The Blessing Of A Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children
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The Blessing Of A Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  1,922 ratings  ·  359 reviews
In the trenches of a typical day, every parent encounters a child afflicted with ingratitude and entitlement. In a world where material abundance abounds, parents want so badly to raise self-disciplined, appreciative, and resourceful children who are not spoiled by the plentitude around them. But how to accomplish this feat? The answer has eluded the best-intentioned mothe...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 2nd 2008 by Scribner (first published January 4th 2001)
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Hafidha
Nov 23, 2011 Hafidha rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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-...more
Lisa
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 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Skylar Burris
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
Sam
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...more
Jamie
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
Megan
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...more
Jessica
May 29, 2010 Jessica rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Jim
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...more
Shannon
Jan 28, 2008 Shannon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.

M...more
Anna Simon
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
Kate
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...more
Moriah
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
Nancy
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
Mandy
Aug 14, 2007 Mandy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Denise
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?
Pam
The Blessing of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel is an interesting book. I heard about this book from a friend who was wanting help with her children. I decided to read it after hearing out good it was.

I was afraid I would have problems reading it since it is based on Jewish teachings and I am not Jewish nor do I know their teachings. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the book. It is designed for parents who are having problems with their children. It uses the Torah and other religious books...more
LM Yellow
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.
Vera
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
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!
Kari
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.
Megan Uy
I loved, loved, loved this book. While my older kids were babies/toddlers, I never read a lot of parenting books--the excerpts that I read from books on baby/toddler care always seemed too rigid, too prescriptive to me. In the long run, how someone feeds, bathes, diapers, and puts their baby to bed matters very little as long as that baby is getting the love and attention they need. But now that my kids are reaching school-age, we're confronting the bigger questions, i.e., what kinds of people d...more
Shyloe O'neal
I liked the sense of being a "traditional" parent. It was a reminder that even Father Abraham had little ones.
Laurel
the only parenting book I don't loathe... pretty much.
Sharla
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...more
Lynne
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
Meg
I'm not Jewish (although I did grow up in New Jersey), but this is one of the best parenting books I've come across. Readable, funny, and poignant. Here are a few of the things I really appreciated about it:

- A focus on the importance of right action, both for us as parents and for our children: practice the outward forms and the inner experience will follow.
- The importance of honoring your "unique and ordinary child" - understanding your child's individual temperament, gifts, and needs, while...more
Susan  Thompson
This book had some good stuff in it. Refreshing, straight-forward parenting advice like the kind I get from my parents. I liked the idea of parenting that is "good enough" -- "Consider that "good enough" can often be best for your child, because when life is mostly ordinary and just occasionally extraordinary, your child won't end up with expectations of herself and those around her that can't be met on this worldly plane."

I feel like I often run into children (especially in our neighborhood) w...more
Omer M-j
The Blessing of a Skinned Knee is an interesting journey through Mogel's transformation away from child psychotherapist towards a Jewish-informed parent guide. The journey is filled with sweet anecdotes, both personal and professional, and lessons inspired by Jewish teachings and is a quick an easy read.
Mogel's enthusiasm for using Jewish principles and the gifts that being raised in a Jewish home can provide is evident. You can feel her enthusiasm infuse the book like the Shabbat candles she l...more
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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
More about Wendy Mogel...
The Blessing of a B Minus: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Resilient Teenagers The Blessing Of A Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children

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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.” 8 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.” 3 likes
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