Parents and Children / Teenagers
There is no one right way to parent a child. There is no “one book” or “one method” because there is no “one child.”
There is, however, an attitude essential for wise parenting: getting to know the soul, the inner life of your child. Once we know who our child really is, we can learn effective ways to parent children and teenagers toward their own fulfillment and actualization as human beings.
My approach is rooted in the wisdom of Jewish spirituality, especially spiritual formation and moral psychology, “Mussar,” as this discipline applies to parenting.
In my work I address the following areas, depending on the interests of the participants:
How to manage issues of homework, messiness, chores, disobedience, stubbornness, rudeness, and so forth, without anger or criticizing.
Cultivating curiosity about your child or teenager’s inner life and discovering their own personality types.
Helping your children/teenagers understand their own thoughts, feelings, emotions, intuitions, drives, impulses, and so forth.
Giving your child the greatest gift you can: the gift of insight into themselves, into you, as the parent, and into other people, peers as well as adults.
How to avoid fads in parenting and learn to take what’s best in various schools of thought and learn how to parent your unique child from who you really are as a human being.
How to cultivate moral character, for example: strength, courage, empathy, kindness, spiritual centeredness, service, and so forth.
How to help children deal with fear, shame and loneliness (and how to ensure that you do not add to these issues).
How to assess and understand your own inner life, your personality and that of other adults in your child’s life, and what we bring into parenting from our own childhoods, negative and positive.
Wisdom for Teens
Perhaps the largest population of people that is lacking in wisdom, but needs it most, is teens. The nature of the adolescent brain guarantees struggle. The adolescent can be emotionally stormy, deeply withdrawn, passionate, cynical, adventurous and/or depressed, grandiose and self loathing, yearning for relationships but destructive of them. The adolescent requires wisdom that can help them navigate the treacherous passageway of the teenage years.
Seminars and classes for teens help them develop insight into who they are, what they are going through, and what their goals should be.
Teens often medicate through their pain – sometimes into drugs, premature sexuality and even violence. More often, they medicate through unnecessary emotional pain.
Wisdom for teens is similar to but more than ‘life skills’ – it teaches virtue and reflection and true paths toward fulfillment and self actualization.
Wisdom for Parents of Teens
Many well meaning parents fall into the category of “good people with bad habits.” In their concern for their children’s future, many parents focus on external markers – grades, colleges, AP classes, resumes – and not the soul of the child. Many teenagers feel their parents don’t really care about them, but only the resume they produce. Wisdom for parents of teens shines light on the right area of focus and helps parents nurture the soul of the child, not manage the resume.
Parents and Teens Together
When wisdom is the goal, the communication between parents and teens can transform dramatically. Children feel heard and understood, and parents can fulfill their true calling – guiding their children morally and spiritually.
Parents and Teens Together coaches families on how to communicate in the language of wisdom, helping to build lifelong relationships of care and trust.