Q: Since I’ve joined Mishmeres HaSholom’s children’s program, our family is learning hilchos shemiras halashon together. I’m worried that in training my children to guard their tongues they may repress issues that are bothering them and stop telling us what is going on in their lives. How can I explain to my young children that there are problems that they may —and are even obligated to — apprise their parents of, l’toeles (sometimes even with names,) so that we can address the problem?
A: Children can be taught that there are some things that they are obligated to tell, l’toeles. There is no need to worry that in their zealousness to guard their tongues, children will keep their problems to themselves. They should be taught the conditions delineated by the Chofetz Chaim for lashon hara l’toeles.
It is advisable to go by the rule of the wise, “Be careful, but not overly cautious.” (Chovos Halevavos, Introduction) In our case, it would be exaggerated caution to worry that children would harbor problems, and it is incumbent upon us to go by “Tamim tehiyeh im Hashem Elokecha.”
The questions and answers above were taken from the Mishmeres Hasholom pamphlet in Israel. For details and inquiries please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 972-2 5379160.
The views expressed are of the individual author. Readers are encouraged to consult their own posek for guidance.