On Psychology


Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

The secret to disciplining without abusing

By Dr. Debby Schwarz Hirschhorn



Our resident mind maven teaches us how to get our children to improve — correctly


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | For children to want to listen, they must feel loved. Discipline without love is worthless. For children to grow up to love themselves, they must learn responsibility. Both love and discipline are necessary for healthy, happy children.

If being in the in-crowd is important and she wasn't asked to a party, that hurts. If he wasn't chosen for the team, that hurts. Don't ever act like it's not and they should get over it. That would be the same as telling you, "Oh, your boss fired you today? Well, it's not important! Get over it!" Each person is entitled to see the world through his or her own eyes.

Let's ask the following question: How necessary is constructive criticism? To answer it, imagine you are helping a child with math. What will work better, pointing out how he got the idea right in two or three places, or saying over and over, "that's wrong, that's wrong"? The truth is, he does need to be told when he does it wrong, just so he doesn't accidentally think it is right. But you know from experience that he will become demoralized if everything seems to be wrong. SOMETHING's got to be right! John Gottman, the eminent researcher, found that people need 5 positives for every negative. So, yes, you sometimes can't avoid constructive criticism, but make sure there's 5 constructive praises for every one of them.

WHAT EXACTLY IS DISCIPLINE?
This question is big-time important. In fact, it is half the battle. Obviously, you have to love your child in order to start him or her out right in life. It is hard -- but not impossible -- to raise a child to be a healthy adult without love.

But if there's no discipline, the entire battle is lost. Without discipline, the child will be a brat growing up to be a juvenile delinquent or worse.

Here are the elements of discipline:

RULES
If the sun didn't rise every morning, we wouldn't know night from day. (Go ask the Norwegians what it's like.) If we didn't get paid when we complete a job, we'd stop working. There's got to be rules governing life. Some parents have too many rules. They try to micromanage their child's behavior to the degree that the child would become a little miniature of them if they followed all the rules. Those parents shouldn't be surprised if the child is rebellious and resentful.

However, I think the worse problem is the parent who has too few rules or no rules. The child may say he likes his freedom, but what really happens is that this makes the child feel insecure. Follow my logic: A child is just a child. He can't know the ways of the world. So how does he know how to handle himself if there are no rules? Who can he look up to for guidance if the parent seems uncertain of what's what? I mean, really, who else is there for the child if not the parent to teach the child what life is about? The child who has no guidance feels as though it's up to him. Now he may say how great that is, but he has no clue what life is about. How can he not feel nervous about this?

So what would he do to avoid that uncertainty of navigating life in a chaotic world? Obviously, join a peer group where there are rules. Study after study shows, for example, that adolescents with rules in their parents' home are less likely to do drugs. Very simple equation.

Rules are clearly articulated Everyone in the house knows what the rules are. There's no wishy-washiness.

Stick to them I know this seems obvious, but it is not. So many times the best laid rules are ignored "just this one time" by a parent who can't bring himself to stick to them. Here's a scenario: The parent says, "You've got to be polite to me in order to go shopping." You take your daughter to the mall; you don't like a choice of dress; she makes a rude remark. Now what do you do? Would you bring her home? I mean, we're here already. That's an example. Yes, you have to bring her home if she is 15 and below. After that, you've allowed such a serious problem to grow worse that bringing her home probably wouldn't even help. But that's for another topic.

Create realistic, educational consequences There's no point in rules if there is no consequence for following them or breaking them. But those consequences need to be both realistic and educational. Let's look at each point.

Realistic means the penalty fits the crime. For example, I once was working with a family in which the 15 year old daughter was very rude to her mother. She did not curse at her, but she was just short of that in her degree of rudeness. To me, this is a very severe infraction. I mean, it totally violates the 5th Commandment. No matter what religion you are or if you don't believe in G-d at all, it seems to me clear that anyone should consider respect to parents of the highest importance.

So the mother agreed and decided to ground her daughter for one week. This was a repeated infraction; it was going on for months with many warnings by the time they came to me. To me, one week punishment was lame and I told the mother so. If it were my child, that would have been the end of chauffering her around for the entire rest of the school year. It would have been the end of doing her laundry, shopping at the mall, parties, friends, you name it. For the entire school year.

This mom just didn't understand how bad her daughter's behavior was. This daughter was destined to not even have a relationship with her mother when she was old enough to be on her own. This is the stuff that makes for family feuds going into generations. Have you seen the news stories about rich people fighting over wills or over how their family should be buried? It all began with disrespect.

On the other hand, the penalty fitting the crime also means exercise a little common sense. If the child didn't work as hard as she might on her homework and got a C in a test, it may be ok to confine her to her studies for a month or perhaps the marking period, not the whole school year. Certainly, if I saw an immediate improvement, I might even shorten the confinement along the way. Being strict and sticking to the rules does not mean they can't be eased provided easing them is itself a rule. For example, in our home, my kids knew that "repentance" would ease a rule. Repentance had it's own requirements. (See this topic coming soon).

Some parents are way, way too strict on rules and I often wonder whether they are really trying to teach their children a lesson or they are so sad and unhappy themselves that they just want to make everyone around them unhappy. The second requirement is that the penalty be educational. That is, there must be some aspect to it that reminds the child (a) what she did wrong, (b) what was wrong with it, (c) and what she should have done instead. So if the mother is the one who drives her around all the time, then not having that mother be the chauffer any more is a really powerful reminder of the mother's value. Ditto laundry.

Further, if the child values her friends more than her mom, then not partying and getting together with them reminds her who really ought to be valued. It also reminds her that how she talks [to mom] is so important that she will lose an opportunity to talk [to friends] as much as she wants.

The child should always know what the consequences of infractions are--and not because you repeatedly remind the child, but because you repeated follow them yourself in handling him or her.

The objective is always self discipline The objective of being disciplined by a parent is that by the time the child is 16, he should be able to discipline himself and be a shining example to younger children of what growing up is like. To reach this objective, it is important that all opportunities for the child to be compelled to take responsibility for his actions be available. So, for example, if he is late for carpool, he misses school and is not driven late. [If that presents logistical problems because you have to get to work and no one can watch him, then alternative consequences need to be in place that in no way make the late trip to school into some kind of treat.]

Taking responsibility for the infraction always requires that the child STATE WHAT HE DID WRONG. Apologies are lame (as the kids would say) and absolutely insufficient. They must know what they did wrong; then they can apologize. Moreover, they must be able to explain WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE INSTEAD. When they know what was wrong and what they should have done, they have taken responsibility. It will be a lot less likely that they break that rule again. And when they do, they will recover from that fumble a lot quicker.

Discipline can break down in two ways, both bad:

MISTAKING ABUSE FOR DISCIPLINE
Parents who want to be strict are to be commended; however, NEVER, ever be abusive and call it discipline. Abuse …


humiliates
crushes the spirit
creates self-hatred
ruins your relationship with your child
makes impossible or very unlikely the possibility of your child having a healthy adult relationship in the future
increases the likelihood of child drug and alcohol abuse, gang membership, criminal behavior and other forms of rebellion
may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder
may lead to borderline personality disorder
may lead to uncontrolled anger


To be clear on this, here are some guidelines for healthy discipline:

1. Never yell when you want to discipline. Take some deep breaths, clear your mind, relax your body, then talk calmly to your child.

2. Be clear in your mind of the facts. Don't get on the child without double and triple checking what happened with more than one authoritative source. (I have known siblings, teachers, other parents to be wrong on the facts.)

3. Always, ALWAYS talk with respect to your child. If you have a warm, loving, respectful relationship the rest of the time, the discipline will go down well; there will be no rebellion.

4. Make sure expectations are clear. For example, exactly how do you define rudeness? (Details on this to come)

5. Make sure everyone knows and both parents agree on the consequences.

BEING TOO SOFT
There are a lot of reasons why parents might not create rules or require that their child follow them.


the parent was harshly treated as a child and is afraid that real discipline would wound his own child

the parent is too involved with her own life and doesn't want to take the time and energy to raise that child

the parent feels guilty for something, usually a divorce, and thinks that leniency equals love


The only item on this list that is unforgiveable is the selfish one. The child should not have been conceived if the parent is too selfish to take time to nurture her. The other problems are understandable but the parent must get past them in order to raise that child to be a healthy, happy, successful person in life.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes inspirational material. Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Interested in a private Judaic studies instructor — for free? Let us know by clicking here.

JWR contributor Dr. Debby Schwarz Hirschhorn is an Orthodox Marriage & Family Therapist. To comment, please click here. To visit her website, please click here.



Previously:


The most awful, stupid parenting advice
Which Is It: Pride or Arrogance?
Understanding the dynamics of attraction
Tell Your ‘Inner Child’ to Just Keep Out of This
‘Is’ is Dangerous
Are the High Holy Days About Guilt?
Confessions of a religious feminist
Kindliness and Blood: A Passover Thought
Arguing: It's a Jewish thing

© 2008, Dr. Debby Schwarz Hirschhorn