It’s important to remember that we don’t own our kids. They’re not ours, and they don’t exist as reflections of us, or to serve us in any way.

Nor, I would add, do our kids “own” us, as is too often the case these days.

Our kids, like us, belong only to the Creator of the world. As parents, we are given the awesome privilege and responsibility of taking care of them as best we can. We have joined a partnership with G‑d, where we provide our children with a healthy, stable and balanced home to live in.

As the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, once told a parent who expressed regret that he had lost his temper and struck his children (paraphrased):

As much as they are your children, they are G‑d’s children.

You would not strike the children of a fellow human being; how much more so should you not strike G‑d’s children.

Your hand should tremble before you hit G‑d’s child! As the verse states (Deuteronomy 14:1), “You are children of the L‑rd, your G‑d.”

If, at times, you need to discipline your children, it should never be done out of anger.

The parent-child relationship is much healthier when we realize that our children are not here for our benefit or pleasure. They each have a unique soul and their own purpose in life. We are meant to get them started on accomplishing their task in this world, and help them become the best human beings they can be.

It just so happens that when we recognize that our children do not belong to us, and that they are merely in our custody so that we can care for them, there is a much better chance that they will be respectful of us and open to our plans for them.

See The View From My Child’s Window from our Parenting & Education section.