Tzvi Szajnbrum
To ease the immigration and absorption process for Olim

Parenting in Modern Times

Even in Israel parenting could be a nightmare – a legal nightmare

Author Yuval Noah Harari, in his famous book, Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind,  published back in 2011, somehow foresaw and described today’s reality in any court in all family law tribunals in the State of Israel:

“The nuclear family did not disappear completely from modern landscape. When states and markets took from the family most of its economic and political roles, they left it some important emotional function. The modern family is still supposed to provide for intimate needs, which state and market are (so far) incapable of providing.

Yet even here is subject to increasing interventions.

* * *

Today, parental authority is in full retreat. Youngsters are increasingly excused from obeying their elders, whereas parents are blamed for anything that goes wrong in the life of their child. Mum and Dad are about as likely to get off the Freudian courtroom as were defendants in a Stalinist show trial”.

A show trial?

As a parent, you are always the defendant, must be always on guard, must please the Judge and the social services, and you will be criticized for every mistake you actually committed, or for acts and decisions the State considered as mistakes committed by you.

In order words and in a more practical way, stay away from the courtrooms because the burden of the proof that you are a good and caring parent is always on your shoulders and it’s never an easy task.

How can you prevent finding yourself in a courtroom?

Nobody can, no one is untouchable, no one is above any suspicion, nobody is or will ever be in the eyes of the system an exemplar parent (but the system expects you to be one) and there is no magic formula but a lot a good sense.

What do we know as facts?

Divorce battles involving minors will eventually and most certainly; involve the social services. Their role is not to be on your side or your spouse’s side, but on the children’s side. “Children’s side”, as if it was possible that the child has his own side without a family, without parents!

Children “are increasingly excused from obeying their elders, whereas parents are blamed for anything that goes wrong in the life of their child”, as a result, because “parental authority is in full retreat”, it is your challenge to determine how to accommodate the lack of authority coupled with your parental obligations! It might require some kind of magic!

Children usually will try to not take sides between parents, but if they do decide to take sides, it will most likely be that of the “weaker person’s side” – not necessarily yours.

Captivating the social workers with your nice or fake behavior to bring them to your side is a waste of time. You are a suspect!

What to do if already involved in any type of legal conflict involving minors?

From this point “Yet even here is subject to increasing interventions”, you are not alone anymore – you are now in the system and under their complete scrutiny.

Even as a professional in the educational field, a lawyer, or a social worker yourself, do not make the eternal mistake of dismissing the need of a professional neutral lawyer. Do not expect a family member and or a “friend” to provide you with the advice you need, in this case you need an unbiased stranger, a third party who is a professional in advising on such cases.

If the system is already involved in your case it is because they believe they can do better, they can educate you to do better, etc. It is important that you:

  • Start thinking in terms of a compromise from the very beginning because there is never black and white in a courtroom.
  • Do not try any type of shortcut.
  • Do not use emotional manipulation.
  • Do not do what you have been doing because something in the way you did it has somehow landed you in the system.
  • Keep the system on your side, but do not waive your rights as a legitimate parent or your inner beliefs (this can be a contradiction and present problems).

A last word:

Do not listen to advice from others that had cases “like yours”. There is not one case on earth exactly like yours!

About the Author
Passionate about helping new immigrants, Tzvi Szajnbrum, Attorney at Law and Notary, founded the Voleh Organization, through which he and a team of volunteers provide “pro-bono” guidance to English speaking new immigrants, helping to ensure their successful integration into Israeli Society. As a former officer in the Israeli army, Tzvi is also able to help lead new immigrants in the right direction regarding the IDF. CEO of The Szajnbrum Group
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