Friday, May 9, 2008

Mazel Tov! -- It Broke

Nobody wants things to break, but it happens that things fall and break. Or something is treated incorrectly and breaks. Children are very prone to breaking things. They don't know how to handle little delicate things and are often clumsy.

When a child climbs on a chair, a parent can either say "Get down, the chair will break" or "Get down, you are going to hurt yourself". When a parent puts the object first, does that mean they care more about their furniture than the child? Or maybe the parent has faith in the child that they won't hurt themselves so then they only have to be concerned about the furniture which cannot protect itself and therefore needs the parent protecting it.

But then when a child falls on the floor, or a child's finger gets stuck in the door, some parents will tell the child to hit the floor or the door. This supposedly helps because the child is getting out its frustration on the thing that caused him to get hurt. The child will say "Bad door" and it makes them feel better. Though the door has no feelings to answer back, so they automatically win.

Now, what happens when a child has something important to them, a new toy and then it breaks. The parent can either scream at the child for breaking the toy that they just bought for x amount of dollars. In that case the child will feel guilty and get more upset and angry thinking that its not their fault. This takes away from the actual sadness of the child at the loss of their new toy. Or the parent can say "oy vey" and then the child feels the sadness and gets hysterical and wants a new toy right away.

Then today, I saw a different approach that I've never seen before. A child was oustide with a porcelain doll, which isn't made of plastic and therefore can break easily. So the child was holding the doll and coming out of a car and then "crash" the doll's foot broke and shattered to pieces. The mother didn't get upset at the child, neither did she make a big deal out of it. Instead she said "Mazel Tov!".

I thought this was such a good way to deal with it. The child didn't start crying. They just picked up the doll from outside and moved on, went inside the house, and that was the end of that. I'm sure the child felt a little regret that her doll was now broken, but there were no outbursts and the child was able to think rationally and the mother probably took care of the rest of it. Either to buy a new one, or to explain that she has other dolls, or that its not completely broken and so on.


  1. This same idea happened when I was at a restaurant with my family. A glass fell on the floor and the waiter said ,"Mazal Tov." I guess he was thinking of the only other time people break a glass and say Mazal Tov. So its good because you ignore the bad, which is really only a few dollars anyways, and you focus on the good.

  2. I really never thought about this it seems like a great idea ill try it out to see how it goes like you said the child doesnt feel bad

  3. The people I used to babysit for decided to punish the kid everytime he hurt himself. I thought this was rather funny. They told the kid "you came out perfect from mommy's belly, now you're hurting mommy's child, mommy likes her children not bruised."

    The idea is is that the kid doesn't only fear falling, but fears disrespecting his parents, by hurting hte body they gave him.

    My parents and I find the idea odd.

  4. FrumSkeptic: That does sound odd, poor kid. Then he can't be a kid and run around and play, in fear that he will fall and get hurt. That's the opposite of what children are made to have. They start off with a lot of confidence and their not afraid to fall, they just get up and try again. But if the parents don't let him hurt himself he won't get back up, instead he'll blame himself for falling, and be afraid that the parents will be upset.


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