Should parents criticize their children or compliment them? Or both?
And the answer is both; certainly! Parents should be lavish in their praise when their child behaves properly. Not only parents; neighbors too. Anybody should praise people when they behave properly. And don’t be stingy. People love praise and it’s a stimulus for them to become even better.
However, parents must constantly criticize children as well. Of course, in the ancient times they were able to criticize more. Today you have to sugarcoat it a little bit. But whatever it is, you must constantly tell them what’s right. Nobody knows what’s right.
Even adults like ourselves must be told constantly. We’re always slipping back. We always must have somebody to remind us. And if you think that you can never listen to criticism, then you have to know you’re called a leitz: לא יאהב לץ הוכח לו – The scoffer does not want to be criticized, אל חכמים לא ילך – that’s why he doesn’t go to the sages. He keeps away.
People who come here once and they hear things they don’t like, and then they don’t come again, it’s a sign they don’t want to improve. All they want is that people should caress them and say, “Yes. You’re nice. You’re very good.” And so they go away just as bad as they were.
But when you come in with the ambition to improve, so you’re waiting to hear something that might give you a clue, a hint about what you need to know, so you’re very fortunate to be criticized.
So parents should constantly praise and constantly criticize children. Of course it depends on the child and it depends on the circumstances. But whatever it is, parents must see to it that their children are given an impetus to improve themselves.
TAPE # 881