Is it hard for parents to let go?
Early one morning a mother went to her sleeping son and woke him up.
“Wake up, son. It’s time to go to school.”
“But why? I don’t want to go to school.”
“Give me two reasons why you don’t want to go to school.”
“One, all the children hate me. Two, all the teachers hate me, …”
“Oh! that’s no reason. Come on, you have to go to school!”
“Give me two good reasons WHY I should go to school?”
“One, you are FIFTY-TWO years old. Two, you are the PRINCIPAL of the school.”
These are well-known words in jest or are they on target? Are there parents who always see their children as kids?
When Yaakov fled with his family and possessions, he was pursued by Lavan who wanted to kill him. Hashem appeared to Lavan, warning him not to cause any harm to Yaakov. When Lavan caught up with him, he first reprimanded Yaakov and then proposed a treaty. Yaakov took a stone to serve as a monument. He then instructed his ‘brothers,’ to gather stones and make a mound, to fortify the treaty.
Yaakov had one brother, Esav, who certainly was not there. Who are his ‘brothers’?
Rashi indicates that it was his sons who were referred to as his brothers, for they stood with their father during disaster and were ready to join with him in battle. From this reference the Chida expounds: It is worthy for someone to consider his adult sons as brothers. In that way there will be peace and a good relationship between them. It states: “Hinei mah tov u’mah naim sheves achim gam yachad, How good and pleasant is the dwelling of brothers, moreover, in unity.” The numerical value of the words, achim gam is 102, the same as the word banim; thus indicating that one should dwell with his adult children as with brothers.
There comes a point that a person realizes there is a time for transition. The children have grown up and need to be regarded as adults. Their opinions need to be valued. At the same time, this would occur within a framework of the children keeping the laws of respect and honor due their parents. Those laws do not get minimized as the children become adults.
Rav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky zt’l (1899-1985), known as the Steipler Gaon, was the father of the venerated Rav Chaim Kanievsky zt’l (1928-2022). A neighbor of the Steipler Gaon related an incident that occurred when Rav Chaim was an adult. The daughter of the Steipler Gaon told him, “Chaim’s back is hurting him.” He thought she was referring to his son, Chaim. He went to his son’s house and told him to lay down in bed. Chaim adhered carefully to the laws of honoring parents and obeyed without asking questions. His father rubbed his back to ease the pain and told him to remain resting in bed until the morning.
When the Steipler Gaon returned home, it was clarified that the Chaim whom his daughter mentioned was not his son Chaim, but rather a grandson. The Steipler Gaon remarked that he better return to his son Chaim’s house. If not, he would certainly remain in bed. He showed up at the house and said his son should get up, which he did without asking any questions.
As children grow older, can they maintain or have even greater respect for their parents, when they themselves are accorded reverence for their status and accomplishments? At what point do parents take a step back and re-evaluate the dynamic of relationships with their children? Do the children see that their parents value their opinions and input?
Rabbi Hershel D. Becker
 Vayetze 31:46
 Breishis Rabah 74:13
 Tehillim 133:1
 Rav Yosef David Azulai zt’l (1724-1806) in Bris Olam 343; Otzar Kibud Av Vaem p. 390
 Bedidi Have Uvda pp. 366-367 from Minchas Todah