I went to an amazing lecture by Rabbi Dov Bryzak last night. It was very motivational. So here is a brief synopsis of the main points. It actually ties in quite nicely with my previous post.
-Even though we live in the generation where there are many, many challenges in childrearing we can succeed with Hashem's help, just like a person can walk away completely unscathed from a horrific car accident.
- Every Jewish child is a diamond, even if they don't look it, don't act it and give us plenty of grief. But just like diamonds don't come out of the mine in shiny and polished form but black and gunky looking, kids come in their raw material form and it's our job to help them get to the polished and shining state.
-Our parenting should be proactive not reactive.
-We shouldn't get upset that our children aren't yet the way we want them to be, instead we should help them get there. So instead of getting upset about them making a mess, use your energy to help them be neat. In stead of getting upset at the lack of academic success help them get there, etc, etc.
-Believe in your kids and it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Build them up. Catch them doing it right. Give them a good reputation to live up to. Even the most difficult kids want to be good, sometimes they just don't believe in themselves any more.
-Each child is capable of becoming the best he or she could be. Sometimes it requires a lot of help, effort and perseverence to help them get there.
-Our children are not in our way, they are the way. They are our path to spiritual greatness. ( This is especially important to remember for mothers of young children, with the holidays coming up if you can't go to shul or spend the whole day thinking lofty thoughts. This is our avodah.)
-The best way for us to protect our children from all the things out there aside from Tfillah (prayer) is to have a good relationship with them. That way they will tell us if something is on their mind or if they need our help. We have to listen to our children. We have to listen without being judgemental. R' Bryzak recommends that when a child is spewing just listen, don't interrupt with mussar or stop them. Let them vent. Teach the lessons and talk about your values a different time, perhaps a different day.
-It's a particularly good time to work on our parenting in Elul, because when Hashem sees our efforts for His children, He will respond by taking care of us, because we are His children too.
Let's start and Hashem will help us get there and hopefully we'll see a lot of nachas from all of our kids.