32. Parenting & Marriage with Chagit Zelcer

January 26, 2022

In This Episode

The basis of the Shefer Approach is understanding the dynamics of the connection between a parent and a child. Chagit Zelcer, parent counselor and creator of the Shefer Course, shares deep insight about the resilience of children, the importance of parents not always agreeing with each other, and our G-d-given mission as parents. G-d relies on us to do our jobs to have the best interest of our children at heart, so there is no such thing as a good or bad parent.

Highlights

01:44 Chagit Zelcer is a parenting counselor in the Shefer Approach. She conducts online workshops in Hebrew and English. Chagit’s passion and mission is to share the Shefer Approach with every parent because they deserve it.

06:22 Every parent strives to build a relationship with their children. Chagit emphasizes that there are no conditions to parenting because this relationship is given by G-d.

09:53 A happy child is a cooperative child who feels like he/she is a part of the family.

11:52 There is no such things as a terrible mother or even a good mother. The aim of the Shefer Appraoch is to empower parents and help them realize that their being a parent already puts them into their role as a good parent.

15:49 We put extra terms and conditions to our parenting, and we let them get into our heads but we have to go back to the basic idea of the relationship between a parent and a child, where the parent is the leader and a child joins in, bringing more confidence into the whole family.

18:16 Rebbetzin Bat-Chen’s CALM Method is all about Connecting with yourself first, and this can also be applied to parenting.

19:41 G-d gave us the role of being a parent and He relies on us.

24:44 Our children should be free to make their own decisions—to create, live, and be their own person. The way our children turn out has nothing to do with our parenting.

29:40 Chagit shares the homework she gives at the end of Lesson 1 of the Shefer Course, and this helps us with the awareness of the work we do as parents.

34:50 A husband and a wife don’t always have to agree. A child learns that it’s okay to think differently.

38:15 G-d can plan to make two people with opposite views or personalities become husband and wife because they complement each other.

46:00 A common complaint that parents say is “My child is not normal,” but normal is not the norm. At the end of the day, we have to take away the labels and terms and conditions, because you are the parent and you have your child.

Links

Chagit Zelcer: Website | Facebook | Instagram | chagit@chagit.co.il

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REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Welcome to the Connected For Real Podcast! I’m Rebbetzin Bat-Chen Grossman, a marriage coach for women in business, and my mission is to bring God’s presence into your life, into your marriage, and into your business. Let’s get started. The following is one of the many conversations I had with experts and professionals about real life and how it affects marriage. Let me know your takeaways on Instagram or Facebook, @connectedforreal. Enjoy.

And we are live. Welcome everyone to the Connected for Real Podcast. I am Rebbetzin Bat-Chen Grossman, a marriage coach for women in business and today, we have Chagit and she is a parenting coach with the Shefer method, which I love because I was in a Shefer method class when I was pregnant with my fifth and it changed my life so I am very very excited to have her here and introduce herself and tell us what it’s all about. So Chagit, welcome.

CHAGIT ZELCER

Thank you Bat-Chen. I’m excited to be here and I’m excited for the opportunity to present the Shefer—allow me to just correct or note that it’s an approach, not a method, which makes all the difference because when we talk about the Shefer Approach—and approaches the way of looking at things and method is sort of tips and do A, you’ll get B. That’s not what it’s about. Shefer is about an outlook and an approach. So, it’s semantics but it’s important.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I love it. I love it.

CHAGIT ZELCER

Okay, thank you. I’m Chagit Zelcer and I’m a Shefer counselor in Hebrew and in English. I trained in the Shefer Approach in Hebrew and after doing workshops and consults and progressing in the teaching the approach, I realized it’s too good to leave just for Hebrew speakers and I translated everything to English and started teaching it in English. I’ve been doing it, workshops, way before corona. I was on zoom doing workshops with all over the world—many English speakers, and I also created an online course called the Shefer course, which people who don’t want to join a workshop or can’t join the workshop because of logistics, can learn the approach and do it one-on-one with me by taking the course and getting all the good that Shefer has to offer and being able to do it at their own time and their own pace, and it’s also—Baruch Hashem has proven itself and I believe that it’s something that every parent deserves. Not needs. Deserves, because I really believe parents deserve more than they’re getting, and I’m happy for the opportunity. It’s more than an opportunity for me. It’s a mission. It’s a passion.

My husband says that wherever I sit down with people, within 30 seconds, I’m lecturing Shefer, so I’m very happy for this opportunity which is actually a very built formal opportunity.

CHAGIT ZELCER

Yes, this is the right place to be preaching. I love that you made such a distinction between the words method and approach because it really is that important. Just yesterday, I was telling someone it’s very different when you say you live in occupied territories or if you live in a town. It has everything to do with the wording that you use, so I appreciate that you did that and I really love the way you said every parent deserves to have that connection with their children because we’re talking about connection. This is all about Connected for Real. We want to be connected to G-d connected, to our husband connected, to ourselves, and our children are part of that. We want that connection and a lot of times with the world and the way that life has been, it’s really hard. It’s really hard to connect to your kids because there’s so much garbage in the way and so many things that we should do and we think we need, and our kids are distracted and there is barely any time to be with them, so it just feels like—or there’s too much time to be with them.

CHAGIT ZELCER

You’re jumping from one extreme to another.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes, exactly. I used to have maybe two, three hours before they went to sleep from work until I picked them up and we put them to sleep and that was it, and now they’re home all day.

We just don’t know and I remember feeling like a really bad mother. I had three kids and I just didn’t know what I was doing wrong because everybody else had it put together and I was a total mess and—

CHAGIT ZELCER

Because everyone knows the Shefer Approach already.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Oh, no. I don’t think so—

CHAGIT ZELCER

Or it just seems that way to you. The grass looks greener on the other side.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes, it always looks like the other people have it put together and my teacher—I have a teacher who has told us the story about how when she had her first kid. She has this baby and she’s all over the place and she has the stroller and it’s like the blanket’s lopsided and she just gets out of the house because she needs some air and she’s walking to the park and she sees these two women walking with these perfectly perfect strollers and they’re perfectly dressed and they’re taking a walk every morning at the same time, and she’s like, “How do you do it? How do you manage?” And the lady turns her and says, “Who says I manage?” And she just told us that to tell us, “Okay, even on the outside it looks like everybody manages, we’re all dealing with the same things,” and I think that’s just a really nice feeling to understand that you’re not alone. Everybody has their own stuff and there are tools and approaches that can really help you on the inner journey to be able to connect on a deeper level.

So, let us tell us a little bit more about that.

CHAGIT ZELCER

Okay, I’d like to relate to two things that you said that sort of like shot at me. First of all, the whole concept of connection that we want to connect to our children—this is basic. Relationships is the thing. This is what everyone is talking about. Everyone is striving for—everyone is trying to get to that relationship with your child. It starts at the young ages. Certainly, they talk about [it] non-stop—teenagers etc. Etc. If you have a good relationship, your child will be what you would like him to be and sort of everything became like a condition. If you have a good relationship, it’s a condition to succeeding in your parenting. Now—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Oh, I want to double tap on that because I don’t think it’s true—

CHAGIT ZELCER

And here, here right now is the but. The but is that there are no conditions to parenting. The parent-child relationship is something that is G-d-given. The minute that the child is born, he is connected to the parent. Actually, before physically speaking, especially the mother. With all the respect of fathers, I don’t think there’s one family really that will say oh the connection is first and foremost [with] the father. It’s the first connection. This is creation. It’s the child is part of the mother and from the minute that the child is born and actually is disconnected physically, he strives to continue that connection.

Now, the Shefer Approach talks about that. That’s the basis of the Shefer Approach—understanding the dynamics of the connection. The connection exists and the connection to something that we, of course, will always be. The question is if the dynamics or dynamics of cooperation where the child actually joins the parent and those who are here before them as opposed to the parent joining the child, which is in especially in the western culture where the children are the center and everything is revolves around them. The Shefer course, the course specifically that I created, talks about that in lesson number three.

This is where I’m giving you like pointers of where you’ll find that we talk about the whole concept of belonging and connection. It’s something that we introduced in lesson number three. Lesson number one and two give you the preview towards that that sort of promotes you to understand that, and from there everything we do and everything we learn is around how to attain the connection of cooperation from the child because what we want more than [anything]—you will ask any parent today, “What is it that you want? What do we strive for?” “The child should be happy.” In Hebrew, it’s [Hebrew]. The main thing is that the child should be happy. We see this now with corona and everything that comes up—”What’s going to be with the children? What’s going to be—are they going to be miserable?” And the expectations are nil. Really, it’s insulting to the children that they can’t handle little change in their lives because the fact is that the minute a child is born, his life changes. He’s gone from one transformation to the other throughout his lifetime and here we are—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

And children are resilient children. Children are resilient.

CHAGIT ZELCER

So what I want to say is I get back to that point where we want our child to be happy but the fact is that a happy child is a cooperative child, a child who feels a part of the family not by any terms and conditions that have to be met by him. Meaning, if everyone will notice me, if everyone will react to me; rather, I join the family I do what everybody does and [we’re] one big happy family.

The fact is I made a little I noted that in western culture where the child is the center and totally everything revolves around him—in this mindset and this way of thinking, statistically, especially in in united states, which the epitome of western culture, you have statistics of children under the age of 12 [with] depression that is at percentages that are unbelievable, and we’re talking about clinical depression. What is considered clinical depression—that’s something else. What does depression mean? If a child is unhappy, does that mean immediately that he’s oppressed or does it mean that he’s trying to get everybody to revolve around him, or does it mean that he just had a bad day in school or in gan (school) or whatever, and that’s part of life. So if we wouldn’t have those sad days, we wouldn’t appreciate our happy days either, and I think that’s something that a child learns by dealing with situations, and as parents, we learned to rely on him to deal with the situations and to grow with challenges instead of being feeling that the challenges have become something that are making life impossible for him.

You also mentioned, “I felt like a terrible mother,” and there is no such thing as a terrible mother. I have news for you. There is no such thing as a good mother either because when if we’re looking to be that good mother, the mom of the year or whatever, then it’s very easy to fall into the trap of, “Well, I’m not good enough so I must be a terrible mother.” In the Shefer Approach, our aim is to give the parent the feeling–not the feeling only—is to empower the parent and to realize that the fact that they’re a parent already puts them into their role as a parent is good, and what they do is every parent has their child’s best interest at heart. So, if you’re not doing enough, you could do more but what there’s no way to measure it. There’s no way to measure how much love we give our children because we love our children. This constant, “Oh, if you love your child enough, he’ll become very successful—” children are loved and we see in situations where parents love their children, parents are totally on board with their children, on board with each other, they’re in total agreement of each other, and yet the child doesn’t exactly go according to plan. The child’s behavior—it’s something that we have to realize that the child will always have a choice of how to behave. It’s a gift being able to choose and when we enable him to choose, what we can do as parents is enable the child by enabling cooperation, by expecting cooperation, by knowing that despite what we see—that’s lesson number six—and despite what we see the child is amazing and not falling into the cycle of constantly—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

The illusions.

CHAGIT ZELCER

The illusion—it gets into it gets us into a cycle. Are we good enough? We’re not good enough. We’re good enough, not good enough. The child acts a certain way. We react, he continues because we keep reacting and more of that lesson number four and five and—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yeah, we’re stuck in a loop. I love that you said that there is no judgment. I remember being in the class and she said, “The fact that you’re here means you care and you’re a good mother. You are a mother. There’s no judgment on good or bad.”

CHAGIT ZELCER

Let me ask you a question. When you in the first class, did the Shefer counselor ask, “Who here feels guilty?”

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I don’t remember. It [was a] very long—

CHAGIT ZELCER

It’s a classic first question where we ask a group of parents who have found the time and the energy despite that they are sleep-deprived, energy deprived, and time deprived to come to a parenting class, and we ask, “Who here feels guilt?” Everyone raises their hand. Some people don’t raise their hand because they’re just too tired. They just don’t have the strength and they say, “Who doesn’t feel guilty?” And that’s something that that’s part of that cycle of trying to be good enough and never being good enough and doubting ourselves and that’s what you understood from her [when] she said, “You’re good.” You’re probably the best and whatever you do is your best and no one can should tell you that you’re not doing enough more than that, and no one should threaten whether it’s by saying it or it’s just in the ear that if you don’t do good enough, your child will suffer for life because—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I think most of the work is really the way that we judge ourselves. You said it also. It’s less about what other people are saying, not saying, what’s in the air. It’s more about what we expect of ourselves and the things that we think would make a good mother.

A good mother has supper on time every day and I can’t get that up and running so I might be—

CHAGIT ZELCER

Your cook also can have supper every day. Where did that connection—when was that connection created between supper all day, supper on time and a good mother. Who made that link?

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Someone in my head. [laughs]

CHAGIT ZELCER

Why? What’s the connection between—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

A little animated person in my head decided that that was the—

CHAGIT ZELCER

Exactly. It’s in our heads. That’s what I and what I say in the Shefer Approach—what we do is we don’t do a lot. Somebody once said to me when she started grasping the concept she said, “It’s not about what you do. It’s about what we don’t have to do.” Take off all those extras, all those extra terms and conditions that have been planted in our minds. We just clean. I mean, I’m the cleaning lady. I say, “I just came here to clean.” Clean it and find that basic common sense that you got the minute you became a parent and it’s going back to the basic common sense without all those extras and the instincts, maternal instincts.

Hey, when did that when we lose that?

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Oh, yeah. That went out of style a long time ago. [Laughs]

CHAGIT ZELCER

It went out of style together with We have to be so and so. Exactly. So and so.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

It went out of style together with critical thinking and independence—

CHAGIT ZELCER

And the parent being the leader because in a family where you have the parent leading and the child joining, following then everyone feels more confident. The parent is confident in his role and the child is confident in his place as a child and because at the end of the day, the child is a child and the way he will develop to be a mature and responsible adult is by actually joining the adults who are here before him and following them and—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

It gives a lot of confidence to a child to know that there is already a system and he doesn’t have to create anything from scratch.

CHAGIT ZELCER

Totally, totally. That would work with your C-A-L-M, CALM. Children at, wife and mothers—I don’t know—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes, it does. I think that what we’re—like you brought up the call method, so I just want to bring that full circle. The CALM method is all about Connect to yourself. First and foremost, do the inner work clean up all of that mess in your head all the noise that other people are putting in there and society is expecting and whatever you judge on yourself. Get rid of that and really connect to the real you, the whole you, the part of you that is so in line with what G-d put you here to do—your purpose and what am I here what do? I actually want because my want is really that gut feeling that that’s all connected to what G-d wants. G-d put that want in me so we’re very, very connected to the to the source of what am I here for, what do I want, what do I need, and then you can ask then you can go on and address the world but you cannot do anything without the C—without the connect to yourself so—

CHAGIT ZELCER

I so agree with that that’s the basic, the first concept when we talk about confidence in our parenting—who gave us the role of being a parent? G-d, and what he relies on us. So, no matter what you read on the web and what you hear and what your neighbors are saying or even whatever you’re hearing all around, G-d relies on you. He’s a partner in creating the child and then he said, “Now you do your job. I rely on you.” That’s so empowering to a parent and keeping G-d in the picture, like you do, makes it so much easier, but what I would add here that even people who don’t, on a very—an awareness level of G-d being and part of my life who are not practicing religious, the common sense of it [is] that they can rely on themselves, that there is something that gives them the authority, makes them feel more empowered and more sensible. We talk a lot in the Shefer Approach about kibud horim, honoring parents, which is actually—parents are the partners—G-d’s partners and it’s so basic for just that. Almost any problem that will come up in our lives. We can solve most of our problems, whether it’s in our parenting, whether it’s in our relationships with our spouses, whether it’s our own self-awareness, by just learning how to respect and honor our parents because that’ll give us the tools to really do a lot more, and what’s amazing is that when Shefer is taught not only to religious populations, it’s taught from kibbutzim of the [Hebrew] throughout [Hebrew] and Yiddish. Okay, so that’s it goes from all that—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yeah, and you’re talking in terms that people might not understand, so I just want to translate that. So, all across the spectrum of religiosity.

CHAGIT ZELCER

From totally religious to totally [Hebrew], and when you have people who aren’t connected to Torah and keeping mitzvot and being religious, they say, “Well, of course it makes sense. It just makes so much sense that children look towards their parents.” I believe that even parents who are not orthodox and don’t have any religious activity in their house would like their children to honor them because it’s normal.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yeah, I think that there’s the hierarchy—is so crucial because, like you said before, who is the center? Who is at the core? And so when you’re able to get things in order in your own mind then you react to the child in a different way than if he is you—if you made the kid—

CHAGIT ZELCER

You don’t follow the child. You expect him to follow you. Exactly. That’s it. You said hierarchy. Now, there’s a an amazing caricature, which this is not the place I will describe it, where we have a pyramid made by Shai Cherka, who is a very very talented cartoonist, and he did this the Shefer Approach. If you can see, in the website has this caricature where the pyramid has been turned upside down and the children are sitting on top looking over and just observing, and the parents are down there on their knees as caricutures have it, it’s of course a little bit extreme, but it depicts a situation—exactly what the situation is today and that’s exactly what it’s about, the hierarchy, which doesn’t mean that the parents are dictators or harsh or difficult rather that the parents are in their place and the child is in his place, and when everybody has their place, nobody has to be harsh. Parents when they’re losing it, it’s because they’ve become totally overwhelmed and undermined. It’s the louder you yell, the more unsure of yourself you are. That’s a classic parenting with just about anything. In the workplace, the boss who isn’t sure, who doesn’t rely on his workers, who doesn’t rely on his ability to handle these situations, is the one who will never let go and let his people do their work and fill their roles, and it’s like a cycle, so let’s break the loop.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Wow. Yes, yes, yes, and I want to address something that you said before and then we want I want to get into marriage because it’s so amazing how they touch.

You said before that the result is not in our hands as parents. What a lot of parents want to do is make sure my kid stays on the path and continues the chain and continues to hold on to the values that I hold on to and he should this that and the other, and the way that he comes out is a reflection of my parenting and it is so, so sad when people really believe that so much to the point that they get so disappointed when their kid goes just a tiny bit a step to the right, a step to the left. Like, “Oh my goodness. It’s not working,” and it’s like, “Hello, your kid is a human.” They choose. They have a life. They want to live and create and be their own person, and it has nothing to do with you and your parenting. I think that is such a relieving feeling that it has nothing to do with the result. It’s all about the journey. It’s all about the journey and it’s your journey and then it’s their journey and they’re completely—

CHAGIT ZELCER

So something—definitely. There’s the journey and it’s you, but if we do this journey with the parent leading and the child following then he has the tools to get to his destination where the parent would want him to get to. There’s something that I’d like to just point out that’s so it’s very present today in parenting—actually, the whole world[s]—the concept of parenting—it’s like you say, it shows what my parenting is. Parenting is something—it’s a word—it was invented, maybe a hundred years ago give or take. Parents were parents, and that’s what it was about. It wasn’t the concept of doing it, parenting. It was a natural thing. That’s why it brings us back to the common sense [of] natural. Natural means someone leads and someone follows. Now, when the whole issue of I want my child to follow in my way is already a place where the parent doubts, maybe he won’t follow in my way, but I do want him to follow my way. The minute the component of doubt comes into our mindset, it becomes part of the dynamics and that’s where if there is a mistake and the child can mistakenly connect, which is by the way subconscious—very much of the all this is subconscious but it’s very, very real in our lives and when the child—when there’s that component of doubt and worry, then it sort of becomes it’s in Hebrew [Hebrew]—very ground, fertile ground for trouble. Fertile ground for things like if anything could go wrong, it will maybe. I won’t take it to that extent, to that extreme, but then that’s what it’s about—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Because what doubt is the lack of G-d. When you don’t have G-d—

CHAGIT ZELCER

Doubt is the lack of G-d, the lack of Emunah, lack of worry. We worry that—G-d is the opposite of Emunah. You believe G-d. You believe in G-d. You don’t see him but you believe him. You believe in him. That’s what it’s about and when we doubt, we are actually undermining that basic belief and the more we worry, the more doubtful the more our connection, as you put it, is becoming loose because we’re losing that connection we’re worried about all the time, when it’s a given. Every family has their given. Lesson number one. Every family has the given, the obvious that they don’t think twice about it. They don’t worry if the child will or will not, and it’s something that the child joins completely. We use this, if it’s in a religious home, if you eat kosher and if you go into—you don’t expect your child—you don’t tell your child every day or you don’t tell yourself, “I hope he won’t need some milk and meat today,” because you know it—knowing and expecting it’s part of the mindset and it’s not something that we have to discuss, have to lecture about, have to worry about and that—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

That goes back to what you said about the more you talk about something, the less you’re sure of yourself. That’s so powerful.

CHAGIT ZELCER

Absolutely. I tell this to parents at the end of lesson number one that your homework—to go home or if you’re doing the course, think, try to make a list of the things that you say a million times and it doesn’t happen and the things that you don’t have to say at all and does happen in the house, and see where you are in your inner confidence and knowing it—totally knowing. It could be also a game changer.

Some parents go home just with that exercise and they come back in to say, “my house has totally changed.” It’s amazing.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

The awareness has so much power. Just awareness is eighty percent of the work. All you need to do is wake up and you’re already there it’s not—

CHAGIT ZELCER

Yes, just wake up. We’ve been put to sleep. We’ve been sedated with all that extra stuff and we don’t need it. We don’t need it because we have it in ourselves, we have it in our basic instincts. It’s very interesting that I find when men are in the workshop or they take the course, the online course with their wives—men get it, take it a lot, grasp it a lot more quickly. They don’t go into the extra emotions and it’s because men [have] common sense.

We can talk about that with a marriage situation.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes, that’s what I want to get into. Yes, you did a great job transitioning. How do the men take the Shefer [Approach] and how does it affect the marriage because parenting is huge when it comes to marriage.

CHAGIT ZELCER

Okay, how do they take it they take it? Like men. [they] take it like a man. Meaning, if first of all,  I would like to point out and I’m sure this is something that you you’ve heard already, that the situation with children does not necessarily mean that parents have to be on the same page.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes. This was the best, best, best—and I talked about this on my retreat. The best thing that ever happened to me was getting the freedom to not have to do everything like my husband and not having my husband on the same page. Thank you.

CHAGIT ZELCER

Yes, absolutely, and the minute that parents realize that they don’t have to be on the same page so much of that dynamics that are driving everybody crazy just disappears. I’ll give you an example where the mother and the mother feels—actually, two different examples that I’ll try—where the child won’t do his homework and the mother pities him and feels that he’s not he’s not doing enough and she has to help him and etc., etc., and the father says, “Hey, it says homework. Why are we getting so involved? I came home from work. I went to third grade already. I’m finished with this. I went to sixth grade already.” But which would be and it could be, by the way the opposite. It doesn’t have to be—but it doesn’t have to be. I say men take it to the common sense but you never know where, especially in today’s world where men have to be in touch with your female emotions, etcetera, etcetera. So they very, very sometimes switch positions but that’s not that’s not the point. The point is that the mother thinks one way [and] the father thinks another way.

Now, what happens with the child in this situation? First thing, he’s not doing his homework because everybody’s having this a whole balagan going around him.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

They’re talking over his head walking over his head.

CHAGIT ZELCER

Talking over his head. A. It becomes their responsibility, not his—lesson number seven, please note and we talk about responsibility big time. And more than that, they’re so busy fighting that actually, the whole issue of homework has become something in the background and the child is achieving a lot of a lot of action going on around his not doing his homework. The parents are at odds with each other—not good for relationships. I mean, like I said, he just came off from work. She probably did too. “I just want some peace and quiet. Why do I have to argue with you? Why do we need to do this?”

Now, when we say that you don’t have to agree with this spouse—so what? Take a step back, and in this example, the father can take a step back and say, “You know what? You want to do it your way? I’m letting go. Do it your way—”

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

“But don’t involve me. I’m not involved. I’ve done my third grade. Goodbye.”

CHAGIT ZELCER

And, so now we have an example. I have a classic example where Yael Elitzur, who actually is the guru of the Shefer Approach, had a mother who [was in] a similar situation situation that she described, which she said that my husband thinks exactly the opposite of me and I think this way. He thinks the exactly the opposite and it’s terrible because parents have to agree with each other. So Yael said to her, “Okay, so agree with him. Let go of everything that you believed is like the total, total, total truth—G-d-given truth, and if you think this is so important go ahead and agree with him,” and by doing this and what they said like she was shocked because I mean mother knows best or thinks she knows the best, and we do know—we know a lot. We we spend our lives knowing what happened and [when] she let it go and went along with her husband, the dynamics changed and the child just—it wasn’t worth making everybody being the producer director of this show anymore. So, that takes it to a very like, “If you think that, go ahead think that you have to agree.” So, go agree with the other side but—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

But you don’t have to agree.

CHAGIT ZELCER

And you don’t have to agree and the child will learn that abba thinks this way and Ima thinks another way and it’s okay because that’s life—because no, dad. He will come to different situations where people don’t agree. At any rate, he will have to choose. You have families where the parents think exactly the same—exactly. They have the same values, the same mindset, the same everything. Let’s take this as an example of being religious, for instance. A totally religious family where parents have no shortcuts and they’re totally of the same, in agreement on everything and you have a child who will decide he’s off the [Hebrew], totally off the path. He’s not going to be religious.

So hey, wait a minute, but both parents agreed. How did this happen to us? How did it happen? Because a child will always have a choice, but hey, especially there are many couples where the level of religiosity is varied. You have people who marry as already from the first, where religious and non-religious people marry each other today. It’s very common. You have couples where one of the [parents]—father or the mother decided that this isn’t for me anymore, and if they decide to keep the package together and not separate, the children learn that the father has this, the mother has this and the child will—we’re not looking for extra challenges. Life brings enough challenges, but this is something that would probably give the child a way to view things mature more quickly and the way to view things that not everybody agrees and I will make my choice—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

And you learn respect.

CHAGIT ZELCER

You learn to respect and accept that people will always make their choice. We don’t judge them and just—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I know many, many couples. Many, who are not the same as their spouse because we’re human and we’re not the same as our spouse and G-d does that almost on purpose to push us to find our own path—

CHAGIT ZELCER

Why almost?

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Well, you know some people are like, “Ah!” But yeah G-d makes—he doesn’t do these things by mistake, where you find someone who is the exact opposite of you or has different strengths than you have because we’re here to really complement each other and work together and learn to respect each other and teach our children through our relationship. When I say hierarchy, and I have a hot topic bonus that you guys can go and watch on the YouTube channel about parenting in marriage, I talk about how G-d is number one because that’s always the top of everything and then it’s you and then you and your husband is a marriage and then your children.

If your children are before your marriage then everything is convoluted. Then it’s messed up because—

CHAGIT ZELCER

That’s what’s messing up the hierarchy.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Exactly, because your marriage has to be top priority for your children to actually have the right framework to work with, and they learn through how you are in the world and so if you respect your husband in front of your kids or not in front of your kids also, your kids will pick it up. They are amazing. They have antennas and they know everything.

CHAGIT ZELCER

Oh, have like [a] radar. The army could use this a little bit of those high-tech radar. For sure.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes, yes. They can sense it in the air and they can’t put words to it but they know, they know, they know, and so it’s really important to do that work to really get back to I am the core of my marriage. I have to invest in myself. I have to put myself in a place where I am in a good place, not expect my husband to fill me, and then from there I can be in a really, really good relationship with my husband and my children will only benefit from all of that trickling down, from all of that structure. It’s really, really amazing.

I want to talk to you a little bit more a little about the agent—the child using the other parents as an agent because I find that fascinating and when I learned about that, so much just went [mind blown sound].

CHAGIT ZELCER

Okay. Yeah. That’s one—I mean, it’s a loaded-ish loaded topic. I will try to—so I’ll go back to just what I said at the beginning that the child—strives to connect to the mother from birth, actually, and he finds his ways to do this by being the either a cooperative, which is wonderful or if it’s not, which is why parents usually end up coming to a Shefer class or learning a new approach, and if it’s not, then it’s a connection that he’s attaining the mother’s reaction by either being very busy and busy about certain—reacting all the time, being worried, being annoyed, being angry, being frustrated, being overweight. I mean, you name it. I mean, I don’t have to tell you. Every mother knows what the child can bring out of her, whether it’s internal or emotional or tackles actions, where we’re constantly doing things around our kids, and very often there are agents who help the child. For instance, the agents could be the siblings, where “Ima, tell her to stop hitting me,” or, “Ima, tell her to stop breaking my toy,” or “Ima, whatever—” There’s that sibling who cooperates. They each have a little role that they’re filling and everybody together is getting Ima to work. It’s like she doesn’t have enough work to do and that’s the agents of the where you have the siblings. You have the agents in where the child will—you use so to say and this is subconscious. Very often subconscious.

I’m saying things that have to be learned properly in the course. Please let me put a disclaimer here because I’m saying things are don’t try to take it home and work with it.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

You have to come to it.

CHAGIT ZELCER

You have to come to it but I’m bringing up things that are food for thought. Use it only as food for thought and where you have the father, or the mother who is constantly worrying telling the father, “Why aren’t you worried about what’s happening with the child?” And here we have a connection where the father’s lack of reaction or the mother’s lack of reaction is getting that mistaken connection. We have agents today, the whole school system from age zero, if the child is already in some kind of a gan and where you have the gan in it constantly. Today, WhatsApp, email—you name it. It’s the connection. It’s not real. It’s just not. I mean, I’m taking your phrase and it’s not real because when my kids are growing up.

I have—Baruch Hashem—five wonderful children, all grown up, married with kids and when they were growing up, we didn’t have email, we didn’t have WhatsApp. I actually don’t know what happened to my kids but they’re good. They’re fine. They grew up. We had issues like any parent would have because that’s life but I have no doubt that the ones who [had] more issues were the ones where the teachers kept calling me up. I mean, we only had phones. There was at the time—there was time with the wired probes also, but that’s a bit of real history and I’m not that old [laughs]. And what my one child who I could identify that had us kept us most occupied all the time with what’s going to be with him was the one where the teacher would call up [like], “Oh, today he just like he went in middle of classroom to the window to see what’s going on.” We’re talking about a kid who taught himself how to read before he was in gan, okay? I mean, he’s a lawyer today with five kids and [Hebrew] also, but his teacher did not stop calling me. At a certain point, I said to my husband, “I’m not answering the phone in the afternoon because I just know it’s her calling me.” Agents. And now they mean well. The system is built at me today so, I mean I’m not saying this to demoralize or to be detrimental about what the teachers are doing. The teachers they’re going to note they have instructions to find to look, for what’s wrong with the kid and what’s going on even if it’s a kid who doesn’t want to play color as quickly as the others they start assessing. They’re bringing the psychologists they’ve been I mean it comes to extremes that are not necessarily always necessary agents. Agents are big and they serve the child so well and getting the mother into that loop of like, “Oh my G-d.” I mean mothers are tired. Tired and—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I think the most common complaint is, “my child is not normal,” because you the system makes you feel like he just doesn’t fit. It doesn’t fit the “normal” and then you don’t know what to do because you come up with like, “ugh, I can’t. I don’t know how to deal,” where really he’s perfectly her child like we went back again to that judgment. No judgment. He’s your child, period. End of sentence.

CHAGIT ZELCER

“Is your child normal?” Is a term that’s changed over—it’s evolved over the years—30, 40, 50 years what. I hate to say this today. Normal is the kid who takes Ritalin in the morning. Normal is like, “Oh he doesn’t have adhd? Check it out. Make sure because what he was wild yesterday,” or something like that, but—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

My daughter’s so funny. She says, “I want to make sure that I am not normal,” because normal has become something so warped that as a 15 year old she says, “I want to always be so in touch with my values that I’m the one who’s not normal,” because she understands already from what’s going on around her that as a—

CHAGIT ZELCER

Normal is not norm. That’s it, but what I but here I would say this is important because the ages are going to be there. Today, there’s a system. It’s more than a system. It’s an industry where you have all these therapies, therapies, therapies non-stop and at the end of the day, it’s the child and you. You are the parent and you have your child.

So what I tell parents—I had one parent ask me—she consulted with me at the beginning of the the first lockdown where she was in a panic because her child is adhd, and like, “Oh my G-d. What am I gonna do with him all day?” I sat there and listened. I said, “listen, your child has been established as—it’s been established that he has [ADHD] and this is something that—where was this established?” “When he started the school system.” In school, he has that label. That’s it. They put the label on and it’s there. When he’s at home, he doesn’t have to have that label. That label is not relevant. It’s invalid in your house. Peel it off. Take it off. This child is your regular child. Act and expect like you would with a child who does not have adhd because as far as you’re concerned, you never assessed him. The school system assists him. As soon as he went at the system, they assessed him. So she said this saved her from in her lockdown when she said this—she told me later, “This advice changed my life,” because at the end of the day the system is with—we can’t fight the system. We don’t. We, parents who are fighting the system, are actually acting as [if] it becomes everybody’s agent at the end of the day because once again, it’s like the child that doesn’t do his homework. The parent is blaming the school, the school is blaming the parent, the child is sitting around and saying, “Hmm, everybody’s very active here. I’m just sitting around and it’s not my business,” and it’s like that’s—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

No responsibility.

CHAGIT ZELCER

Lesson number six in Shefer Course.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yeah. You know what’s amazing about Shefer Course? I love the way that it’s structured. I love that each class is the basis for the next. That was something that, like you’re saying, about giving someone the stability as a parent to learn a an approach that is so well built and gives you one step at a time, where one step takes you to the next step, where the next step takes you to the next step and you look back and like, “How [did] we get here?” But it makes so much sense and then you actually know what to do and you actually, have the tools you need. As much as I say to my friends all the time, “Oh I really need a refresher,” that’s because I’m out of it for so long and you’re with your kids and so that—

CHAGIT ZELCER

Life is life.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Right. But the refresher is just you becoming aware because you already knew it, because it’s already part of you. Like you’re saying, it’s an approach it totally is by the time you’re done, it changed my life. I had four girls when I was in the program and I was pregnant with my boy and nobody knew that it was a boy and it was just fun because the whole pregnancy, I’m in this course and eventually, when I had my boy and everybody kept saying like, “Oh, you just wait and see. Boys are different,” oh blah blah blah all these boy stuff.

CHAGIT ZELCER

More patience.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

And I was so calm and I was so chilled because I was like listen I have four girls and none of them are the stereotypical girl. Not only that, but I have some that climb the trees, so I don’t know what you want me to expect from this boy but I think he’s just a child. He can do whatever he wants. He has the entire—

CHAGIT ZELCER

We talk about in lesson number eight. Family constellation. That’s totally how you expect the child because he’s the first or the boy or the girl or the last or the middle or the whatever, and it’s a whole different way of looking at it, but this is where I would like to point out, like you say, everything is built on everything.

The first lesson talks about confidence in our role as parents. It starts from that. That’s where I say, when I explain this to people, I say, “I’m giving you glasses now. I’m giving you a set of glasses with lenses. From here on, you’ll see things differently.” This is what it’s all about, but when you when you start looking at things from a place of confidence, in your parenting, then everything looks different. It’s amazing. It’s really like putting on and when you go into—there are movie theaters—movies and you can you put on like 3D glasses and also you see things from a whole different angle, that’s what Shefer is and that’s where it starts, with that basic inner confidence in our role as parents. It starts with understanding that we just have to put aside all those extras and from there, the sky’s the limit, not only for you but for your children as well, and that’s so amazing—and that’s so amazing.

I’d like to add something [to] this regarding parenting and couples relationships and marriage, where what I noted at the beginning that in today’s society, culture, western culture, which we are part of for better or for worse, you have the child being in the center and everything has to be sort of around him, and in Hebrew, it’s [Hebrew], meaning fits him. If the curriculum isn’t exactly good for the child, then we’ll make it easier, we’ll make a test easier, that’s in the school system but also in the house where everything has to be on demand for the child.

Now, if a child grows up in such a situation, what actually is the message that he’s getting? That I’m the center and everything has to fit what I need. My needs come first. This is what parents actually say. They say or they think the child’s needs. There’s no doubt that what child has needs that we nurture our children. We give them what they need, but needs it becomes a very, very wide concept and if a child grows up that his needs are first and foremost and that everyone should be joining him and his needs, then what happens? When this child marries another child who grew up this way, “Hey, wait a minute. It’s about me.” “No, it’s about me,” “Not it’s about me.” The divorce rate after a short time of marriage is skyrocketing and most of the reasons that are are given [Hebrew]. In Hebrew, I said, “[Hebrew]. It doesn’t fit me. It didn’t fit. He didn’t fit himself to all my needs. She didn’t fit herself to all my needs,” and this is where I see the Shefer Approach having a responsibility not only to help parents with raising their children but this is how the world has to continue. We need the world—needs children to grow up to be responsible and able to deal with differences of opinion, able to deal with other people—”Hey there’s somebody else in the picture. It’s not only about me,” and that that’s the basis for actually the relationship that you want to build with your husband or wife, and I think growing up as a child that learns how to join and consider and not be the center is the tool for that marriage to really be successful.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I love this. This is the best thing you’ve said all day, and I’m so happy you brought that up because it is so powerful. Not only are we trying to help the parents with their parenting but we are raising the next generation to be able to handle life, and this is so huge and it takes us back to Covid, and how we have to expect our children that they’re resilient, that they can figure it out, that they are going to be okay, and that is huge and I love it.

How can people find out more about your courses? Where can people find you?

CHAGIT ZELCER

So I have a Facebook. You can find me on Facebook. You can find me I can email. My email is C-H-A-G-I-T at C-H-A-G-I-T.co.il [chagit@chagit.co.il]. I also have a site shefercourse.co.il. You can find me on the web. You’ll see all about the course in the site. I am more than happy to explain more, speak to you. You can set up through the course site, free discovery call and my motto is discover the joy of parenting, so the first, discovery is here with me 30 minutes, or if we go into a little more than 30 minutes, I’m fine with that also to hear about it. If it’s for you, I’m here with you. The course is also is not only watch and see me lecture. There’s a workbook. There are three sessions where you meet me and I work at what you’ve learned with you. We work at—learn, practice, how to utilize what you’ve learned and actual problems and solve them, and the sky’s the limit.

I am more than happy to discuss this with anybody and I believe that the world will be a better place. The more parents take this course the better off we’ll all be. I’m happy also to give my phone number it’s 0507710804, and you can WhatsApp me. You can contact me and I’m more than happy to be the Shaliah for this wonderful thing, and I thank you Bat-Chen for this opportunity.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Pleasure, and for anybody who’s worried about this, we are going to link everything in the show notes and the blog and the website connectedforreal.com. Also I would like to invite you all [to the Marriage Breakthrough Retreat]. I know Chagit already has signed up, so she’s excited.

Thank you so much to Chagit for being with us for this amazing conversation and for the pleasure the such beautiful approach about marriage and creating the next generation. Wow. I loved it thank you and thank you everyone for listening.

And that’s it! Thank you for listening to the very end. I would love if you can leave a review and subscribe to the podcast. Those are things that tell the algorithm, this is a good podcast and make sure to suggest it to others. Wouldn’t it be amazing if more people became more connected for real? And now, take a moment and think of someone who might benefit from this episode. Can you share it with them? I am Rebbetzin Bat-Chen Grossman from connectedforreal.com. Thank you so much for listening, and don’t forget, you can be connected for real.

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