Is It Called Love, or Something Else?


kidsBy Kollel Guy

Loving your children is taken by many to mean showering them with care and taking care of all their problems. This is wrong. Actually, the most valuable gift to your children is not solving all their problems. Better to give them the strength and courage to deal with issues that come their way – on their own.

A number of years ago, we were dealing with a complex medical issue of a child. Doctors needed to be arranged, tests had to be performed, and specialists had to be reached. We were overwhelmed with all the responsibilities which came with it all. At the same time a friend of mine was also facing a medical issue of a child. As we were chatting about our situations, he told me that he and his wife don’t have to make any appointments or any arrangements. His mother in law informs them when they have an appointment and they go. Sometimes he doesn’t even go along to the appointments. His wife would meet her mother in the city and meet the doctor without him.

At the time, I remember having mixed feelings about what he told me. On the one hand, having someone else do everything for you is a great relief. It would have been great to just have to care about the emotional aspect of having a child suffer and not have to be overwhelmed with all the responsibilities. But I also felt a little bad for them. His in-laws weren’t doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. They were doing it because they loved their grandchild, and didn’t trust their children to do a good enough job. In their minds, the parents are still young & inexperienced, and cannot be trusted.

That’s not love. If you love your children, teach them how to make the appointments. Stand with them as they get in touch with the doctor. Don’t go along to the appointment, but have supper waiting for them when they come back. You want to make sure they did a good job – get the other kids cared for so they can focus on doing their best.


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  1. The problem with the above article is “They were doing it because they loved their grandchild, and did not trust their children to do a good enough job”. this is not help, its control
    There is no reason in the world not to help your children. They will learn that someone actually cares About them and they will reciprocate as they grow. they will develop self esteem which will enable them to deal with their own problems as they mature.

  2. He is very fortunate to have supportive parents. Not every inlaw has the strength and financial resource to deal with it. Don’t be jealous. Hashem put you in the situation and gave you the strength to deal with it.

  3. True ‘chinuch’ is training the child how to take care of his needs by himself – including ‘kiyum mitzvos’.

  4. I got to give in his in-law after all it’s alot of work, but… I’m 21 years old and I can tell you from expeeiance this isn’t the way to go. My mother must know everything that goes on and that’s a control problem. It doesn’t only affect me but affects all my siblings as well. The control goes to the point that a child can’t become “his own person”. Meaning every child must grow and bring out his unique characteristics but if a child is “controlled” he will never learn to bring “himself out”. Besides another problem is that the child won’t have his own goals but will “automatically” follow his parents goals. When later in life he realizes that these aren’t the goals he wants (weather bec he doesn’t believe in them or as in my case he just isn’t able to live up to them) it will be very hard to break out of them because he has never learned to make his own goals. Besides, his entire life is being lived for his parents and to take that away from him is taking away his entire goal in life. Sorry it’s not so clear but it’s not easy for me to write this as this has been a primary reason why I’ve been fighting depression for two years now…

  5. 21 Year Old,

    You should have strength! You are aware of the problem and that is half the solution. Just by understanding that you need to take charge of your life, you have begun to just that.

    I won’t tell you what to do, as you’ve had that already in your life. But I might suggest that you listen to some tapes from Rav Berel Wein and Rav Yaakov Horowitz about setting goals. I think that will help empower you within a Torah framework.

    Keep up the good work!