A child in pain becomes cranky. They may be tired. Occasionally they want to be held. But they hardly ever intend to annoy their parents – unless they want attention.
When a child cries – he is using his gift to alert someone to help him.
Unfortunately, some people at wits end resort to hurting the child. They can hit the child, scream or shake the child. But if you think logically, it makes no sense. The child is reaching out for help and instead of a parent solving their child’s concern – they give him a whack.
It is challenging to decide what to do when one is late for an appointment – the child is crying and then spills milk on their newly changed clothes. One way to deal with stressful situations is to plan in advance. Ask yourself, before you get into a stressful situation – what is the most proper thing to do in this can I do in this situation? Write it out. For example, write – “If baby cries when I am late – calmly call about appointment to tell them I will arrive 10 minutes late and take care of baby’s or child’s needs. If you can’t write it out think it out – to be prepared.
If a stressful situation occurs – take a step back – say to yourself – what is the best way to remedy this situation without anger? Act accordingly.
Obviously, Discipline is in order at times. But the Torah teaches that “the left hand pushes and the right hand draws close.” The left is the weaker hand – it is used to push the child in such a way that he will learn from his or her mistake. The right hand – the stronger hand – is to send out a hand to the child and pull him closer – that although you discipline, do it because of love, not out of anger. The child understands this and the rebuke is effective.
Once a rabbi’s son did an improper deed. The rabbi was upset. He waited three weeks to calm down completely in order to give reprove to the child with love – and for the sake of the child’s good – not out of anger.
A Noted Psychologist – Dr. David Pelcovitz – explained the concept of correcting a child with “the left hand pushes and the right hand draws close” teaching a unique message. If a child is physically facing away from the parent – ie, doing things against the parent’s will. If you will push his left shoulder with your left hand and pull his right shoulder with your right hand – you end up turning the child towards yourself.
Some may have the attitude of – just accept whatever child does with love. This can be a formula for inculcating decadence. A child needs values and guidelines – otherwise they grow up confused. Is A right or is B right? Torah guidelines are effective in giving a child a sense of self-worth and morality.
Giving a child all their fancies is not what G-d or the child wants. G-d wants you to bring up the child to be a mench – a gentleman (or woman). If a child does things against Torah – accepting his or her behavior is not the nice or right thing to do. It is to try to turn him around to follow the right path with love. Love, Not anger. Kindness, not pain. Understanding, not tyranny.
Having a child is one of the greatest blessings. Our job as parents is to bring them up to be the best individual they can be. And the Torah is the best guide one can have.