Parenting Simply: Preparing Kids for Life

Disclosure Statement

The following is an excerpt from my friend Adina Soclof’s new book, Parenting Simply: Preparing Kids For Life. (Available at Amazon or anywhere your favorite Jewish books are sold. MSRP: $17.99) If you struggle as a parent with setting limits, enforcing/sticking to those limits, or generally balancing your desire to raise children who listen the first time with raising children who think for themselves, then you will want to read Adina’s book.

If I had to describe myself, assertive would not be one of the attributes that I would use. I am more of the doormat kind of gal. When my kids were younger, before this whole parent education part of my life, I would cautiously throw out a directive, “Time to get in the car!” and hope they would actually listen.

Unfortunately, they usually didn’t (unless we were headed to the ice cream store, or Savta’s). Doormat as a parenting philosophy didn’t work. I realized that I needed for their sake to start acting with authority and slowly I did. I learned that good parenting involved, not just all the love, but the ability to set limits, make rules and stick with them.

It is not so easy. Today’s parents really do have it a little bit harder. Kids have a tougher time listening to authority figures than children in earlier generations. Modern parents have a harder time setting down rules and demanding respect because we have been taught to embrace the notion that authority should be questioned or challenged. Modern parents are ingrained with the democratic principles that everyone should be treated equally, and therefore have a much harder time than our parents did of putting ourselves in the role of the absolute authoritarian.

The fact that many adults are uncomfortable with asserting their authority and that children are unable to accept it has created an unhealthy balance in the parent/child relationship.

Children need limits and rules, as well as love support and understanding. Without them, children are unhappy, stressed, anxious, and depressed. Underneath all their bluster, kids want us to stick to our limits and enforce our rules. It helps them feel safe and secure.

In order to maintain our status as parents we need to know that when we assert our authority, it is natural for a child to complain, act annoyed, or get mad (no one likes to be told what to do). This is the time when we need to steel ourselves to continue to parent; we need to drive our point home. Yet, it is at that moment when we lose our nerve.

We are scared when our children show any type of negative feelings- even normal ones. Instead of giving children the structure and limits they need, we get blindsided. We switch gears and start bargaining to help our kids smooth over their rough feelings. We give in to stop the complaining, soothe their annoyance and keep the anger at bay.

We don’t have to do that. We can and should set our rules and enforce them. To do that we can couch our limits with empathy. We can enforce our rules while at the same time show children that we understand that it is difficult to acquiesce. Children are better able to accept rules and limits when we show them that we understand that it is tough for them. This will evoke love along with the firmness that is required of an effective parent.

Parents are always looking for simple and practical ways to meet the challenges of parenting. This down-to-earth guide provides concrete tips to help parents be confident in their ability to raise respectful, grateful, and disciplined children.


Adina Soclof is a Parent Educator, Professional Development Instructor and Speech Pathologist working with children in a school setting. The founder of, Adina also delivers parenting classes and professional development workshops for Speech Pathologists, Teachers and other health professionals. Adina’s new book, Parenting Simply: Preparing Kids For Life, blends traditional Jewish parenting techniques with the latest educational and psychological research, showing how to teach kids to take responsibility for themselves at home and at school, and help them feel competent and calm. Step-by-step instructions and examples are shared, giving parents the tools they need to create an atmosphere of compassion and respect – the basis of a warm and loving Jewish home.

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