Taking the time to learn better parenting skills

Madraigos offers a haven to struggling mothers, fathers and Children


Many people have said that there is no instruction book on how to be a good parent, though many have tried to offer much needed advice through books, articles, lectures, and counseling.

Madraigos, a Woodmere-based nonprofit, that offers a variety of services and programs that aim to help teenagers and young adults overcome life’s challenges, has also stepped into the breach and is holding effective parenting groups.

To initiate a dialogue with mothers and fathers on how to learn skills to be an effective parent, Madraigos held its largest programming event outside of retreats as more than 400 people gathered in the ballroom of Congregation Beth Sholom in Lawrence on Oct. 30.

“Madraigos has been working with children, teenagers  and young adults for close to 15 years,” said Eli Perlman, the group’s clinical director and served as the event’s emcee.

“Over this time, we have found that when children are struggling with various issues, the parents are an important key for the growth and wellbeing of the child.”

The program included presentations from Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein, the founder and director of Ohr Naava, an umbrella organization headquartered in Brooklyn that includes several programs which addresses a wide range of Jewish women’s needs, and Brad Reedy, a holder of a Ph.D., an author and co-founder and clinical director of Evoke Therapy Programs in Santa Clara, Utah, that helps teens, young adults and families.

Wallerstein noted that when parents are asked what the most important thing is that they could give to their children a majority answer: love. The rabbi corrected that to time. “Time is the most precious thing a human being has,” he said. “Time is potential; time is life.”

Recounting story about a young girl he was counseling who wanted to commit suicide, Wallerstein said to her that she has, as a result of not caring about herself, potential to save a live. She could possibly run into the road and save a young boy who had escaped from his mother’s grasp. “Until your time is over, you have potential,” he said. “The hardest thing to give is time.”

Whether it is a newly married couple or parents with a child or children, he said that problems occur when people are not willing to give of their time. He spoke about adults being chained to their cell phones, and how the words associated with cyberspace sound like they are a trap: web, net, cell, enter, and how there is no exit button, but there is one for escape.

“For kids to change, we have to change,” said Wallerstein, adding that positive criticism provides children with a goal they could achieve. “Imagine the perception of a child when they see you on your phone,” he added, meaning there is no time for them.

Reedy also spoke about change and how it should be connected with love. The author of “The Journey of the Heroic Parent: Your Child’s Struggle & The Road Home,” said that the parents he works with have to ask themselves questions before there is a transformation in their parenting.

“Parent education doesn’t change the child, it changes the parent,” said Reedy, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis two years ago. “The greatest contact with children is to know them and see them.”

Rena Kutner and Ricki Rosenwald, the women who run Madraigos’s parenting group, were honored for their work. A fourth parenting group is forming and sessions are scheduled to begin on Nov. 13. To RSVP, contact Perlman at (516) 371-3250 ext. 111 or eperlman@madraigos.org.

Go to madraigos.org to learn more about Madraigos.