Monday, July 14, 2008
Author: Wendy Mogel
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
I read this book a few weeks ago, so many of the details have already slipped my mind. Therefore, I'm writing this review in a slightly different format.
What it's about: Wendy Mogel discusses practical tools and Jewish spiritual values to address many of the issues that confront today's parents: overindulgence, over-scheduling, overprotection and rebellion, to name a few. Her strategies aim to teach kids to be respectful and gracious while staying true to their individual personalities.
What I liked: This is not just a book for Jewish parents, as her philosophy easily crosses religious boundaries. Her suggestion to treat children as "unique, but ordinary", by putting a child on a pedestal can cause self-esteem problems down the road. She tells readers that you should not expect children to be anyone other than who they are, rather than pushing them towards extraordinary achievements in areas that they just aren't interested in.
The book is organized in an easy to read format, great for busy parents, and covers topics such as "The Blessing of Work: Finding the holy sparks in ordinary chores", "The Blessing of Time: Teaching your child the value of the present moment" and "The Blessing of Food: Bringing moderation, celebration, and sanctification to your table". Overall, she has some very valuable advice that relates well to our parenting style, and I will definitely be coming back to the book in the future.
What I didn't like: There were a few things that really stand out, causing my to give it a lower rating. Her diatribe on the negative affects of gender equality really struck my feminist nerve. I also found some of her comments on disabled children abhorrent coming from the voice of a psychologist. I also felt that some of the "problems" she addressed were really only specific to families in the same socioeconomic class of her previous clientele (her practice was in Beverly Hills, California). The spoiling and indulgence she talks about just can't occur in lower economic class families, so it was a bit hard for me to relate to that (that's not saying that kids whose families aren't rich can't be spoiled, they can...but her writing doesn't address the issue in a way that easily applies to all socio-economic levels).
Recommended to: Parents with kids aged 5 and up.