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The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  2,862 Ratings  ·  406 Reviews
Nationally-known clinical psychologist, educator, and workshop leader Wendy Mogel provides a new map for parenting. The Blessing of a Skinned Knee guides us toward effective, enlightened parenting in an increasingly speedy, material, and competitive age.
Audio, 200 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published January 4th 2001)
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Nov 23, 2011 Hafidha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents, caregivers
When Dr. Mogel, a clinical psychologist, decided - after marriage and two children - to embrace her religious heritage, one of the outcomes was this book. She impressively combines Jewish teachings with old school common sense and "progressive" values.

This is one of the best parenting books I've come across. Mogel places a lot of emphasis on the parent taking a look at their own behavior and correcting dysfunctional patterns, establishing order, being consistent, acting with authority and self-
May 19, 2010 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this book. Filled with seemingly common-sense guidance on raising children, I found myself noticing--more than normal--how children today don't behave (are bratty/insolent/fresh-mouthed, you get the idea) because they haven't been offered loving guidance as put forward in this book! Have you ever talked to a parent and they complain about their child's behavior and immediately follow it up with, "Well, what are you going to do?" I actually answer them by saying, "You could tell ...more
Elizabeth McDonald
Aug 16, 2008 Elizabeth McDonald rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who interact with children
Recommended to Elizabeth by: my school
Shelves: non-fiction, teaching
This was required reading for my new job at a girls' school (which, incidentally, is not Jewish). Although I am neither Jewish nor a parent, I found this book very engrossing. I couldn't put it down, despite the fact that I was on vacation in the mountains at the time. (Well, all right, I could put it down... just not when I was, say, supposed to be going to sleep.)

The author, who practiced clinical child psychology for fifteen years, reevaluates modern child-rearing practice through the lens of
Mar 21, 2013 Sam rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was reading this book for a group (of young families) at my (Episcopal) church. About a third of the way through the book I just couldn't take it anymore.

While I don't necessarily disagree with her methods for raising self-reliant children---Dr. Sears' The Successful Child does a much better job than this does. And if you're looking for something focused on faith--Shalom for the Home--is excellent--and teaches much of the same stuff without annoying the hell out of you. You don't need Jewish
Skylar Burris
Mar 08, 2008 Skylar Burris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting, judaism
This is perhaps the best parenting book I have read to date, and I have read several. The author writes from an explicitly Jewish perspective and primarily addresses Jewish parents, but, even as someone of a different faith (Christian), I found her advice and perspectives very helpful. The section about talking about God with your children addressed the same sorts of difficulties I experience as a Christian parent. I appreciated the philosophical outlook on parenting the author presented: the em ...more
Oct 13, 2015 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paper
Not a perfect book by any means, but a really, really good one. Wendy Mogel was a clinical psychologist who found too many of her clients were, to put it impolitely, self-centered upper class secular parents looking for an excuse that explained Little Johnny's behavior problem of the week. She left her practice to lose herself in her Jewish traditions, slowly introducing them to her own secular family and transitioning herself to a career as a lecturer and writer on Jewish parenting.

This book e
LM Yellow
Jun 21, 2012 LM Yellow rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I felt like a reform Jew became conservative (as in the demonination not the definition)
and spent more time at home with her own kids so she felt she had to write a book. It was
about using her educated PhD psychologist expertise to defend the use of some Jewish
teaching she picked and choose with little research.
Mar 05, 2014 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't that impressed when I first started this book--the style was dry, and I'd heard some of the ideas before. But I quickly warmed up to the book as I read along. Although some of the parenting ideas (both philosophical and practical) are available elsewhere, the content is still very worthwhile, and some of it, which I discovered as I went along, was definitely new. It's highly sensible, practical, and above all *wise.* What makes this book unique is its Jewish perspective, which gives the ...more
Anna Simon
Oct 09, 2013 Anna Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is, quite simply, the best parenting book I've read yet, for giving overall advice about how to be a good parent. Dr. Mogel is a psychologist who was seeing similar problems in families - ones where the family wasn't functioning well, the child was doing poorly, but nothing really was 'wrong' (i.e. loving and dedicated parents, healthy child). She also was reading Jewish parenting resources aimed at Orthodox Jews that had some wonderfully useful ideas... but with also a lot of baggage that ...more
Jun 05, 2013 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had been recommended to me in a Waldorf parent meeting, but i just decided to read it recently. I have been thinking a lot about entitlement, and how to help my children develop respect and appreciation, which is what the book purports to address.

In the end, I found that it reiterated a large number of the beliefs that i have been developing on my own, and perhaps had some encouraging ideas for how to implement them, but was not ground breaking for me. (There is something in here about
Jan 28, 2008 Shannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Parents, teachers, those who work with kids, religious professionals
Excellent book for parents, teachers, or anyone working with kids. Mogel discusses how indulged and unhappy today's kids are, and teaches us how children can be parented in a way that helps them to become more resilient and capable. Her goal is to help us produce children who grow into kind, responsible, ethical adults. Imagine that! She uses Jewish teachings as her foundation, and while I am Christian, I found that all of her wisdom had a universal relevance, and spoke to me in profound ways.

Feb 15, 2012 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did enjoy this one. I think I enjoyed bits and pieces more than the whole. Some examples:

Mogel describes parent patients from her clinical psychiatric practice who were "disappointed" when hearing that their children had no mental disorder because, unfortunately, no drug or treatment could be given to fix their normal kid.

The author quotes Rabbi Tarfon as saying, "It is not your responsibility to complete the work [of perfecting the world] but you are not free to desist from it either."

She als
May 29, 2010 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents
Mogel is a child psychologist who studied Judaism and applied it to her approach to parenting. Her basic premise is that children need limits and structure, and a place in both the family and wider community. She breaks her parenting advice into nine lessons and most, if not all, would apply to parents of many faiths and even of no faith in particular. Some of my favorite chapters: The Blessing of Self-Control, in which she discusses why your child's difficult traits are the key to his strengths ...more
Apr 26, 2012 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admit to being a bit disappointed in this. I was expecting, well, more. Which, is ridiculous, because when I read parenting books, this is the feeling I am usually left with. I don't think I pulled out any new information, and I certainly did not pick up any helpful hints. However, I did choose to give this three stars rather than two, because it was a pleasant read. Mogel writes with an easy-going, un-preachy tone. And, everything she suggests is genuinely (I think) good parenting advice. She ...more
May 25, 2009 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Confession: Typically when I read informational, self-help-y non-fiction I tend to skim through because I get bored with the writing style or the information in general. This book was a total exception!
Once I started, I couldn't put it down. I loved both the author's approach to child raising AND Judaism. As a non-Jewish mother raising Jewish children, this was just the push I needed to be proactive in bringing religion into their lives. Admittedly, we have no traditions in our household yet (I
Aug 14, 2007 Mandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents
A neighbor of a friend was given this book by her daughter's school and asked my friend to read it and let her know if it was any good. My friend in turn gave it to me knowing that I'll read almost anything put in front of me. Amazingly it was really really good. I've worked with kids for years and I find theories about how to raise them really interesting. I like the way this book was written as well as the ideas and explanations in it. Within the child rearing advice is the story of a woman's ...more
Jul 24, 2008 Moriah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting-books
Among other things, this book brings up the point that parents today tend to want their kids to excel at everything. While I don't have grand designs for my kids and I'm generally very good at not getting sucked into keeping up with the Joneses--and their kids!--it hadn't dawned on me how the more subtle expectations of kids have changed since I was growing up. This book is great at putting certain aspects of child-rearing into perspective for today's parents--and you certainly don't have to be ...more
Jun 22, 2008 Nancy rated it really liked it
While I often lose interest before completely a parenting book, this one held me to the last page. The author took some time away from her practice as a a child psychologist to immerse herself in the study of Judaism. So many of the Jewish lessons she learned informed her new perspective on parenting, one that helps foster emotionally balanced, self-reliant, responsible children. I found many of her parenting lesson affirming of my own parenting style and took away nuanced differences of approac ...more
Mar 16, 2012 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
not a book that i necessarily want to read cover to cover, but definitely provides balanced, meaningful, authentic suggestions for conceptualizing parenting. i borrowed from the library but it is a book plan on purchasing so i can refer to when i find myself in a parenting slump (over thinking, over worrying). written by a psychotherapist who seemed to discover judaism and it's application to her therapy practice with adolescents--specifically to kids who did not meet criteria for psychological ...more
Katie Busby
Charlie is not at an age where this book is really applicable. Also, I am not sure I am totally comfortable with the way she got her 3 yo daughter to brush her teeth. (She told her that she would have to stay outside in the backyard over night if she did not brush her teeth. As she was walking her daughter outside, her daughter quickly changed her mind...what if her daughter was bold and said, fine, I will sleep outside? What would she do then?
Aug 15, 2012 Vera rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's nothing really new here--I think the precepts Mogel outlines are already 80% the way I was brought up and the way I am trying to bring up my own children. But it's still helpful to have it all codified and look at things like "because I'm your mother, and I said so" from a spiritual perspective.
Naomi Hoyt
Feb 23, 2012 Naomi Hoyt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a parenting book I come back to over and over again. People of all religious beliefs will appreciate the practical and thoughtful philosophy regarding parenting that Wendy Mogel puts forth. A must read for anyone struggling to raise kids in this materialistic and entitlement driven world!
Mar 03, 2012 Kari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this book on parenting even though I'm not Jewish. A lot of reminders on slowing down this fast paced life, letting kids make mistakes, accepting kids for who they are (not forcing them into a box), and appreciating all our blessings.
Shyloe O'neal
I liked the sense of being a "traditional" parent. It was a reminder that even Father Abraham had little ones.
Jenn LeBow
May 20, 2012 Jenn LeBow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honey and I lived in Galveston when we first married. In the mail one day, I received an envelope that proclaimed, “Finally, Jenn LeBow, there’s a magazine just for you!” Awesome. I opened the envelope and found an introduction letter for “Latina.” “Latina?” Really? “Latina” is just for me? Well, okay.

A few years later, when we lived in Boston, we started getting the “Jewish Journal” in the mail. After a couple of issues, I called their office to thank them for thinking of us, but to let them kn
Ashley FL
Easy to read and full of good strong advice, but ultimately nothing new.
May 08, 2010 Laurel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the only parenting book I don't loathe... pretty much.
Jul 27, 2012 Ensiform rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, work
The author, a psychologist who came to believe that the power of spiritual assurance and community had more of a healing power than therapy, explains how the Talmud can help parents raise children sensibly. She asserts that the three pillars of Jewish teaching – moderation, celebration, and sanctification – can be applied to areas such as chores, eating, self-control, and stress. She starts with the premise that children do not belong to their parents, but are a gift on loan from God, born to le ...more
Jun 06, 2015 Lynne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
This is one of the best parenting books I've ever read and I know I will re-visit it frequently. Mogel is a child psychologist who took a sabbatical from her practice to study judaism and train as a rabbi, and now she counsels families using a mixture of the two. The result is a common-sense philosophy that emphasizes the dignity of children and importance of helping them develop responsibility and the ability to deal with and overcome challenges. Nuggets of wisdom that I think about constantly: ...more
Jan 27, 2015 Sharla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, parenting
I read a lot of parenting books to make sure I stay on top of my mom-game, and this is one of the few I can say is a favorite. Even though the book is based on the ideas of the Jewish faith, it's written in such a way as to be inviting and open to all faiths, focusing on the parenting concepts that stem from Judaism vs. the religion itself.

The author handled presenting both the abstract concepts and generic framework of parenting as well as specific concrete examples and tactics wonderfully, in
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Wendy Mogel, PhD is the author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 2001. Mogel is a nationally known speaker and author who looks at every day parenting problems through the lens of the Torah, the Talmud, and important Jewish teachings.

Mogel graduated from Middlebury College and completed an Internship and
More about Wendy Mogel...

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“The sages advise us to study Torah lishma-"for its own sake" rather than to impress others with our scholarship. A paradox of parenting is that if we love our children for their own sake rather than for their achievements, it's more likely that they will reach their true potential.” 10 likes
“If we want to give our children what they need to thrive, we must honor their basic nature- boyish or girlish, introverted or extroverted, wild or mellow.” 5 likes
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