Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Advice Line

Bassi Gruen

My son is a very loving and confident preschooler, and my home is a child-centered environment. I try hard to understand my son’s perspective, and allow him opportunities to make choices. At the same time, I try to set limits, and we have routines firmly established. However, I find myself struggling and unsure how to respond to verbal displays of chutzpah.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rabbi Yitzchak Shmuel Ackerman You’re bringing up two different concerns here: how to respond to verbal displays of chutzpah, and how often you should be explaining things to your son. Regarding the chutzpah, you offer two extremes as possible reactions — ignoring him or sending him to his room. Ask yourself: What am I hoping to accomplish? You want your child to respond more appropriately. A parental reaction should not be a punishment for failure, but a lesson to help him do better next time. We often confuse punishment and discipline. Punishment means you did something that upset me and now I’m going to do something that will upset you. Not only is this forbidden under nekamah, it’s also unproductive. Discipline means to raise a disciple — modeling the way your child should behave, and helping him grow. You want to teach your child how to respond when he’s frustrated, angry, or sad. It’s not wrong for a child to be upset at his mother, it’s just wrong to express that upset inappropriately. So how can you teach your child to respond more appropriately? Don’t make him guess. Teach him how to talk when he’s upset at you. Give him the language and the tools to express difficult feelings. Sending him to his room tells him, “You’re bad, I don’t want to see you, you’re banished.” However, if you give him a goal, then you’re disciplining, not punishing. 


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"