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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Blessing of a Skinned Knee

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

by Wendy Mogel
258 pages


*** About the Book ***

The parenting skills advocated in this book are based on Jewish tradition ... and lots of common sense. Basically it is a reminder that the parent is the parent and the child is the child, and there are roles and responsibilities for each person in the family that, when followed, lead to a much happier and more functional household.

Mogel was a child psychologist for many years and became frustrated with the lack of parenting skills she came across. Later in life she rediscovered her Jewish faith and has since opened a new practice in preventive mental health. She combines her faith and her knowledge to teach parents and children skills to improve their family life.


*** Why I Read It ***

I'm not sure where I first heard of this book but I remember adding it to my Paperbackswap.com Wish List. It took a while to get the book, then of course it sat on my self a while longer, but I finally got around to reading it.


*** My Thoughts ***

Topics in this book include: respect for adults, chores, keeping expectations in line with your child's temperament, meal-time battles, coping with frustration, avoiding over-scheduling and overindulgence, and others. There wasn't all that much in here that I *didn't* know but there was a lot that I was either ignoring or needing a refresher on.

One chapter near the end is sticking with me at the moment. I've said before that Kiddo is a great kid. He's usually well-behaved, kind, outgoing, and positive - all the things a parent could want. But he IS still a kid (and a boy, at that!) and he still misbehaves ... regularly. Near the end of the book Mogel encourages parents to think of their child's WORST behavior, the thing that drives them batty. It can be a big thing or a little thing, but it has to be something the child does ALL THE TIME. In Kiddo's case, that thing is debating. I tell him to do something and he wants to know why, and give me other options, and explain why it should be done differently, and tell me five stories that are somehow related, and go back to his plan about doing it differently, and on, and on, and on. As a child I swore I'd never use my mom's favorite line on *my* child, but many a time recently I've said to Kiddo "because I said so! And that is the end of the conversation." Of course that is always followed by "But mom ..." which I, in turn, follow with the look. That usually ends things.

Anyway, Mogel says that parents need to realize that that one behavior can be turned into their child's greatest strength if it is channeled properly. She gives an example of a bossy 4-yr old who likes to be in charge. Her mom made it the girl's job to organize the bookshelves and issue reminders to family members to shut off lights, start the dishwasher, etc. This gives the child an outlet for her desire to be in charge while allowing the parent to work on stopping the inappropriate bossiness in other areas. Now I just need to find a way to use Kiddo's chatty argumentativeness in a positive manner ...

I really enjoyed this book even though it is based on religious beliefs I don't share. Christianity and Judaism have many core beliefs in common so even though I'm not Jewish I still found this book very practical and helpful and (usually) in line with my core beliefs.


*** Your Thoughts ***

I haven't come across any other blogger reviews of this book, have you?

Oh, and do you have any great parenting tips or tricks you want to share? Good suggestions are ALWAYS appreciated!

9 comments:

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Heather, I'm so glad you reminded me about this book! A friend recommended it a while ago (3 years?!). I guess it's never too late to get parenting advice/wisdom, so I'm adding it to my wish list now.

Good luck channeling Kiddo's debating skills :)

Heather J. said...

Dawn - It really has some great practical advice - definitely worth reading!

Amy said...

This sounds like a really interesting and fun book and a very practical one! I am intrigued about Judaism and how it plays out in people's lives because my husband is Jewish while I am Catholic. I think applying common sense along with the idea of the child is the child and the parent is the parent when parenting is so important and is severly lacking in many parents today Too many parents want to be their child's friend first and foremost and fail to see how damaging that can be.

I, unfortunately, don't have children but I love them and took care of my 4 young cousins for many years at one point. And I learned a lot. I think a lot of parents don't understand how awre children are of what's going on around them and how important it is to tell them about things in a way they can understand. It's much better then allowing the kids to wonder and try to figure out what's going on by themselves. This can lead to fear, anger and often no good!

Thanks for a great review!

Care said...

You always amaze me with the books you read - so diverse and terrific! I have this book in my wishlist and I have no idea where I saw it, but was very intrigued. and I'm not a parent - go figure. Anway, great review. I love reading about the books you read. :)

Dreamybee said...

I know I've seen another review of this somewhere, but I can't remember where. That sounds like great advice at the end-turning your child's most annoying trait into a strength. So, debate club in high school sounds like a given, but what to do until then...? LOL.

Beth F said...

I never read the book, but I read a lot about it when it first came out. It struck me as presenting very practical advice.

Heather J. said...

Amy - Thank you for your thoughtful comments. You and I agree on the basics, that's for sure!

Care - "diverse and terrific" - wow, thanks for that! I do think I have eclectic taste ... :)

Dreamybee - Yes, what to do until then is THE question, isn't it?! ~LOL~

Mystica said...

Dont know whether there are strict guidelines to parenting. Sometimes parental instinct and the right/wrong theory works very well - at least most of the time.

Heather J. said...

Mystica - I agree that there are no hard and fast rule - every child is different. But I think there ARE some general guidelines that can be adapted to fit each family as needed, and that is what this book is about.

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