New Perfect Parenting Tool Alert: The High Holidays

If you were brought up Jewish, are married to someone Jewish, converted to Judaism, are parents of children (either Jewish or not Jewish) who attend a Jewish day school, or are simply interested in the Jewish religion, you are aware that this is the time of year we are being judged by the man (or woman) upstairs as we celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

We are to ponder and apologize for our sins as our fate is soon to be sealed for the year ahead. One possible example could be drinking too much wine with our favorite mommy play date while the kids are doing who knows what. Just an example of course.

As the mom of three always searching for new parenting tools to share, I think I have found the ultimate one!

Whether your children attend Jewish Day School, (like mine) or have to be dragged to Hebrew school (like I was), they should have a good understanding of what the high holidays are about. Enter these fabulous new tools…

Instead of the usual, “I’m not angry, I’m disappointed” line, which doesn’t have much pull anymore, my mommy script has changed to, “you know G-d is paying extra special attention to your behavior during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and I don’t think you want to have extra sins to apologize for. If it were me, I would act especially good during the high holidays…he is watching.”

When I witnessed my boys’ eyes widen as they heard this, I knew I was onto something. Soon their rooms were cleaner, more “pleases” were being said and more questions being asked about the holidays. Oh the sweet smell of success! Was it the honey cake I had purchased or was it a new genius way to get my kids to behave?

I don’t look at it as trickery but the truth. By definition, Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and a day of judgment while Yom Kippur, the day of atonement (thanks Wikipedia).

I’m sure we could all agree that our kids have plenty to atone for already and wouldn’t want to make G-d angry when we all know he is judging us and about to seal our fate. (Sounds a bit scary but does the trick and it’s true).

This is not only a smart parenting tool to get your kids to behave, to be more respectful and to do their chores without being asked, but it’s a wonderful way to start conversations about the high holidays and what they mean.

Have your child create a list of sins they committed throughout the past year and help them generate goals to make changes in the year to come.

During these high holy days that are upon us, remind your children they are being judged. Not just by Mommy and Daddy but the ultimate parent, G-d. Let them know it is out of our hands and not up to us at this point. (This will take the pressure off of you as the mean parent). Perhaps you may notice some quick improvements from your kids.

Now if we only had a quarterly check-up high holiday I could use to my advantage as well, that would be ideal. I’ll share these thoughts during my prayers at temple tomorrow and get back to you.

L’Shana Tovah and an easy fast for you all!

Are you a parent who has used a religious holiday as a parenting tool?  Please share your secrets with Mommy Masters!

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