Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

6 Elul 5759 - August 18, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Sponsored by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Produced and housed by











Home and Family
Preparing For The Future
by R' Zvi Zobin

Bringing Up Children with Compassion

Mrs. Karing was rebuking Shloimie and Sorale. "How can you be so cruel to my son? Why are you so nasty to him?"

Shloimie and Sorale had been fighting with Eli Karing, calling him names and refusing to let him play with them. "But he was nasty to us first!" they protested.

Mrs. Karing took a deep breath and began to give the two children a long lecture. "So you react by taking revenge? That's not nice! What you should do is to be so kind and generous to Eli that he will just have to like you and be nice to you. If you are very kind and giving and generous to someone, he will be so overcome with appreciation of what you are doing for him that he will not be able to act badly towards you!"

As Mrs. Karing was talking, little Eli began to mimic his mother and make faces at her. When she noticed it, she lost her temper and started to scream in rage at her son.

The fact is that 7-year-old Eli was a thoroughly spoilt brat. He would go into a tantrum whenever he did not get his own way and always ended up fighting with other children when they tried to play with him.

Mrs. Karing was convinced that a mother must always be full of compassion, love and generosity. She felt that by being an example of such midos for her child, he would automatically follow in her way and do likewise.

But things were going wrong. Somehow, little Eli was growing up to be a selfish, spoilt little pest who was disliked by all who crossed his path.

The mistake which Mrs. Karing was making was that she was projecting her own attitudes onto her child. Perhaps she had read books discussing the emotional needs of teenagers and adults. She was forgetting, or she never knew, that children are not miniature adults. Children are immature, developing adults. Many emotions need to be trained. Some emotions need to be controlled; some need to be developed and also, a child needs to learn how to deal with conflicts between emotions.

Firmness and discipline are not contradictions to kindness and sympathy. Children do need kindness and sympathy, but they also need to learn control and to relate to the needs of others.


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.