Readers’ Scoop: Not Everything Is For Children To Hear

Readers-Scoop-Logo smallDear parents. I’d like to bring awareness to an issue I find needs a bit of improvement. My young child came home from school this week and at dinner began talking about his friend’s mother’s childbirth experiences. I don’t think a public forum is the right place to write the details of the conversation, but to say the least, I was quite shocked.

I don’t believe a child of that age was consulted by his parent about the adult experiences, which brings me to my point.

What some parents do not understand, is that children’s brains are like cement and like a sponge. They are like a sponge that everything is absorbed. Everything. And they are like cement, in that every impression lasts forever.

We live in a world that we are influenced by everything around us. By the things we hear and by the things we see. However, kids are on a much higher spiritual level than we are in regard to that, and were never exposed to the filth of the world around us.

Therefore, when discussing adult issues, please be aware of your surroundings and realize your children are growing up and are not the small infants they once were. They now see, hear and notice everything.

So before you freely and openly discuss anything and everything, remember this. A child repeats a lot of what is discussed at home.

Thank you for listening.

A normal parent.

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  1. so true. Just like u wouldn’t tell someone else to hold of a certain hechsher, its not up for someone to decide if something is appropriate to discuss with their children, it may not be good for mine.

  2. My wife is a morah in lakewood and she caught a five year old actually playing giving birth…..she was shocked, but obviously not all Lakewood children are as sheltered from the entertainment world as we would like.
    Which brings up the topic of why many do not want everyone and anyone accepted to every school. Do they have a right to negatively influence my children?

  3. i don’t think it’s right that this person signed “a normal parent”. i mean i know they’re not perfect but it sounds sort of like they’re saying they’re better than us. a better way to have signed this letter would have been to write “a concerned parent”. that would have showed a lot more respect to the public. i don’t announce to the world that i’m normal. i would simply say to a person that there are some things i know but i don’t know everything. please think clearly before signing your letters and showing them to the public. but i do understand this issue which is very true.

  4. We are so wrapped up in thinking it is “dirty” that we are horrified to hear children talking about. Repressing this topic only leads to trouble. THAT is the main issue here, your parenting, not the fact that your children are curious about the natural world and the greatest miracle of all time.

  5. #4- Nobody is saying that childbirth is “dirty”. What we’re discussing is the need to keep adult topics limited to adult ears only. We’re not living in the olden times and so certain topics of discussion are not appropriate and can actually scar a child or his peers. I’m sure that in the times you’re quoting, kids wouldn’t even walk around discussing it because it was just a fact of life. It’s not.

  6. so keep them in your house and do not let them live a life.If you hold on to them they will protest and you will be in trabal and you will have it harder to get it out of the house. you have too give some space with them good luck too you. and all the readers.

    would you want your kids at your bed when you give birth? it might not be dirty since it is niflaos haboreh, but you gotta be crazy!!!!!
    there are reasons why certain halachos of marriage arent talked about in public. there are boundaries we set for ourselves to keep our homes and commmunities kadosh AND tahor.
    i wish you luck raising your kids and that they give you nachas. because at the rate it seems ‘Mr. hmmmmm’ your kids are going to turn out to be pretty messed up.
    oh…. and also maybe take the internet and TV out of your house, bc its apparant that you are watching this stuff with your kids around.

  8. I don’t know if it is so bad to explain to a child who shows curiosity and won’t get confused by learning about birth. Where does this come into frumkeit and why if a child knows about it, is it from TV and Internet? Are they showing live childbirth on those media nowadays? all (moderated) getting heated up about this seem to know a lot more about TV than I do. Stop judging other people’s parenting choices; HOWEVER, if you as a parent feel your child is mature enough to know this, explain that this is not something they should be chatting about at recess. They should also have the maturity to understand that.

  9. I think what MR Hmmm was trying to say is that people are too uptight . I do not think he was suggesting that his kids be present at childbirth. He was trying to say that up until recently, this was not a taboo topic. And you cant say, that was the olden days, this is the modern day. Well, in the olden days, people did not drink milk unless a jewish person supervised it for fear of contamination. That fear no longer exists, yet people stick to the old traditions.

    In my family growing up, there was no fear about talking about childbirth and other “dirty” issues. My parents were open about it and answered our questions. Me and all of my 6 siblings grew up just fine and have beautiful healthy religious families of our own now. On the other hand, i can list many kids who went off the derech because of how repressive their parents were about basic topics that any child is curious about and will only rebel if they are met with a brick wall

  10. To # 2 who wrote: “Which brings up the topic of why many do not want everyone and anyone accepted to every school. Do they have a right to negatively influence my children?

    What a joke. I don’t want to get into the whole school issue in this town. That’s for a different day. However, for all you know, the family of the the little child that overheard an adult conversation and repeated parts of it in school could be the frumest, most yeshivish, in town. The father learns all day and night and does kiruv on the side. He even fills in for the Rav for the Daf Yomi shiur when the Rav is out of town. The mother probably teaches Chumash and Navi at the best girls school. She probably doesn’t wear short sleeves over long sleeves and definitely has no white scalp on any of her shaitels. This family just might be the kind that gets into any school they want (it just so happens that the wife’s parents are loaded so they even pay full tuition). Schools are practically begging this family to send their kids to their schools. And gasp! The mother had a baby. The kids went to visit her at the hospital. Mother’s friend from seminary called at the same time to say MAZEL TOV!! and asked her all about the labor. Mom forgets that her little Devora (4) and Chaim (6) is standing right there and tells her friend how the labor was this and the delivery was that….You get the picture. Next thing you know, your daughter comes home from school ready to be a midwife. And you’re outraged! You spent the fist 4 years if your daughter’s life pulling every string in town to get your kid into this school. How dare they accept someone from such a home! As you so eloquently put it: “Do they have a right to negatively influence my children?”

    Enough said.

  11. And what do you think is an appropriate answer for a smart inquisitive 7 year old? I don’t really think its a bad thing to tell her, and can be bad to make up some insane story that she will see right thru.

  12. Avery important point not yet brought out is that kids understand things according to their experience & one has no way of knowing what that will be
    Like the child who ran into the house & told his mother he needs to have his lunch quickly. His mother asked why. He then said because it is a fast day.
    This was just an example – but kids don’t always understand things the way you mean them & sometimes they will understand something worse than intended.

  13. I was teaching in a preschool for Bais (moderated) girls and it was carpool time. One of the girls looked outside and saw it was snowing. She excitedly said ” wow, its snowing so pretty, just like a christmas day!” What do u say to that huh?

  14. I was sitting in the waiting room of my doctor a young mother from our community was yaking away loudly on her cell phone as if she was the only one in hearing distance.
    I kept holding myself back from going over to her to tell her that her private matters should be kept that way. then she got into the details of her last birth, and how she was right & the medical staff wrong…

  15. to #15 I say we live in a world, not in a closed box…, and guess what , christmas is a federal holiday and nothing evil will happen to your child if she is aware of the name of the holiday and the fact that it is depicted as one thats full of snow.

  16. Hey #16 – listen up

    In december I was walking with my young daughter and she marveled at the beautiful lights and tree at a house on our block. She asked me if they were part of chanukah and I told her “no sweetie, that is a christmas tree. People who are not jewish have christmas instead of channukah”

    her response to me? Oh ok, cool, and we moved on..

    Now, lets imagine what your response would have been had your daughter asked that question::

    “SHUSH! Quiet, its goyish, its evil, dont ask those questions, OM-G we are all gona dieeeeeee”

    Which child do you think will grow up more stable and grounded???

  17. First of all, #19, you’re awesome! That was intelligent and well said. Its so important to just be real with your kids. Its the same if you and your kids saw a frum person doing something wrong, like dressing not tznius. You say to your child, “sweety, its not our place to judge other people. maybe the person doesnt realize her skirt is too short, or maybe she has a yetzer hara to dress this way. Our job is to do what the Torah teaches us and not judge other people. Leave that to the One above. Regarding the childbirth thing, I totally understand the mother’s feelings. People do need to be careful and sensitive to how they speak in front of children. I’m sure its upsetting as a parent to hear your young children come home saying things you would rather they not have been heard, but if it happened there are ways to smooth things over. In general, I feel its best not to make too big a deal out of it. If a child has specific questions or is asking for clarification on a big topic that you don’t feel is age appropriate for the child, you can always say, “honey, not everything that so and so told is correct, you are asking such good questions and I’m proud of you for that, but we’ll have to discuss this more when you’re older.” If the parent and child have a good relationship, this should be sufficient.

  18. U signed ” a NORMAL parent” Don’t fool yourself,
    your child is discussing the exact same topics you did as a child and guess what u turned out NORMAL (u say) !!!!!!

  19. Why is this an issue of tznius? No normally developing 5 yr old should have to deal with the knowledge of the intricacies of childbirth. It’s traumatizing enough at 20.

  20. #19 a wonderful post. You cannot put your children in a bubble and try to protect them from life. Pregnancy and birth are prevalent among frum. To think that your children do not notice and wonder is foolish. If they ask, you must respond with facts and honesty at the level that they will understand. Just answer what they ask. Don’t tell too much or too little. . Not an easy task. But being a good parent is never an easy task.

  21. after reading this article, i have one question, cement takes a while to dry, how did you react to your child coming home with this newfound information? did you address the situation or did you leave a cemented impression of your own? did you get upset at her letting her know she can not discuss things like this with you in the future? and you are absolutely right that your surroundings affect you, that;s why your home must be secure enough that your child doesn’t need to look for explanations elsewhere! there will always be others with different opinions on the way to raise children and what is okay to be brought into your own home. that is your decision and you can not control what others decide is okay. you should appreciated that lakewood has so many people that have the same standards as you and you should focus on that and not dictating what others should or should not do. good luck raising your children and make sure that when an impression is made on your child you turn it into a positive one BEFORE the cement dries!

  22. #26, I have an interesting episode to relate. When my oldest daugter was in 4th grade, a very unwise parent of a girl decided to tell her daughter the facts of life in preparation for camp. Unfortunately she forgot to tell her not to discuss this with other girls, and before you knew it, they were all discussing things that were inappropriate. When the principal found out about this, they called all the mothers of that grade to a meeting that was chaired by (a female) an administrator. Well, I had no choice but to go home & have a chat with my 9 1/2 year old about topics that would have been better left to discuss when she was a teenager. Either way, I told her that I heard the girls were talking about inappropriate matters & wanted to know if she had any questions. I promised her that I would not lie, no matter what since I wanted to retain her trust. I launched into an explanation of personal hygiene, etc., and told her that if she had any questions to ask, to fire away. Well, her question floored me: She asked me if an unmarried girl could get pregnant! Wow! I thought quickly and (with siyatta dishmaye, came up with a right answer) told her “by us, frum yidden, this doesn’t happen”. This way, I figured, if in the future, she ever hears that an unmarried girl had a baby, she wouldn’t say, oh, my mother lied to me. So basically, you have to be honest at an age appropriate level & only tell them on a need to know basis.

  23. We live in a society, where unfortunately, down the road your children are likely to see things that are beyond repulsive. This of course all due to telephones with internet and other readily available technology. Its almost impossible to monitor our children at all times from these dangers.

    As such, more than ever, we need to normalize life cycle issues in a sensitive and loving fashion. Shutting our children eyes to everything can have terrible ramifications.

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