When a parent feels a responsibility towards his child’s chinuch, he must educate himself on how to do it properly and efficiently. Failure to do so may result in serious errors in chinuch techniques, some of which could be counterproductive. The following contemporary Rabanim have expressed this concern in their public lectures:
- Rav Shimon Schwab (a”h) said, “We need a night kollel for parents to train them on how to properly raise and teach their children.”
- Rav Chaim Dov Keller once remarked, “Instead of teaching child psychology to the parents, we need a course in parent psychology.”
- Rav Nachum Diament commented, “Parents often ask, ‘How should we deal with a child who is closed, quiet, stubborn, rebellious and is making our lives miserable?’ Some parents may rationalize by attributing certain negative behavioral patterns to the child’s nature. However, the real answer is to reverse the question: ‘How should we deal with a problem child whose parents are…?’” In other words, is it the child’s fault, or is the problem due to lack of parenting?
Rav Diament once took his child to a physician. While the doctor examined the child he tried to be friendly and asked, “Are you a good boy?”
Rabbi Diament stopped the doctor and said, “You’re forcing my child to lie. What child would reply that he’s bad?”
The doctor retorted, “Rabbi, you’re mistaken. All children are born good. We are the ones who make them bad!”
This is concept that is alluded to in our morning tefilot where we utter the words, “Elokai, neshamah she’natatah bi – My G-d, the soul that you gave me, is pure….” This pure soul, when properly nurtured, can be developed into the well-adjusted and balanced child that we are all praying for.