late at night and finds his father learning Torah in the living room, he'll incorporate the value and importance of Torah learning into his soul. Also, choosing the school is equally as important. Be sure your children are inspired by teachers that would also inspire you. Make sure the children who go to his school will be a good influence for your child. Perhaps the school close to your house would not always be the best choice.

(66) CDG, Yerushalayim, February 23, 2011 8:24 AM

If they're not already in Israel...

Shalom uv'racha! This is the place to raise Jewish children today! The subtle (and not-so-subtle) influences of American culture are NOT good for the Jewish people. You are holding the future in your own two hands -- use it wisely! My eser agoroth (approx. 2 cents).

(65) yehudit levy, February 23, 2011 8:17 AM


When you don't know what to do, ask yourselves: What would G-d want me to do? When you have a difficult issue to solve: Talk to G-d about it. In your own words. Remember that the effort is up to us, and the result is up to G-d, and sometimes they don't seem to relate to one another. This realisation that G-d runs the show takes a lot of weight off a parent's shoulders....

(64) Maxine Gornish Elkins, February 23, 2011 6:41 AM

Don't be your kid's "buddy" Be their responsible parent!

MAZAL TOV! The summary says it all. As you say, in this day and age parents are afraid to parent, which is doing a great disservice to their children. The key is that BOTH parents are incoordination and work together to not allow their children to manipulate one parent over the other. MAZAL TOV- Maxine Gornish Elkins

(63) David Tzvi, February 23, 2011 4:22 AM

Set a good Example

Love each other and she'll learn to love. Respect each other and she'll learn to respect others. Be kind to each other and she'll learn kindness. Set a good example and she will follow.

(62) Andy, February 23, 2011 4:03 AM

proverbs works

Mazel tov. no one piece over all but i'd for certain advise parents that a child knows from proverbs " a righteous person falls seven times. "many kids today seem to buy into accepting that's just the way i am when they fail instead of getting up and making the necessary changes and trying again and again

(61) cyndy wedlund, February 23, 2011 3:40 AM

Mazal Tov

Teach by example would be my advice, to any parent

(60) Anonymous, February 23, 2011 2:19 AM

Whatever we ,your parents did for you that made you feel loved and secure,keep on doing for your child,and whatever we may have done that you felt at the time and still feel todaythat was wrong, try not to repeat our mistakes.

We all make mistakes in life and just as we parents were kids once, we learned to take the good from our upbringing and incorporate that into parenting. In the same vein we also sometimes just knew when our parents were perhaps not being the best parents they could have been and we learned from those experiences as well ;ie how not to act sometimes. Remembering what worked on us and what didn't work made us better parents to our children. Realizing that you asked for one piece of advice,and this may be construed as a second piece of advice I must add that this is also related and required--since Hashem is "One of the partners" in Creating our new and precious gift, we constantly pray for our children's welfare and we pray that Hashem always gives us the best advice as to our decisions. Mazel Tov again, Dov

(59) Rivka W., February 23, 2011 2:02 AM

Some advice:

Don't go crazy from too much advice. Mazal tov and much nachas. :)

(58) tzila schulman, February 23, 2011 1:41 AM

sing together at the Shabbos table

(57) ana, February 23, 2011 12:41 AM

a compilation book

i think i saw at least one book that was actually a compilation of aish articles that were all on the same topic (chanuka). how about an aish parenting book? aish can find and put together a number of non-overlapping, relevant for today, informative, helpful, insightful parenting articles into one wonderful book for parents who want to do their best for their children. i'd buy it for friends and family. i think others would, too.

(56) Anonymous, February 22, 2011 10:35 PM


Mazal tov. My advise: Remember how your parents raised you. t Try to do the good things and avoid doing the bad. None of us are perfect, but we all try our best to be good parents

(55) r, February 22, 2011 10:00 PM

taking responsibility

I have found how important it is to learn to take responsibility: whether sharing chores for the common good of the family & household; or as the citizen of a community; but most important, for my own life. At each pt, a person must consciously CHOOSE what they will do -- and accept responsibility for the results and repercussions. No matter what "lemons" life hands me, I can choose what to do with them -- rather than blame my parents/ teachers/society/ spouse/ neighbors /corrupt politicians/whatever. And from those very choices --and taking RESPONSIBILITY for the choosing and for the action-- from there do we grow and fulfill our mission in life.

(54) CoCo Banken, February 22, 2011 9:33 PM

Pray for your child and with your child every day.

Mazel Tov!

(53) Anonymous, February 22, 2011 9:12 PM


Learn to say NO, with love, and don't feel guilty about it!

(52) Madeleine, February 22, 2011 8:41 PM

best advice

"You can make your choices, but you don't get to choose your consequences" Play now - work later, work now - play later. Sometimes, saying no is not a bad word.

(51) Paul, February 22, 2011 6:35 PM

Mazel Tov ~ My advice is that your advice and..

Mazel Tov !! Rabbi Yaakov Salomon, My advice is that your advice and the advice of your fellow psychologists & Rabbis is what is needed today. All the best Paul

(50) Anonymous, February 22, 2011 6:31 PM

I think there is one main thing...

that I wish we had known so we could have passed onto our children and that is a much better understanding of the TORAH and the teaching there. If we can just learn how to best put that to work in our lives, I can think of no greater gift!!

(49) Anonymous, February 22, 2011 6:25 PM

Give them your love and attention.

Without love, they become an empty shell. Tell them that you love them, even when you are scolding them. And when they see love in the home, between their parents, they feel secure. Norma

(48) shachi, February 22, 2011 6:20 PM

One piece of advice for new parents today

My advise is to Remember that you child is a soul, whole unto themselves. They have chosen you in this life to be there loving guides, They are entrusting you with their childhood conditioning. Always give from your highest self. And always communicate with their all knowing highest self. For me it is the biggest gift you can give a child, Full acknowledgment of their soul journey. They are entrusting you to nurture their Soul not their Ego, which will start kicking in around 2 years of age. To allow the Soul to be free you need to give boundaries to the ego...You children will love and Thankyou for eternity if you nurture their Soul and teach them the boundaries on their own Ego..They will then travel through life with all of the tools they need to become Happy, Balanced, Healthy adults..I am a single mum and raised 4 children who are now all Happy, Healthy, Balanced, Young Adults with all the tools they need within themselves to walk through this life in the highest way they can and willing to make all of their mistakes and learn all of their lessons along the way...Blessed Be.....

(47) gibor, February 22, 2011 6:05 PM


Always give her the opportunity to make her own choices in some way or another. This does not mean giving her the opportunity to choose everything on her own, but giving her the opportunity to make choices about something every day. This is even allowing her, when she is very young, to choose one dress out of two choices or one dessert to bring to a party out of two choices. Allowing her to make small decisions on her own enables her to be in control of some aspect of her young world, allows her to be more compliant in other matters in which you make decisions since she won't feel stifled or trapped or unheard, and also allows her a way to think, make decisions, and take care of herself, which she will ultimately need to be able to do. it is also likely to help stave off serious rebellion, because she knows that she is responsible to make her own choices in life, and that she does not need to fight anyone in order to make those choices. I know a very intelligent woman who can almost never make a decision, and it turns out that her parents just about never let her choose anything on her own, and when she was young and would sometimes choose something or draw a conclusion on a matter, they would not let her have what she chose and they would always tell her she's wrong or they'd tell her what she really wants to have or to do or to think. So to this day, this brilliant woman, who is otherwise okay, cannot make decisions for herself, and she has suffered from this. I don't think the parents knew what they were doing, and if they would have realized the result, they would have stepped back and said to anything reasonable, such as what instrument she could learn to play or what book to read or how to spend the $10 someone gave her for her birthday or what to choose for a college major or how to cut her hair: "You choose."

(46) Gavriel, February 22, 2011 5:50 PM

What you say can only support what you do!

First: Mazal tov! Second: Avoid "baby-talk"! Talk to your baby constantly. Explain things about everything that is of value to you, Jiddischkeit, the world-at-large, your personal philosophies, etc.. Your baby won't react - AND everything you say will be stored in her/his brain. You may then notice (if there is a way for you to compare with other children) with what ease your child will be able to talk and process thoughts, later when he/she can. Third: I experience with my kids that whatever I said really worked if I did it myself. If we set up rules just for them and left us parents out, we invited passively or actively: La Revolution! I also noticed that some rules really took hold -only when they got to be the age we parents were when we declared these rules. Kol tov to you all. Shalom vbrachoth

(45) Ahava, February 22, 2011 5:43 PM

Mazel Tov and much Nachas

If there was one piece of advice I could give new parents it is to really enjoy the time that they have with their kids because time goes by much faster than we think sometimes. Whenever my sons ask for hugs, kisses or snuggles I always try to savour those moments and give them all the love I can--even when they make me crazy--because I know that soon enough they will stop coming to me for those things or they'll be too grown up.

(44) Lori, February 22, 2011 5:29 PM

A Piece of Advice: Gratitude

Mazel Tov on the birth of your granddaughter. One revered Rabbi in Israel said that in order to raise moral., ethical children in today's world they need to be taught gratitude by being taught to say thank you Mommy., thank you Daddy,. and thank you Hashem. Knowing everything comes by way of the two most important people in the child's life and by way of Hashem will lead the child on the path of truth. A parent must be a child's first teacher., lovingly and consistently,. and this responsibility must not be compromised by the temptation to be an equal and a friend.

(43) Shoshana, February 22, 2011 4:50 PM

Mazel tov. You sometimes have to say no.

Esther Wachsman brougt to our attention that Hashem always hears our tefillos. Just sometimes the answer is no, so we too (emulating Hashem) should listen to our children, but realize sometimes we have to disagree with them and say no in some way.

(42) Anonymous, February 22, 2011 4:11 PM

love the child.

Let child develope his/her own selfness---and tell the child that what you see-how they are -is pleasing to you and you love them for whatever individuality each developes-and that will differ from stage to age.

(41) Margaret Wilson, February 22, 2011 3:55 PM

Mazel Tov

I guess the most important piece of advice I could give as a grandparent raising another child is to allow the child the freedom to be themselves while at the same time fulfilling their responsibilities to Hashem, others and themselves.

(40) Anonymous, February 22, 2011 3:53 PM

Mazal Tov and lots of Nachas

You will make rules. They should be standardized. However, the child should always know that rules can be applied with the gentlest of hands because most of all a child needs love, unqualified support, reassurance.

(39) Erica, February 22, 2011 3:50 PM

Mazel Tov!

It is important to be consistent with your kids. It gives them a point of departure from which to evaluate choices ahead of them.

(38) Asher, February 22, 2011 3:47 PM

Continue with the Mesorah

Dear Reb Yaakov, Great article like always..I have been told as a Parent and Father In Law~~Don't give advice, keep quiet and just keep your pocketbook open.. I don't know what has happened to this generation. I come from parents who went through the gehenim of WWII and it was an absolute honor to get advice from a loving parent (whether or not the advice was taken ). Today kids have a mind of their own and want to make decisions on their own without asking for advice. Hopefully, when your grandchild does arrive on the scene there is a moment to express the feelings " that we as your parents have done a great job with you " and that you continue with the Mesorah of yesteryear. Mazel tov to all the new parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

(37) Dorothy Klein, February 22, 2011 2:07 PM

Always remember that you are the parents. You are not the child's friend , You should love and cherish her but gi ve her standards to follow. The most you can give her is to have her grow up a mensh. .Mazel tov

(36) emma, February 22, 2011 1:57 PM

A G-dly Relationship

Congratulations on this blessing of a new child. My advice: A child's relationship and understanding of G-d is most often a reflection of the child's relationship with and understanding of her parents. Therefore, be good, kind, tolerant, good teachers, mentors and role models, be patient, slow to anger, slow to punishment, never put your own ego or emotions before what is good for her, just love her because she was created in G-d's image and because she is who she is. One of the best things parents can do is to make sure a child's relationship with G-d is strong, but so many don't know that it takes more than teaching about G-d or religion and that it takes making the relationship with the child's parents--which is the closest to the relationship between child and G-d--a good and full and positive one.

(35) Yossi S, February 22, 2011 5:20 AM

Mazal Tov!!

Advice: Give your child your time. Kids ultimately don't want things from you, they want quality time with their parents. Parents worry too much about supporting their family financially. I've never heard an adult say I wish my parents earned more money.

(34) Anonymous, February 22, 2011 12:53 AM


(33) Naomi Hildebrand, February 21, 2011 10:59 PM

advice for new parents

Mazel Tov! Figure out what your rules are, what's important to you and what's not. That way, when you tell your children to do or not do something and they ask why, you can explain why. "Because I said so" and "Because I'm the parent" are lame reasons and they know it. But giving a well thought out answer teaches them to understand. It shows you respect the question and respect them for asking, and they'll respect you for the answer. And, whatever your rules are, they should go for parents, too, or else you're a hypocrite. If your children need to dress a certain way, or go to shul on time, or always tell the truth, then the same should go for you.

(32) Anonymous, February 21, 2011 9:20 PM

Mazel Tov, and much nachas!

Being also a grandmother many times over, the most important thing parents can do is show respect for one another, role model it over and over again. If parents respect one another, children will respect their parents. Parents are a small window into Hashem, if they respect parents they will respect Hashem. Most families that have problems with their children will tell you that their parents did not show respect for one another. Thank you for the thought provoking question.

(31) tuvya, February 21, 2011 6:44 PM

You don't have to notice everything

You don't have to see and hear everything they do all the time. if they do something you don't like or they misbehave a bit, you do not need to acknowledge it or jump right in to split up a fight or reprimand them. You can let them work things out and you can let things just happen. Yes, you should address the behavior or that type of behavior at another time, either by talking about it directly or just by teaching them or reading to them or role playing with them. Also, stay out of sibling fights unless it's necessary. Some of the worst harm is done to the parent-child relationship and to the relationship between siblings when parents keep butting in, stepping in, or are called in to settle the score. You are not the UN--you are parents. Teach them right and keep teaching them right, and punish all involved until they get along, but otherwise, stay out of it. it's not fun for them or for you. You are parents not referees. Also, don't worry so much if they misbehave or get in trouble or break things. Almost every child does these things. As long as it's age appropriate trouble and is not cruel, teach them gently and help them learn and grow. Don't expect perfection--you are not perfect--or overnight change--how many things can you change of yourself? Understand that they are human, just like you. So go easy on them and through this, go easy on yourself. . .

(30) gali, February 21, 2011 6:34 PM

If you wouldn't like it...

If you wouldn't like it if someone did it to you, then don't do it to her! This goes for everything--teasing, making fun, embarrassing her, trying to embarrass her, not taking her feelings seriously etc. My mother always tried to embarrass me and always wanted to be right (yes, she did have psychological problems, nut "normal" people do similar things, albeit in a less severe or noticeable fashion). For example, when she discussed with me whether we can make an old lemon cake recipe for passover using the zest, I told her that a few years before (when i was 18 years old), I asked a rabbi and he said it was okay, as long as I wash the lemon, but she can go ahead and ask someone from the same kosher organization herself. She did, and the answer she got was that it wasn't okay. Her first words to me the next say were: "You are wrong, always wrong, you know what? I asked and they said it was definitely not okay, so you're totally wrong, don't know what you're talking about." It might be because I grew up with this(at least one conversation a week would be similar) because I've learned from experience that the correct way to give over the information is:"I'm really glad you told me to contact the organization this year even though you contacted them a few years back, because it turns out that due to the pesticides and paint on lemons this year, the organization says it would be best if we no longer use the lemon zest for passover, unless or until they say otherwise. Thank you for telling me to call. What would you suggest we make instead? Or do you think we can make the same cake without the zest? I'd love to hear your thoughts." Anyhow, my point is: treat people with respect. Don't try to prove yourself right or prove someone else wrong. This goes for how you treat everyone, but make sure you treat your children well. Give them dignity. Don't always tell them what they're doing wrong. Tell them what they're doing right. The "wrong" act will fall by the wayside

(29) devora, February 21, 2011 3:12 PM

To Rabbi Salomon (if you read any of the comments):

1. What is your advice to new parents? 2. What does your daughter think of your internet appeal for advice? 3. Do you think she will read the suggestions or take any of them to heart?

(28) Anonymous, February 21, 2011 3:09 PM

Make your marriage your priority

Put your marriage first. A child is small, young, inexperienced, immature, and needy, and she needs a lot of help, but that does not mean that she should be your entire focus or that she should be more important than your spouse or more important than building and maintaining a solid marriage. In fact, with a child in the picture, you will want and need a strong support system, and that includes your spouse. Stay on the same page Don't argue about the child. Don't blame the child or use the child. Don't let differences in parenting styles come between you--agree on most things, and allow yourselves to use your unique individuality in raising your children--after all, they came from both of you, so you are both allowed and entitled to have your own way of parenting. Most of all, be there for one another, be good to one another. A child who grows up in a home in which she can see a strong, stable marriage will be self-assured and secure and will be better off than the child who is made the entire focus of the parents'--or one of the parents'--lives, to the detriment of the marriage (and to the detriment of the child).

(27) Cara, February 21, 2011 6:21 AM

Mazl tov!

Wishing you all nachas. I will offer this advice: Enjoy the milestones, whether it's a new tooth, a loose tooth a chag sidur..... Make the event special, and let the child know it's as special to you as it is to them. Let them know that you are proud of their accomplishment, and so should they be proud of their accomplishment. Mark their events with photos, videos, a cake, an art project, or whatever makes it all the more special. We only go around once!

(26) John Senwesky, February 21, 2011 2:45 AM

Be willing to modify your parenting style as the child gets older.

Parents will always make mistakes. I did 12 years ago when our eldest daughter was a newborn and I still do with her and her two younger siblings. I'm not the same parent I started out to be and I don't think I'm done changing yet. Mazel tov on your newest grandchild!!!

(25) Yocheved, February 21, 2011 1:39 AM

Mazel Tov!!!!!!!

Read "To Kindle a Soul" by Rabbi Lawrence (Leib) Kelemen. It's the best parenting book I've read for raising any child at any age or stage. The book is based on the Torah and includes over 400 modern-day studies. It includes the B'niah Uz'ria (planting and buiding) system originally explained by Rav Shomo Wolbe Zt"l (Rebbi of Rabbi Kelemen). The best thing for this new bracha of a grandchild (for any child) is for her parents to read this book. Mazel Tov! May you see much nachas.

(24) Anonymous, February 21, 2011 12:42 AM

Read These Books--Time Well-Spent

1. Raising a Child with Soul, by Slovie Jungreis Wolf.......... 2. To Kindle a Soul, by Lawrence Kelemen.......... 3. The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children, by Wendy Mogel.......... 4. Parent Power and Six-Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children, by John Rosemond.......... 5. When your Kids Push Your Buttons: And What You Can Do About It, by Bonnie Harris

(23) Anonymous, February 21, 2011 12:39 AM

Don't be afraid to say 'no' to her

Don't be afraid to tell her 'no'. She can't always have what she wants in life.

(22) shulamit, February 21, 2011 12:20 AM

ponder her future

plan for her future. If you want her to be or not be a certain way or to be involved in some things and stay far from other things, think now and act now. if you don't want her to be selfish, obstinate, obnoxious, egotistical, insecure, or cruel--what do you think leads to these things and what can you do to prevent her from being like that? if you want her to be dutiful and responsible, think now about how you can help her achieve this in her life--for her sake, not for yours. if you don't want her to develop an eating disorder of any kind, think now about what causes them--read the studies--and decide what you will do in order to try to prevent her from succumbing to and suffering from that. if you don’t want her to get into drugs or be promiscuous--think about how people end up falling into those things and how to prevent those things and what you will actively do in order to try your best to keep her sane and safe. don’t just assume she’ll grow up okay, just because you might have grown up okay (though i don't know if you did). there are a lot of problems in the world, and the world changes so fast, and a lot of problems can be prevented by looking right at them and thinking about them, not about pretending they're not there because they aren't pretty. never bury your head in the sand. you need to put in the thought and the work. your daughter deserves this.

(21) Anonymous, February 20, 2011 11:30 PM

Enjoy her!

Enjoy her each and every day, every moment, every milestone. It goes so fast. Record even a few of your experiences with her in writing, so when she is a little bit older, she can read about how much she was loved. And when she is older, you too can read about how much pleasure you used to get from her when she was so young--it can remind you of your pure love for her during later times when you might need a reminder. Even as she grows up and develops a strong personality all her own, take pleasure in who she is and that she is in your life, no matter how similar or different she is to you, to your family, or to what you might have expected. She is always a wonderful gift, so always look at her that way.

(20) s, February 20, 2011 11:23 PM

mitzvot between man and man

remember that all the mitzvot between man and man and all the ways in which man must treat man--with kindness, dignity, and respect--apply to all children--not just adults--and this includes your own children. also, know that if you make a mistake or hurt your child, you should always say "i'm sorry." this never makes you look weak and it never diminishes your authority. it only makes you appear as strong and in charge and as someone worthy to look up to, someone who should be respected and honored.

(19) TMay, February 20, 2011 10:57 PM

on protection

Don't protect him/her from decent people. There is no law that says a religious person is a danger nor that a person who belongs to the GOP is someone your child has to "be protected from". Live diversity, don't just mouth it. If a person is a nice person and has piercings, let your child see the person. You can discuss it later. Let you child read mark Twain as he wrote his books. Let your child see a Beatles photograph with a cigarette in the picture. Don't burden your child with hysterical fears of global warming,mean climate change, or whatever the current hysteria is. Let your child fear evil instead. Stop with the Fears! Your child will survive. He/she will survive an ice cream and a chocolate chip cookie.

(18) Anonymous, February 20, 2011 10:33 PM

Don't be superficial!

Don't be superficial about your appearance, her appearance, or the appearance of others. That means: Do not comment on anything about your, her, or others' face, body, hair, clothing, house, car etc. Let her be better than that. Let her truly live.

(17) shelley, February 20, 2011 10:30 PM

let her do things for herself

so many parents today do so much for their children, but what they do for their children becomes a disservice rather than a service. for example. children today can barely tie their own shoes, make themselves a snack, or even read the rules for a game, or play by themselves. do not over-parent her in an effort to make things easier for her or for yourself, since it takes much less time to do things for children than to let them learn on their own or to only guide them. be patient. you want her to know how to function on her own, you want her to know how to make a bed, choose her clothes for the day, fold her clothes, make an easy meal, go to the store, go to the library etc. at age appropriate times. you do not want her to flounder later on with only you to blame. let her grow up to not need you but to want to be near you. that is the best you can do.

(16) zippy, February 20, 2011 10:24 PM

Think--really think--about her every day

Spend a few minutes every day thinking about her, thinking about what's best for her, thinking about what you can do so that she can be the very best person that she is. Do something for her each day with the thought that you are choosing to do something kind for her because you love her (this includes feedings and diaper changings and waking up for her now, and picking her up from school, buying her a coloring book, making her dinner later on, and a lot more). Don't ever feel like you're a slave to her; rather, feel what you really are: someone doing tremendous kindness for another human being who is placed in your life for you to help her grow.

(15) delia, February 20, 2011 10:21 PM

Do not take her for granted

When the day comes that she defies your wished or makes big messes--even to the point of ruining things that are expensive--or becomes very loud or takes up a lot of your time that you would prefer to spend elsewhere, remember: she is opinionated, messy, noisy, and time-consuming because she is alive and because she is your child. many people who have never had children or who had their children taken away from them would give anything to have a little noise, a little mess--even lots of noise and lots of mess. Don't ever take her presence in your life for granted. Thank G-d for her each and every day for the rest of your lives. No matter what.

(14) m, February 20, 2011 8:19 PM

the thing you can do is save this list

save this list of ideas, maybe print it out and keep it in your baby photo album or baby book or laminated on your bedside table--maybe keep it in several places. keep adding to it with your own ideas and the ideas of family and friends. look at it every day. never forget how precious your child is. never forget your good intentions in raising her. never forget why you had her. remember that she has a purpose in this world, which might be different than your purpose and that might be different from whatever you might think is--or what you want to be--her purpose let her be herself. give her the love, kindness, compassion, and strength to help her be herself.

(13) susa, February 20, 2011 6:21 PM

Manners and Gratitude

She must learn to say "please" and "thank you" from the time she can speak. This is not only a matter of common courtesy, but a matter of learning gratitude and taking nothing and no one for granted. Also, this teaches her that she is not just deserving of everything and no one owes her anything. Anything done fro her by anyone is done as a chessed, and she should be kind and thankful. Of course, sometimes she'll ask nicely and be glad for something done for her without saying the specific words, so be smart about this and be patient--the general idea is more important than the words sometimes.

(12) temi, February 20, 2011 6:18 PM


get involved with the school as early as you can. get on the board, the pta, whatever. if you can, be the chaperon for trips and even suggest your own field trips for the school. they do take suggestions from caring, intelligent parents who are involved. iif you're a known parent, they'll listen to your ideas about curriculum, trips, projects, and what's important. most of all, make sure the school--administrations and teachers--know who you are and know that you care. keep an open line of communication between you and the school that you're children spend most of their waking hours in. this is very important--for you, your child, and her friends.

(11) Chavi, February 20, 2011 5:48 PM

Mazel Tov!!!

There are three things I would tell the parents: First, role model 24/7 all of the behaviors you want your child to learn and adopt. Role modeling is more powerful and more effective than any words. (Be it, instead of saying it.) Second, constantly give your child positive, specific feedback (notice I did not say praise) on all of the positive behaviors that you see her doing. This will build her self-esteem and give her the drive, the intrinsic motivation, and the belief and confidence in her own abilities to become the best that she can be. And third, the most valuable gift that you can give your child is the gift of yourself; give her generously of you time so that she knows without any doubt how important she is to you.

(10) David and MArgie, February 20, 2011 4:57 PM

Mazel Tov

Mazel Tov Rabbi Salomon and Mrs Salomon. another grandkid, another bundle of joy to cherish , love and take care of. You ask what ONE piece of advise to tell the parents of the kids? In my opinion, we have to remind the Parents to raise the children as close to H'shem as we can have them be. Raise them the way they were raised by you, and tell them to pass on the love of H'shem to the children, and show them that same Fatherly love, this way they will grow up knowing that G-D is their Father, and they are G-d's children.

(9) Iris Moskovitz, February 20, 2011 3:49 PM

How could I not say Mazel Tov, Rabbi and Mrs. Solomon?

In this day and age, parents feel they have to be "best friends" with their children. Parents need to be the ones to nurture, advise and care for their children, not be their buddy. Don't be afraid to discipline your children to go in the right derech , even if the child will think, yeah right. Hopefully if the parents are consistent and on the same wave length with each other, the children will begin to learn right from wrong, and strive to be the best they can, in school and social settings, as well. Mazel Tov to the new mommy and totty, and may the little princess grow up giving you nachas always.

(8) dev, February 20, 2011 3:27 PM

do for others, be of service

teach her to do for others, to be of service. praise her for things she does that are real, not for things she happens to be blessed with, unless she uses those blessings for the good. take her to do good deeds from a young age, whether visiting grandparents with a treat for the grandparents, visiting old age homes, bringing jews food for the high holidays and passover, bringing toys for sick or poor children, sending canned food and thank you letters to those in the military, being kind and courteous and thinking about siblings, cousins, friends, and neighbors, and anyone who provides her with anything at all, including her parents, teachers, those who drive her to and from school, the housekeeper etc. make the world bigger than her 4 amot. let her see the good and the beauty in others and teach her to care for their needs, not just her own. let her know how grateful she is that she can do good. praise her for being so good. make sure that her doing good for others is very important, at least as important as play dates, ballet practice, what clothes she wears, how she looks etc. and make it regularly scheduled--maybe on the family calendar, as would be holidays and sports practices etc. but don’t push or make it a punishment or offer ultimatums if she doesn't want to do it. make it a very normal way of life from the very beginning. you and the world will be happy you did this. and so will your little girl.

(7) Anonymous, February 20, 2011 3:16 PM

not a toy

she does not belong to you. she just came through you. she is a gift to the world, a gift from G-d. remember this. protect the gift to which you have been entrusted.

(6) mf, February 20, 2011 3:13 PM

Think! (And Good Luck to the Parents)

Teach her to think for herself. To be true to her beliefs. To not make excuses for her behavior. To be accountable to G-d. So many times, a child will make a mistake, and a teacher or parent will say, "How could you do that? Don't you know any better? Don't you think?" To answer these questions for you: The child could do that because she is a child. The child sometimes does not really know better, even though it would be more convenient to believe she does. And no, she does not think, because for her whole life, she's been taught by her school and her parents not to think, just to recite back from memory or to obey specifics, without really understanding or being able to draw inferences or conclusions from different bits of information, without using her own head. And this is all a shame. This is the kind of upbringing that leads to squandering potential, mob mentality, and not living to one's own truth and ideals. It's also what stops brilliant minds from making huge positive contributions to the world. So: teach her to think.

(5) mona, February 20, 2011 2:36 PM


The parents should teach their daughter that she can have a real relationship with her Creator. They should teach her how to do this. They can teach her the prayers, especially what they mean and how and why to say them. She should not just be taught by rote or be told it's an obligation. She should be taught, year after year, what the words of the prayers mean, until she understands what she is saying, and she should be taught what the intent of the prayers are, so she knows why she's saying them. She should be taught hat daily prayer will bring her closer to her Creator. She should also be taught that she can speak to her Creator at any time, day or night, in her own words, and that it is her Creator, not people, who want the best for her and that it is her Creator who could help her in every single situation.

(4) shulamit, February 20, 2011 2:25 PM

to love g-d

she should know that she loves g-d and that g-d loves her. also, that it matters most what g-d thinks of her, and that she should do what g-d wants from her, because it's for her best. this means that she must--and her parents must--put g-d before themselves, always. so if g-d wants something from her, the parents should want this. if something is not really 100% relevant or necessary or law from g-d, then the parents should not make their own will more important than g-d's.

(3) su, February 20, 2011 2:21 PM

Ve'ahavta Le'rayacha Camocha

Teach her to love ALL Jews. Always. And to understand how lucky she is to be born a Jew, to Jews knowledgeable about Judaism, no less. Teach her that she has an obligation to help all Jews.

(2) ana, February 20, 2011 2:12 PM

congratulations. be nice.

treat her as you want her to treat everyone else, yourselves included. some of this might include: don't yell at her, lie to her, call her names, judge her, use her, manipulate her,or take anything about her personally. also, never use her small stature or young age or your own authority to treat her worse than you would treat any other guest in your home. instead, treat her well and make a good impression.

(1) , February 20, 2011 1:45 PM

MAZAL TOV! FROM A SPEECH PATH. Talk to your children, play with them, show them that you are there. AND YES you can say NO>>>/ it's good for them.


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