What if your child asks you why there are many rules in Judaism? He asks you why he can’t have “fun” like many of his peers. How would you respond to that? Will you ignore your son and tell him to just follow the rules? Are you going to be defensive?
Explaining to a child the importance of following Jewish rules without being defensive is big challenge to many Jewish parents. Your answer has to make an impact to your child. Here are a few tips that you can follow when faced with this question:
- Take the question positively. As a child grows, his cognitive skills develop. He will start to use his critical thinking abilities to analyze things and situations. It is your responsibility as a parent to guide him through this critical time of his life by taking his questions seriously and providing him the proper answers.
- It is important to explain to him the correct definition of having fun. Who says one can’t have fun when they’re Jewish? There is no problem in having fun as long as it won’t harm your physical and spiritual being. God commands his people to be happy, to have fun and to be a source of happiness to others.
- Empathize with your child. Understand the reasons why he is feeling this way. Remember that you were also once a child who had many questions. Empathizing with your child will help you respond to his question without being judgmental.
- Start responding by differentiating the kinds of fun. Explain to him the difference between the good and bad kind of fun. Be clear when you tell him the consequences he will have to face when he engage himself into a destructive type of fun.
- Explain to your child that the rules of the Torah is there to guide us and protect us from harm and not to restrict us from having fun. God knows us intimately and is always concern about our well-being.
- Be an example to your child. Live according to the rules of Judaism.
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