The Matzav Shmoooze: Stop Fighting…For Your Kids


divorceDear readers,

As an elementary school teacher, I have had a few students whose parents divorced. I don’t ask why the parents divorced or if it was a good decision, as I accept my students for who they are, and I  try to give them as much warmth and love as I can.

Divorce is difficult on children. Very difficult. I must say, though, that I’ve observed that the children of divorced parents who behave amicably towards one another have a much easier time adjusting than those who fight. The divorce hurts the children. Fighting after the divorce makes it so much worse. They can’t even cope.

I cry myself to sleep when a little child dejectedly tells me how his Daddy said his Mommy is a vampire. Or worse, when a student cries about not being able to see his Daddy because Mommy won’t let him go. And he can’t even cry at home, because Mommy will get mad!

Parents, please, please, please stop fighting. Please allow your children the warmth and love of their Mommy and their Daddy.

A Caring Teacher


The Matzav Shmoooze is a regular feature on that allows all readers to share a thought or analysis, long or short, one sentence or several paragraphs long, on any topic, for readers to mull over and comment on. Email submissions to

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  1. Perhaps the people most responsible are the family members and friends. The parents themselves can’t see past their nose – that’s why they’re doing this. Fine.

    What about their family members? Why don’t they put gentle pressure? If they would put pressure, the kids would be spared some of their agony.

    Yerusholayim was destroyed because people didn’t rebuke each other (Gemorah Shabbos)

    Same with friends. A true friend cares about their peers spirituality and children. If we see our friend physically OR emotionally abusing their child, we must speak up. Just do it with seichel. We are held responsible if we don’t

  2. When I was supervising a special education program a number of years ago, I had a child whose parents were divorced. They both attended each school meeting, both asked to be called regarding any issues with their child, and were equally involved in caring and doing. At the meetings, for all appearances, this was the perfect couple: polite, natural, calm, even complimenting. When I asked them, rather complimented them, they kind of wondered why it should be different. For their own reasons, the marriage could not last, for their child’s well-being, and their own spiritual well-being, both felt they could not act in any other way.

  3. B”H

    So true, but maybe there is a better suggestion- if at all possible, prevent your children from being miserable and try to work things out. Of course, sometimes it is unavoidable and Halacha permits it, but it seems like today many more couples have no patience to make that effort, and Rabbonim (at least in Eretz Yisroel) are tired and burnt out as well. Result: a rise in divorce rates r”l.
    May we all live b’sholom and be zoiche to the ultimate chasene with Klall Yisroel and the Aibishter with Moshiach, NOW

  4. So sad. I’m not a teacher, but I am a mother and see this fighting around me all the time. Neighbors, colleagues, etc., fighting at home, in the supermarket, and even at shul. Is it a contemporary malaise that everyone seems so miserable? And yes, the children are always the karbonos. Innocent bystanders. What have we done to them? This relly does warrant tears.

    Thank you, dear teacher, for your compassion. May our tears merit shalom bayis for all yiddishe mishpachos.

  5. This is all too true. Sadly our generation of adults are mostly just a bunch of overgrown children with toys. blackberry, blueberry, I-pad,
    Launch-pad, clicking away in shul, and at home all thw while inadvertently, but nonetheless ignoring our children or spouses, we might as well be in outer space. What poster #4 yyk said sadly is not the attitude of the majority of divorced couples.

    Gee, I guess that’s kind of a paradox, if most people acted mentschlich in a marriage,
    there wouldn’t be so many divorces to begin with!

    At the end of the day, it all comes down the following.

    Do YOU care about your kids really?
    I mean for real?

    Or are you just a self centered petty, spitefull person? Even If C”V you can’t stand your spouse,
    Does that mean you are willing to ruin your
    childrens mental and physical well-being,
    giving them no chance of being happily married
    giving Hashem & you nachas?

    How do you expect them to act when they’re
    married? Like you? Bad-mouthing your ex at any giben opportunity, this person is YOUR childs
    Father or mother. Do you think it will make you look good in their eyes as opposed to your ex?

    I have a secret to share with you. Children aren’t stupid. Most of you bad-mouthers will end up alone later in life as your kids will realize who was the true adult in between their parents, and who was the immature child who robbed them of a safe
    comfortable childhood.

    Parents! Take note of your irresponsible, immature
    attitude and change it before it’s too late.
    It will come back to haunt you.

  6. #4,

    thats nice. One thing that would work is socitetal pressure. If we would pressure and expect parents to behave that way, it would work

  7. Many shidduchim fail because the bochurim are not ready for marriage.
    Women are not slaves and shveres are not ATM machines.
    Bochurim have to be trained for marriage, responsible for their own livelihood.
    If not their father in law will teach him, as he has the money.
    If my son in law doesn’t get up for Davening I will hold back support.
    If he doesn’t like it,let him find a new father in law.

  8. #10,

    Many shidduchim fail because the girls are not ready for marriage.
    Men are not slaves and shveres are not ATM machines.
    Girls have to be trained for marriage, responsible for their own household.
    If not their Father in Heaven will teach her, as he has the money.
    If my daughter in law doesn’t take care of the house and her husband, I will hold back support.
    If she doesn’t like it,let her find a new father in law.

  9. as a rebbe witnessing the increasing no. of children in this and similar situations, i have b’ezer Hashem developed and implemented a successful program in usa & E”Y to help these children. for info. call 732-589-4089

  10. i am unfortunately twice divorced (no judgements please). my older one’s father is so involved and interested and travels long distance weekly to see his son and meet with teachers when needed. my younger child’s father is not interested in being a father and comes for a few minutes once a week. when my son was in surgery, (1st and 2nd surgery) he was not there, he is not interested in anything regarding his son. so, if i stop the bit of visitation and don’t have nice things to say does that make me the bad parent and me the cause of this child’s frustration? i’ve been wondering this for a while because i think no visit is better than a few minutes of hello and goodbye(no hugging or loving words). please guide.

  11. Dear Devorah,

    You seem to have been trying to be a wonderful parent for your children.

    It’s nice to see that you do want your child to be involved with his father. It must be quite frustrating that he isn’t as involved as you feel he should be.

    But please, some father is a lot better than none at all. Please do not stop the few minutes visitation. Let him get whatever he can.

    And most certainly, bite your tongue! Do not, under any circumstances, allow your ex to make the rules of the game. It’s his poor choice to act silly. But its completely your choice not to further rip your sons heart apart.


  12. How did this post get approved? I thought that the “Readers Fight” section was reserved for petty whining. This post is a very important issue that unfortunately applies to many people. This cannot be said too many times. If you can’t stop fighting, do it in private.

  13. #19,

    Huh? Did you unsterdand what you wrote? If yes, I’m glad at least someone understtod. The rest of us havn’t the faintest clue as to what you want

  14. In todays jewish communities, as a professional, I find that the major contributing factor to
    separation followed by a nasty divorce, is usually the product of one or both parents direct meddling in their childrens marriage and affairs.

    Usually it is the bored Mother in laws that take this road. Not letting go even after the couple has split, and have become sworn enemies.

    The reason they do this is mainly control.
    They have an issue with letting go, letting in another individual, and stepping aside as sole
    advice giver / decision maker,(manipulator)
    in their daughters life.

    If you find yourself overstepping your bounds
    as a parent causing strife in your childrens marriage, or if you think there is no bounds
    to overstep, please seek professional help.

    Baruch Hashem, today there is no shortage of ehrliche mental health care professionals,
    who are educated and have experience with these
    issues and can help you help yourself and your families. The first step is recognizing the problem, and not pushing it under the rug.

    Your neighbors don’t have to know youre getting help, as you should seek a counselor who is not in your neighborhood. Although current laws as well as professional code forbids any disclosure, (except for criminal etc..) please use better judgment when choosing a therapist.

    May we live to see the day when there is Shalom V’shalva, peace and calm, harmony amongst all of klal yisroel, Omein!

  15. To simpleton
    I highly doubt you are supporting your son, and yes, your son should be bringing in the money not your daughter, but that is the problem, we do the opposite what the Torah teaches us and then we don’t understand why there is shalom Bayis problems.

  16. #22,

    Sorry, but dowries have been around forever. Since the times of our forefathers, the Avos, or earlier. Yes the woman brings a dowry.

    Difference is, that nowadays, instead of giving it in one lump sum, its provided on a payment plan.

    Doing the opposite of the Torah are the feminist and selfish ideas some girls, and their moms, have. They feel as if they don’t have any responsibilities, its all based upon “wants”. That runs contrary to the Torah way.

    True, many boys can be at fault as well. I’m providing some balance to your comments

  17. Divorce is a very sensitive issue that has become widespread in Jewish communities all around the world. I think that none of us can judge those who are divorced or are on their way to a divorce. It is sad for the children and the parents. What we can do is not judge or accuse (because we won’t make a difference by judging) we should daven that couples today should have the strength and desire to work on their marriage. We need to build, because marriage is not supposed to be smooth ride. Hashem gives us nisyonot (hardships) only to strengthen the relationship. We need to daven that not only “they” should have strength, but so should we. We can never know what nisayon will come our way. Hashem should rest his Shechina inside the houses of Am Yisrael!

  18. The answer is to establish true community based batei dinim & remove the zablah system that we have now. One that will adjudicate such manners & create a ruach that should one try & circumvent this BD they are a pariah to Klal Yisrael.
    This will allow for cases to be completed within a few months & people to go on with their lives.

  19. #24 Please Daven,

    You wrote beautifully and I agree with most of what you said – but not all. What people do behind closed doors, or how they choose to lead their lives, may not be for us to judge. True.

    However, there are times where being judgmental is warranted and appropriate. When people use their children as weapons-of-war. That’s inexcusable. If we do become judgmental, that would deter parents from exercising this abhorrent and despicable behavior. They may be hurt and are only looking to settle a score. However, your children are not here for you to use to settle scores.

    We as a community and “outsiders” do have a responsibility to these kids. One way we can help is by showing the parents that certain behaviors are completely unacceptable and that the parents have lost esteem in our eyes by behaving like hoodlums.

    Have a good day

  20. That’s great advice. The problem is, you’re saying it to people to whom it won’t work.
    If the bad-mouthing parent was humble enough to listen to advice and had enough yiras Shomayim to exhbit basic self-control, the divorce might not have happened at all.
    Often, couples get divorced because one side (or both) has BAD middos. The parent yelled/bad-mouthed/hit his/her spouse/children during the marriage. Undoubtedly, after the marriage is over, that parent will continue to have BAD middos. Isn’t this obvious?
    It seems so foolish to assume that suddenly, upon divorce, a parent with bad middos will turn into a mentsch.