Fully equipped with an MBA, zero babysitting experience and my mother’s 1976 copy of Dr. Spock, which she had diligently applied on her only child (me), I became aMy days on Wall Street had not prepared me for what lay ahead parent in 2006. Bullish dreams of a home managed with the precision of a CEO, the smell of freshly baked challah every week and a team of pleasantly behaved children at the Shabbat table would soon crash if I didn’t face the now acutely obvious weaknesses in my parenting résumé. My days on Wall Street had not prepared me for what lay ahead: a crash akin to that of 2008. Dr. Spock went to the nearest Goodwill, and while I was tempted to bury my head in The Wall Street Journal, I humbly turned to Judaism’s ancient wisdom for help.

These 7 Jewish parenting principles can help you go from bearish to bullish on your best long-term investment:

1. Parenting Is a Partnership

“There are three partners in the making of man: the father, the mother and G‑d.” (Kiddushin, 30b)

G‑d is a partner in this parenting endeavor. We can, and dare I say, must, rely on Divine assistance because quite frankly, this task is at times (if not at all times) beyond our human capacity. But, as the Midrash attests, G‑d does not make excessive demands of us. If He gave us these children, it means that they are the perfect match for us and we for them—hard as it may be to believe at times! But don’t despair because this also means that it’s not all up to us! We may love to shep nachas, but truthfully, we cannot take full credit for the outcome of parenting.

2. Capitalize on Core Competencies

“Educate the child according to his way and when he’s old he will not depart from it ... ” (Proverbs 22:6)

G‑d has given each of our children unique personalities, strengths and weaknesses. We must recognize and respect our children’s individuality. The inherent way of a child—his or her G‑d-given traits—should not be suppressed by parents. Rather, we should cultivate them to the fullest, bearing in mind that negative traits should be channeled positively.

In addition, the sages explain that children must be trained in self-discipline—to set boundaries and change their habitual natures until they attain sovereignty of mind over heart (Tanya, Chapter 12). Living a life that is guided by the framework of Torah law provides plenty of opportunities to exercise mindfulness over impulse and hone this ability.

3. Compliance Remains Key

“Honor your father and your mother, so that your days should be lengthened.” (Exodus 20:12)

If your children exhibit chutzpah sometimes, then you’re in good company. Children are not naturally inclined to treat their parents with respect; hence, the need for the Fifth Commandment, which by the way, is about behavior, not feeling. It’s inclusion as one of the “Big Ten” suggests that rude children are nothing new. But it also teaches us how to prevent them from turning into self-absorbed, thoughtless adults.

Jewish psychologist and parenting expert Wendy Mogel points out in The Blessing of a Skinned Knee that children “will only accept your guidance and heed your advice if they respect you. ... If you don’t teach your children to honor you, you’ll have a very hard time teaching them anything else.” By honoring their parents, children will be more likely to respect authority, the older generation, and in turn, make the leap from family to community. Their reward will thus be length in days to contribute to this world.

4. Hedge With Love

“The right hand draws near and the left hand pushes away.” (Sanhedrin, 107 b)

King Solomon warned “one who withholds his rod, despises his child,” (Mishlei 13:24). Yet as naturally loving parents, we often wonder: How much discipline and how to discipline? We do it with the less dominant hand—“the left hand.”

Our sages emphasize numerous times that “the left hand pushes away.” Discipline should be implemented rarely, and we can influence our children more if we approach them b’darchei noam—pleasantly and peacefully. The Rambam advises that it is best to take the middle path, and in his parting letter to his children heed them to always “consider what you are going to say before letting the words escape.” Yes, that does suggest that we parents should stop yelling (present company included).

Jewish psychologists and parenting experts recommend keeping ratios in mind to help us apply the aforementioned statement from the Talmud. Sarah Chanah Radcliffe suggest an 80:20 ratio of positive to negative interactions with our children (and our spouses) and 90:10 for teenagers. Rabbi Dr. Avraham Twerski recommends a 70:30 ratio. Dr. Miriam Adahan suggests “one-third love, one-third law and one-third sitting on your hands (i.e., turn a blind eye).” Whatever ratio works for you and your individual child, the message is clear: Temper the discipline with a heavy dose of love.

5. Stick to the Fundamentals

“The soul of man is a candle of G‑d.” (Proverbs 20:27)

A Jewish child has a soul that “is truly a part of G‑d above” (Tanya, Chapter 2). Focus on this fundamental part of your child and see the good inherent in them. Moreover, just like when we hold a candle near a large flame it will be attracted to the larger flame, our souls are attracted to its Divine Source. When we train our children in the observance of mitzvot, we afford them the opportunity for their souls to shine overtly.

Many mothers add one Shabbat candle for each of their children. Teach your children that the world is brighter because of their existence. Imbue in them the understanding that they are a “light unto the nations.” (Isaiah 42:6)

6. Be a Mentor

“For I know him, that he will instruct his children and his household after him, so that they will keep the path of G‑d, to do righteousness and justice.” (Bereishit 18:19)

We are our children’s teachers of right and wrong, based on the Divine blueprint set for humankind: the Torah. Perhaps this is best seen in the connection between the Hebrew words: “parent” (horim), “teacher” (moreh), “instruction” (horah). How we want them to live, we must first model.

The Talmud lists religious teachings, as well as universal teachings of a very practical nature, which we must impart on our children. The obligation to find them a spouse also means educating them to become emotionally mature adults, equipped to maintain familial relationships. Teaching our children a profession means providing them with the practical skills necessary to survive and succeed in life. Aside from the life-saving component, the obligation to teach our children how to swim also means teaching them the skills necessary to swim amid the risks and challenges inherent in life’s murky waters. But once we’ve taught them how, we can’t swim for them!

7. Take Risks

“Lech Lecha” (Genesis 12:1)

“Go forth!” G‑d told Avraham when it was time for him to leave his father’s land and venture out into the unknown. This phrase, which literally means “go to yourself,” teaches us that the capabilities to go are precisely within ourselves. In order for our children to learn confidence in their abilities to triumph over life’s challenges, we must allow them to venture out into the world and work things out on their own.

In the process, we must be mindful to praise and encourage their efforts over talents. “Man was created to toil” (Job 5:7). Toil, not produce. As Rabbi Tarfon says, “You are not required to complete the task, yet you are not free to withdraw from it” (Ethics of Our Fathers 2:21). When we encourage effort, we foster what Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck refers to as a “growth mindset,” which results in more patience, and a willingness to take risks and experiment with different tasks.

When our children are being rambunctious, we wish them to be angels. Yet angels are standing, stagnant beings—omdim, who don’t grow or move (Zechariah 3:7). Humans (a.k.a. our rambunctiously active kids) are holchim (“movers”). Unlike the angels, they climb levels and can reach higher. They can fall and can get up again. Let them move, let them swim, let them grow!

Four kids and 13 years later, I run my home with the precision of a CEO, bake homemade challah and have a team of pleasantly behaved children ... some days. The other days, I rely on these parenting principles to stay the course on what I now bullishly believe to have been my best long-term investment.