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

4.6 out of 5 stars 172 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0756762414
ISBN-10: 0756762413
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Frustrated with a therapeutic practice that "shifted too frequently to be an anchor" for parents struggling with issues like overindulgence and overscheduling, clinical psychologist Mogel turned to her religious heritage for ways to help her clients and her own family "find grace and security" in an increasingly complex world. "In the time-tested lessons of Judaism, I discovered insights and practical tools that spoke directly to these issues," writes Mogel, who left her psychology practice in order "to help parents look at their children's anxieties and desires using a different lens." Digging into the rich traditions of the Torah, the Talmud and other Jewish teachings, Mogel builds a parenting blueprint that draws on core spiritual values relevant to families of all faiths. With warmth and humor, she offers strategies for encouraging respect and gratitude in children, and cautions against overprotection ("we treat our children's lives like we're cruise ship directors who must get them to their destinationDadulthoodDsmoothly, without their feeling even the slightest bump or wave") and the pressure of "Lake Wobegon parenting" (a reference to Garrison Keillor's fictional town where "all the children are above average"). Her thoughtful observations consistently illuminate and reassure. Impassioned, lyrical and eminently practical, this inspiring volume is a real treasure. Agent, Betsy Amster. (Jan.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Review

''Impassioned, lyrical, and eminently practical, this inspiring volume is a real treasure.'' --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

''Although she clearly draws on Jewish teachings, as well as on her psychology training, much of her wisdom is applicable to families of all faiths.'' --Library Journal

''Carrington MacDuffie narrates with sincerity and intent…Mogel's insights are certain to help parents get a better grasp on when to draw the line, and when to cut it.'' --AudioFile --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Diane Pub Co (November 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756762413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756762414
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,822,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Reid VINE VOICE on October 20, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished this last night, and I plan to go back through it again. It's one of the better books on raising children that I've ever read. Mogel is a child psychologist with a definite slant--for her, a lot of the answers to parenting problems lie in encouraging spiritual growth, in ourselves and in our children. You don't have to be Jewish to find great material in this book--I'm not--but you definitely need to accept the premise that human beings are happier in a spiritually enriched environment.

I have already started implementing some of Mogel's suggestions for fostering responsibility in children and encouraging them to be grateful for what they have (as opposed to constantly needing more to be satisfied). Moreover, I mean to stay mindful of her emphasis on a parent's need to accept a child's basic nature. If you can name the personality trait in your child that drives you insane, Mogel says, you have already named his greatest strength. Helping to raise him to his greatest potential involves teaching him how to utilize his nature, not how to subvert it. Unlike some modern psychological parenting texts, _The Blessing of a Skinned Knee_ doesn't pretend that children are blank slates to be filled with whatever we please. Instead, Mogel offers practical suggestions for working with the material we're given.

One of the elements of the book that I would most share with my friends involves discipline. Mogel breaks down transgressions by intent and offers concrete ways to deal with them compassionately and calmly. She several times references Biblical exhortations to discipline--not in a pro-spanking stance, but in reminding parents that this is a responsibility that comes with the territory.
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Format: Hardcover
I have read countless parenting books and consulted professional child and marriage psychologists for guidance in raising my two wonderful daughters. In comparison, Dr. Mogel's The Blessing of a Skinned Knee is WISDOM, not guidance.
Her book helped me to recognize that my responsibility is to be concerned most with building strength of character, not strength of grades and achievement. That I need to help my nine-year old and seven-year old with WHO they are, not WHAT they are. Our achievement-driven age sends the opposite message, and, consequently, it is so easy to lose sleep over the wrong things.
In an inspirational story of personal and professional transformation, Dr. Mogel tells us of how her own search for effective parenting strategies led her to discover that a religious tradition -- in her case Judaism -- gives her a structure for making healthy parenting choices. As parent raising two daughters and as professional psychologist offering advice to parents and teachers, she gives us a framework upon which to base our decisions and behavior to help our children grow into healthy, independent adults.
With this new understanding, I re-read some of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee before going to bed each night, and my sleep is getting better.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A friend of mine recommended this book to me when I had spoken to her about battling feelings of guilt as a new parent. This book is splendid for helping parents to feel secure in their parental authority and confident about setting boundaries. I suspect that some people could misread this book as encouraging tyrannical behavior or giving permission to disconnect from involvement in your child's daily concerns. In fact, the book encourages parents to remember that, ultimately, they are the decision makers and not every decision requires "buy in" from your child. Likewise, a child must learn responsibility, which involves being allowed to make some mistakes. Both of these concepts are presented gently and with careful consideration of the needs of both child and parent.
As a parenting book, I can highly recommend this for any reader able to take what is wanted and leave the rest. If you tend to be an all or nothing thinker, this may not be the ideal read for you. As a book on Jewish teachings, I can not judge as I am not Jewish and am not educated in Jewish theology. I found the considerations of Jewish teachings in the book to be useful and thought provoking, and I think any Christian would find it so.
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Format: Paperback
After seeing the recent trend in families that I know trying to let their kids "become individuals", a book to remind you that it is okay to be a parent to your kids! Too many of the parents I know are so busy trying to not stiffle their kids, that they neglect to teach them common courtesy and respect for their elders. This book is not the solution to all behavioral problems with kids, only an insightful reminder to look at our own interaction with our children. It is a reminder that before you can teach children self-respect they need to learn how to respect others.
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By A Customer on January 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
I had very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I agree with the author's premise that parents should be parents, and not try to be their child's best friend. On the other hand, some of her other arguments were very troubling to me. Among these were the idea that you should never be an advocate for your child, and that you should allow him to handle all his problems himself. The author fails to account for the fact that young children lack the experience and the skills necessary to cope with every situation; that's why they HAVE parents! Not every bad experience is a "learning experience," and I think some of the advice in this book advocates a parenting style that borders on neglect. Perhaps this is because Dr. Mogel is a therapist in an affluent Beverly Hills neighborhood, and she simply doesn't see kids with "real problems."
Additionally, she states that parents should not expect their children to be good at everything. This is obviously good advice, but then she goes on to talk about how terrible it is that girls in the modern era are supposed to be good at math and science. Exactly what is she trying to get at here? That girls shouldn't be encouraged to do well in "non-traditional" subjects? Indeed, this does seem to be what she is saying.
Finally, one of the most disturbing anecdotes in this book is about a young girl who is so anxious about going away to camp that she repeatedly throws up all night long. Dr. Mogel holds this up as a great example, because the parents make her go anyway. If you are making your kid so anxious and stressed that she throws up all night, YOU ARE NOT DOING A GOOD JOB AS A PARENT. THIS IS NOT OKAY.
In sum, I would say that her underlying message, which is to parent your children and not let them run the show, is a good one.
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