Move From Oy to Joy: Parenting through Listening

Written by Behrman House Staff, 20 of February, 2017
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Let’s face it: the day-to-day realities of parenting can be messy. Fortunately, Jewish tradition offers timeless wisdom, values, and guidance to help parents of all faiths and backgrounds. In The Joys & Oys of Parenting: Insight and Wisdom from the Jewish Tradition, learn about the concept of shalom bayit (a peaceful home) and thoughtful ideas, advice, and inspiration for raising children into confident, kind, responsible adults.

A discussion guide at the end of the book provides a framework for engaging parents in small, ongoing groups. Discussion groups can be safe spaces in which we learn about raising children, share and test ideas, and help each other based on our varied experiences. They allow parents - as well as grandparents, foster and stepparents - an opportunity to reflect on their own current practices and come away with new ideas from other parents, centered around and inspired by ideas from this book.

Each section of The Joys & Oys of Parenting applies problem-solving techniques to just about every parenting challenge.This fourth in a series of excerpts by the authors – Maurice J. Elias, PhD; Marilyn E. Gootman, EdD; and Heather Schwartz, MA - offers tips on how to move from oy to joy. 

Wisdom: Listen Respectfully


To create a peaceful home, the authors say, all family members need to feel heard. Parents play the most influential role in shaping their children’s behavior, as kids follow the lead of their parents, even if the adults don't realize it. To influence good behavior, parents should consciously listen to, respect, and care about what their children say. Kids will also observe their parents’ reactions to unpleasant situations; keeping calm in moments of frustration or anger will show your children that negative circumstances can produce constructive responses.

Promote a peaceful home through effective communication with your family. If parents respond to negative behavior with sarcasm, insults, threats, punishment, revenge, or the silent treatment, they can only expect the same responses in return from their children. It was James Baldwin who said, "Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them." With a little work, a peaceful home will bring patience, kindness, understanding, and serenity.









The Joys and Oys of Parenting is available for purchase at Amazon.