Saturday, July 25, 2009

The perils of blurry vision

The world our children are growing up in, is different from the one we grew up in. Therefore, we face certain challenges as parents that our parents didn't have to contend with. When I was growing up the lines between adults and children were clearly drawn. It was taken as a given that the adults were in the position of authority and children had to pay heed or face the consequences, whether they agreed with the adult position or not. Today, it is no longer a given. It stems from the Western world attitude that preaches that modern man doesn't owe allegience to anything or anyone - G-d, country, family or a spouse are all passe. Only his own personal definition of morality and ethics, no matter how misguided or perverted determines what is right and what is wrong. This, together with misapplied egalitarianism led to extreme blurring of boundaries between parents and children. This world view engendered a whole stream of child-centered parenting ideologies that effectively handicapped the parents' ability to parent. A parent by the virtue of being a parent has a right to set limits for his child, that he deems to be in the child's best interest, in order for the child to be able to grow into a healthy adult both physically and emotionally. In Judaism these limits are not arbitrary but are set forth by G-d. As is the parents' obligation to educate his child and the child's obligation to respect and fear his parents according to specific guidelines. Judaism advocates G-d centered educational approach led by the parent in accordance with the Torah and the specific child's needs. I am not in favor of unrestrained physical punishment or the child becoming the butt of parental anger. I am talking about normal everyday parenting situations not child abuse. It's impossible for a person to be an effective parent if he is denied the right to tell a child what to do or to stop a child if necessary when red lines have been crossed.
It is also very damaging to the child and leads to all kinds of social and emotional pathologies. In parenting and other situations where a moral stand is required, blurry vision is bound to result in negative and unpleasant outcomes.


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